Going Pro: Wrapping Up 14+ Years

Vinted on December 28, 2011 binned in commentary, going pro

As of the end of this week, I’m unemployed!

Well, unemployed in the traditional sense, anyway.

Those of you who’ve been following along with my (now well-protracted) endeavor to Go Pro in the wine biz are probably (and not without good reason) rolling your eyes and muttering “finally… it’s about time…” It only took me a year longer than originally planned to cut the cord (hey, it was their idea to keep extending me).

Nearly 15 years (that’s 14++* years in Wine Advocate math, I think) behind me at the same company… holy crap, that was a long time of not really fitting in (the pay made up for it, as did the people and great opportunities).

It’s become a bit of a tradition at my soon-to-be-former day job to send farewell email messages, and so I decided (after consultation with a few people at the DJ that I trust deeply) to author one of my own. I’m sharing an excerpt of that letter with you below, with the only modification being removal of some contact details and the company name.

On the surface, this has nothing whatsoever to do with wine, of course. So why am I sharing it? I’m not sure, actually.

Probably because so many of you out there feel like friends and family to me, even though many of us have never met face-to-face; and so I don’t mind telling you that the note was cathartic and helped to slow down the near-constant swing of my current emotional pendulum (which happens to be oscillating with vomit-inducing speed between he extremes of pure elation at chasing my dream, and sheer terror at facing the road-much-less-traveled) – and that the lessons-learned I described in that DJ farewell note have everything to do with how I approach the wine world.

That, and it feels more original than giving you a list of sparkling wine recommendations for New Year’s Eve (here’s some quick advice – go with the real-deal and pop open some Champagne… you know, the stuff actually from Champagne… in France)…

Anyway… here ‘tis…

This will not be a long, protracted farewell message (and it would’ve fit on one screen if not for the contact details!). It’s with mixed emotions that I hand in my laptop and BB tomorrow and wrap up my career here (sad to leave such a great group of people, but happy to finally hand back the BB!). If any of you don’t yet know what a pleasure it was working with you over the years, and how much I will miss that – well… an email from me isn’t going to cut it at this point probably, but you can rest assured that I would’ve told you in person had time/opportunity allowed it!

For those who want to stay in touch (and I sincerely hope you do), I am fairly difficult to miss on-line these days (and yes, you can feel free to ping me for wine recommendations… trust me, you will not be the only ones so just go ahead and do it).

I asked a few people if I should send a farewell note, all of them said yes, but I will refrain from mentioning them by name to prevent any embarrassment should this email not turn out as well as I’d hoped. Anyway, when asked, they all agreed that a list of the most important lessons I learned in nearly 15 years here would be appropriate goodbye-email content (but then, they may just have been trying to get me to shut up…). You probably don’t need the following insights, but I’d hate to end this note on a list of contact links, so here goes:

1) “Don’t do things that suck, because life is too short for that.” This was told to me by a deadbeat friend-of-a-friend while I was on vacation in the Bahamas – this guy was the kind of deadbeat who couldn’t hold down a steady job during the economic boom in the U.S… a strange place to gain inspiration but I’ve thought often about his words, which basically amount to “follow your heart” (but that sounds waaaaay cheesier, doesn’t it?). Go for the work that you will enjoy, that will challenge you, that feels worth doing (and you will find such work here, by the way).

2) Whatever you do, go ALL IN. I remember hearing a quote from a movie that was replayed during an interview on NPR, listening to it on the car stereo on the drive into the ISP office a few years ago. I don’t recall who said it, or what the movie was about, or the exact words (lame, I know…. I really need to take a memory class…), but I can tell you that it summed up my approach to, well, to life. The quote was something along the lines of “Go all in, because when you do, you are at one with the gods.” I don’t think it was meant to be boastful, but just to say that the Universe simply cannot ignore someone that gives their all to everything that they do. Yes, that means going ALL IN on your expense report, for the time that you’re sitting down to do it (hey, some work you cannot chose – sorry!). Above all, don’t multitask, because the Universe absolutely does NOT think multitasking is cool (multitasking is The Great Lie, people!).

3) Learn, and have a blast doing it. Those who have kids, or pets, can imagine what they would think if you told them you’d decided to do things all day that weren’t fun (i.e., “you’re nuts!”). We have, in deciding how we will react to what life gives us each day, the power to choose to be happy (or not). So don’t make the wrong choice, don’t lose the fun, and don’t lose the enthusiasm to learn that goes hand-in-hand with all of that fun. Treat yourself like a kid whenever encountering something new, open to learn about (and enjoy!) that thing as if you had nothing to lose.

Those aren’t lessons I learned here per se, but (14+ years, 10+ managers, several million dollars saved and innumerable emails, amazing trips, projects, & not-so-amazing expense reports later) they impacted just about everything I did here (and everything I did outside of here, and will impact everything I do after my tenure here), and so felt worth mentioning.

I wish you luck in all that you do, confident that you’re talented enough not to at all need it! ;-)

Okay, so it was pretty long, after all. Give me a break, this was almost the entirety of my post-undergrad life here!

I’ve got no idea whatsoever what the future holds, or if this Going Pro thing is going to work financially – but I’m looking forward to giving it a whirl, and sharing the journey with you all!






