Are your friends constantly looking to you to select the wine for dinner? Do you live and bleed red, white and rosé? If the answer is a resounding yes, then a career as a professional vintner may be what you were put on this earth to do. To learn more about the art of winemaking, we turned to Chrishon Lampley, owner of Chicago-based lifestyle brand and wine company Love Cork Screw. Before becoming a professional vintner, Chrishon owned an art gallery and bar where guests regularly asked her for wine pairing suggestions. And that, she says, is where her passion for vino began.
“In 2011, I started writing a blog called Love Cork Screw — the Love section was about fun escapades that happened in bars, the Cork section is where I would share my wine picks and hot spots and the Screw section is where I would talk politics and current events,” she explains. Shortly thereafter, Love Cork Screw wine came about. Today, the brand offers six varietals, including “We’re Movin’ Up” (a Cabernet Sauvignon) and “Head Over Heels” (a sweet Reisling). When asked about her fun, playful names, Chrishon replied, “We didn’t want our names to be intimidating to a wine novice. The idea is to have something everyone can pronounce and something that could work for a themed party, like ‘Good Times, Good Friends,’ which is a Pinot Grigio.” And doesn’t that just sound like the perfect wine pairing for a picnic with your besties?
If you are seriously envious of Chrishon’s life and want to become a professional vintner, here are a few tips she dropped:
1. Do your research. Sign up for wine tastings and seminars in your area. Talk to professionals to get their suggestions and advice. And don’t forget the benefits of a good ol’ book. “My favorite of all time is the Wine Bible,” says Chrishon. “Everyone has different learning styles, so you have to figure out what works best for you.”
2. Trust your instincts. Only you know the taste and style you’re going after. While everyone may have an opinion, it’s up to you to determine the final product. “Your passion usually carries you to your purpose, and that’s basically how I got here,” she says. “My primary research is the vineyards. We want to distribute only the best to Love Cork Screw’s customers.”
3. Keep hustling. “Be diligent and work hard,” Chrishon says. “Consistency is key.” As with any dream career, you have to put in a lot of effort up front and eventually that hustlin’ will start to come naturally.
What passion would you like to see covered in our Quit Your Day Job series? Let us know in the comments!
(Photos via @lovecorkscrew)