So how does one go from being a videogame designer to a wine importer? It’s a question i get asked a lot, and usually i relate the whole story, but the answer is actually quite simple when i think about it. One has to have the best wife in the world beside them.
Working as a game designer i was making quite a lot more than i am, but i was deeply unhappy. The hours are long, the stress is through the roof, and the work at the end of the day was unrewarding. Not something you want from a job many people still describe to me as their dream job.
During this job however, i started to get into wine. And not just get a mild interest, a full blown obsession. i started a blog. i started drinking pineau d’aunis. i discovered the Thierrys, the Ariannas, the Maupertuis, the Texiers, the Beas of the world. i met Guilhaume, Luc and Dagan at Terroir. i had something to keep my mind off work, but my wife still knew that i was unhappy.
So, one day the boys at Terroir offered me a job. This isn’t the sort of thing that you do lightly, take a gigantic pay cut to go tend bar. I was conflicted, obviously, but strangely my wife wasn’t. She told me in no uncertain terms that this was what i should do. That she would support me in this.
Later Guilhaume and i decided that perhaps being bartenders wasn’t the best thing for us. The wine was right, but i am entirely too quiet and him…perhaps the opposite. So one late night over NOPA burgers we opened a magnum of Jerome Lenoir’s Chinon that Guilhaume had carried back from France. It wasn’t imported. Maybe we could actually do this we thought, and Selection Massale was born.
And again, my wife told me in no uncertain terms, that yes, this is what i should do. We put our savings into a business that had no chance of paying off for years. We paid for a warehouse for almost a year while the licensing went through. She was there when i came home with Frantz Saumon and Jerome Lenoir in my pocket. She sat and waited while a volcano grounded me in London for 10 days after 2 months in France. She talked me down when US Customs called me to tell me they were going to fine me 20,000 for a paperwork mistake on our first shipment (luckily they didn’t, and lesson learned). She supported through all the months we weren’t getting paid because we wanted to buy more wine.
Six years ago today we were married in a federal bankruptcy court surrounded by funeral flowers (a story for another time). i thought i was the luckiest guy on Earth that day. Six years later i know i’m the luckiest guy in the world.
Thanks for everything , sweetheart. I love you.