Our team is made up of industry professionals with years of experience perfecting their own crafts. By working with this team of contract professionals, our clients receive exceptional service in just the areas they need, without the financial burden of taking on an entire team. Below are the bios of a few members of our team. We look forward to working with you.
Karin Nastawa Ruffini – Founder, Marketing Professional & Wine Marketing Consultant
I founded VinEatsi with over 11 years marketing experience, of which 7 have been in online marketing. I’ve not only gained extensive experience in the online space, but I have shaped my skills and knowledge alongside the ever-changing trends as they were happening.
My real passions – personally and professionally – are wine and food. I’ve studied wine & spirits extensively with the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, considered to be the world’s leading provider in wine education. I also have a Bachelor of Communication Arts and business minor from Villanova University. Combining my professional marketing experience in businesses from Fortune 500’s to start-ups, along with my wine education, I am uniquely positioned to execute wine marketing programs for wineries, distributors, wholesalers and retailers as well as food marketing programs for restaurants and gourmet shops. I am a self-proclaimed foodie and I write about gourmet indulgences, wine finds and a few marketing gems as the main author of the VinEatsi blog. And because I can never have too much wine and food in my life, I’m also a contributor to foodie blog Jersey Bites.
I currently live in Hoboken, NJ and dream about having a chef’s kitchen and state of the art wine cellar, filled with Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and Left Bank Bordeaux…someday. Email Me >
Carol Johnston – Graphic Designer & Photographer
Preferring to take the Road Less Traveled, my background ranges from marketing to in-house design to visual brand consulting. I have combined my design expertise with years of marketing experience and the know-how to execute on visual communications. I consider myself a one-stop shop for branding and identity; conceptualizing and coordinating new collateral or starting fresh with entirely new visual identity.
I have a Master’s Degree in Graphic Design/Branding and Identity from London College of Communication, along with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Villanova University, a Graduate Diploma in Visual Communications, and short courses in Photojournalism, Dark Room Techniques, Book Binding, Flash Website Building, HTML Website Creation, Photo Editing, and Sound & Video Editing.
In addition to working on graphic design and photography projects for VinEatsi, I am the founder of CJ Ink, a brand strategy, eMarketing, graphic and web design agency. I currently live in South Jersey, but love to travel.
Allison Levine – Event Planning & Marketing Specialist
I have over 15 years experience marketing and event planning for the wine and spirits industry. I have a Master’s Degree in International Communications with a focus on cross-cultural training from the American University School of International Service. I also hold a WSET Level 2 Intermediate Certificate from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET), an Italian Wine Specialist Diploma from the North American Sommelier Association, a Certified Meeting Professional Certificate (CMP), and is BarSmarts Wired certified. I am currently studying for an Advanced Certificate in Wine and Spirits with WSET.
I have worked at The Tasting Panel Magazine/Blue Lifestyle, running the marketing and events division and focusing on organizing over 75 trade events each year across the United States. I have traveled extensively abroad, working with wine regions around the world. I write about my experiences in articles which have appeared in BIN (Beverage Industry News), Drink Me Mag, WeSaidGoTravel.com, Wine Country This Week and The Tasting Panel, as well as in my blog (Please The Palate).
I am the co-producer of Golden State of Cocktails, LA’s premier cocktail week. I’m alsoon the Board of the non-profit Vintage Hollywood and serve as the Wine Committee Chair for its annual food & wine charity event.
Nick Ruffini – Restaurant Management & Operations Consultant
My family has owned and operated 5 different restaurants over the past 40 years and I’ve had the privilege of being involved with all of them. From handling day-to-day business operations to managing, scheduling and inventory to washing dishes, I’ve done it all.
I have a business degree and music performance degree from Kuztown University. My expertise includes overall restaurant operations, staffing, menu design, inventory control, ordering, and cost-saving techniques. I can walk through your front door and by the time I reach the back door I’ll save you $10K/year. I also have 12 years experience serving at and managing a bar.
I have extended family in Italy and often visit them to practice my Italian, eat too much pasta, taste test the latest vintages from my family’s winery and collect secret family recipes.