I’m thrilled to introduce you to my friend, Betty Kaufman, who turned her love of wine into a fun social activity and a money-making side gig. If you’ve dreamed of doing something like this, you might be inspired by her story. And get a few wine tips along the way.
How did you first get into wine and how?
I first started liking wine in college at Berkeley. Going to Napa felt like a very adult thing to do, which was very fun. So even though I didn’t start out loving the wine (most of it was too strong for me), I loved the wine experience.
The first wine I fell in love with was was V. Sattui’s muscat. It’s still one of my favorite wines. Muscat is an incredibly floral wine, which makes me very happy. It’s a feel-good wine.
Why do I love wine? It’s the drink of the gods 🙂 Also, every time you take a sip, you learn. As a constant learner, I love this concept. You can try the same wine 3 days in a row and get 3 different experiences. Perhaps your mood is different. Perhaps the food you’re pairing the wine with is different. It’s really fun to learn from the experience of drinking wine.
What are you doing now ?
For the last 13 years, I’ve been lucky enough to be an independent wine consultant for a Napa winery called WineShop At Home. This winery is like all other wineries in that they make beautiful wines. What’s different about them is they don’t sell retail or wholesale. Instead, they sell through a team of independent wine consultants.
As an independent consultant, I lead wine tastings for groups of people in their homes and their offices. It’s so much fun to get to introduce people to our wines and to do a little bit of wine 101. In addition to leading tastings and selling wine, I have a growing team of wine consultants who do what I do. I help them out with their business and make a little bit of money off of their sales, as well as off of my sales.
How did you begin your wine side gig?
When I was laid off in the mid 2000s from my high-tech marketing job, I realized I needed to pursue my love of wine. I worked for a little bit for a local winery and a wine store. But neither of those jobs felt quite right.
When I came upon the WineShop At Home opportunity, I knew it was a match made in heaven. The opportunity is entrepreneurial; it’s not snooty – we’re all about demystifying wine and making it more fun for people; I help people enjoy wine more; I get to drink on the job 🙂
I know so many people who are at a life transition point, love wine and dream of getting involved in the wine business. How could they start?
I’m always looking for fun-loving, wine-loving people to join my team of wine consultants. I have some information on my website at https://www.bettyswinemusings.com/wine-business. And I would love to talk to interested people. They can reach me at 650-714-7009 or firstname.lastname@example.org
There’s so much confusion about wine ratings and choosing the “right” wines, especially for gifts.
I don’t pay much attention to ratings of wines, because we all have our own taste buds, so we can’t rely on what the experts say. What I like to tell people is, if you like a wine, it’s a great wine for you, and you should buy a bunch of it. If you don’t like a wine, it’s not a good wine for you and you should avoid it. And you don’t need to feel bad about avoiding a “popular” wine. Thank goodness we’re all created uniquely.
If you’re buying wine for somebody and you’re nervous about whether you’re buying the right wine, here are a few hints:
I would avoid Chardonnay, because there is a well known club called the ABC club, which stands for Anything But Chardonnay. Some people love Chardonnay, but enough people don’t like it that you don’t want to give it as a gift.
I would avoid Sauvignon Blanc because it’s too tart for some people.
I think your best bets for whites are an off-dry Riesling, an off-dry Chenin Blanc or an off-dry Gewürztraminer.
Even though many Merlots are great, I would avoid them, because of the damage done to that wine from the movie Sideways.
Unless you know that your gift recipient is a big, bad red drinker, I would also avoid Cabernet Sauvignon, because that can be too big for some people.
I think your best bets are a Syrah or a Zinfandel (red, not white).