Beyond Booth: Kevin, the Wine Guy

Ever wondered what unique skills, we Boothies have? And what we do to share these with the world? Or to simply step out of the MBA setting a little bit, in innovative ways?

Meet Kevin Marvinac our ‘Wine Guy’.

[ChiBus]: How did you get interested in teaching wine tasting lessons?

[Kevin Marvinac]: I stumbled upon my passion for wine at a career fair during my senior year of college. I was waiting, dronelike, in a long line to talk to a top management consulting firm (smiles and says, no offense) and noticed a woman behind an empty table labeled "E&J Gallo Winery". I thought I’d rather learn something fun about wine than wait in line for an hour, so I walked over and introduced myself. 

By Ritika Bipin Singh ‘17

By Ritika Bipin Singh ‘17

The more I learned about the industry and the company, the more I loved the sound of it. At the time, I knew next to nothing about wine, other than Franzia, of course. 

At the beginning of my career, I noticed a lack of robust wine education for entry-level employees like myself, so I started a weekly tasting club called Wine Wednesdays (creative, I know) for our sales reps. We would each pick a topic like grape varietal, region, winemaking style, etc and present to the group, along with providing some sample wines. This inspired me to study to be a Certified Specialist of Wine in 2011, which I utilized in hosting countless tastings for customers, friends, and family. Later in my career, I was lucky enough to make frequent trips to the vineyards, focusing on winemaking techniques and terroir, the effect of a region’s attributes on the wine, in Napa, Sonoma, Monterey, Paso Robles, Lodi, and many more premier wine regions. In fact, I met my fiancée at a winemaking club hosted in a co-worker's backyard in California!

Kevin and his self-proclaimed best squad ever

Kevin and his self-proclaimed best squad ever

[CB]: How have you pursued it while at school?

[KM]: I actually decided to pursue an MBA at Booth to pivot into a different industry, so admittedly, I hadn’t planned on much.

However, I hosted a wine tasting themed "Old World vs. New World" for the BEST squad ever (Nobels Squad 3!) in my Wicker Park apartment, and it was a blast.  That became the inspiration for my classes, offered on (a Chicago-based startup marketplace for hands-on learning and crafting -- check it out!).

[CB]: How can others get involved?

[KM]: Take my Dabble class! ( It's only $25 for a minimum of 6 wines, you'll actually learn something (no snobbery allowed, I promise), and frankly -- it's an excuse to get outside of the Loop!

I'm open to suggestions on content, but the plan right now is to offer:

  • Europe vs. New World styles

  • Cabs Across the Globe

  • Learn Your ABCs (Anything But Chardonnay)

  • Lesser-known Reds

  • The Basics of Food Pairing


Ritika is a first year trying to find a viable plan Z (if all else fails) through her columns!