A Career in Wine?

Posted by Keith Wallace

This article was written in 2007 when the school was still very young. If you are interested in working in the wine trade, we have an article on wine careers.

If you jumped back in time to 1996, you’d find me pounding back espressos in my glass-enclosed office at a National Public Radio station. If it was 6 am, I’d already been shoulder-deep in the morning’s newspapers while the AP wire streamed across on a monitor.

On the wall across from my desk, I would tune a bank of televisions to all the major news shows; to my left, a circle of desks would be filling up with my young and sleepy-eyed staff. In less than seven minutes, we would be on the air.

If you were to suddenly pop in and say “Hi,” I’d have growled and given you a “what the &%*$ are you doing here?” look. If that didn’t deter you, and you managed to tell me that in just about five years that I would be starting the Wine School of Philadelphia, I would have laughed…. and then have you escorted out of the building.

Philly? Wine? A message from the future? Clearly, I was dealing with a wacko.

None of us know how our lives will change, and that includes me. I was a disillusioned journalist back then, and now I have an incredibly enriching career filled with people I both like and respect, and I get to drink great wine every day. How does that happen? How does someone find something they love and make a career out of it?

I have been asked that question plenty of times, but never with such frequency and ardor as in the last few months. The downward sloosh of the economy has soured many people on the idea of working just for a paycheck. Conversely, it has also inspired many people to start dreaming about changing their lives for the better.

Whether you’re frustrated by your job –or because of a sudden lack of one– take heed. Dark times such as these are the perfect moment to pursue your passions, to be a success on your own terms. Ten years ago, I was just another professional who hated his job. As for today… have you ever seen me frown? Didn’t think so.

If wine is your passion, I’d love to hear your story in person. I’ll be teaching a handful of classes in the Foundation, Intermediate, and Core programs this Spring. If you happen to be in any of those programs, reach out to me after class. We can sit back and have a glass of wine and scheme grandly.

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