wine Wednesday: my life as a wine consultant

happy Wine Wednesday! hope you’re swirling and sipping something delicious this evening! filed under things i’ve been doing instead of writing, is a little story i’m finally ready to share here about me coming out of my comfort zone and trying something totally new . . . and what i’ve learned. pop open a bottle and indulge me.

back in February, i went up to Virginia for a bachelorette weekend winery trip. two days with some of my best girlfriends, two great wineries, some amazing wines and food, and a lot of good stories and laughs ensued. on the drive back to Richmond from Charlottesville, one of them mentioned that she’d been to a really fun wine tasting at another friend’s house recently. she said it was like one of the jewelry parties everyone does now, where there was a wine consultant who brought the wine. they did the tasting and then enjoyed the leftovers while everyone placed orders. she said the wine was really good and well priced, and she bought a few bottles. and she finished with you’d be great at that. i was intrigued.

i was on the cusp of taking a new job, expecting it was going to be another unsatisfying way to pass the time until i could figure out how to escape 9-to-5 life all together. but had been interested in doing one of these home selling businesses for a while. i have friends who do Stella & Dot, Chloe & Isabel, Rodan & Fields . . . i wondered was having an & in your brand name a prerequisite for this type of company . . . but every time i thought about venturing into one of these businesses, all i could think was how much jewelry does anyone really need? or how much overpriced face cream does anyone really need? i’m a drugstore girl who pretty much wears one of the same 3 pairs of earrings every single day. i just couldn’t see how it could ever be profitable. but wine. oh yes, wine. everyone always wants to try new wine and speaking from experience, it’s definitely something you pretty much are always needing to buy. this one seemed like a winner.

so long story short, i got in touch with WineShop at Home pretty much the minute i got back to Atlanta and started my journey as an independent wine consultant. what that means is that i conduct wine tastings in people’s homes, tell their guests a bit about the wines from a cheatsheet i’m given and create a fun informative atmosphere for a unique girls’ night, guys’ night or date night. people love the shit out of it. and the wine is really good. so i always sell some of it at the end. everyone has a great time and i make bank. what’s not to love?

well, that’s the thing. after only 4 months, i think i’m kind of over it. here’s what i’ve learned:

i like the parts i thought i’d like.

it is totally fun to actually do the tastings. i’m not great at ad-libbing about the different wines yet and pretty much go by the notes i’m given, but i do okay. and i’m having fun with social posts and making graphics for emails and certificates and such. i was pretty sure going in that i would love doing those things. and getting even a small commission check every month certainly doesn’t suck.

i hate the parts i thought i’d hate.

mainly the whole selling thing. and constantly self-promoting and pestering to get the next tasting set up. and those are some pretty damn important parts of being successful in this business.

i have some super-supportive friends.

seriously, i’ve had so many people show interest, host and purchase without much effort on my part, just because they knew i was doing this and wanted to help my small business succeed. pretty awesome.

i don’t love people that much.

honestly. i’m kind of a a high-functioning introvert. don’t get me wrong, anyone who knows me knows i have my moments of being the social butterfly, but it is draining for me to be “on” with people i don’t know . . . especially as a means to an end other than just having a good time. people can also be a pain in the ass. i have enough terrible clients in my day job. i don’t have time or energy for people who won’t commit or don’t know what they want (or want to be difficult). and please. if i have to chase you down for your credit card info, i just can’t.

i’m a homebody at heart.

when it comes down to it, i don’t want to spend as many weekend hours away from my family as it would take to really run with this, book the tastings and build a team. i’ve typically only done 2 tastings a month. i should be doing triple that at least to start building a business with this. and i’ve started getting stressed out about people wanting to schedule in late August and September, when all i want to do is watch football, simmer soup, bake apple cake and continue my push to spend more time writing. and i always try to listen to my gut.

rose.001so that last revelation is really the big one. the WSAH team is so supportive and provides so many tips, tricks and trainings to help you become successful — my current hesitations have absolutely nothing to do with any of that! this is a really easy and fun business to succeed at if you can commit to putting in the time and effort. i’m just not sure it’s where i want to put my energy right now. i’m not set on quitting just yet, but for now, i will settle for thinking it over . . . over a glass of our amazing Grand Cadeau Rosé Sparklingcheers, y’all!

