“I believe wine is subjective and your experience should be celebrated, whether you’re a fancy sommelier or a boxed wine aficionado.”
Kim Kachmar is a Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 3-certified wine communicator, content creator, and the founder of Together With Wine, an education and social media marketing business that puts a spin on the traditional wine school. Launched in 2020, the company aims to galvanize everyday wine lovers through digital products, unique events, and confidence-building courses.
“Together With Wine makes wine fun and easy, and gives you full permission to drink for yourself — whether that's being all bougie with a fancy glass or sipping with ice in your wine,” says Kim.
Kim got her professional start as an interior designer and strategist. In her free time, she developed a passion for learning about wine. It was after attending a life-changing tasting that she decided to dive head first into her new hobby. “The way that the sommelier explained wine to everyone — and people’s gleeful reactions as they tasted the various flavors in wine for the first time — lit a fire within me, and I knew that being a sommelier and wine educator was something I had to pursue,” Kim says.
Soon enough, Kim was signed up for a professional wine class and shadowed the sommelier who inspired her. She hosted tastings for friends and colleagues and worked part-time at Calvert Woodley Fine Wines and Spirits in Washington DC, helping wine lovers locate that perfect bottle. After a layoff in 2020, Kim put both feet into the wine world and founded Together With Wine.
The San Diego-based Hall of Femme honoree brings a distinctive blend of creativity and social media savvy to the wine industry. On the marketing side, Kim works with wine and hospitality businesses like In Good Taste Wines, DOCG Imports, and La Jolla Wine Club to better connect with consumers and show up consistently on social media. With wine lovers, she offers courses that build confidence, cut through the clout, and make wine knowledge more accessible to everyone. No matter what she’s doing, Kim keeps the focus on connecting connoisseurs and making wine more fun.
“I believe wine is subjective and your experience should be celebrated, whether you’re a fancy sommelier or a boxed wine aficionado,” says Kim. “Together With Wine is an anti-snobbery wine school and community, and I hope to empower people through wine education to not only enter their wine era and drink for themselves, but to also show up more empowered in life.”
Read on for more from Kim on turning her passion into a full-time career, cultivating resilience in the face of setbacks, and her number-one tip for getting wine smart.
You turned your passion for wine into a full-time career after a layoff. What inspired you to make the leap, and how did you find the resilience to found your own company?
About a year before I started my business, I attended a wine tasting that changed my life. At the time I was an interior design strategist trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my career. I had started investing in hobbies outside of work to hopefully figure it out. I knew I was creative, good at leading workshops, and working with people, I just didn’t know what industry I wanted to bring those skills to. But this tasting made it very clear; I was meant to help people discover wine. The way that the sommelier explained wine to everyone — and people’s gleeful reactions as they tasted the various flavors in wine for the first time — lit a fire within me, and I knew that being a sommelier and wine educator was something I had to pursue.
A week later, I signed up for a professional wine class to expand on my knowledge and become a sommelier. I also shadowed the somm who led the tasting that inspired me at a few of his other gigs. By the time the pandemic hit and I got laid off from my job, I got my WSET Level-3 certification, started working part time at a wine shop, and was hosting tastings for my friends and coworkers. I didn’t have a plan to change careers; I was just following my interests and intuition, but the layoff made it clear that it was time to take the leap. It wasn’t easy — it was scary! — but even when I was offered my job back, I knew deep down I had to take the risk and pursue wine.
Starting my wine education company has taken a lot of resilience. There are so many times where setbacks can make you feel like you’re not doing enough, or comparison has you feeling like you’re not far enough along. To combat that, I always go back to my why: I believe that wine is a connector and it should be accessible for everyone. There’s nothing like sitting around a table with people you love, drinking a great bottle of wine, and talking late into the night. Unfortunately, wine, and some wine people, can be intimidating, which limits a lot of exploration. I founded Together With Wine to empower people to step into their wine era. When I keep coming back to my why, I always find the resolve to keep going.
How does Together With Wine differ from traditional education programs?
