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For over a month I've been sending out resumes and cover letters to wineries and vineyards. My success rate is dismal, or else this blog post would be full of rejoicing and the announcement that I'd found a job. To date, I've had one polite rejection, for a job I was (and I knew it) under-qualified for. I've had one job offer at a very well known Napa winery, but the pay was so low that I couldn't take it and survive up there. Disappointing but not entirely unexpected, a decent enough first step into the eddies and currents of the great river of jobs. Maybe not so great in this economy but you get my point.
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Every so often I allow myself some frustration and am tempted to put the job search on hold, but the reality is that for me to be happy and successful in life, I need to go after my passion. If I were to put that pursuit on hold, to wait until the economy improved or other factors changed, I might never have this energy again. The thought of being another unhappy worker in a dead end job, the implications of that scenario, are terrifying to me.
I'm awestruck by the help I've gotten too, from people I've never met in person to my good friends and family all over the country. Wine people take care of their own and are always ready to lend an hand, to keep their ears and eyes open, to offer feedback and guidance. Reminding myself of how lucky I am all but eliminates the frustrations that come with job hunting. If there's a God or god or gods, or some omnipotent deity up there, he or she or it has blessed me with this great network of people in my life.
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So what's the nitty-gritty of what I want, where I want to do it, and why? Breaking down the generic sounding "I want a job in wine country" helps me figure out what the hell I should be doing about it. I want to work at either a winery or a vineyard, and I'd do basically any job they asked of me, provided the pay was what I need to be making to pay my expenses. Simple, right?
But what can I do? Wine education, hospitality, accounting/finance, retail sales, tasting room, cellar rat and more. Unfortunately where I fall short would be in the formal wine education department. Times like this are when you want the time machine to take you back to college and change your major/university to something more conducive to your passion. Still, the past is static, the future isn't.
How quickly I can move up to wine country has been asked of me as well, the answer is that I can move within 30 days, given the right job. That's pretty quick right? Enough time to do the right thing with my current job and train a replacement, enough time to find a place to live and enough time to pack and transport my belongings 14 hours north. To avoid confusion, when I say "wine country" I refer to Napa and Sonoma counties and the wine industry present there.
Why? I love wine. I'm absolutely fascinated with how wine is made, from vine all the way to bottle. Why a glass of wine tastes the way it does, why one wine tastes different than another, how that comes about, those questions fly out of my brain, exciting the neurons in there and driving me back into this business. Up to this point I've done plenty of retail work, some marketing and wine education too. Returning to a career in wine would help me learn instead of only teaching others. One word I keep coming back to is fulfilling. That is what pursuing my passion means to me.
About six weeks have passed since I began, in earnest, to look for jobs in the wine industry. I do not know how long the search will take or where I'll end up. I ask that my friends keep their fingers crossed for me as I begin to follow my dreams. If by chance you're a winery or vineyard owner looking at this blog and want a passionate, dedicated, energetic person on your team, you can email me here and I'll send you my resume and a cover letter.