Rooftop Brunching with Nomadica Rosé and a Q&A with Founder Kristin Olszewski

Join me for a conversation with Kristin Olszewski, creator of Nomadic Wines, a line of conscientiously made canned wines. Then stay for a casual rooftop brunch of smoked salmon sandwiches with herbed goat cheese spread paired with Nomadica’s Sparkling Rosé Monterey 2018 in support of the Bâtonnage Forum mentorship program. 

Nomadica’s Sparkling Rosé Monterey 2018 paired with smoked salmon sandwiches.
Note that this wine was received as a media sample. No other compensation was received, and as always, all opinions are my own. 

If you’re not on the canned wine bandwagon, it’s really time to rethink things and get over those pre-conceived notions. Canned wines are perfect for packing for hikes, picnics, or hanging by the water, and there are some really wonderful options out there, made by innovative, quality-conscious producers. It gets even better when buying the cans supports a good cause. 

I helped to organize the first two years of Bâtonnage Forum, a day-long event “stirring up the conversation on women in wine.” In 2020 it went virtual as Bâtonnage://Connect. Shortly after the conference, they also introduced a mentorship program pairing up women at different levels in their careers. While I didn’t attend, the 2021 forum was a hybrid affair with virtual panels and an in-person tasting event. 

It’s still possible to support the cause,  and as a bonus, you can drink well at the same time. This year Bâtonnage partnered up with Nomadica Wines to offer a canned sparkling rosé of Pinot Noir to benefit the mentorship program – 100% of proceeds go directly to the program. Like the rest of Nomadica’s wines, the grapes for this one are sustainably farmed, and the wine is made via low intervention methods, with minimal sulfur, is completely dry, and vegan. And of course, the wine is delicious with tangy notes of bright strawberries, raspberries, with a bit of white peach and delicate fizz.  

Nomadica’s founder and CEO ​​Kristin Olszewski has quite an impressive profile. She was on her way to a pre-med degree when she switched paths and decided to pursue wine instead. She worked as a sommelier at an impressive list of restaurants including Osteria Mozza, Husk, F10 Creative, and Straight Wharf, and is currently the Beverage Director at Gigi’s in Los Angeles. She was also named as one of Wine Enthusiast’s 40 Under 40 this year. 

I had a chance to talk to Kristin over email to get to know both her and Nomadica Wines a little better. 

Here’s our conversation.



You earned degrees in Sustainable Agriculture and Gender Studies, so with hindsight, in some ways, it seems like the journey to creating a line like Nomadica was preordained. However, you nearly went down a very different road. You were on your way to a pre-med degree and applying to med-school when wine drew you in. What was it about wine that enamored you and called you down this path?

I’ve always worked in restaurants with inspiring Beverage Directors - smart, talented, interesting people who taught me how to love wine. I didn’t grow up in a family that drank wine, but once I began to learn that great wine didn’t need to be expensive (and wasn’t just for the ultra-wealthy), I was hooked. Wine is the perfect marriage of farming, storytelling, romance (and a little party). 

I love that mix of factors too!

You’ve worked at a pretty impressive list of restaurants. What have you loved and what have you found challenging about working as a sommelier and then wine director? How has your time on the floor influenced the wines in your brand?

My favorite thing about working the floor is the exhilaration of service, the thrill of getting a table who was originally intimidated to talk to a sommelier into their new favorite bottle of wine, and also having regulars become friends. It can be challenging from a lifestyle and health perspective. The long nights… I used to try and ensure I had commitments (a hike with a friend, coffee date, etc.) that incentivized me to get home early and take care of myself! 

That’s really smart and it’s so important to prioritize wellness. On the other hand, that exhilaration from service must be quite the rush since you’re continuing to work in restaurants even now. Has it been a challenge to start your own brand while maintaining the demanding hours of restaurant work? (I’d imagine the last year provided a bit of a break on that front.) How have you juggled the two?

It has been so difficult. I’m very lucky to work with great people at Gigi’s who are incredibly accommodating of my travel schedule and hectic existence. I know I’m a little crazy but as a buyer, you have the opportunity to taste so much wine! It’s truly the thing I’m most passionate about and tasting a beautiful wine really enhances my day. 

I’ve never worked in fine dining, but feel the exact same way – a beautiful wine can be completely enchanting.

I admit that I love the convenience of canned wines, but it took me a while to come around to them. I read that you too were skeptical about canned wines in the beginning. What brought you around and won you over?

My partner brought me a high-end Pinot Noir she’d convinced a winemaker to sell her for the can and it tasted AMAZING. I really went in wanting to hate it and my brain broke when I smelled that glass (I always pour my cans into the glass). Additionally, when I discovered the increased recyclability and insanely reduced shipping emissions, I was sold. 

