wine writer
Wine

My Path to Becoming a Wine Writer & Consultant

It’s not very often that I get personal on here, mostly because I know you’re here for the wine! But considering the last time I shared anything about me was nearly a year ago (36 Things About Me On My Birthday), I figure it’s a good time to tell you how I became a wine writer & consultant.

How It All Started

In 2004, I was doing my BCIT Broadcasting practicum in Kelowna and needed a part-time job. Being in the Okanagan, I applied to all the golf courses and all of the wineries. My fate was sealed when Quail’s Gate called me in to interview. The next thing I know, I’m walking among the vines during employee orientation. 

The Gig

I poured samples and waxed poetic verbiage to guests in the tasting room. Being new, I was a sponge for expressions like ‘tannin’ and ‘nuanced’. It was the best feeling when someone purchased a bottle based off of my description. It was even better when they bought a case! When tourist season dissipated and my practicum wrapped, I returned home to Vancouver to continue my career in broadcasting. 

7 Years Later

My time in media served me well but I was itching to transition back to wine. I snagged a coordinator job at a wine & spirit import agent in Vancouver. This is where my passion exploded along with the realization that I knew very little when it came to the vast world of wine. I enrolled in WSET and, thanks to some turnover within the company, quickly climbed the marketing ladder. I found myself managing a very small team and dealing directly with producers and winemakers from all across the globe. 

This Is Where It Gets Good

My husband and I had twins in 2015 and the reality of returning to my 9 to 5 marketing manager role was near nonexistent. Paying for double the childcare wasn’t possible, so I reluctantly resigned to become a stay-at-home-mom-slash-blogger-slash-side-hustler. I created SocialSips.ca as a spot for my writing while also promoting my private, in-home, wine tastings. I thought the business model would blow up and I’d be in people’s homes doing tastings every weekend. As it turns out, it was a struggle. And one that required a lot more admin time than I’d expected. So, I did a few tastings from time to time and turned my primary focus to building my writing portfolio and selling freelance work. 

This is When It Started Meshing

2019 welcomed a move from Vancouver to Calgary. With a continued push to grow my freelance portfolio, I dropped the in-home tastings and introduced cellar management to my services. I also launched an Etsy store with customizable wine tasting mats for only $5

Thinking of new ways of bringing wine education and services to people who love wine is what keeps me inspired. It’s been especially difficult during COVID without trade tastings or the chance to travel. But that’s part of being an entrepreneur. There are ebbs, flows, pivots, lessons and soul crushing rejection. But there’s also been unexpected opportunities, fulfillment and bucket list experiences.

Does writing about wine and consulting pay the bills? Some of them. Is it something I want to do the rest of my life? Abso-freakin’-lutely.

Do you have any questions about what I do or how I do it? Feel free to comment below or send me a note to nicole@socialsips.ca

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