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#TDT Mimi Moseley…A Day in the life of a Winemaker and Entrepreneur.

Mimi Moseley’s favorite quotes: I have two. “It is never too late to be who you were meant to be.” And…”If you are in the right, don’t do anything to put yourself in the wrong.”

1. What is your current job title and how did you decide on this career choice?

Mimi Moseley 2011Mimi Moseley co-owner Moseley Family Cellars; we have been in our field for over 25 years, but professionally for six. We have been making wine for about 13 years in the Bay Area, in 2009 we
decided to move to Redding and make winemaking our new profession. The process was quite a bit more challenging than we had hoped but we filed all of the paper work with the state and federal government which enabled us to open our doors.

2. What types of qualities are important for this career choice?

Our heart is quite a bit different from your typical employer. Our goal is to have people who: 1-Love Redding 2-Have a desire to love people 3-Love the art of winemaking. Winemaking is like art…one can take classes on how to do it; but unless there is a natural pull toward creation, chemistry and art all the classes in the world would not prepare the student for this career.

3. What is a typical day or week in your position like? What exactly do you do?

Our tasting room is open Thursday – Sunday 12-5. The tasting room is where we encounter the public as the customers come to taste and purchase wine. As time permits, we love to take the guests on a tour of the winery. The magic happens in the winery as our winemaker Marty works almost everyday tasting wine and determining whether a blend or any tweeks are needed for each wine. This is where the science/chemistry comes in, as well as math, to see what ratios of changes need to be made to make the wine the best it can be. Guests love seeing him in action.

 4. What areas of study would you suggest for kids interested in your field? What path would you suggest?

UC Davis offers a viticulture degree. There are so many areas of growing which would benefit someone interested in winemaking. We do not grow our own grapes so our focus is more on the quality of the grapes we purchase and then the dedication to making the best quality wine from the best quality grapes we secure. Also, Shasta College offers some viticulture classes. These are good steps toward learning the craft.

5. What is one piece of advice you would give to someone interested in your field?

Chemistry is your friend. Math is your friend. Partner those and get ready for the magic to begin.

6.What is one myth buster you would like to share about your field?

Wine drinkers are all alcoholic & wine promotes alcoholism. Most winemakers taste and spit the wines they are tasting. The drinking of wine is an artistic experience which goes back hundreds of years. France and Germany started this craft as big business, but the drinking of wine with meals goes back to Biblical days. We love the experience of pairing foods and making a wine/food event something that brings joy and community.

 Is there only ONE path to get into this profession?

Absolutely not! An artist can be a winemaker. A chemist can be a winemaker and as can a mathematician. It is the love of the craft which moves the student to learn.

7. Did you take a linear path to get here? If not, what were some pivotal points that changed your direction? 

I was a inspirational speaker in my “other life” so interacting with the public was a natural for me. Owning a small business is the hardest part. There are local, state and federal requirements which can suck the joy out of a winemaker. Though government can make it tough, tasting the top quality wine we produce encourages us to keep at it. One never knows the future, we seem to have made it past the beginner hurdles and we are enjoying the huge support Redding has granted us to make us known and successful.

8. What personal qualities have helped you succeed in your career?

We absolutely LOVE people. Our goal is to impact people to enjoy life, food and community. If these are not you, this is not the career for you.

9. What do you most enjoy about your career?

I love going to the tasting room because I never know who will cross my path that day. Meeting new people is great and doing each day afresh is exciting.

 10. What kind of work experience as a student would be the most beneficial for this career?

We hire “cellar rats”. These are often young men and women who do all of our dirty work. From pitchforking grapes into the de-stemmer to bottling to taking out the garbage…they do it all. Work experience on a farm or in janitorial gets your feet wet for hard work. A smart cellar rat can learn the reason behind the cleanliness required and the hard work needed for a task. That rat can move up to winemaking, as many do, and even manage a winery.

11. What education or training is required, if any, to reach your position?

Most winemakers have a viticulture degree. Our winemaker already had a business degree which is paramount for owning a business. Having a BA under your belt opens doors which would not have opened otherwise. Some of our cellar rats have degrees. Hiring them showed us they can work toward a goal and achieve it. This is not to say someone without a degree would not be a great winemaker, but the determination to achieve their degree speaks loudly. Either way, with us, one would start at the bottom. We do the dirty work as the owners and we expect the same from the rats.

With that said, there is also a position called a sommelier . A “som” can pretty much write their own ticket as they study the characteristics of wines from all over the world. There are four levels. The first is pretty easy to obtain, but the following training takes great dedication. We have a “level 2” som who works for us, as well as a local fine restaurant, who is working toward her “level 3”. The final level is a “Master Sommelier” who can make in excess of over $150,000 a year at top restaurants. Redding has a few level 1’s and two level 2 soms. When our gal gets her level 3 she will be making VERY good money.

12. If you weren’t in this career field, what other career would you be interested in? and why?

I have already had my other career. I don’t think we will ever retire, but I hope this career affords me the opportunity to mentor those interested in winemaking.

If there is anything else that you would like to add about you or your career for our LaunchPad readers, please do so here: (community involvement, advice, suggestions, etc.) 

Yes, learn about your community. If “Leadership High School” is offered at your school, sign up! Often young people are not exposed to their community in ways which can spark the light to see where they can be of value. I grew up in Atlanta and knew a lot of the history, but just from classes I took. When we moved to Redding, I immediately applied for “Leadership Redding” which opened my eyes to the amazing community where I chose to live. This group showed me everything from the history of Redding; to social services; to education; to public safety and more. I learned so much about our community and I LOVE living here. Young people want more and often leave Redding to go “find their way” only to be led back to our great city when they realize they had a fabulous place to live and raise a family all along. Leadership Redding can show you that path is right here. It will also make you aware of how important non-profits are to a community. Volunteering at any of these can help to see how giving of ourselves makes others better. We are bettered as a result.

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