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CAA travel program

Bubble, Bubble

Alyse Mizia ’09 has a tough job: promoting (and savoring) some of the world’s finest Champagne.

Mizia on the job with a Methuselah (six-liter bottle) of Veuve Cliquot, one of Moet Hennessy's five Champagne brands. Photo provided.

Mizia on the job with a Methuselah (six-liter bottle) of Veuve Cliquot, one of Moet Hennessy’s five Champagne brands. Photo provided.

“I live the fantastic New York life of a studio apartment,” Alyse Mizia ’09 says with a laugh, describing her tiny abode on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. “There’s wine hiding everywhere. It’s comical. I may not have a couch, but I have two wine fridges–and a regular fridge that’s stuffed with Champagne.”

Mizia’s friends aren’t planning an intervention–because for her, most of those bottles are professional necessities. As a Champagne specialist with Moët Hennessy USA, Mizia is constantly shuttling samples to potential clients. Essentially an ambassador of bubbly, Mizia represents Moët’s five Champagne brands–Veuve Cliquot, Moët & Chandon, Dom Perignon, Krug, and Ruinart–to New York’s high-end restaurants and watering holes. “My everyday goal is to get people to drink more Champagne,” Mizia says over a glass of Veuve Cliquot at a Midtown hotel bistro that’s among her clientele, “which was what I did every day of my life before this–but now I get to do it for a living.”

Mizia is drinking her bubbly out of a wine glass, not a flute. It’s a tactic she recommends both to clients and casual consumers, because a narrow flute doesn’t allow the nose to get into the glass, hampering the aroma receptors that underlie taste. “Olivier Krug said that drinking Champagne out of a flute is like going to the orchestra with ear plugs on,” observes Mizia, whose résumé includes managing in-room dining and a Champagne bar at the Plaza Hotel. “All the components are there, but you can’t experience them.”

She’s well-versed in the science behind such claims. In CALS, Mizia–a varsity equestrian who originally planned to study pre-vet–was among the first to earn an undergrad degree in viticulture and enology. “One of my biggest blessings is that when our winemakers come to New York, I get to spend time with them and nerd out,” says Mizia, who attended grad school in Switzerland and holds a high-level sommelier certification that qualifies her to test for the top European designation, Master of Wine. “People drink Champagne to enjoy it–and I do too–but I understand the pest problems in the vineyard, the different mildews, the unglamorous parts.”

In addition to traveling to France to stay versed in the production process, Mizia trains restaurant staff on how to promote and serve Moët’s brands. She also appears in the media–for example, offering expert advice on lifestyle websites–and helps mount food-and-Champagne events, such as a recent one in which legendary Spanish chef Ferran Adrià paired a trio of “bites” with three vintages of Dom Perignon. “Champagne is never lost drinking alone, but with food it’s incredibly complementary,” she says. “I think people forget it as a food wine. But since it’s one of the highest acid wines, anything that has an oil or fat component is amazing with it. I drink Champagne with my meals all the time.”