What would you like from life? Are you at a desk all day craving to be on the street doing one thing significant, nevertheless you outline the time period? I repeatedly use this column to impress readers into motion. I actually was a lawyer. I left the trade to pursue wine and journey writing full-time in addition to chase the last word title within the wine world, Grasp of Wine. So, it’s a pleasure to attach with kindred spirits and share the tales of their paths. For “How to Quit Your Job and Follow a Dream,” I’ve interviewed former attorneys, bankers, and consultants who’ve walked away from the hours – and cash — to try life-altering feats like develop coffee on a volcano in Panama, make wine on the Sonoma Coast, and located a coffee roastery and café in Bordeaux.
Not too long ago, I met Charine Tan and Matthew Horkey, founders of Exotic Wine Travel, at a seminar on Croatian wine. With no formal coaching however years of casual wine appreciation, the couple reduce ties to their house and set off on a multi-year journey that led them to put in writing books on unsung wine areas. As they put together to crowd-fund their subsequent undertaking, an outline on Hungarian wine, I requested them in regards to the challenges and thrills of their path.
Are you able to share a bit about your backgrounds? How did wine issue into your lives?
Charine Tan: I grew up in a comparatively progressive Singaporean household who drinks wine at any time when the celebratory temper calls for. My ‘wine epiphany’ occurred on my 18th birthday. I handled myself to French fine-dining and purchased a glass of Côte de Beaune Village. Previous to establishing Unique Wine Journey, I used to be working at company companies for almost a decade, with roles in varied features: from advertising and marketing to gross sales, PR, company efficiency, and branding. Throughout that point, I had the alternatives to work with shoppers within the wine trade – together with LVMH Moët Hennessy, Pernod Ricard, and Treasury Wine Estates.
Matthew Horkey: Each of us are WSET Degree III-certified however enrolled in this system after we began writing about wine. I’m a Chiropractor by coaching. I fell in love with wine throughout a backpacking journey once I was 26 years previous. My pals and I ordered a liter of house-pour Sangiovese in Lucca, Italy. I smelled the wine for about 10 minutes earlier than letting my pals pour themselves a glass. After we have been dwelling in Singapore, Charine and I have been hyperactive wine customers and attended wine occasions almost each week. We have been additionally members of the Confrérie du Sabre d’Or. So, in some methods, our ‘casual wine coaching’ began some years in the past.
Inform us about a few of your previous books.
We’ve authored three wine books. Our first e book is Uncorking the Caucasus: Wines from Turkey, Armenia, and Georgia; the second is Sipping Santa Barbara: Recommended Wines and Producers; and the third e book is Cracking Croatian Wine: A Visitor-Friendly Guide.
We determined to shake up our lives and journey around the globe in 2015. After just a few months on the street in Western Europe, we seen that an alarmingly massive a part of our bills have been on meals and wine. After we arrived in Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia, we realized that there was little or no info in English about these wine areas (the Georgian wine growth was simply beginning). So, we thought we may put our funding (money and time) and expertise to good use by creating sources for intrepid wine vacationers.
The lack of understanding was a tangible drawback we thought we may assist to resolve. Moreover, we additionally had emotional motivations. After experiencing the hospitality of winemakers in Armenia and Georgia, we felt compelled to share their tales and to both return or ahead their kindness. Most significantly, the wine high quality there was on par with the ‘worldwide normal’, however with a way of exoticness in addition!
Describe your way of life. You are each on the street full-time tasting wines and. Is that this your new life? Do you think about ever going again to a desk job?
We now have been on the street full-time for the final four-and-a-half years and visited tons of of wine areas in Armenia, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, and the USA. We’re consistently visiting producers and style about 5,000 wines yearly. Up to now, we’ve tried about 400 wine grapes in varietal wine type. Unique Wine Journey is our lives and maybe unhealthily, as a result of there’s no line drawn between Unique Wine Journey and our private lives.
