When asked to write a guest post for travelingwinechick.com, I could not be more excited, because watching Beth living and constantly creating her dream is pretty exciting! If I can’t find constant inspiration in someone going for it, than I am pretty lame!
My name is Tammi Ramsey and I am a winemaker. I started making wine from a kit in my basement for fun about 15 years ago. About eight years ago, things became more serious. Two years ago, I left the corporate world and pulled the plug on the life that had me on a plane every Monday-Friday meeting with people daily who needed my help. I have to say, my career as an executive recruiter had been very challenging and rewarding. I still love the thought that I found a solution to a client’s needs, found the right candidate to help a client grow their business, and I had a small part in the success they are enjoying now.
However, I was raised in the Midwest and I have always had a tug at my heart to work in agriculture. I love all things in nature. I was fascinated by gardens and farm animals when I was a kid. I wanted to marry a farmer, grow everything we ate, and drive a tractor. Well, many years passed and when I opened the winemaking kit and started the first batch of wine, my natural interest kicked in and I started asking questions about where did these grapes come from, what makes this yeast work, and who figured out we should pour this into a barrel?
After the first batch was complete, I bottled and sampled the wine and I liked it. I was not a wine drinker when I started making wine. Also, my education included a degree in Industrial Design and Product Design, so I knew there was a much better method of hand bottling the wine than the cheap little plastic contraption that was in the winemaking kit. By the end of the summer, I had a full-blown production area in my basement with some “better” than plastic bottling equipment. I had built a storage area for the wine to age. Then I started buying fruit from local farmers and grape growers. I made some lovely wines and I also made some really LAME ones.
After a few years of making wine from a kit, a woman I worked with decided she would pay me to make wine with a custom label for her daughter’s wedding and she would give a bottle to each attendant. I felt so excited and thought, “I really better read more and educate myself in winemaking.” I really had just been “winging it.” Within a few years, I was working weekends volunteering at several wineries and winning many amateur winemaking competitions.
I moved to California and invested my life’s savings in a piece of property in Cazadero, CA. Someday that location will be home to TJR Select wines. Currently I lease space to make wine and I purchase grapes from growers with whom I have created a relationship. My first two vintages are in the barrel now and it looks like the first 2010 will be ready to bottle later this year. I am always moved by all the people in the world who just find something, maybe a hobby or a calling that speaks to them. They pour their love, resources, and time into it and it turns out to be the passion that lights their fire every day!
I am sure my story is very similar to most folks who hit a point in their life where they say, “If I am going to do something, I want to love what I do and do it really well.” I love to hear stories like when I was in Chile working as an apprentice winemaker. I met a woman who at age 39 was a VP of Marketing. She pitched it all and moved to Paris and worked in a restaurant. Now she has been a chef for 10 years and she is so passionate and engaged in life and food. I love to surround myself with people who bring an energy, quiet confidence, and love to a profession and lifestyle that they created. They constantly inspire me to think bigger and act bolder.
I cannot wait to have you enjoy my wines! I hope you will feel the love I have for making them and the love I have for the land the grapes come from. If you would like to follow my progress, check out my website www.tjrselect.com, follow me on Twitter @grapejuiceone, and/or be my friend on Facebook. I’d like to be inspired by you, too!