World traveler Tammy Natalia circles the globe and brings home wine for an educational tour of the North Fork
What do you get when you take a flight attendant, world traveler and sommelier and put them in the same room? In this case, you get one very talented individual.
Tammy Natalia has had a passion for travel and wine for many years. So she thought it only appropriate to combine the two. Tammy Natalia Wine Tours New York is the newest addition to the North Fork wine region, and a must visit for any lover of the grape.
“I have been a flight attendant with Delta for the past 25 years and I love my company,” said Natalia, who also attended culinary school to improve her skills as a stewardess. “I worked for Michelle Bernstein, who is the head chef for Delta International. She told me to go take the sommelier exam and I passed.”
Natalia, who is an Albany native, splits her time between Brooklyn and Fort Lauderdale. As a flight attendant, she imparts her knowledge of travel and culture and learns from her passengers about wine, which has become a learning experience for her as well.
“Wine is my passion. I was out in the Hamptons and wanted to do a wine tour and then I thought, ‘what if I teach people about wine?’” said Natalia, who educates guests on all different wines from places she has traveled to including Jordan, China, Israel and the Czech Republic, just to name a few. “Every country makes great wine and 48 states make wine in America. I have an edge over other people because I travel and most sommeliers only know the basic places, but I get to know wine from all over the world.”
Natalia is a level one sommelier and hopes to get to level two by December. Right now, she only conducts wine tours, but it’s an education that you won’t get anywhere else. On her travel bucket list, Natalia would love to visit Croatia, Romania and Morocco to taste their exotic wines. She has tasted wine in Argentina and also hopes to travel the trail of vineyards that go to Chile. As for the U.S., she enjoys seeing how other states conduct their wine tours.
“I highlight the smaller, local wineries and boutiques. My tours are designed for the casual wine drinker as well as the wine enthusiast,” she said. “May until the end of October is high season and September is harvest season, so it’s really special during that time.”
Natalia’s New York Wine Tours are both fun and educational, and include small group tours on a wheelchair accessible bus, a tour of three to four wineries, a set amount of tastings included and a hot meal at a local restaurant or vineyard. The tour usually lasts from 9:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. and can be booked for individuals, couples, groups or special occasions.
Shinn Estate, Mattebella Vineyards, Waters Crest Winery and Coffee Pot Cellars are some of the lesser known vineyards that are Natalia’s favorites. She also enjoys Sherwood House, Diliberto, Palmer and Macari, all of which she cites as her biggest supporters.
“Everyone loves wine, rich, poor and when you know wine, everyone wants to talk to you. I like to show people that different grapes make different wines and what they can choose for their meal,” she said. “My goal is to get you to like wine at the end of the day, no matter where it is from.”