Matt: I’ve aspired to have a location-independent way of life since I used to be an adolescent. What we’ve right now is a dream come true. Life on the street isn’t at all times simple as we feature all the pieces we personal and we’re at all times on the transfer. Normally, we’d hire an condo within the metropolis of a wine nation for 4 to 12 weeks. That condo serves as a ‘base’ the place we would depart some issues there whereas we journey across the nation or to neighboring nations for press journeys or for our personal self-study and analysis.
CT: On most days, this way of life feels liberating, however the freedom we’ve is in change for the (largely monetary) safety and certainty (of the long run) we hand over. Our location-independent way of life helps us to give attention to work and our personal priorities. There’s much less societal expectations and peer strain when one is continually on the street. At work, being away from a hard and fast group or surroundings allows us to be extra artistic and resourceful. However all that could be a double-edge sword. We don’t actually have hobbies since all of our focus goes to Unique Wine Journey. Generally, we additionally really feel lonely, particularly after we run right into a problem. We don’t have somebody that we will name up or a mentor who can information us by way of the tangle.
Matt: On the flip facet, we’ve been lucky to have so many magical experiences in numerous components of the world that wouldn’t be potential if we have been merely vacationers. Just a few years in the past, in Sardegna, we have been invited to lunch at a shepherd’s house within the mountains of Mamoiada. We ate roasted sheep and sheep’s blood with all the wine producers from the village. It was almost 95 levels Fahrenheit, and we have been sipping on 16% ABV Cannonau whereas consuming greasy, pungent meat. It wasn’t the best state of affairs for that form of meals and wine, however the expertise is burned into my thoughts eternally.
CT: In the end, this journey on the street and thru the vines has been transformational. It has helped us to whittle life right down to the baseline of what we would like with a purpose to be optimally completely happy.
Had both of you written a e book earlier than deciding to put in writing wine area books? Why writing versus another wine-related enterprise?
Earlier than the wine books, we launched a private development-travel memoir known as Journey, Be taught, Earn: Let The World Be Your Information to Freedom with a Canadian writer. Initially, we thought we’d go into consulting and talking within the private improvement and training discipline, however that concept was banished quickly after we began touring.
We don’t see ourselves as writers, extra of communicators or generalists. Presently, we’re contributors to a couple media retailers. We produce movies for wineries; deal with media relations, social media, website positioning technique for some wine areas; and conduct tasting courses. We additionally work with a small group of personal prospects whom we assist to supply for nice wines from lesser-known wine areas. We’re consistently pushing ourselves to do and be taught extra in regards to the wine enterprise and will begin a form of wine membership quickly. In the end, the imaginative and prescient for Unique Wine Journey has remained the identical since 2015: we wish to be the ‘Lonely Planet for wine lovers’. No matter what we do, the concept stays: to assist and encourage wine lovers, particularly impartial wine vacationers, to discover lesser-known wine areas.
Inform us about your newest e book on Hungary. Why are you specializing in this nation?
Hungarian wine is likely one of the best-kept secrets and techniques within the Previous World of wine.
Many individuals have heard of Tokaji, however few have an opportunity to style it. It’s a pity as a result of tasting a well-made Tokaji Aszú is a transcendent expertise. Simply think about complicated flavors blended with textural richness and fiery acidity. That stated, there may be a lot extra to Hungarian wine than simply Tokaji. You’ll find each kind of wine in Hungary – from recent and fragrant to oxidative-style and profound whites, from medium-bodied and juicy to full-bodied and age-worthy reds. Hungary additionally has a number of autochthonous and regional varieties that create wines of distinctive sensory deserves. ‘Volcanic wine’, ‘orange wine’, vin jaune-style wine, Hungary has all that, and most of them provide excellent quality-price ratios.
With this e book, we wish to assist wine lovers save money and time by enabling them to skip or shorten the trial-and-error strategy of discovering the Hungarian wines they like. We at all times intention to provide the guidebook that we wished we had after we first visited a wine nation.