I guess my journey started back in the late 90’s. I was “travelling” in Australia, and when I say “travelling”, I mean I was living in Perth and trying to be as Australian as humanly possible. All in the blind hope that someone would say “nah mate, you’re too Australian, you can stay for good”. Obviously that didn’t happen, and I headed back to the UK with my new Aussie inflection and some new world ideas. Over the 14 year period that followed, I fell slowly but surely more and more in love with wine. Red wine mostly, but I have been known to enjoy the white, pink and fizzy varieties!
The moment of clarity and the love of wine all began when I was standing atop a hill in a small vineyard in Pemberton, Western Australia. I was having a tour from the owner (I was dating his granddaughter at the time); and I fell totally and completely in love with the entire concept. Not just the fun stuff in bottles we buy in shops, but the fact that they were buying ladybirds off the internet to try and be as environmentally responsible as possible, and to keep their wine as close to organic as they could.
This week I started one of the biggest things I’ve done in the 38, almost 39 times I’ve orbited the sun. Tomorrow, Jackson (my dog) and I set off on a road trip across France towards Italy, a journey I have been planning for months, a journey that will change our lives for the better.
It’s a pretty daunting journey as I’m doing it to try and build something for myself, a new lifestyle, a new beginning, a new business working with something I love, and that truly fascinates me. Starting my own business is something I toyed with doing a few years ago. Back then though I was just not in the right place in my life. I was still trying to deal with losing my mum and I needed something to pour my energy and love into.
Admirable, brave, once in a lifetime opportunity, bonkers, are all terms which have been used to describe what I’m doing. In all honesty, I just see it as something I have to do, something that will make or break me, a chance to build something of my own. And why not, why not take a chance and try and do something, I would rather have a go than be an almost person.
The “plan” is to start my own wine business, importing and selling wine in the UK, it’s that simple really. I was fortunate enough recently to spend nine weeks in Tuscany and I fell in love with the place, especially all the characters I met while in the area. One thing I discovered was the amount of wonderful, small, organic wine producers that do not export to the UK. This got me thinking and I soon realised that I’m not getting any younger, and if I want to set up on my own, then this is probably a really good time. I want to offer the small farms a voice and pass on the passion they have to people in the UK. So many times have I been involved in, or overheard the classic conversation “oh the wine over there is so much better than the stuff you get here, because they keep all the good stuff for themselves”. This just isn’t the case. Small rural farmers don’t have the contacts to be able to get the wine out of the country, and that’s where Jackson and Seddon step in. Like my best friend puts it “if working for yourself was easy, every Tom, Dick and Harry would be doing it” and how right he is.
The next step is to work out how to eat and fuel the car for the next few months, at least until I can actually start buying and selling wine, and hopefully making an actual business out of it. The idea is not to be a millionaire. The idea is to find small organic farms that produce great wine; into which love and passion are poured, so that when you try the wines; you can really taste that it has been made by someone that loves what they do. I am looking to live my life enjoying what I do every day, being able to spend time meeting interesting people, hanging out with Jackson, and looking forward to getting out of bed every day.