Traditional wine classes are geared towards people who want to become sommeliers or work in the wine industry. They’re structured, academic, and a little stuffy with textbooks and big tests. These classes give you a lot of information, but they don’t bring the fun experience most people hope to have when they get into wine as a hobby. Together With Wine makes wine fun and easy and gives you full permission to drink for yourself — whether that's being all bougie with a fancy glass or sipping with ice in your wine.
The Wine 101+ Course is different from traditional wine classes because it’s easy to digest and teaches you how to actually apply what you’ve learned to any wine situation. For example, instead of making you memorize all of the small villages in Burgundy that make Pinot Noir like in a traditional wine course, Wine 101+ teaches you how to find the best Pinot at your store. The course focuses on the basics and teaches you how to use that knowledge to discover great wine. While being knowledgeable is good, it doesn’t mean anything unless you can apply it. So instead of tests I incorporate “wine challenges” that build your wine confidence by getting you to apply what you’ve learned in real life situations.
I believe wine is subjective and your experience should be celebrated, whether you’re a fancy sommelier or a boxed wine aficionado. Together With Wine is an anti-snobbery wine school and community, and I hope to empower people through wine education to not only enter their wine era and drink for themselves, but to also show up more empowered in life.
When you were a young girl, what were the narratives you were exposed to about women and women's rights?
Growing up, I felt fairly empowered to become what I wanted to be — it was the time of “girl power” — but there were undertones of traditional values that contradicted it. One of those narratives is what a “good” mother looks like. What I was exposed to, and saw reinforced around me, was that to be a good mother you have to give up everything for your kids. The “best” mothers stayed at home.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized this isn’t necessarily the case. However, there are still moments where I fear that I’ll have to give up on all my goals to achieve the goal of having a family. But as I meet more women who are successful in their fields and also mothers, the more I see how that narrative is just a narrative, and not something I have to believe or live my life by.
Tell us about a woman who inspires you.
The first person who comes to mind is a Hall of Femme member, Amanda Wittstrom Higgins. I met Amanda when I applied for a scholarship through her nonprofit, Dream Big Darling. She inspires me because she gets stuff done and drives change. She wanted to see more support for women in the wine and spirits industry, so she made it happen. Many of the connections I have in the industry can be attributed to that community. I hope to be a mother one day, and she’s a model for that too. She runs a consulting business while also raising two sweet kids. She’s shown me that you can still aspire to do great things in your career while also raising a family.
What's a ritual in your life that you swear by?
I’m a total wellness junkie and I love the ritual of using my lymphatic drainage tool when I get out of the shower. It makes me feel so relaxed and nourished and flushes out toxins, something I’m highly aware of given that my work involves drinking alcohol. Using it makes a typical shower feel a little more luxurious.
What is your number-one tip for getting “wine smart?”
A lot of people don’t know this, but being able to taste wine and smell all of the aromas comes down to how well you can recall what things smell like. For example, if you don’t know what a lemon smells like, you won’t be able to smell it in a wine. If you want to get better at wine tasting — which you need to do to get wine smart — start by training your nose! Pay close attention to what the world smells like around you, pause and sniff your food before eating, and taste a few wines at the same time to compare and notice the differences. Also, take the Wine 101+ Course!
If you could only drink one type of wine for the rest of your life, which would it be?
There are so many that I love, but if I had to choose, I’d pick Champagne. It’s refreshing, celebratory, and versatile; fancy when paired with oysters, but also chill when paired with chicken nuggets. It makes me feel bougie, and sets up any moment to feel a little more special.
What's your favorite way to celebrate a win (big or small)?
To be honest, I haven’t been the best at this as of late. It’s far too easy to keep hustling and forget to appreciate how far you’ve come. The first thing I do is pause and acknowledge it. It’s more meaningful when I stop and feel the satisfaction and write down the accomplishment. I also love celebrating with friends, getting together for a wine and pizza picnic. I started doing them during the pandemic and now whenever I want to relax or celebrate something, I order my favorite pie and pop a bottle of sparkling wine to go with it — Une Femme is a favorite! Good wine paired with good company is the best way to celebrate.