 

wine Wednesday: beef bourguignon

as usual, i did this all totally wrong. or, i mean, as wrong as you can go with a delicious California red.

a tinge of fall weather seemed to beg for something hearty to put in our bellies. i had some beef tips of some nature in the fridge. i had a bottle of red wine. obviously, the answer was beef bourguignon. what could go wrong?

i remember my mom making this dish when i was a kid. we didn’t have a slow cooker, but i loved smelling this rich stew simmer for hours in the same contraption she also used to make her amazing fried chicken. swear to god, this is the exact one. avocado green and all. (apparently, it fetches $24.50 on Etsy these days!)

chickenfryer

so anyway, with such delish memories, of course i went straight to my Joy of Cooking book for guidance from the recipe she used. for some ridiculous reason, this recipe isn’t on their site. thank goodness, Georgia at The Comfort of Cooking tested and posted it, so i don’t have to do all that typing myself. i love you guys, but it is a weeknight. in my version, i just kind of took all the ingredients and threw them in the slow cooker all day, with a couple tablespoons of sifted flour added on top of the meat to thicken the sauce. i mean, y’all knew there had to be something. and then there’s always the question of whether to serve it over potatoes, noodles or rice. i personally like rice, but Spy wanted the noodles. anyway, go check it out. in the meantime, i’m gonna tell you what went wrong and talk about the wine. ’cause it’s kind of the same thing.

this Wonderful Wine Co. Red Blend is amazing. really. amazing. really big and juicy. it’s all cherries with a little bit of spice. as much as “jammy” is overused to describe reds lately, this really, truly is. i enjoyed it immensely before dinner. and with dinner. and after dinner. why wasn’t there another bottle??

the problem was, it was not the right wine to put in the dinner. it had too much flavor and sweetness for the recipe. something much lighter would have given better taste and not been so overpowering. i had no idea what i was doing when i pulled it off the wine rack in a school morning haze. next time, i’ll look it up instead of just judging a wine by its label. live, learn and eat the leftovers anyway, right? at least i discovered a new wine i really love and rediscovered a great old recipe (that i need to do right next time!). happy hump day, y’all!

wine Wednesday: Good Morning Sunshine!

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it’s been a while. i have been dealing with a lot of uncertainty, uncomfortable-in-my-own-skin-ness and overscheduling on both the work and home fronts, seemingly all summer. i’m holding a post on all that until it is perfect, you know because i have time for perfection (gaaahhh), so stay tuned and sorry for the blackout. the good news is that my horoscope says this summer funk ends Saturday when Saturn turns direct. thank god. . . . in the meantime, a lot of wine has been drunk around here to survive the unbearable chaos. (duh.)

notably, recently, there was this shiny ClubW addition. so of course, i should share! they usually send me more reds than whites for some weird, not-on-my-profile reason. (NTS: adjust that shit). but this was a fun, fun treat that broke up the NakedWines “hey, let’s drink some rosé!” pattern I’ve fallen into. (hello, Franc Dusak, you super-delishy, you.)

well, Good Morning Sunshine, indeed! you are everything i expected you would be! a lovely Verdelho that was phenom with a Carolina Barbeque Pork (on crackers) munchee. not sure that I’ve ever actually had a Verdelho before, but it was right up my alley: similar to a Chardonnay, but without the oak that i typically like with those. it is slightly sweet, a bit citrusy, full bodied and tasty. (i’m beginning to wonder if there’s a wine i don’t like?)

check out the official tasting video below and definitely give this one a try. cheers! and 2 days ’til the weekend, y’all!

wine Wednesday: Southern Slush

so, this is vacation drinking, y’all. Spy took the kids down to a cute little craft market at Tybee Lighthouse the other day and brought me back this: Southern Slush from Savannah Signature Sweets. yep. it’s exactly what it sounds like. a frozen wine cocktail. no shame. last year’s random, fruity indulge was old-school berry-flavored wine coolers. it’s Wednesday. i’m beered out at this point, and i was up for an island-flavored cocktail!

