Think of the work you would like to do. Would you do it for free? Then pursue that.

Common advice

The winery was slow yesterday, but the regulars kept us laughing. I didn’t rush to go home early, but rather, enjoyed chatting with those there. I took photos of the vineyard. It is breathtakingly beautiful this time of year.

Ten years ago, when I took classes to be a Level 1 Sommelier at a local wine bar, I never expected it to go anywhere. I was just fiercely curious. I had just discovered wine in a new sense, beyond cheap bottles of wine with kitty cats on them. I had been catapulted into the world of wine making, good wine, and unraveling the mysteries behind a delicious glass of seemingly simple drink. A wine bar close by, a few great friends that were just as interested, and an opportunity to learn more led me into this fascinating new arena.

A wine’s story is what drew me in. Looking through a glass set on a white napkin into the depths of color could tell me the varietal. The layers of wine at the lip of the tilted glass spoke of the age of the vine. The top of the glass whispers of oak or steel or amphorae. The fruit, the aromas, the taste will divulge its location of origin and what the weather was like. Set the glass down and marvel. And what an enjoyable accompaniment to a meal!

I long to learn more. I am saving up to take more classes. But why? They are expensive. I am not planning on working in a restaurant. I don’t need more education for the job I have.

All those years ago, taking those classes, I was an herbalist with a store front, and a full schedule of farmer’s markets, thinking I was living my unique purpose. Living on the front range of Colorado, where on earth would I get a job in wine anyway?

In the many businesses I have had in my life, my downfall was always when the focus turned to fear of survival and making more money. Advice I have heard and advice I have given sounds something like, “Would you do it for free?” Not could you do it for free, would you do it for free? Do you love it that much?

Trips to Sonoma, to Napa, to Temecula, to the wineries that dot the low road to Taos, I love the experience. I love the rows of vines. They are spiritual and grounding. I love tasting the different wines. Asking questions of wine makers, both peasants and famous. Of following a wine from vine to glass. I worked in a local winery here for a short time. I enjoyed it but the timing wasn’t right. Last year, we stumbled upon a small boutique winery tucked away, just thirteen minutes from our house. And fell in love.

I just started showing up on weekends to help out, not asking for anything in return. I just wanted to be there. Some of the advice I was given years ago by a great friend was to just show up. If you want to be a part of something, just show up. That speaks volumes. And what I found, explaining the various wines, the techniques of our brilliant wine makers, sucking customers in like I was when I first starting drinking wine, was joy. I hadn’t felt joy in my work in a long time. Of course, money follows when you are pursuing your passions and a good arrangement was made. I am their in-house sommelier and I am happy.

Even if it doesn’t make sense, I will save up for those classes. How could I have known ten years ago, that I would live two hours south of that first wine bar? That there would be a burgeoning wine scene there in a valley of southern Colorado? What more is around the corner?

Working my dream job yesterday.

Would you do it for free? Follow that dream. That is where joy resides.