That’s a great tip and I completely agree – whenever possible, I also pour canned wines into a glass.

Let’s move on to the Nomadica wines! The website notes that you choose grape varieties specifically for the can. What are you looking for in a grape to present in this format?

I source bright, fresh wines as those tend to be the best out of can. We also look for universally appealing flavor profiles. I always think to myself, “If I had this at a wedding, would everyone love it?”

That makes sense, now let’s talk about where those grapes come from. Nomadica pairs with carefully selected small producers to create the wines you release. What are you looking for in the producers you work with?

I look for sustainable farming practices, no pesticide usage in vineyards, no chemical additions of any kind done in the cellar. I’m also very grateful to really enjoy all the people I work with. Working with great humans truly does make life better. 

100%! All of Nomadica’s wines are made via low-intervention methods. Are there particular considerations for making low-intervention wines in cans?

None different than low-intervention wine in bottle! ;) We source from growers who practice sustainable farming, no chemical intervention in the cellar. I’m not a sulfur purist by any means, but you really don’t need it in the can so we don’t use it. 

That’s interesting regarding sulfur and cans – it does make sense.

The artwork on the various cans is really beautiful. How do you see the art integrating with the wine in each can, and with the brand as a whole? How do you search out the artists you work with? 

Something I noticed when working the floor is that so many wine-drinkers lack the language with which to describe their own tastes in wine - but they know what they like. As a sommelier, I used to work off of unconventional poetic imagery to break through that barrier (and make it less intimidating) rather than discussing the levels of tannin, etc. At Nomadica, because we don’t have that ability to talk directly to our customers all the time, we thought it would be fun to describe the flavor of the wine visually. Cue in the art! Each can acts as a tasting note for the wine inside. 

I love that!  Tell me about the artwork on this specific can by Alisha Sommer.

I wish I could take credit for selecting it but the incredible women of Batonnage were responsible for selecting it! Our entire team *loved* the photograph. Alisha’s also an incredible writer. I think Alisha has this distilatory (is that a word) quality to her work, it’s as though someone is handing you the purest form of an emotion. 

It’s really arresting. I also love the tasting notes for this wine you share on the website, particularly when you describe it as “eating raspberries inside of a waterfall.”  What’s the story of this rosé?

Growing up in Western Massachusetts, summertime always involved picking wild raspberries and swimming in rivers! When I tasted our Sparkling Rose for the first time, it immediately brought me back to that memory. I love how pure the fruit is in a California rosé while still having all that freshness and acidity one wants on a hot day! This pinot noir from Monterey, CA is the perfect expression of that. 

Any favorite pairings for this wine?

It's just *so* crushable. It pairs well with ceviche, fish tacos, burgers, fried chicken, raw salads, Mediterranean foo. I honestly think it's one of our most versatile wines! 


In keeping with the go-anywhere spirit of canned wines, I decided to enjoy the can I received during a rooftop brunch. I wanted to keep the food similarly low-stress and portable, so I made smoked salmon sandwiches on Trader Joe's Everything Ciabatta Rolls layered with thick slices of heirloom tomatoes and a super simple herbed goat cheese spread. 

Obviously, this sandwich took inspiration from a NY bagel platter, but the ciabatta rolls have a softer, fluffier texture. Of course, you can substitute in whatever type of bread or bagel you prefer. I also thought the herbed goat cheese spread brought a little something special to the party and elevated the sandwich. It also worked beautifully with the wine and helped tie the sandwich and the wine together in a harmonious way. Paired with a sunny day, it all made for a wonderful weekend morning. 

cheese, spread
brunch, appetizer, sandwich spread
Servings: varied
By: Nicole Ruiz Hudson
Herbed Goat Cheese Spread

Herbed Goat Cheese Spread

Prep Time: 5 MinCooking Time: 5 MinTotal Time: 10 Min
This cheese spread is super simple and can easily be adapted to suit your tastes. It’s also a non-recipe, which means that you don’t need to be beholden to exact quantities.


  • 4-oz log of goat cheese (Feel free to use a larger log and adjust the rest of the ingredients as needed. Or, if you don’t like goat cheese, you can also use cream cheese, or use a combination of the two)
  • Picked thyme, starting with about 1 Tbsp (use less or more to suit tastes)
  • Chopped chives or green onions, starting with about 1 Tbsp (use less or more to suit tastes)
  • Heavy cream, start with 2 Tbsp and add in as needed, (you can also substitute sour cream or plain yogurt)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste


  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and use an immersion blender to combine until you reach a creamy, spreadable texture, adding more cream gradually as needed. Adjust seasonings as needed.
  2. You can also use a food processor or mix by hand.
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @thesommstable on instagram and hashtag it #sommstable

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