Articles Tagged going pro in the wine business
I try (but don’t always manage – I claim SAHD status!) to answer just about every piece of email that gets sent over to 1WD HQ. Usually these messages are of the “I found some older wine in a relative’s basement and I’m not sure what to do with it,” or “what wine should I buy for [ insert occasion here ]” varieties, but lately I’ve been receiving a disproportionate amount of requests asking “how can I become a wine [ taster / certified-type-person / critic / whatever ].” I’m guessing this volume had something to do with me spilling the beans on how I’m now able to pursue my dream job professionally, and a few folks starting to wonder if doing something along similar lines is possible for them, too.
Those latter emails I’ve yet to answer (apologies if one of them is yours!), mostly because the topic is so complex that I’ve had trouble trying to determine where it’d best to begin when writing about it. Really, it’s almost like asking “why drink wine?” – the answers depend on both where you’re starting, and where you want to end up.
So here’s my attempt at answering those too-long-neglected requests, in the hopes that it will be helpful to at least a handful of you lushes intrepid wine-loving folk.
Let’s assume for the sake of simplicity that you’re asking because you want to end up somewhere professional (sommelier / writer / critic / beverage director / whatever) with this, in which case my first inclination is to tell you not to bother…
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“You should write about being a professional wine writer.”
That’s the advice I got recently from a close friend, after we’d somehow gotten on the topic of picking writing topics. “Why the f*ck would anybody want to read that?” was my response, to which I added, “I’m not even a professional wine writer.”
My friend’s response: “oh, really? Say, what do you get paid to do nowadays?” (the “, dumbass” ending was, apparently, implied, and was further underscored by my realization that content about changing careers was exactly the sort of stuff I’d been finding such compelling reading on finance blogs lately.
To which my only (sheepish) answer was, “uhmm… writing and talking about wine…?” (you know you’re f*cked when you express a statement as a question).
The realization that I make my living (the bill-paying part, anyway) primarily by writing about wine – which by definition now makes me a professional wine writer – was apparently obvious to everyone else but me, presumably because I was too busy trying to make a living as a professional wine writer to notice (please feel free to insert the implied “, dumbass!”).
But facts are facts, and those are the facts. I’m officially two years into Going Pro in the wine biz, two years since I bid the Corporate America day job life adieu and finally took the leap into the freelance world (itself taking place a good two years or so after initially planned), Two Years Before The (1WineDude) Mast(head). And so… how has it been? What’s it like?
It’s pretty f*cking awesome!…
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Picture this: It’s a gorgeous and sunny day in South Africa, and I’ve just finished giving the keynote address at the 2013 Nederburg Wine Auction. I’m drinking Cape bubbly and grazing for food, and mingling with interesting people from all over the Southern Hemisphere. Of course, I’m exchanging business cards with all of these folks – winemakers, media, buyers. Then the inevitable question comes (after the equally inevitable oohing and ahhing over my way-cool tiny moo.com business cards, I mean):
Them: “So… what do you do? In ‘real life,’ I mean? ”
Me: “You’re looking at it!”
I have to accept this as inevitable and totally understandable, since so few people can actually make any money whatsoever independently in the wine biz. How are you able to ditch your IT career? …
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A quick hit today to highlight a few of the Answers.com Wine articles I’ve posted for May. There’s a good chance that even the geekiest among you will find one of these in particular quite interesting, though I should warn you that you won’t be able to un-see it or un-read it, and so it should be totally avoided unless you want to start having nightmares about water (and not the kind where you’re abandoned at sea like in Open Water).
5 Producers to Watch in Lodi
I’ve been meaning to do something on this for well over a year now, so I’m happy to be able to give these winemakers some additional publicity as I really dig what they’re doing. I’m also hoping to make this a sort of regular series highlighting producers that I like but who haven’t received long-form features here on 1WD. Stay tuned…
Wine Recommendations for Beer Lovers
Beer (and wine) maven Ashley Routson and I worked on this one for *weeks*, and so I was really excited to be able to finally publish this wine-for-beer-lovers recommendation approach. I’m also really happy with the recommendations themselves, and the explanations that she chose, all of which show why Ashley kicks so much ass in the drinks world. If you don’t learn something new about beer, wine, and food pairings when reading this, then you probably aren’t paying enough attention (or you’re already a master sommelier… or both).
An Introduction to Uruguay wine
Because I did more than just eat and drink when I was down there… just not a whole lot more…; note that I would’ve liked to have included more stats on the country and its wine scene, but the Uruguayans, bless their hearts, didn’t get the additional material I’d requested back to me in time.
Book Review: Pairing with the Masters
My take on Master Chef Ken Arnone’s and MW Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan’s recent (and very technical) hardcover collaboration about food and wine pairing.
The Dos and Don’ts about Wine and Water
Look, just do yourself a favor and do NOT read this… Seriously, dude, you will never, ever look at a glass of water sitting on the same table as your vino the same way again without possibly going into an apoplectic fit about what type of water it is and from whence it came… you’ve been warned!