As an avid wine writer and devoted entrepreneur you get to travel around the world, see so many beautiful places, and taste a wide range of delicious wines. Such experience is not just about making money out of the business, but also about relishing in the most exquisite landscapes and seeing with your own eyes the actual places where some of the world’s most famous wines grow. I’ve been in this business for quite some time now, and I’m telling you that the domain is simply idyllic. I’ve met some many people, I’ve seen so many places, and I’ve written about wines I never knew existed.
As human beings what we see usually depends on our points of view. My point of view as far as wine is concerned, is angled toward a great passion for entrepreneurship, innovation, and also creativity. It’s definitely a cool job to do, it’s rewarding, and at times, surreal. I’ve had the chance to see so many countries, do some many interesting things, and I’m not planning on stopping any time soon. For me, 2013 was a great year, which can only mean I have even greater expectations for 2013. Cheers to that!
Let the adventure begin – Prague
If you want to get to know fine wine, go native, in Prague. Vinograf wine bar is the place to start. It opened in May 2013 by Klara Kollarova, a female sommelier, and it’s the sort of place that will leave you speechless. Located in the most peaceful neighborhood, on the side of the river, Vinograf is not your average type of wine bar. What really caught my attention was the menu. It was written in chalk if you can believe that! Although I didn’t speak their language and I felt like a total stranger, wine made me feel welcomed. The experience was one of the coolest things I ever did as an entrepreneur and wine writer in Prague. I loved the people, cherished their rare wine (which by the way, was limited in Czech Republic), and truly had a blast. I’m definitely planning a second trip to Prague this year.
The wine kingdom – France
It’s no surprise to anyone that France is a wine kingdom. So as a curious writer and wine fanatic, I decided to pay a visit to Epernay, close to Avenue de Champagne, where I’ve stumbled upon some of the world’s most extravagant and exclusive real estates. I was surrounded in luxury! The 18th and 19th century houses in the area were valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. The purpose of my visit to Epernay was to see Champagne A. Bergère, a modest champagne house where I was looking forward for the tasting experience. Did I enjoy it? Absolutely; as a matter of fact, their champagne was delicious. I was kind of perplexed to see such a small, modest place surrounded by all those luxurious edifices and started wondering how was that even possible. The answer: they needed new customers, preferably foreigners to help them expand the brand. Bergère has high hopes of increasing face-to-face contact with professional and private clients, and offer more human contact than the other audio guides available in the rest of the houses along the avenue.
Every year, Meadowood Napa Valley hosts a really important event called the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers. As you can imagine, it was my absolutely duty to be there. If you’re thinking of becoming a wine entrepreneur, make sure to attend these kinds of events. You’ll meet a lot of great people, learn new things about wine, and so on. Napa is such a vibrant place to see. Packed with technological greatness and new ventures, it will certainly exceed your expectations.
Innovation at its best – South Africa
Let’s switch things up a bit and move on to South Africa. I know my job is awesome! The wine industry here is customer-driven on one side and producer-driven on the other. The technological advances work hand in hand with economic and political forces, so it’s definitely the place to be for a wine entrepreneur. In 2000, the Stellenbosch Kleinood wine farm was bought by Gerard de Villiers, depending on information from various landscape mapping and soil studies; it joined some other South African wine makers who bid high on Shiraz. Throughout the apartheid, considering the import and travel restrictions, making use of the most complex clones was literally impossible.
Head sommelier at One&One Resort in Cape Town, Luvo Ntezo, is devoted to educating the black, young generation about the wine business. He’s being encouraged by a high number of young individuals looking to buy wine for the sake of drinking at home. Those people (the buyers) don’t know a lot of things about fine wine, but they have the means to invest.
I really thought Ntezo was a great teacher, and his way of helping others get to know the business was definitely unique. I was shocked to find that he was a dishwasher 8 years ago who was desperately trying to raise money and finish his studies. As a trusted wine authority, most of his customers are part of the recent black professional class. When the apartheid ended, the newest vines planted during that period were finally starting to turn into superior wines, so right now we’re definitely talking about a solid South African market.
I’ve learned so many cool things about wine over the years, and although I never thought I will travel the world hunting for great wine, I did know this job will one day bring me a lot of benefits. If you want to be a writer in this business you have to be passionate (which also means you have to be a drinker). Entrepreneurship can be achievable when you really want something so badly that you can’t sleep at night because you’re thinking at it. In my case it was wine. My life, my trips, and my articles are all about my passion; and let’s be honest; we all want to convert passions into full-time jobs.