Saturday, September 9, 2017

Marc Soucy : Rekindling the Passion -- While Keeping an Eye on the Numbers

Every once in awhile I think back to what it felt like when I took the plunge into the world of wine. It happened in several phases of course over a few years, but none was as life changing as when I decided to WORK in the wine field. As I've said before, what started as a fun hobby, became an enjoyable career. It was multi-faceted, deep, and interesting. Oh yeah and tasty. I soon enjoyed discussing individual wines with customers, fellow students of wine, and other enthusiasts, delving into the aspects of terroir, comparing the roles of various grapes in the c├ępage, and borderline dismissing those numerical scores that had been foisted upon us. 

Leading up to that, for years I went to endless tastings, attended wine dinners with guest speakers, actually vacationed with my wife in major wine regions, read books, took classes, studied for exam after exam, and soon, it started coming naturally. Then, I got tested in back rooms on my palate and descriptors. Challenged on my opinions, and torn apart by the less than gracious wine snob.

 I would certainly never be one of THEM.

    It was great.

Now comes the reality of the situation. While one can be enamored with wine (this applies to many other things as well), and know a lot about it, this turns out to be a single, albeit very valuable skill in a world where financial success is highly encouraged, and usually required. ...Especially when it's your job. To focus entirely on the wine aspect of the industry would be a mistake, one which is too often made. The industry is made up of dozens of business models, with varying regulations in every state in the union. Production, importing, supplying, distribution, and on premise and off premise retail each have their own variations on a theme. To the outsider, it can sound dizzying and surreal. Knowing it, embracing it, and pursuing the goals of the business model you serve is the main objective when you're on the inside. 

All the knowledge about the product you sell becomes an individual skill in the arsenal of skills you present. You are in business. Nothing you do would be possible without it after all. Matching the needs or potential needs of your customers comes much more easily when you have a keen awareness of your product at the ready. But keeping an eye on the numbers and pursuing goals and targets are critical to success. We can't continue to do what we do without that. 

And this is why I write this. Every once in awhile, it's important to rekindle the passion that got me here in the first place. Tasting critically, reading others' opinions, talking with other enthusiasts, and well, just enjoying... ... it's still important. 

Yeah it's like resharpening the blade, so to speak, but it also can relight the flame. 

Time to relight the flame.

 -- Marc Soucy, FWS CSW
Marc Wine Blog


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