• Collab Writing

From WINE passion to WINE profession (part 1)

Updated: Apr 27

Writer: Svetlana Bekker


Part one - The Struggle


Intro: This subject has great importance to me. It’s basically what I’m thinking about every day, for the last months, since I left in October 2019 my day job as a Lawyer. I became a lawyer because I wanted to help people. I wanted to matter. I didn’t ask to fell in love with wine, but it happened. I don’t think there is a way back now, but to be honest there is a lot of fear in my heart. I’m scared to change my current profession and pursue my wine passion. The safe way is to combine between both in order to get a financial stability while chasing your dream. I tried it for a year during 2019 worked as a full-time job lawyer and tried to work on my wine-wear store. It didn’t work for me. I didn’t succeed investing enough time in the store. It just felt like I’m chasing my own tail instead. Although I do believe that multitasking is good, I also believe that you need to focus on something to have a success in this field. So that’s what I’m planning on doing. Focus on my wine passion and see where it’s going to bring me. Part of it is to creat important content for the wine-lovers community. I think there are a lot of people like me – with wine passion in their hearts, that a bit scared and search for some guidance on this matter. I hope to help them and give them enough courage to pursue their wine dreams. You know what they say, by helping others you help yourself. So’ let’s start.


Changing profession in 2020 is the new normal. In the last decades different generations of workers have witnessed many changes in the work field (economical, social of spiritual it doesn’t matter) when the outcome of that is that employers are no longer providing long-term employment guarantees. This basically means that we are going to change many jobs in the future. It’s normal and not like it was before globalization “hit” us. Job’s sector changed into high career mobility that became the “new normal” going far from the traditional career pattern outmoded. Those changes happened quite fast and they effected members of various generations differently, because they were at different career and life stages when these changes took place.


Many researchers showed that changing profession is a matter of psychosocial transition, learning processes and the acquisition of new social, cognitive, or technical skills. In other words, we are not the same people we were (even 5 years) before, so as we change, we also want to change our jobs especially because we spend enormous part of our time on work. We want to earn money and enjoy our jobs while doing that.


There was made a very interesting research that focused on “why people change their carriers?” and it pointed on five distinct reasons for career change: (1) dealing with health problems; (2) attaining attractive working conditions; (3) reducing dissatisfaction; (4) growing personally; (5) pursuing a vocation. When reasons 3-5 (or the combination of them) were the main ones. Many people were not happy with what they were doing and searched for a change.

In our case I think that the main reasons are that people were not happy with their current profession, they fell in love with wines and some even see in the wine sector as their true calling / destiny.


People in the research, stated that a career change represented for them a personal rather than a mere professional development. They wanted to change their lives, creating a possibility to think about different future plans, meeting new challenges, or simply feeling alive.


We should not forget that we experience and understand the purpose of work differently. Some may see work as the way of simply gaining financial rewards for living, whereas some may feel “called” to a certain career that aligns with one’s life purpose or like other called it - “fulfillment,” “passion,” and “enjoyment”.


It doesn’t matter why exactly you are searching for a career change; the important part is that you are not alone. There are others like you. Wine in particular excites many people and make them passionate to learn more about it. We are a huge community. Many wine people that I spoke with, mentioned that this passion to know, taste and explore more is burning in them. Most of them are not going to follow this calling. I think it’s a pity, don’t you think?


So, why don’t we follow our passion? Where is the struggle?

I had read a nice report that was made in London about career change that mentioned that the main reason (38%) why people don’t storm on changing their career was that they are simply happy with their current job. The second in line (29%) was a lack of financial stability. While 20% stated that they don’t change their career because they don’t know yet what they wanted to change their career to. Others said that the fear of failure and the lack of time investment required, are the main reason for them, also saying that they afraid that this change can lead to a potential disruption to their family or social life.


If you’ll ask me, my reasons evolved with time, from not being sure if this is what I really want to do, time brought me to be afraid of financial instability that this change can bring. Not be able to provide and earn enough is scary. The struggle is real especially when there is a family you need to take care for.


As part of my journey to write this article, I asked 7 wine-people who already done the switch or in the middle of it, to tell you about their path. I feel that seeing other people doing it, can bring courage and motivate.



BEFORE WINE: Which profession did you have?

“I worked in fashion. I was the customer experience manager for the Europe department in Michael Kors.

Why did you decide to make the switch?

“Well, wine was just a hobby. Champagne Squad Official is only 1 year and a half, and it has taking off. That gave me opportunities to make it more of a profession. I left fashion in May 2019 and now I work with my husband part time, on another social media business’ account, and part time with blogging and now the Champagne Club”.


BEFORE WINE: Which profession did you have?

