I’m Also A Wine PR Guy
Today marks the 19th year (to the day) of my time working in the wine industry. "Nineteen" isn't a very interesting anniversary. It's one year before a fairly significant anniversary and 4 years after an only slightly significant anniversary. Still, if you are thinking of getting me a gift in connection with this occasion, the modern traditions tell us that a gift made of bronze is in order for the 19th anniversary.
Following my Masters in History I actually sought out a career in Wine PR. Not finding much call for a young man with a somewhat deep knowledge of the roles and actions of Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt, Seward, Jefferson and the like throughout America's diplomatic history, I figured the skills I had honed in my 7 years in college and previous work experience (including selling Kirby Vacuum Cleaners door-to-door) were appropriate for marketing and public relations. I further realized that there were folks who specialized in various types of PR,be it High Tech, Publishing, Real Estate…or Wine. Thinking of fun rather than money, I pursued Wine PR. It took me three months of looking, but I was eventually offered a position at an outstanding and respected Wine PR Firm in Santa Rosa, California.
I stayed at the firm for 3 years before doing the math: how much was I being paid versus the amount the clients I was serving paid the firm? The differential was enough to encourage me to form "Wark Communications".
But that's trivia.
I tend to be a reflective man. While this gets me in a bit of trouble or stymies me at times, it has allowed me become fairly adept at assessing my personal and emotional whereabouts. As I consider the past 19 years of working in the wine industry, I find my self much more interested in understanding how this career has affected my personal life, rather than what I've learned about the business of wine and wine PR (perhaps the latter would make good material for a short pamphlet or a seminar one day).
So, upon reflection, here's what I've found:
-While I'm grateful for the career I've built in the wine industry and while I'm very happy to still be pursuing it, there's nothing about this career that is more important to me than having a healthy personal life and healthy personal relationships.
-Following on this first point, the most important thing about my career in wine has been the doors it has opened to meeting people who have changed my life, made me look at world differently, and provided me with the opportunity to learn important lessons I don't think I would have gathered under any other circumstances.
-Finally, whatever success I've had in the wine industry has most importantly given me a humble confidence that has served me well in nearly every other aspect of life.
Three pretty simple lessons after 19 years, I admit.
A career can turn into an identity. I don't think this is a good thing. I'm much, much more than a Wine PR guy. I'm certainly much more than a wine blogger. Those who know me best (you know who you are) realize that like most others I'm pretty flawed, often too earnest, perhaps too giving in ways than I should be, but honest enough in my personal dealings to assure my friends and loved ones at least know where they stand.
But, as it turns out, I'm also a PR Guy.