Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan was a management associate with Citibank. She left in 1999 after four years of 17 hour days. “I remember faxing things out at 3 a.m. and feeling like a princess locked in a tower,” she told CNBC.com by phone. But things changed when she was impressed by a combination of wine and herb-crusted salmon at a business lunch. “I was blown away by how well it fit.”
She began taking wine-tasting classes at the Windows on the World Wine School, then took a job at a retail wine store for $30,000 a year, a huge drop from her financial sector salary. “My family thought I was crazy,” she said. But today she’s a Master of Wine, one of only 30 in the U.S., and she says that she now makes more money than she did in finance. Her first book as sole author, “The One Minute Wine Master: Discover 10 Wines You'll Like in 60 Seconds or Less,” will be released in October.