Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Looking for a wine job? You could start by attending Thursday class at Philly's Wine School

So many people these days are making decisions about their lives and careers, whether out of necessity or simply out of unhappiness or fear about what the future holds. This morning at the Harrisburg-Patriot News we talked about covering a midday job fair at the Giant Center in Hershey, which turned out drawing around 500.

Within that context was the blurb I saw on the holiday e-letter from the Wine School of Philadelphia, 2006 Fairmount Ave., which I've blogged about in the past and have its Web site linked to my blog. School founder Keith Wallace wrote about a one-hour talk and wine tasting he's planning tomorrow (Thursday, Dec. 10) on how to get into the wine industry. Cost for a workshop that Wallace has entitled Becoming the Next Robert Parker is $18, primarily to cover the expenses for the wine.

Wallace said this idea is an extension of the one-on-one discussions he's already having with his students at the nine-year-old school, helping them not only decide what they want to do but finding the route to get there. He said a number of those students have gone on to successful career as either a winemaker or the owner of a company that has a connection to wine. "You're not going to make great money," he said, "but you can have a decent living and actually be able to enjoy life and be your own boss. And in this economy, why not do what you love?" So, he continued, he'll talk on Thursday about how to scout out these potential jobs and find a niche.

And those opportunities to make money do exist, he noted, although at one point breaking into a laugh and noting "not in wine education, by the way. Most of the money I make comes from a lot of the other things I do on the side." He noted that while the wine industry as a whole is hugely regulated, "it's like the Wild West. It's highly regulated, but state by state there are no clear dominant leaders, except in distribution, but it's a place . . . that you can really start something and ramp up very quickly, to the point of actually becoming a national figure, or at least a regional figure and turning that into a company."

Showtime is 6 p.m. Thursday at the school, which offers an A to Z of classes from 101s to more specialized education experiences such as Napa Valley & Beyond and Winter Cooking and Wine Class. Even saw a special wine and food arrangement that Wallace is cooking up with Luca Garutti, the chef at nearby L'Oca Bistro. That four-course dinner and Italian wine class is on the calendar for Wednesday, Jan. 13, from 6 to 9 p.m. Cost is $52 per person, taxes and tip not included.