Missi Holle graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Marketing. She has worked in the various sectors of the hospitality industry since high school and started learning about wine and spirits while in a local distributor sales role just out of college. Her passion for beverage, as well as food and travel (the perfect trifecta!), has continued to grow through her own personal experiences and her professional pursuit.
Missi is a Sr. National Account Manager and Educator for Kobrand Corporation with 20+ years of experience in the wine/spirits industry from both wholesaler and supplier positions. She is the current President of The Society of Wine Educators Board of Directors and holds their Certified Wine Educator, Certified Specialist of Wine, and Certified Specialist of Spirits certifications. She also has achieved the Advanced Level certification through WSET and has trained through the Court of Master Sommeliers. She is very passionate about teaching and strives to make wine and spirits education easy to understand and, most importantly, fun!
1. How did you get into the wine business?
Completely by accident! I worked as a waitress and bartender while earning my college Marketing degree. After graduation, in addition to exploring entry-level marketing jobs, I secured a few informational interviews with food brokers and beverage distributors. I already had some experience in this area, which led to a sales route with a wine and spirits wholesale in Orlando.
2. What are the most frustrating and rewarding parts of your job?
Most frustrating: I work with hotels and restaurants nationwide to set programs and promotions. It is sometimes a challenge to navigate the inconsistency in alcohol beverage legalities from state to state.
Most rewarding: So many things! From an education standpoint—I love introducing people to new wines and seeing the lightbulb go off when someone finally “gets it,” whether it is a favorite food and wine pairing or understanding a new wine term or technique. I love watching passion ignite.
I also enjoy bringing creative sales or promotional ideas to life.
3. What is your most memorable wine experience?
Stomping grapes with the locals in the Douro Valley (Portugal)! This is an imPORTant part of the winemaking process for producing the finest Port wines. After picking grapes from the vineyards all day, the locals step into the lagares (concrete vats used to hold fermenting the grapes) with their bare feet to rhythmically and systematically march forward, backward, and side-to-side. This ensures that every grape is gently crushed to extract as much color and flavor as possible during the short, three-day fermentation. After the serious marching is complete, a band begins to play, the stomping becomes more free form, and it feels like a celebration!
4. What is an upcoming trend you see in wine?
For wine enthusiasts, I see an increase in “discovery” wines and a deeper desire for education about the wines they are drinking. During the pandemic, there was more time for research, education, and connecting (virtually), which has fueled this trend.
For casual wine drinkers, I see more interest in convenience (not necessarily a new trend, but a heightened one), and canned wine will continue to gain in popularity. People seem to be more interested in transparency and disclosure of health information as well.
Missi Holle, CWE, CSS, CSW,
WSET III, WSET Sake I
Senior Regional National Account Manager, On-Premise and National Account Education Specialist, Kobrand Corporation
5. What is the best piece of advice someone has given to you?
I have been lucky to receive a lot of great advice from some talented and successful people during my career. Lately, the mantra that sticks in my head is “Perfection is the enemy of progress.” Keep moving forward!
6. What is one tip you have for someone just getting into wine?
Be humble. In this business you’ll never know it all. Stay curious and keep learning. Ask lots of questions regarding every area of the business. Most importantly, remember to have fun!
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