i slaved over a giant pitcher yesterday morning measuring out my boxed wine (Bota Chardonnay) and a few cups of water, then mixing in the powdered mix. next up, set it and forget it, as they say! that baby went in the freezer for probably about twice as long as it needed to (overnight is recommended) because we got a little sidetracked last night and today with our busy beach schedule. it was frozen solid this afternoon.

at any rate, after my one work call for the week — and just exactly in time for happy hour — we pulled it out, scraped and stirred and pretty quickly got it back to a pourable state. it is so pink and pretty and sweet. one was delicious. i need a Miller Lite chaser before i have another, but what a fun, local addition to our evening juice time!

cheers, y’all!

Route des Vins: wine Wednesday special edition!

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i mean, as if gas station champagne weren’t enough. (please pause while i laugh my ass off.)

the true story about our drive from Strasbourg to Colmar is that there wasn’t actually that much wine involved. we had Miss Girl with us of course, so stopping off at every (or any) degustation wasn’t really in the cards. that said, it was amazingly beautiful country, filled with what came to be known as “Mommy’s wine bushes”. yeah. there’s that.

i’m not entirely sure when grape season is in Alsace, but Continue reading

wine Wednesday: patio weather!

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not tryin’ to brag, y’all. but . . . according to one source i just saw, Atlanta hit 77° today. yep. that’s right. this time last week, we were tracking school closings and bracing for another snowpocalypse. welcome to winter weather in the South. i even decided i could pull out white jeans today — after weeks of dying to wear my new Boden whites and reading the fors and againsts of wearing white anything pre-Easter (yes Easter, Yankees), i decided in the case of jeans (and jeans only), i can wholeheartedly be in the for camp.

anyhoo, between the balmy temps and the triumphant end of my last week and a half of crazy work/travel/home stuff, it kind of felt like a Friday today. also, after sleeping only like 2 hours Monday night, then spending a dizzying 16 hours back and forth on flights and in meetings yesterday, i’m completely confused about what day it is legitimately and for real. so it really felt like Friday after a 4:00 presentation to follow up all of last week’s pitch work (which i think i kind of rocked). and long story, long, catching up with some of my favorite girls over some wine on a patio was an absolute necessity this evening. whew.

whitehavenSBi believe i’ve mentioned before how much i love Après Diem for its laid back vibe, great food and wine list . . . and stellar patio. tonight, was perfect (except for the one-woman-down-because-of-working-late action. damn #agencylife y’all.) Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc is my go-to here. and it was delicious and crisp as always. weirdly, i don’t see it that often out in Atlanta, but definitely need to make a point to buy some for home. it is quintessential NZ SB with really crisp, grapefruit notes that i always love. perfect with the amazing pile of cheese and fruit AD calls simply Fruit & Frommage, and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus that we ordered. both nomnomnoms that make dinner at home seem completely unnecessary. (translation: i assume they feed Spy at all those fancy receptions he goes to, because he’s on his own at this point.)

so it turns out everybody is exhausted and annoyed about work. (shock? nah.) this business is crazy, no matter what agency you’re at or what your role is. and it is always comforting and inspiring to me to hear who is having what challenges and how they are dealing with the new things thrown at them every day — and for us all to try and help out with our varied insights and advice (or just the venue to vent).

outside of their humor, warmth, brains and general kick-ass-ness, i love this group of women and that i can have these conversations with them. we also talk about boys and husbands and celebs and gossip and House of Cards and everything else on the planet. all in like 2 hours. because Nanny hours and because we are just that fucking efficient. and when anyone (husbands/boys) asks us what we talked about, no one can actually answer that question. and it’s completely normal. and perfect. we’ll solve the world’s problems over wine and under the radar. at some point. i think.

tomorrow, it will only be 50°. there will be a lot more breathing room at work in my calendar, to-do list and mind. (thank goodness.) i will probably wear dark-washed jeans. and maybe even boots. things will feel back to normal . . . whatever that means for this season when we just long for warmth and color and everything new seems to just want to poke its head out, whether it’s too early or not. and apparently, nothing. can. wait.

how’s your week going?

wine Wednesday: we all scream for wine ice cream!

