Mika Bulmash – Founder of Wine 4 the World
Mika Bulmash, WSET Level 3 certified, founded wine 4 the world out of her love for wines and her career in development. Her two aims are to make it easier for wine lovers and talented producers to find one another, as well as to support sustainable growers from up-and-coming regions.
Explore the Principal Varietals
While wine is commonly referred to by region or style, many wines are labelled by their grape variety. This is because wine makers often work to make the best expression of each varietal.
Understanding the characteristics of each varietal is key to a full appreciation of wine. While the Vitis vinifera grapes used for most wines exhibit similar qualities, a few standouts include Riesling with its fragrant aromas and racy acidity; Pinot Noir smooth red fruit flavours and earthier tones; and Zinfandel zesty, pepper and wild berry flavours.
Other grapes that are worth exploring are Cabernet Sauvignon with its bold and powerful flavours; Merlot with its easy going nature and ripe tannins; and Syrah with its rustic, earthy flavours. These grapes are all grown across the globe, with a particular presence in France, Australia and Chile. The climate in which the grapes are grown also plays a role. Warmer climates experience low heat summation, which allows the berries to ripen more evenly and produces wines with higher sugar content.
Experiment with the Unknown
Mika Bulmash, founder of Wine for the World and WSET Level 3 certified, started her company with two aims in mind: to help connect wine lovers to talented producers, and to support sustainable growers from up-and-coming regions. She left a career in development, working with market access initiatives for agricultural farmers and public health in Latin America, to follow her longtime call to wine. After a harvest in South Africa in 2011, she realized that she had found her career path.
Upon returning to the United States, she built her portfolio with wines that aligned with her business philosophy of making a positive impact on communities and the world. She connected Ntsiki Biyela, a South African winemaker and Food & Wine’s 2012 Woman Winemaker of the Year, to Helen Keplinger, a Napa Valley winemaker. Together, they launched Aslina, a premium Fair Trade brand that received critical acclaim. She now focuses on helping talented producers of color gain access to capital to launch their own brands.
Find a Guide
The climate and terroir of different regions can create wines with a unique character. For example, in South Africa, where winemakers have crafted Pinotage, a captivating fusion of Pinot Noir and Cinsault, the wine is known for its inky hue and medley of red and dark fruits. The same is true of the Bordeaux region in France where winemakers use a mix of grapes to create complex and unique merlots.
The ancient Greeks and Romans developed viticulture and winemaking techniques and introduced them to colonies around the world. Today, Old World wine is still the dominant force in the industry. In fact, according to Wine for the World, French people consumed 25.3 mhl of wine in 2022, while Italy consumed 23.0 mhl of wine, a 5% increase from the previous year.
But don’t be afraid to explore other regions and experiment with wines from the New World. With a little guidance, you’re sure to find a glass of wine you love.
Don’t Limit Yourself
Thankfully, enjoying wine and a healthy lifestyle do not have to be mutually exclusive. Drinking moderate amounts of wine can reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, high blood pressure, and even weight gain. It also boosts your social life and helps you have meaningful relationships.
Mika Bulmash is a WSET Level 3 certified wine professional who left her career in development to pursue her passion for wine. She went to South Africa to learn more about the country’s wines in a post-apartheid context, and discovered that the industry there was not just producing incredible wines but also engaging with ethical and sustainable practices, including Fair Trade and Black Economic Empowerment (BEE).
As the world of wine continues to grow more diverse, it is vital for everyone to cultivate curiosity and acceptance. In particular, wineries need to be more welcoming of workers with disabilities, invisible or otherwise. For example, Nova Cadamatre, owner of Trestle Thirty-One, works with a disability called dyscalculia, which makes it difficult to do calculations like those involved in the daily operations of a winery.