One of the weirdest things for me about leaving my old life in banking behind to join the wine industry has been the people I’ve met. They just seem to be smiling all the time, I’m not used to it!
In fairness they’ve mostly been either wine makers or wine drinkers. The passion and enjoyment that they both feel flows naturally out of both subsets. I haven’t spent a lot of time with the sales and marketing people, those (who like many a disgruntled office worker) have performance targets and pressures to wipe that wine-related grin off their faces.
It is all so weird to me. I worked in my old job to make money. There, I said it! I didn’t enjoy the work, I didn’t find it interesting (although a lot of guys and girls did, and fair play to them!), I just slugged my guts out, 6 til 6 Monday to Friday picking up a salary and, fingers crossed, a bonus once a year. Well unfortunately I chose the wrong career at the wrong time. There was bugger all money for anyone but the 1% at the top, and plenty of frustration for the rest of us. Not a lot of smiles knocking around my office I can tell you. C’est la vie!
So when I got my head straight, decided life was too short, and decided to give this wine thing a proper go, I was just not used to it. The smiles and the enthusiasm were just foreign to me.
Lots of people who know my change of direction assume it’s one big laugh working in wine. It’s hard to tell them that wine makers live on their nerves as much if not more than anyone else. Most people can control how their year turns out. Winemakers can’t control the weather, can they? And it’s not like their kids will be off to Eton or Harrow anytime time soon!
Without a doubt it is the enthusiasm and passion they feel for it. I’ve gone from a job where I could have one day done ok for myself (financially) to one where I might just cover the mortgage. But if I get one thing out of working in this industry, I want to learn to smile. Everyday.