wineicecream_chjust wow. anybody who’s ever had a gruesome, wallow-inducing break-up, something rooftop-shoutingly phenomenal to celebrate or just an everyday case of feeling utterly decadent will totally be able to relate to the sheer awesomeness of this find: Mercer’s Wine Ice Cream. in the ultimate 2-great-tastes-that-taste-great-together combo, the most clichéd and delicious heartbreak/celebration/indulgence go-to foods confirm what i’ve always known: wine and ice cream are made for each other.

no, friends. this is not ice cream that tastes like wine. it is not some paltry fruity sorbet bullshit purporting to have hints of Merlot or Chardonnay. this is full-fledged, dense, high-quality ice cream that is made with real, alcoholic wine inside. yes, you can have your ice cream and get drunk on it, too! okay, well maybe not that much. it is only 5% alcohol, so i think you’d be ice-cream ill before ever really catching a buzz. but i wouldn’t ever, for example, serve it at a 5 year old’s birthday party or anything. i mean, right?

so obvs, i had to find out what the deal was. as you can see, i ordered 7 of the 8 flavors Mercer’s makes and invited some of my girls over for a tasting. why 7? they ship in cases of 7, so i figured we could do without the Spice flavor. for around $100 with shipping (overnight on dry ice), i got the goods. lucky Yankees who can just go to their local market and pick up as much as they want! i also had tons of bubbles left over from the holidays. what could be more perfect and girly than a Saturday evening of wine and wine ice cream? um. only watching a pirated advance version of Magic Mike XXL during. but no, we didn’t do that. no, really. but it was discussed. anyhoo . . .

bein’ that we all sophisticated an’ whatnot, we set up our tasting session in the order you’d normally do a wine tasting (from what we could remember) — white to red with sparkling last. (after a warmer-upper cheese plate and bottle of red, of course.) there was definitely not a flavor we’d throw out of the bed, y’all. notes on each, below. none was super-boozy tasting or anything. and being the responsible ice cream drunks we are, we literally only took mini, 2-bite sized scoops of each. so i have 6 (Ms. M took one off my hands) almost-full pints still staring at me every night from my freezer! ugh.

i can definitely see any of these as great additions to a super-foodie dessert and would enjoy all of them on their own again. rating: highly recommended. let me know if y’all have had a chance to try and which flavors you like!

Riesling
as much as something so creamy can be light and refreshing, this was. with a hint of pear. would be great as a fruit tart topper.

Peach White Zinfandel
as Ms. M says, not your mama’s Sutter Home! it’s actually like a really nice homemade peach ice cream, with the peach surely outweighing the Zinfandel. and the Georgia ladies should know.

Red Raspberry Chardonnay
this was the first one where we could really taste any wine. perfect light mix of buttery Chard and the berries.

Cherry Merlot
now we start getting a lot richer and fruitier. this one’s got deep fruit flavor, with a hint of that delicious red wine.

Chocolate Cabernet
everyone’s favorite by far. of all the wine and ice cream pairings man ever invented, chocolate and Cabernet has got to be the best. this version nails it!

Port
nearly blue in color, this had the potential to be super-sweet. but it wasn’t. would definitely see this served as a dessert with some port-soaked cherries.

Strawberry Sparkling
lightening things back up, this one was definitely perky. i would have it in a champagne float for sure. but that’s me.

NaBloPoMo day 19: wine Wednesday — back to the box (again)!

super quick check in here, y’all. i have a big launch party tonight for a project i’ve been working on most of the year. i can’t really talk about it yet, but suffice to say a lot of hard work went into it and it’s amazing to see the combination of videos and apps coming together on multiple screens in our client’s new space. so given that, i know i won’t be posting later tonight when i get home. but . . .

carteblanche globetrotteri really wanted to give a wine Wednesday shout out to a tasty little red i enjoyed last night during my phone date with a dear old girlfriend. my latest Naked Wines case (All-American Highest Rated) arrived last Friday and of course i wasted no time pouring myself some of the Jacqueline Bahue Carte Blanche over the weekend. i swear, there isn’t a wine she makes that i haven’t loved. but for last night, since it was so stupidly cold, a nice red seemed like the way to go. i was so  happy i chose the Matt Iaconis Globetrotter Red. this blend definitely needed to breathe a little, but it shaped up to be nice and smooth with a lot of flavor, and even some spice to it. how psyched am i that there are 2 bottles? very. in fact, i’ll probably enjoy another glass or two after this work event wraps up tonight.

cheers!

NaBloPoMo catch-up: wine Wednesday + the joys of writing long

s&a.001getting caught up on missing posts  (only behind by 1 so far) and feeling good! i wanted to do a quick nod to what i think is my last bottle from the last Naked Wines order. there are several kinds in the wine rack right now, but most are European, so i think they came from elsewhere. i mean, who can even keep track at this point, right? and also who cares? but i’m pretty sure this S&A Cab is it. and what a nice end to the box at that! it definitely needed to breathe a bit, but with a little air, it smoothed out and became a really solid, drinkable medium Cab that’s got some berry and some smoke to it. i definitely needed this after the last few disappointments!

so, while i was drinking this and doing some catch-up writing, i realized/remembered how much fun it is to write long. it’s been a long time. even though i write a lot for work, most of what i do revolves around writing short. 8 words for a Keynote slide. 2 words for a promo module. a 60 character description. brevity is next to godliness. and there’s definitely an art to it. back at ad school, i was the queen of tag lines. try summing up an entire brand in 3 words. i love the challenge. writing short definitely makes you get creative and stretch your vocabulary to find different ways to say what you want to with fewer words.

writing here every day flexes completely different muscles. i can say whatever i want in as many words as it takes. and tonight, i just noticed that some of my last few posts are actually kind of, well, long. i’ve noticed that it’s becoming way more comfortable for me to stretch out moments and thoughts as i write, that it’s becoming more natural to let ideas and stories unfold at a slower pace and with more detail. and i noticed that i like it! i hope i don’t start to ramble on too much, but love the idea that to get to the point, sometimes it’s better to take the scenic route.

NaBloPoMo days 5 & 6: wine Wednesday & am i a pro?

brazin_barondawell, duh. it was completely foolish to think i’d actually write my post last night after a wine Wednesday out with the girls. creatures of habit that we are, this episode of writers wining once again took place at Baronda, where we were lucky enough to snag our favorite spot at the corner of the bar. the cool fall evening seemed to call for red, so we went with our standby, the Brazin Zinfandel. i love this wine so much. nice and bold. a little fruity. a little spicy. and not too sweet. the perfect complement to conversation that ran the gamut from gossip to boys to work to starting a magazine (yes!) and way too much bread and olive oil. happily caught up and filled up, is it any wonder all i wanted to do when i got home was get in jammies and snuggle down in the bed with Spy? when i woke up this morning, my laptop sat dutifully by my bed. poor thing had waited for me all night. at least i gave a thought to composing this post before i hit the hay. that counts for something, right?

now onto today’s topic, pulled straight from the BlogHer prompts because, well, it’s the morning after wine Wednesday (which might have gone on slightly too long), i’ve got a big client meeting and i will fully admit i’m kinda phoning it in. life, right? so . . .

Do you consider yourself a “professional” blogger? Why or why not? What does that mean to you?

oh, hell no. is my short answer. but because i’m not phoning it in that much, i’ll elaborate. you’re welcome.

i only really just started writing this blog seriously and regularly a couple months ago. as referenced above, i haven’t quit my day job. yet. hell, i’ve hardly even told anyone i’m writing this thing. for me to consider myself a professional, i would definitely be more out there promoting, have more people reading and be making some money off the whole thing — whether that’s from ads and sponsorships or from other writing projects that result from my work here. did someone say book deal? ha. but only sort of kidding.

i think it’s also something that you just kind of feel. recently, Spy and Miss Girl were having a conversation about books and who draws the pictures and who writes the words. Spy was explaining that the illustrator draws and the author writes. he said something along the lines of “the author is the writer, just like Mommy’s a writer.” and in that moment, my heart felt full and i thought to myself wow. yeah. i am a writer. and i loved that that is how my husband and my little girl think of me.

i hope that one day i will also think of myself and call myself a blogger, rather than just someone who has a blog. huge difference. and on that day, i will consider myself a professional.