Kim Hebert Simone ’98 uncorked her interest in wine during her gastronomy graduate program at Boston University, but the Colgate classics major has always been interested in the social history of eating and drinking. “I remember sitting in the history of wine class studying the differences between Burgundy and Bordeaux and realizing, ‘I can make this a career,’” she says. Now a corporate sommelier for Boston’s Legal Sea Foods and owner of wine education business Vinitas Wineworks, her vision has become a reality. 

Simone gives her tips for finding the right vino:


The white with fish, red with meat rule is antiquated. “My rule of thumb for pairing food and wine is to think about the weight of the food and the weight of the wine. Lighter wines with lighter foods, heavier wines with heavier foods. There’s such a wide variety of food and wine that there are very few bad pairings. A lot of it is choosing styles you like and things you like to eat.”


You don’t have to break the bank. “I usually select bottles ranging between $12 and $25 retail price for most of the Vinitas Wineworks events I do, unless it’s something special like a champagne tasting. I stick to that price point because you can get really good wine that tastes the way it’s supposed to taste. Less expensive than that, you get more commercially produced wine — more expensive than that, sometimes there are wines that need to be put down for a little while and age before they taste their best.”


After opening, drink up.“It’s most likely going to start going downhill fairly quickly. It’s not like leaving milk on the counter, it’s not going to make you sick, but the flavors will start to diminish. For white wine, it will lose its fruit, and it will start turning a little brown if it’s been more than a week. Some reds will actually get better after a day or two open. My tip for keeping wine bottles open is to stick them in the fridge and bring them back to room temperature when you’re going to drink them.”


Get some gadgets. “There are a lot of things on the market that you can buy as little preservation systems for your wine. There are some that pump the air out of the wine and others that have an inert gas you can squirt in the bottle.” 


There’s an app for that. Simone likes Vivino: “You can take a picture of the bottles you’re tasting, it’ll pop up information about the wine, and then you can add your own notes.” 


Seek advice at the store. “Having a few basic things that you know you like or don’t like can be really helpful. Even something as simple as ‘I like lighter wines, or I like heavier wines.’”