Atlantan Hardy Wallace, author of the popular Dirty South Wine blog, has been chosen from more than 2,000 applicants for a highly touted “dream job” in California wine country. After an intensive application process that played out online like a reality-television challenge, Murphy-Goode Winery in Sonoma County has asked Wallace to become its “wine country lifestyle correspondent.” The job, which requires a deft mastery of various social media outlets to market the products to younger wine drinkers, pays $10,000 a month for six months and comes with upscale housing near the winery’s tasting room.
“I am blown away,” Wallace said minutes after winning. “The support I’ve been given from Atlanta is why I am here.”
Wallace, who was laid off from a sales and marketing job with Kodak earlier this year, had been hoping to find a way to turn his passion for wine and social media skills into employment when Murphy-Goode announced the position — called “A Really Goode Job” — in April. He flew out to California and was first in line to meet winery crew and get his application in at an event kickoff in San Francisco.
Per application rules, Wallace made a short video for Murphy-Goode to show online and then began relentlessly pushing his cause on Twitter, Facebook and a special blog (www.goodetobefirst.com) he set up to document his quest. He also racked up endorsements from wine media, bloggers and retail outlets nationwide. Earlier this month, the winery named Wallace as one of 10 finalists for the position.
This past weekend, Murphy-Goode flew the finalists out for four days of games and challenges that wouldn’t seem out of place on “Top Chef.” When Wallace won a “blending challenge” (combining barrel samples of three Bordeaux varietals into a drinkable blended red wine) he seemed like the one to beat.
“Hardy really knocked us over in the interviews with his passion and enthusiasm,” said Murphy-Goode wine maker, David Ready, Jr., in a prepared statement. “He’s like us: he’s a people-person who loves wine.”
The job starts August 15 and is guaranteed for six months. Wallace hopes his girlfriend, Tracy Cermak, will be able to join him in the “charming Victorian home” Murphy-Goode is providing.
“She’s looking for a job in gerontology,” Wallace said, “and I’m not sure how much there is in downtown Healdsburg. But we’ll see.”