Tasting Success: A Wine Entrepreneur
Title: Founder and CEO
MBA: Columbia 2004
Anu Karwa was working as a brand manager at Victoria's Secret, but knew she was truly in her element when she threw her first wine party, a charity fundraiser. "I've always wanted to run my own business," she says. "By the end of the evening, all my girlfriends were egging me on to do it."
The result is Swirl Events, staging wine tastings that mix fun with education. The company runs private parties-wine makes a natural fit with a bridal shower-but a big chunk of its business consists of team-building events for companies such as Google, McKinsey, Deloitte, and J.P. Morgan. Knowledgeable waiters explain the wines, each one paired with cheese or a piece of chocolate.
The events' networking component jibes with Karwa's belief that wine is a communal pleasure. It's a philosophy she developed right out of college when she encountered Northern California's thriving wine culture. "I loved how passionate everyone was in the industry-and how people loved to share that passion."
Karwa's overriding ambition is to cut through the snobbery and make wine enjoyable for everybody. "It should be an everyday luxury," she says. "I want to be the Rachael Ray of wine!"
MBA Jungle, Winter 2008-2009