Glasses of Pinot (Noir or Gris) and Chardonnay splashing/Champagne, Cabernet and Shiraz are smashing/Prosecco, Lambrusco and Rosé for spring/These are a few of my favorite things...
OK, so I’m a bit of an oenophile—and it’s a pleasure I refuse to feel guilty about. Aside from just loving a goblet of God’s favorite grape juice, I’ve traipsed through the vineyards of Napa, had romantic jaunts to wineries from New York’s Hudson Valley to France, and made friends with more than a few sommeliers. At the risk of sounding a little Sideways, it’s kind of a thing.
And apparently, I’m in the wrong line of work, because I could’ve potentially made $10,000 a month to live on a vineyard and immerse myself in the world of wine. (Media gods, why hast thou forsaken me by not sharing the news of this opportunity earlier?) Healdsburg, Calif.’s Murphy-Goode Winery apparently had the novel idea to boost awareness of their vintages by hosting the “A Really Goode Job” contest, offering a yearlong apprenticeship complete with a year’s supply of wine, vineyard-adjacent accommodations and $10,000 a month to two lucky and wine-savvy individuals.
Needless to say, those who heard about the contest were drunk with the possibility of isolating rent-free on a scenic vineyard with a ceaseless supply of wine and a $120,000 annual salary. Kind of an intoxicating escape from an ongoing pandemic, no? Unsurprisingly, more than 7,000 video applications were received in response.
Unsurprising to everyone except the winemakers themselves, that is.
“I honestly didn’t expect this much interest,” Murphy-Goode’s Dave Ready told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I was like, ‘holy cow!’”
I mean...really, Ready? You didn’t see this coming? Because anyone with half a nose could smell a prime opportunity like this.
After narrowing down the 7,000 applicants to 17 finalists who were flown out for a “Wine Country weekend” (seriously, what am I doing with my life?), last week, the winery announced its two winners. Veronica Hebbard of Florida and Lindsay Perry of Texas, both 28, will be leaving their deep red states to enjoy copious amounts of red (and white, and rosé) wine. As the Chronicle explained, neither has previously worked in the wine industry but each started wine-focused Instagram accounts amid the pandemic.
As much as it’s a career opportunity, the Really Goode Job is also clearly a publicity stunt, pulled off by one of California’s largest wine corporations, Murphy-Goode parent company Jackson Family Wines. The job contest sounded like it was crafted to become a viral headline—$10,000 a month and rent-free living in Sonoma County?!—and its winners seem chosen, at least in part, for their social media savvy.
Paying those salaries may on some level simply be an alternative way of paying for influencer marketing and targeting one of wine’s most elusive and sought-after audiences: younger drinkers who spend their time on social media. And parts of the campaign have felt more like a reality TV competition than like a hiring process...
That may be the case (by the case? I really need to find other hobbies...) but a glimpse at both these women’s accounts shows their knowledge currently far outweighs their follower counts. Orlando-based Disney engineer Hebbard’s @Vino.With.Vero boasts just over 500 followers at the time of this post, while Perry, an Austin sports marketer and self-proclaimed “Black girl who loves drinking and learning about wine!” (join the club) just reached the 1,000 follower count as of Wednesday.
So, maybe these “Really Goode Job” winners are just really good at wine, and willing to do it for the vine (couldn’t help myself). And frankly, the prospect of getting more Black—and female—experts into the world of wine is all the reason we need to raise a glass. Given the success of the contest, maybe the rest of us oenophiles have a chance next year...but in the meantime, here’s a toast to Hebbard and Perry—because this sounds like a hangover worth having.