Wine and winemakers have been around since ancient times, and play a role in both Eastern and Western history. Today, although wine is a luxury for those with more disposable income, winemakers typically aren’t wealthy people; a winery usually takes seven years to become profitable. The art of wine-making is at the mercy of the weather for that vintage, and riddled with problems like cork-taint. In order to make great wine, every barrel must be tasted–at the end of the day, winemakers have spit out more wine than they’ve ingested and are probably tired of the stuff. Positions within a winery are few (it used to just be the winemaker and perhaps assistant winemaker who sourced or grew the grapes, made, packaged and sold the wine), there is little room for advancement, headaches and worries are many—and yet, the wine industry is saturated with people who love it. There is something to be said about working with these amazing people. A number of the winemakers I’ve met (and the people who work for them) are intelligent, driven, hard-working–overall impressive people who could have been anything they wanted and probably made more money. But they chose to work with wine and I know why; there are so many adventures to be had in the wine industry (at least the Oregon one). There are events that take you around the nation, you never know who you will meet or what you will eat, and you will do new things that you would have never done otherwise. It’s laid-back, friendly and filled with funny stories.
This is an industry driven by passion. Knowledge and palate are more valuable than money. That is what amazes me–this is truly a job people do because they love it.