So what will this be about? 

To start, I will be writing blogs to document what sparked my decision to become an importer. Why France? Why Provence? Why ROSÉ? And as that story starts years ago, I'll be opening up the vault of my life a bit.

Then, I will document the path of starting business for the first time. What is it like to really write a business plan? How do I get that wine from France to a specialty wine store? Do I even know what I am doing? Ha! (But does anyone at the beginning of something new?)

I'm going to put it all out there. I realize it's not going to be easy every step, but I'm ready to share that as well. I'm taking a big risk, and I'm going to put it out there for you to read and hopefully connect with. If nothing else, hopefully this can help inspire some of you out there to jump off your own cliffs and try the unknown. For why not.  

  

 

 

Welcome to my website! I am officially a blogger.

Welcome to my website! I am officially a blogger.

 Here goes nothing! (Did I foresee that chilly day in Aix-en-Provence I would share my story publicly? That would be a big NO.)   

Here goes nothing! (Did I foresee that chilly day in Aix-en-Provence I would share my story publicly? That would be a big NO.)

 

A few months ago, I was on the phone with my cherished childhood friend Kristi.  I told her that I was ready to move forward with my now decade-long dream of becoming a wine importer of French -- specifically -- Provençal wines. 

Kristi has been a very successful fundraiser for most of her career, and I knew she would be a great resource for me. We all know what we know. Me? I know a few things -- how to run a photoshoot, how to help someone in a crisis, how to get someone into great shape, how to make a mean frozen mudslide, and how to sell wine from all over the world. What I do not know is how to start a business and raise money. Enter Kristi. 

"You need to tell your story," Kristi started. "Start a blog and put out there who you are."

Suddenly, anxiety. "What do you mean?" I protested. "What does that have to do with anything? I know a shitload about wine, isn't that enough?"

"True, but people are going to want to get to know you," she continued. "You know this. People like to do business with people they like. It's the foundation of sales. It's the foundation of everything!  You should put yourself out there and share your story. It will help people connect with you. It will make them feel like they are being part of this journey with you."

"So...tell my story?" I repeated, knowing the answer. "What does that mean? Who cares about my story?"

"Everyone cares about a story," Kristi said. "It's the human connection. Come on, you know this. If I were you, I would start a blog and just lay it all out there."

Lay. It. All. Out. There. 

 Rosé and oysters. What isn't there to like?

Rosé and oysters. What isn't there to like?

I have worn many hats in my life, ending with selling bottles and cases. But along my path, I was a bartender for years. I had a significant arc as a therapist. I have been in wine sales for a decade. I am used to eliciting other people's stories. But not me sharing my story. No, anyone in the service, therapeutic, and sales industries knows the drill -- we strategically make it all about YOU. We don't share what's going on with US. And, most certainly not in a public forum such as a blog. 

Ugh. Sure, I went to school for writing, and I have tens of black moleskin journals filled with scribbles of life artifacts. I even have a favorite pen -- Pilot retractable gel, blue, fine -- to which I will only write. But, that's all personal, quiet, and shuffled away into the black hole of a desk drawer upon completion, never to be seen again.

"What do I write about?" I asked. 

"Write about your love for wine. When it started. Write about what got you to wine sales. Write about why you decided to focus on Provence," Kristi said. "Write about the whole thing! Write about starting a blog! Write about starting a business, starting a business plan, meeting investors, getting the first shipment here. Write about everything! Again, you want to tell your story."

I took a deep breath.

"What is the biggest asset you have?" she pressed.

Sigh. "Me, I guess."

"You're correct," she said. "So start selling it."

I hate when my friends are right!

But right she is.  I have a crazy, passionate obsession with rosé, and I have for over 15 years. Starting before most people really knew what it was. I mean the real stuff, not White Zinfandel (AGAIN: NOT THE SAME THING!). Starting before it was readily available. And that passion grew to having Provence -- ground zero of traditional rosé -- become ground zero of my wine interest and studies. While my colleagues were focusing on traditional regions as Burgundy and Rioja, or burgeoning regions as Croatia and Greece, I remained fixated on one region. For a variety of reasons, Provence and I have had a mad love affair for years.

 Les Arcs sur Argens. Where I stayed in a castle and couldn't figure out how to open the door. Story to come...

Les Arcs sur Argens. Where I stayed in a castle and couldn't figure out how to open the door. Story to come...

This is my passion, and one I do feel is fairly rare. Whereas my wine friends applaud my focus, they have tried to gently dissuade me to expand my focus on more traditional regions. And, I have respectfully disagreed.

Provence is more than vast lavender and sunflower fields, more than endless miles of sapphire seascapes and white sands, more than rugged, jagged mountains. It is a region of over 800 producers that have been largely ignored for centuries. Provence is an untapped resource of hundreds of hidden, glorious, exquisite wines.

I want to be a spokesperson of this unsung wine region.

So, yes, my biggest selling point will be my myself, my passion. I get it. And with that, I need to tell my story. Even if it does make me uncomfortable having my thoughts and experiences so public. Kristi was completely correct: time to step up and bite the bullet.

 Behind Oz's curtain at Saint Julien D'Aille in Provence, where the bottling magic happens

Behind Oz's curtain at Saint Julien D'Aille in Provence, where the bottling magic happens

Thus starts my blog. I already have a solid backlog of posts already written, so I know where this road is going.  I hope you find these posts more than just self-indulgence. I feel there is universal story somewhere in all of this that is larger than becoming an importer. It has something to do with starting over from scratch and just fucking going for it.

Like wine, I hope this blog will help unite us all into a larger space.

next up: Who am I, and what do I know even about wine?

 

Who am I, and what do I even know about wine?

Who am I, and what do I even know about wine?