Goode Work, If You Can Find It

“The only one I could find is Pinot, and I’m not the biggest Pinot fan—I was like…‘oh gosh’!” Such was the conundrum Lindsay Perry faced when trying to decide if she should enter the Really Goode Job competition. It was a chance to live rent free in Sonoma and work at the Murphy-Goode winery for 10,000 dollars a month. Enticing, but you gotta make sure you can stomach the wine first, no? Spoiler alert—Lindsay, along fellow 2021 winner Veronica Hubbard, found an affection for the brand, varieties be damned, and won that opportunity last year. Murphy-Goode is opening up the competition for this year’s contestants to do just that. You have until June 30th. If you want to join the fray, all you need is a 30-90 second video pitch (yours truly may give it a go this year), so go forth and pitch yourself here . Both contestants had solid reasons for wanting to transplant to Sonoma from their respective homes. Perry was in Austin, TX, and Hebbard in Orlando, Florida. I was curious—did boots on the ground wine work change them? Make them want to stay the wine course, or decide it wasn’t for them? Or would they fall in love with a different part of the wine business altogether? When Veronica Hebbard caught wind of the contest, she was working as an engineer for Walt Disney. As one does in Orlando. Veronica had inherited her dad’s passion for wine; he made wine in the basement. In college she took a “Wines of the World” course as an elective because “Who doesn’t want to drink wine and learn about wine right before going to physics”? She was only nineteen, but hey, it’s legal to LEARN about wine at any age, right? She then continued learning on her own, reading up a storm, and falling in love with the stories wine can tell. She was a bit hungover, but she went out and got a bottle of 2019 Murphy-Goode (to make sure she liked it) and made her pitch video. She didn’t even know if the job she pitched herself for, “Wine Innovation”, was a thing, but hey, she worked for Disney, she’s clearly good at turning energy and passion into inspiration. In all seriousness though, she knew that her engineering background could help bring wine into the future, especially when it came to production and sustainability. As for Perry, she was working in sports marketing. It was learning about Texas’ local Fredericksburg terroir and wines that made her decide more serious studies were in order. She went so far as to take a part-time job at a wine bar in Austin and had completed level two with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. When the contest came around, it was a no-brainer—except for the taste testing. Perry too needed to validate whether she liked the wine. Thankfully, despite the fact that it was a Pinot Noir, not her favorite, it worked out. She tried it and appreciated the quality of the wine. Perry did eventually get her hands on other Murphy-Goode varieties, and now says, “I can talk about how its quality and believe it rather than feeling like I’m lying to people”. One trip to Sonoma with 17 other finalists (literally the best job interview, probably) the two were crowned winners and moved to Sonoma. They jumped into wine-life in September, aka harvest season, aka ALL HANDS ON DECK NOW Season. Both told me, in interviews independent of each other, that they discovered sore muscles they didn’t know existed. I feel like if I ever move from wine into fitness, mayhaps a winemaking aerobics tape would be key. Stomp! Stomp! Okay now punchdown! Tiring as the first weeks were, Perry said the labor was almost a break that reinvigorated her love for marketing, and while she’d read about winemaking, getting to experience it brought her appreciation to a whole new level. After harvest, the two winners circled into different departments, even working tasting rooms, and eventually moving into the job department they had pitched for, where they both still have a few months left. Hebbard currently works closely with Jackson Family Wines, who owns Murphy-Goode along with a handful other wineries. One of her biggest projects right now is changing form diesel tractors to electric, one of the steps the winery is taking to become carbon-positive. For Perry, she’s been on the digital marketing team. There were surprises for both. Hebbard was shocked by how many wine jobs there were, and “how many people were involved in creating this piece of art”. Perry was likely struck with the enormity of the industry—and how everyone, in every sector, was there because they were passionate about wine. As for where they are going next, Hebbard wants to continue learning—having been rotated around all departments she still wants to find out more about all aspects of the industry, which it hard to do in one year. “The reason I got into this was because I love both the science and the art portion of it…I don’t know what’s next for me”. Perry is excited to continue in the marketing. She knows that she has what it takes to convert casual fans into diehard believers. That was her original pitch, and she’d like to see it through. The last thing I was really curious about was—did their palate change? Going from someone who is studying and dabbling in wine to spending your entire life dedicated to it has to make some sort of a difference, right? The two agree that the biggest change was an expanded palate. “I like Cabernet so I’d always buy Cabernet” say Perry. It makes sense. It’s hard to spend money on a wine you are iffy on. But with many new wines at her exposure, Perry has found appreciation for wines she didn’t drink much of before, especially white wines. Hebbard, unlike Perry, was a giant Pinot fan BEFORE coming to Sonoma. But now “I have such trouble answering the question: what’s your favorite wine?” While both contestants would love to keep the free lodging, they are excited to shepherd next years’ winners into the fold. Which brings me to one of the best things about wine. It’s all about sharing. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Want to read more from Ellen? Check out her recent articles: Rosé All May and June, and July, and… May the 4th Be With You Cocktails Lodi Rules Rock Kosher Wine: More Than Manischewitz Academy Wine In Honor of Women’s History Month You can also listen to Ellen's podcast , The Wine Situation here . Check out her recent transcripts of the Final Five questions: Wine Situation Final Five! Kathleen Willcox Wine Situation Final Five! Katja S. Newman


Sonoma County Zinfandel 2009

We actually bought this 2009 Sonoma (USA 🇺🇸) Zinfandel from Murphy-Goode for the 4th of July but we didn’t get around to drinking it on the day. I picked it up from Dan Murphy’s for about $35.
‼️#wineknoeledge: Zinfandel is a red grape variety which is also known as Primitivo in Italy. According to Wikipedia, Zinfandel is grown in 10% of the vineyards in California.
📝 #mytastingnote: This one definitely has a bit of age on it being nearly 10 years old. You can tell that from the taste as the berry flavours are turning more savoury. You can also tell by the brick red colour in the glass. On the nose it’s very farmy and earthy with rich black fruits. While in the mouth it was a medley of black jelly beans, blackberry and black liquorice 🖤
All opinions are based on my own taste buds. Wine is subjective & always evolving, so make sure you drink what you enjoy!
— 5 years ago

Severn, Trixie and 1 other liked this


Liar's Dice Sonoma County Zinfandel 2014

Full, touch sweeter, enjoyed 2014 — 3 years ago

Rhonely liked this


California Pinot Noir 2016

Tim Murphy, Dale Goode & Dave Ready founded their three-family partnership in 1985 and launched the brand with two wines: estate grown Fumé Blanc and Chardonnay. Fruit sourced a variety of vineyards along the coast of CA with cooler climates. Aromas of berry fruits and sweet spice. On the palate cherry flavors with cinnamon spice adding oaky notes. Medium finish, soft tannins ending with a fruit character. Light easy drinking wine, good value. Tasting Sample. — 5 years ago

David and Velma liked this


California Chardonnay 2015

Enjoyed this one. Just the right amount of sweetness. Great for the price of $16. — 4 years ago


The Fumé North Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Very smooth, bright, peach, gently acidic and sweet — 6 years ago