WHO: Lindsay Perry, a 28-year-old sports marketer and wine lover from Austin.
WHAT: A yearlong job offer to drink and study wine, all while living rent-free on a California vineyard.
WHY IT’S SO GREAT: When Murphy-Goode Winery announced that it would hire one lucky person to work a “dream job” at the California winemaker, it made national news. The new employee would be paid $10,000 a month, live in the picturesque Sonoma countryside, and drink wine on the house for a year. They’d get three months to study winemaking, and the rest of the year to grape-stomp their way into the industry with a job of their own devising. It sounded both too good to be true and like a well-crafted publicity stunt. Oenophiles working in cubicles across America thought: What if?
The winery received more than seven thousand video applications from wine lovers who pitched themselves as interested in every area of the business, from marketing to sustainability. It ended up picking two winners. One was Austinite Lindsay Perry. The savvy digital marketing specialist submitted a shot-for-shot remake of Elle Woods’s famous Harvard application from Legally Blonde. “I feel comfortable using wine jargon in everyday life. Mmm, the aromas on this flower are amazing,” she quips in a tone that will be familiar to millennials everywhere.
But it wasn’t just the witty video that made Perry the perfect candidate for the job. During the beginning of the pandemic, when many of us were trying our hand at baking sourdough bread, Perry began to explore her love of wine. In mid-2020, she created an Instagram account dedicated to vino. She won a scholarship from Wine Unify, an organization committed to increasing diversity and inclusion in the wine industry, which helped her earn her level-one Wine Spirit and Education Trust certification. “I really caught the bug after that,” she says. In June, she even took on a part-time job at APT 115, a wine bar in Austin, in addition to her full-time gig at a livestreaming sports company.
This summer, the winery flew Perry and sixteen other finalists out to Sonoma for a four-day trip for official job interviews—though it wasn’t all work. The dreamy trip also included a helicopter tour of Napa, excursions to local vineyards, and nightly dinners, complete with food made from local ingredients by the winery’s chefs. “We kept saying it felt like a reality TV show,” Perry says.
When Perry received the call that thousands of applicants had hoped for, she was in her home state of Pennsylvania.“They gave me the offer, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. I’m shaking. I can’t believe this.’”
Next month, Perry will move into a two-bedroom home that sits on top of an expansive vineyard. She says she looks forward to drinking Murphy-Goode Bordeaux varieties, her favorite of their wines, and learning, as she says, “from the ground up” about the wine-making process.
In addition to her excitement about the year ahead, Perry is hopeful that her new gig will inspire other Black wine lovers to get more involved in the industry. Since Murphy-Goode announced that Perry got the gig, she’s received messages from folks across the country who are interested in learning more about potential jobs. “It’s put in more people’s heads, like, ‘Yeah, you can be in the wine industry.’ It’s not a stuffy thing anymore,” she says. “We can all love wine together.”