“Before becoming a Sommelier, I studied computer science and partly worked as a restaurant manager. The hospitality industry was a work area that I loved but at the time I thought about it as a temporary job that will last until the time will come to begin a high-tech career. This time never came”.

 Why did you decide to make the switch?

“During my degree, I felt not so connected to computers studies. The passion to wine came from home. We drank wine for Sabbat. It wasn’t easy but I decided to follow my guts, leave the studies and pursue & focus on Wine Sector as part of a restaurant Management. Never looked back. Best decision ever made.



BEFORE WINE: Which profession did you have?

“Not totally made the switch because we still have our professions. Alex studied Business Law & Business Administration; he is still working as a lawyer. Flo studied Sociology for many years, and he is a passionate cook.”

 

Why did you decide to make the switch?

“We had the chance to drink ripe and big wines (awesome vintages like 2003, 2006 and 2009 in Austria) so we got a bit addicted to Austrian wine and got the passion for wine in general. These were the key moments that led us to want to make this switch.


So, in 2012 we decided "let's do it" and started our own wine business, like a sideline activity. Today it works great – we have more than 200 different Austrian wines from over 30 different Austrian winemakers from Austria's best regions - pure Austria”.




BEFORE WINE: Which profession did you have?

“Before opening a Wine Shop, I had lived abroad for about 3 years and worked in film industry and Hotel reception. Accidentally I started my way through working in a type of wine shop where I served and tasted many wines. With time I became the WINE! So, after I came back to Israel, I decided that I must work in the wine business.”


Why did you decide to make the switch?

“When I was living in France, I had excess to different wines in quite cheap prices. (compare to the prices in Israel). I drank and tasted a lot. Filled my knowledge. And as I mentioned, after I returned to Israel, I looked how to get into wine business as soon as possible. Today I own a Wine Shop”.




BEFORE WINE: Which profession did you have?

“I worked as a Nutritionist and lifestyle coach with mental healthcare education”.


Why did you decide to make the switch?

I made the switch because I was more interested in wine. I still do some nutrition work though.”







BEFORE WINE: Which profession did you have?

“My original profession is a lawyer and I still practice Law in New Jersey (specializing in workers compensation) and go to court on a daily basis in addition to the wine work.”

Why did you decide to make the switch?

“I always loved wine and learning about wine. I literally red, watched and ingested all things wine as a hobby but the final push to work in the industry came from my wife who told me if I’m going to spend so much money on wine can I at least work in the industry. And as they say the rest is history”.





BEFORE WINE: Which profession did you have?

“I worked in the finance and partly as a professional photographer.”


Why did you decide to make the switch?

“I decided this year, that my passion for the wine world and wine photography are dear to me and that was the major factor in my decision to pursue this path as much as possible.”





Talking about this subject, among other goals that I had, helped me to understand it better for myself first. It made me think about the things that happened during my path from wine passion to wine profession. My wine path started with living in Dusseldorf drinking and learning about Riesling wines, continued by having a wine course in WSET (when I came back home to Israel in 2017), evolved to opening my own Store to Wine-Wear and continued to starting advising wineries about building a social marketing strategy. But still there is so much more to discover and explore. Every day brings new challenges and opportunities with it.


In the last few years there been a solid growth in the wine job market, more wineries, more companies, more opportunities - which means people should feel more confident about making major career moves. As was stated in the research that was made in London, early 50% of the people surveyed want to change careers, and this desire is particularly prevalent among younger people. As I see it, the wine world is slowly developing to stop being a close sector just for the elites. Yes, I said it! Globalization ‘hit it’ hard and brought more opportunities to those who burn with passion to practice wine. That means, if you want it – you can get it.


Now that you know it’s possible, what should you do next? How to chase your passion? This is going to be the subject of the second part. For now, just open a nice bottle of wine, pour a glass for someone you love and have a great Valentines Day. Remember, wine is all about the people.



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Jonas Masdonati*, Genevi`eve Fournier, and Imane Z. Lahrizi (2017) “The Reasons Behind a Career Change Through Vocational Education and Training”, nternational Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training (IJRVET)

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Masdonati, J., & Zittoun, T. (2012). “Les transitions professionnelles: processus psy- chosociaux et implications pour le conseil en orientation [Vocational transitions: Psychosocial processes and implications for career counseling]”, L’Orientation Sco- laire et Professionnelle, 41, 229–253.

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Merriam, S. B. (2005), “How adult life transitions foster learning and development. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education”, 108, 3–13.


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Dr. S. Priddy, “LSBF Careers Report - Are UK professionals looking to change careers?” London School of Business & Finance.

https://www.lsbf.org.uk/media/2760986/final-lsbf-career-change-report.pdf


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