Joyce Tarantino grew up in an Italian-American family in New Jersey, immersed in her grandparents’ culture, immigrants from Lazio and Campania. Her first venture into wine was at her grandfather Alfonso’s side, drinking homemade wine from jelly tumblers at the dinner table. He came to America at the age of 17 from Avellino, the heart of the wine growing region of Campania and grew grapes in the garden behind the house.
Also at the age of 17, Joyce made her first trip to Italy, returning to her grandparents’ homeland. Beginning in 1987, the trips became more and more frequent and she obtained Italian citizenship in 2001. Her cousins from Lazio joke that she has seen more of Italy than they have!
She finally decided on a longer-term stay to attend culinary school for a year and graduated with a Professional Diploma from the Scuola di Arte Culinaria Cordon Bleu in Florence. It was here that her real interest in wine began to flourish.
Since that time, she has traveled extensively to visit vineyards in Tuscany, Piedmont, Sicily, the Veneto, Lazio, Umbria, Friuli and back to her roots, Campania. She’s attended VinItaly, the national wine show in Verona, many times. She has studied with Ian D’Agata, renowned Italian wine expert, at tastings held by the International Wine Academy of Rome and also completed two levels towards the diploma of the Italian Sommelier Association.
Joyce chose to make wine her career, as well as her passion, and earned an MBA in Wine Marketing from INSEEC Wine & Spirits Institute in Bordeaux, France in 2017. In 2018, she passed the Italian Wine Scholar certification with highest honors and earned the prestigious WSET 3 with merit in 2019.
At the moment, Joyce can be found in Italy touring many of the wine regions to visit vineyards, restaurants and hotels, as well as important cultural/archaeological sites. She is staying at local accommodations to be able to recommend the best for her private client tours throughout Italy. Currently, Joyce is completing the French Wine Scholar certification, studying a Master Class in Champagne and is a candidate for the Vinitaly Italian Wine Ambassador program.