Rock n'Roll,Social media,Wine,Winery

I Envy Hardy Wallace…

Okay, I know that envy is one of the Seven Deadly Sins, and I don’t allow myself the luxury of self indulgence of this kind; so, I don’t really envy Hardy Wallace. I just wanted to get your attention; and if you’re here because of the title, it worked.

I’m  living vicariously through Hardy’s life indulgences right now, because he’s where I was when I arrive in California, and began my wine career in 1993.

There are huge differences, though.

I, too, like Hardy – just before he moved here – had become unemployed. By virtue of my move, I was self employed. He was unemployed in Atlanta. I did not, however – at that time – have a technological background. Nay, I was at ground zero… So ground zero, in fact, that I took a job with a franchise cleaning company… literally on the ground, picking up after anyone that had a call-in cleaning for that day.

I tried to initially find a job within the wine industry, but was laughed out of some great offices. On paper, I was a perfect candidate, but I knew nothing about wine and that was the real clunker. I landed a Sunday gig at Belvedere in their tasting room, continuing my search. But I was held back by not being in the business ever before, not having anyone in my family being born into it, I didn’t marry into it, and I hadn’t studied it… I loved white zinfandel back then as one of my primary passion.

So, after a while, I kept interviewing, but shifted where I was looking, holding onto my one day at Belvedere. I refused to find a job that would use my real PR talents outside of the wine business, because I couldn’t honestly lie in a job interview about my intentions… Except with the cleaning company. They knew that I was a PR pro looking for a new working situation. They kept me as long as I wanted to be there, because I was an unusually hard worker and very thorough.

Mr. Hardy Wallace did NOT have to bow to the altar of humility the way that I had to… And, I’m glad he didn’t. I like him a lot, and wouldn’t wish what I did on some of the snippy people who laughed me out of their offices; although, I’d love to write a screen play, or a Saturday Night Live skit  about that one…. Ms. Human Resources, my butt…

My angst about Hardy’s gig is that I couldn’t have started at the top the way he did. I had to start at the bottom, right where the universe wanted me to be, I would say. I have learned a lot, granted, but can’t help but wonder if that first year hadn’t been cleaning so many toilet bowls, including Mickey Hart’s, where I might be today? Honestly, as I write this, I’m realizing I’d probably still be in the same place. [Funny sub story to the Mickey Hart cleaning gigs… I was asked if I was a Grateful Dead fan. I reminded my boss that I had just come off about 10 years of photographing rockers. I was far from a fan of anything having to do with rock, because I had just lived it. This was why I was trusted to clean his house… So, I was chosen. When he walked through the kitchen, I just kept scrubbing the floor; but, I remember looking up to say, “Hello” just as I did for anyone else’s cleaning gig. I remembering him being friendly, and I went back to work.]

Okay, worked that out…

Hardy’s journey is now going to be what mine was… branching out in so many areas, that we’ll be able to kick back (about annually) and laugh at the prior year’s doings. He’s just that kind of guy.

I’m now watching a new generation of PR people, who are approaching the playing field with a whole new set of electronic and social media toys, and I can live their joy through reading what they’re doing… as a sort of den mother. It’s very cool.

So, what inspired this blog was Jim Morris contacting me through Facebook.

Jo, wanted to share our newest video with you…Hardy Wallace, our new houseguest at Michel Schlumberger did it… a humorous little view of what we are doing. [Jim Morris is playing the leading role, BTW.]

Do You Know the Way to Michel-Schlumberger (Wine Estate)?

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7 Responses to “I Envy Hardy Wallace…”

  1. Shana Ray says:

    Love the posting. I am envious of where Hardy gets to live. Thankfully he let me and countless other wine tasters play in his front yard when visiting Michel-Schlumberger for Barrel Tasting. 🙂

    Hardy, Judd, Jim and the crew are doing amazing things up there in Dry Creek. I am just honored to be a part of it all. Just wait for the next video… It shall be just as entertaining (and educational) as this one, if not more.

    As one of the next generation of wine marketing/PR people, I just wanted to say thank you for leading the way in PR in the wine industry. Your story is inspiring to people that are just starting their own businesses that hard work and passion do pay off.

  2. Jo says:

    Thanks, Shana Ray,

    Glad you liked the posting. I can only imagine the fun you guys had playing in their front year. It’s wonderful that Michel-Schlumberger is also taking a social media lead. Too many vintners aren’t caught up, yet, to their disadvantage. (They’ll eventually get it, or sell to someone who does… All things in due time.)

    I’m happy that you found inspiration in what I wrote, because that’s a hidden agenda. My first agenda is to just get stuff out of my head, so I can move on.

    Hard work has its rewards, as you’ve noted. It’s just a karmic thing… Keep focused; the future is yours.

  3. Yes the is an attention getting title! great ploy!

    I might envy Hardy, except he is so good-natured and cares so much. And Jim’s a great guy too–I remember meeting both of them Nov 08 at the WBC. Fun to see what they come up with next!

    I feel so out of the action down here in SoCal. I went tasting in Sideways country yesterday; it’s almost like social media hasn’t been invented yet. I talked with someone teaching a community college class on tasting room marketing and he admitted he didn’t blog or “get” twitter and someone else in accounting does the facebook page. It was all beyond him.

  4. lynn says:


    Yay for Hardy. The people at Michel Schlumberger are wonderful, and I have spent some happy times in that beautiful once-residence, now winery and guest facilities. The architectural touches alone are worth the “price of admission”. And I’m happy to see them getting the publicity they richly deserve.

  5. Hardy says:

    Hi Jo,

    Thank you for the shout out.

    I am extremely fortunate- I tell myself that every morning. I have had the great luck of having an amazing community of supporters, and having the stars aligned.

    Without getting into the nitty-gritty, this wasn’t overnight. Almost 3yrs of working 20-30hrs a week on Dirty South Wine, being laid off last year and risking to lose my house and my relationship to get here- That was 6months of 14hr+ days again at zero money, with the risk of losing everything I had… Though I look back fondly at that time, I don’t wish that anxiety on anyone.

    I am grateful it worked out.


  6. Jo says:


    Thanks for putting into perspective that you’ve, too, paid your dues.

    I think this is extremely important for anyone with aspirations to know. These things don’t happen overnight. They happen with due diligence.

    You’re now in the right place at the right time… and it’s all good.

  7. 7pop.net says:

    Thank you for nice post! 🙂

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