What is the definition of being successful? Is it making more money than you know what to do with? Is it having letters after your name that people aren’t even sure what they mean? Or is it simply being happy? When Mike and I decided to enter the wine business, we knew it wasn’t going to be an easy road. We were realistic. We understood that we would neither be an overnight sensation, nor ever be as recognized as Robert Mondavi. That’s not why we entered the business. We entered the wine industry because we love wine and it was our dream to own a winery. We chose to not just wish or dream about it, we made a conscious decision to make it happen. We chose to Pursue Our Passion.
It’s a scary thing chasing down your dreams, but if you don’t enter the race you are never going to win. One of my favorite sayings about Pursuing Your Passion was made by “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky. He very eloquently stated, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” He knows you need to take risks. You need to leave the safety net that tethers you to your comfort zone so that you can experience what happens next.
In this, what has become a monthly tradition, a guest blogger will tell you their story of how they pursued their passion in the wine industry. These people understood what Van Gogh meant by “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.”
A few years ago, I wrote a scientific post titled the Science of Tasting Wine. Shortly afterwards, I received a message from Madeline Puckette asking me if I would be ok with Wine Folly publishing the post on their site. I’m pretty sure my response to her was, “Mind? Heck no, I don’t mind! Thank you!” I was so honored that I was going to see my post on their site with those “patented” pictures.
I am a fan of Wine Folly. I think that there is so much wine information out there and it can be extremely overwhelming for many. Wine Folly has found their niche. They take the information and present it in a fun way.
In 2015, Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack, the brains behind Wine Folly, released their first book; Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine. I purchased that book for two reasons. First, I like to support my social media friends, but secondly, and more importantly, I liked the concept. I liked the idea of having a reference book that didn’t weigh more than I did and can present information in an entertaining way. I have used the book multiple times.
Yesterday, Madeline and Justin released their second book. The Magnum Edition; The Master Guide. I received the book as a sample from Avery Books, and immediately scanned through the pages. What did I look for first? Any guesses? Of course Cabernet Franc!
The book is chock full of information. Wine Basics? You got it! Food and wine pairings? Yep, it’s in there! Grapes and wine regions? Well, of course that’s in there! So do yourself a favor, head over to Amazon and place an order. I really don’t think you will be sorry! It even comes in a Kindle Edition.
In case you aren’t familiar with Madeline, let me tell you something about her. Her passion exudes out of her. So I reached out to her and asked if she would be willing to answer a few interview questions for this month’s Pursue Your Passion post. I know I was intrigued by her answers and I hope you are too.
- It isn’t surprising, (at least to me) that you grew up in the Pacific Northwest and was into music. I mean Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Kobain, and Pearl Jam to just name a few monster names. Who was your inspiration growing up?
- You say your music belongs in Berlin. What do you mean by that? Where can we hear some of your tracks?
Sure you can! Just search “Madeline Puckette” on Spotify for my actual published album, Madworld. Here’s the link. Right before I stopped writing music I posted my latest tracks on soundcloud. I managed to snap up soundcloud.com/madeline/ – here’s one of my favorite tracks on there. https://soundcloud.com/
- You also were a graphic designer for Star Trek conventions. Exactly how did that work? Did you work for Star Trek or for the conventions? What did you like about that path and what did you dislike?
- Did you continue your music while you were a graphic designer? How are the similar?
- Art and wine go hand in hand. Why do you think this is so?
- Although you drank wine previously, it is your father who got you your first wine subscription. How do you feel that changed your life?
- Your first wine job was really by sheer luck. Being in the right place at the right time. They say as one door closes another opens. You walked into a bar (sounds like the beginning of a dirty joke) and walked out with a career in wine. Tell us about that night.
- Tell us what it is like to study for the Court of Master Sommeliers. What made you choose that route?
- You were named in Wine Enthusiast’s 40 Under 40 Tastemakers. Wow! That is impressive! How did you find out and what is it like to be part of that elite group?
- You have said that appreciating wine is similar to art and music appreciation. How do you think you previous experiences in those fields help enhance your wine career?
- Tell us what was so special about December 25, 2011. What happened on this day that led to the launch of Wine Folly?
- I can scroll through the onslaught of photos on social media, but I can always tell when it is a Wine Folly graphic. Do you do all the designs? How did you arrive at that as your style?
- I was in Bordeaux drinking a 1949 Couvent des Jacobins and all that kept going through my mind was “I can’t believe I’m drinking this!” Do you have a “I can’t believe I am drinking this wine?” What was it and when?
- What is your “unicorn wine?” The wine you yet have had, but would give almost anything to sip? What draws you to that wine?
- What was the original goal of Wine Folly? How have those goals evolved? Where do you see it in the future?
- How do you choose what articles are posted on your site? I am extremely honored to be included in the list of guest posts.
- Your graphic “Different Types of Wine” was picked up by the Washington Post. Do you think that was a turning point in the Wine Folly story?
- What is your favorite wine region? Why?
- Do you have a “go-to” wine? The wine that is always in your cellar? How did it become your “house wine?”
- One of our tag lines is “Pursue Your Passion.” You obviously have passion for wine. If you were to give advice to someone entering the wine industry to pursue their passion, what would you tell them?