  • @mowineforu

    Hey Dude,

    I am so happy for you and I know that there are many people in the wine blogging world that wish they could do the same thing. It is a horrible thing when you don't fit in really after 14 years. But you are so Bad Ass that your gonna be fine. So what is the next step? What in the professional wine world will you be doing?

    • 1WineDude

      @mowineforu – thanks, those are really kind words and they mean a lot to me!

  • Dale Cruse

    Good luck, Joe.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Dale. Now let's work on getting me up your way to visit…

      • Dale Cruse

        Sounds good, Joe. I already know several places to take you, from restaurants to wine shops to wineries.

        • 1WineDude

          Dale – awesome, line em up! :)

  • Debbie Gioquindo

    Good Luck, Joe! Remember, change is good!

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Debbie – trust me I am keeping that firmly in mind! :)

  • Thomas Pellechia


    When I was young and taking piano lessons, I licked out and found me a piano teacher who was also an algebra teacher as well as a Zen follower. He applied the algebra to piano and the Zen to living, essentially teaching me the things that your email says to your ex-colleagues.

    One thing he said that stayed with me, and that i followed, too, was: "you should consider changing careers every so often–maybe every ten years."

    He was right about the concept, but not so right about the length of time. My average is every 8.5 years.

    You have already fallen behind–so straighten out and make up the time… ;)

    Now that you have all that time on your hands, let me know when you will make a trip to the Finger Lakes.

    Buona fortuna,


    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Thomas – I have long appreciated your great insights here and on your blog, looking forward to getting together for sure the next time I am in the region!

  • Thomas Pellechia

    licked out? Hmm. maybe I meant lucked out.

  • @passaggio

    Good luck (Joe) @1WineDude – remember…quite a few of us have done the same thing – "Follow Your Passion"

    • 1WineDude

      @passaggio – thanks! Might need to pick your brain soon ;-).

  • Jeff Lefevere

    Godspeed, Joe. You know you have a friend here rooting and doing whatever I can to support your efforts.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Jeff – you have been an inspiration. By the way, I will be calling you soon about a new idea…

  • Marie Payton

    Best of luck in the new wine life! Wishing you lots of success and fun –

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Marie – I really appreciate your support!!

  • @BettyWine

    That is awesome. Congrats. I made the move 6 years ago and have no regrets. I miss the money. But that is minor in comparison to my happiness, passion, fun, etc. Cheers to you!

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Betty! I appreciate the positive vibes!

  • destinystone

    Don’t forget your friends when you become rich and famous. :)

    • 1WineDude

      Destiny – thanks, let us hope we both have that problem! ;-)

  • @50StatesofWine

    Best of luck on your new endeavor @1winedude!

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks so much, 50!

  • Wee Ree San

    I know that you know how much I support and am inspired by what you are doing. I will take responsibiltiy for ensuring that we find a way to spend some time together now and again. A guote by Warren Buffett was instrumental when I made my decision to set myself free from the corporate world, so I thought you might also find it useful. “In a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.” Smooth sailing!

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Wee-Ree San! That Buffett quote us apt for several reasons in this case! Looking forward to getting together. Cheers!

  • Jeff Slater

    The best of luck as you uncork a new chapter in your life. Your friends at Nomacorc wish you well and look forward to working with you again in the near future. You bring great insight into the wine biz and I look forward to working with you again on future industry events. Jeff Slater

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Jeff – much appreciated!

  • @QuitWINEing


    How wonderfully exciting! I hope one day I can give my good ole day job the deuces and do what I really love, too! You inspire me and hopefully this doesn't mean you'll do any less blogging..you're one of my fav's and highly entertaining!



    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, QuitWINEing – I really dig the photog stuff you do and it is people like pushing the envelope that inspire *me*. I will probably be doing *more* blogging in the short-term, considering the extra time I might have on my hands. :) Cheers!

  • Fred Aliano

    Good luck Joe! You are now officially a Trailblazer and Hero to many who are determined to follow their passion. Hope we meet again on the wine trail :)

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Fred – looking forward to seeing you again at an event sometime. And I appreciate the kind words!

  • Tim

    Good luck on this next part of your journey. I'm sure all will work out even better than you could ever predict. And if you need a hand with anything, don't hesitate to call in a favor from me. Cheers!

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Tim! Does the favor involve a check? (just kidding… I think… ;-)

      • Tim

        Hehe! There are ways that could happen.

        • 1WineDude

          Tim – so long as those ways do not involve me wearing a bunny suit or something like that, then I am interested! :)

  • @princessjiku

    Best of luck Joe! Can't wait to watch (and comment) on the next chapter! Congratulations!

    • 1WineDude

      @princessjiku – thanks (your highness :)!

  • Margaret

    Good Luck to you and congratulations!!!!!

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Margaret!

  • William Allen

    Best of luck to you! I am taking a different path, keeping Simple Hedonism going, but my 'all out' is now Two Shepherds, my Rhone brand. 2nd careers a flourish!

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, William – same to you!

  • carinne

    GOOD LUCK. happiness is everything.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, carinne!

  • Dan @ Casual Kitchen

    Let me say the same: congrats and best of luck. This site in my opinion is must-read material, and I'm looking forward to what you create here in 2012 and beyond!

    Dan @ Casual Kitchen

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks so much, Dan!

  • doug wilder

    Joe, Best of luck in whatever direction this takes you. In a short time you will ask yourself why you didn't do it earlier!


    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Doug!

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