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Now Hiring

One of the silver linings of the current economic swoon is the simple fact that there has never been a better time to be under-employed.

Forget about money (I say that sincerely) and consider all of the amazing opportunities available for people to gain life experiences – Murphy-Goode being one example in addition to two others I’ll mention in a second …

Now, I must confess, one of my great regrets in life is my headlong rush into getting a job after college.  If I had to do it over again, working with perfect hindsight vision, unencumbered by youthful idealism and the naïve notion that I could be a captain of industry through simple hard work, I would most assuredly spend a good portion of my first year or three out of school gaining the life experiences that only travel can provide.

I’ve always had more than a glancing bit of admiration for friends that did Europe by backpack and youth hostel, or another dear friend who spent three years traveling the globe with a guitar and no itinerary.  In fact, just a couple of weeks ago I highlighted a guy who danced his way around the world.  Suffice to say, I am simpatico … it wouldn’t take much for me to live a peripatetic existence, at least for a while.

Flash forward almost 15 years and life isn’t without reward, I have much to be thankful for.  However, my life now comes in the form of obligations and responsibilities bigger than myself.  And, while grateful, my vita of cultural experiences is largely viewed through the lense of career.  However, with more freedom, I would surely seize this moment in time, presented almost as a zeitgeist, to try and capitalize on the opportunities that are being presented in abundance, the chance to earn life experiences.

This is a long and overly wrought way of saying to those in their 20’s, or those that, for whatever reason, are under-employed, who have an interest in wine, food and travel – screw ‘the man’ and soak up some experience.  Soul-sucking work will always be there. The cubicle can wait, as can the knowing laughter that comes with reading the comic strip Dilbert.

Oregon Bounty

Travel Oregon’s new culinary trip planning web site launches on August 24th.  It will aggregate and feature all of the soul enriching things there are to do in Oregon – wineries, distilleries, breweries, artisan producers like cheesemakers and more—you know, things that feed the mind, body, and spirit.

To promote the richness that Oregon offers, they are also launching a promotion called, The Oregon Bounty Cuisinternship Contest.

Winners of the contest will win one of seven all-expense-paid trips to Oregon for a five-day, six-night culinary hands-on apprenticeship experience.

Categories for the job categories include:

1) Artisan producers – chocolatier and cheesemaking

2) Craft beer

3) Foodie / high-end restaurant

4) Craft spirits

5) Ranching

6) Seafood / Fishing

7) Wine – with Penner-Ash Cellars

While all of the categories hold interest to me, the wine category is something I can really get behind – long known as a boutique producer of lush, elegant and well-reviewed Willamette Valley Pinots, spending a week at Penner-Ash sounds like a dandy idea to me.


The Travel Oregon Bounty contest starts next week, more details forthcoming, and I will be a judge for the wine category.  So, my exhortation to forsake the soul-sucking is grounded because I will be a participant in selecting the winner.  Any guess on how my judging might be skewed?

Firestone Vineyards

Firestone is hiring a “Discoveries Pathfinder.” That’s a euphemistic way of saying that somebody is going to be one lucky guy or gal and get a chance to hike the Inca trail to Machu Picchu in Peru, eating some amazing food from the other winner of the contest who will act as the “Chef” on the trip while co-mingling with the folks from Firestone and drinking Firestone Vineyards wine.


My guess is that however good Firestone Vineyards wine might be in your kitchen, it will elevate to the level of transcendental in Peru, which is good considering that memorable wine experiences can rank in the highest echelons of our minds eye memories.

Taking place from April 17th to the 25th, all expenses will be paid.  Pesky technology issues aside, it’s almost better that the winner will catalogue their trip, but post their account AFTER the trip, staying in the moment.  Besides the trip of a lifetime, the winner will earn $1000 for essentially doing what you would normally do on a trip like that – keep a journal and take pictures.

The program just launched on Friday and all details on the contest can be found at the Pathfinder web site and the blog.  Details for submitting an application look thorough and well-conceived and the trip is being organized in conjunction with friend of wine blogging, Zephyr Adventures.

Notions of under-employment aside, both of these trips are week-long experiences, doable within the scope of a vacation.  Perhaps, I have it wrong.  It might not be the notion of forsaking the soul-sucking for the under-employed, it might be just the simple notion of taking back your life, which is never a bad idea, even for those who have most of their cultural experiences through the lense of career.


Posted in, Good Grape Daily: Pomace & Lees. Permalink | Comments (3) |


On 08/17, Ed Thralls wrote:


Couldn’t agree with you more with taking the opportunities for discovery of passion and travel, whilst leaving the soul-sucking day job behind.  I feel I am at the same place in my life right now.  Luckily, I have had the opportunity to travel and such, so I KNOW was lies on the other side, yet those responsibilities have kept the risk-aversity at a higher level until recently.

Penner-Ash is a great winery, we belong to their club and is a great place to visit… so, as your judging role, how often would you like your car washed?  wink

On 08/19, Dylan wrote:

I’m a guy in his early 20s and I haven’t been outside the US. Some could say my parents and grandparents were like growing up with Europe anyway. Still when future vacations come along I plan to make my journey which I never took in college. I believe our lives have room for both. You shouldn’t have to quit your job (or be fired) to find happiness, nor should you have to quit life to keep your job. For example, I’ve always wanted to learn how to sail, so I saved up money for the past 8 months and now I’m finally becoming ASA certified through a course this weekend. It’s not that our careers and responsibilities steal what we love, it’s just that they test us to see how much we love it. If we love it enough, we’ll find a way to fit it in.

On 08/20, Wine of Month Club wrote:

Peru is a great trip and really was the way we started our wine club and export business.  Machu Pichu is a magical place as are other parts of South America that are only now becoming known to the average American traveler.

Interesting post, please let me know if you have any questions about places to visit as I have family in Lima and a couple other cities.


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