On a typical work day, Samantha Capaldi will load up her car with glasses, bags of ice, ice buckets, wine, charcuterie boards, napkins, coasters—and pens. Capaldi isn’t a caterer. Instead, she’s a sommelier who offers in-home wine tastings, geared particularly toward her 20- and 30-something peers.
Capaldi found her wine passion early, launching her business, Samantha Sommelier last year at the age of 24. The California native found her way to in vino veritas while studying at U of A, when she participated in a social media and marketing internship in London. “It allowed me to travel to places like France and Italy,” she explains. “I started sampling wines and was intrigued by food and wine pairings.”
After graduation, Capaldi moved to Scottsdale, where she worked several jobs. A blog she did on food and wine for fun morphed into organizing wine tastings for friends, then a realization that she wanted to steer her career in that direction. Capaldi decided to attend a “wine boot camp,” taking the intensified sommelier training program at the International Culinary Center of California, where she received her Level 2 certification through the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Back in Scottsdale, she opted to work with private clients in their homes, zeroing in on millennials with an easygoing BFF approach to guiding guests through wine tastings. “My wine tastings are very laid-back,” Capaldi explains. “There are a lot of good wines at various price points, and I try to teach people that wine can be an everyday pleasure and not intimidating.”
And the pens she brings to the tastings? For guests to take notes on what they’ve enjoyed.
Perfect Holiday Pours
Here are a few of Capaldi’s favorite wines for the holiday season.
Charles Ellner Champagne
“I love this Champagne for starting off any wine-tasting event or holiday party. It cleanses your palate and gets you ready to dive into the next wine.” $35, argaux.com
2015 Chanin Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard
“Perfect for a chilly night dining next to the fire with cheeses and breads.” $45, chaninwine.com
Rideau Vineyards 2016 Estate Roussanne
“This is a great wine to go with any fall-winter light bite, but my favorite pairing is with a cream-based pasta.” $36, rideauvineyard.com
2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain
“Pair this cabernet with some braised short ribs, and you have a perfect fall feast. To me, this wine just tastes like fall.” $110, mirrorwine.com
Dry Orange Muscat
“To me, this is the perfect Thanksgiving wine. Bring on the mashed potatoes with this one.” $35 for members, murrietaswell.com