Brett Vankoski, Co-Founder, 90+ Cellars
What did you study at Harvard?
Were you involved with any food or wine activities while a student?
In the late 90s there wasn’t much in the form of food and wine activities, or maybe I just wasn’t aware of them. However, I have great memories of the house dinners at Winthrop House which occurred about twice a year. On these nights the dining hall would be set up for a three or four course dinner. A jazz trio would play music for us, and wine was served. My roommates and I loved those nights.
Do you think that Harvard has prepared you for a career in food and wine or hospitality in general? If so, how?
Harvard partly prepared me for a career in the wine business, but I’m not sure you can be fully prepared without actually working in this business. A Harvard education prepares you with the mindset and the tools to be successful in practically any career, but the only way to learn the business of wine is to dive in and learn from the ground up. Getting started in food and wine is a humbling experience. Everyone starts at the bottom. It doesn’t matter where you went to school. Providing you are willing to stick it out, your Harvard experience combined with your motivation will get you to where to want to go. You just need confidence, and humility.
What work do you do now?
I am the vice president and wine director for Latitude Beverage Company and co-founder of 90+ Cellars, a global wine brand launched in 2009. We are a global négociant, producing and importing about 500,000 cases of wine a year for sale throughout the United States. Our brands include 90+ Cellars, Iron Side Cellars, Mija Sangria and Lila Wines, a new canned wine project started in 2016.
Websites that are relevant to your work or special interests: