The above photo is me having a catnap after day two of wining & dining shenanigans in the Similkameen Valley, and subsequently, the Naramata Bench further north in the Okanagan.
Things progressed from there.
I've just returned from 7 days in wine country, only slightly worse for wear. There were many bottles glugged, many Riedel™ swirled, literally only two beers quaffed (smashing the previous record for fewest beers consumed on vacaciones and maybe ever), farm-fresh eggs a-plenty, still-warm loaves of sourdough, stray hens AND cocks, garlic scape salt, new friendships forged, night hikes amongst vineyards and orchards galore, locally-grown cuisine devoured, and sublime sunsets poured straight down the hatch like tequila at Señor Frog's™ when you're 12 years old and your mom is having a fit because there's no such thing as consent when they come around to your table and plop the sombrero on your head, tilt you backwards, and aim the nozzle at your piehole.
And there were thoughts of reflection.
Thoughts arising as I took the first legitimate vacation since this pandemic began, I said goodbye to job and financial security, and started this project. I started taking inventory of what I'd been doing over the past 140 days since I sat down, drafted a website, and put it out there intentionally before I had the wherewithal to convince myself that this was a bad, cringey idea and pull the plug on it before I gave myself a chance to be happy with the work I do on a daily basis.
Forgive the self-indulgence as I tally my notches.
In the past 140 days, since that fateful Wednesday, March 25th, 2020, I have:
•Created an operational website
•Written a daily Monday-to-Friday wine blog, totalling 100 posts
•Written & published a book
•Written, filmed, edited, scored, and produced 3 wine courses
•Created an online store
•Created & produced a weekly podcast with 16 episodes to date
•Created an email list of approximately 600 people
•Appeared as a guest on an established Wine TV Show
•Connected personally via email and telephone with total strangers from all over the world
•Consumed hundreds of wines
...all that, and we've also got custom t-shirts and coffee mugs.
It's been a whirlwind. I'm not making a living at this yet. And that's OK. I feel good. I feel like I've been extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to devote time to these projects.
It's a constant battle for me to figure out how I can be of service to the people who could benefit from my own experience and expertise, and how I might be able to feed myself and my family as a result of the work. I'm committed to getting there.
My goal with this project was to provide a service to wine drinkers and enthusiasts by offering entertaining, educational, and pragmatic content that filled a gap that I saw in the landscape of the world of wine at large.
I am as committed to this goal now as I was when I started a mere 4 months ago. I am committed to producing content that can engage wine consumers and professionals in ways that they have not been engaged formally before. I am not looking to change the landscape of wine education, but rather, add a unique voice to the fabric of its tapestry.
In order to do this, I am going to re-calibrate my approach slightly. I am going to focus on writing fewer articles that are of a higher quality and greater value to the reader. I am going to work on honing in on creating new resources that everyone can gain access to. This might entail more video, more live streaming, TikTok™, who knows. I am going to keep throwing shit at the wall until more of it starts to stick.
Let me express a heartfelt thank you to all of those out there who have given me the support to not just get started, but stay started. Thank you for the kind words, the feedback, the blog views, the likes, the DMs, the purchases, the correspondence, the participation...all of it. If you've been annoyed by some of my postings or content, thank you for that, too. I never got into this to make everybody happy, and if you've found some of the material uncomfortable or to be straight up shit, that's still validating for me. I always remember that Justin Bieber has the most "thumbs down" on YouTube™. He also has like, probably the most views ever. Or at least he's up there, and I'm not that concerned about ratios. I still need a few more thumbs down to catch up, so keep 'em coming if you've got nothing better to do than project your angry opinion at others.
I'm going to be focusing on producing two blogs per week for the foreseeable future, which I'll release on Tuesdays & Thursdays. I'd like these to be a little longer, a little more thought-provoking, and a little more valuable for the reader.
The podcast will stand on Wednesdays, weekly, moving forward as it was before last week's break.
You'll hear from me via email periodically as a subscriber, and you can always reach out directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
If there is something you feel I could be doing that would help you or that you need or just realllyyy want more of, hit me up and let me know. I'm game.
Thanks again for sticking with me. It means the world.