If you’ve been over and check out our ‘about us’ section, you’ll have learned a little bit about what it was that made me want to be a little bit different. Indirectly, this experience got me started on my favorite hobby and that is my love of wine. Looking at the big picture, I can see my involvement in this industry playing a much larger role in my life, but in the context of where I’m at now I want to share a little bit about my hobby any how I can afford to pursue it without compromising my finances.

The three months that I spent in Paris was my first real introduction to wine. It was plentiful, cheap and of great quality (I could buy a €2 bottle at the grocery store for the same price as a $12-15 bottle in Canada). Thus began my infatuation with the noble grape. Ever since that trip I have done whatever I can to learn about wine, how it’s made and how to get the most out of each glass I have.

Since starting this blog, I’ve been thinking a lot about “the future” – What will my life look like in 20 years after we’ve accomplished the goal of financial independence? It can be pretty intimidating to think about and the best that I can come up with is that I really don’t know! What I do know, is that my passion for wine is something that I want to pursue.

Learning about and enjoying wine is not the cheapest of hobbies. It is important for me to pursue my passions, but it is also important not to sacrifice my goal of early retirement. I think that the ways in which I’ve gotten involved in the wine industry have been very efficient and cost effective; here’s what I’ve done:

Taking a university course about wine

My first taste of the wine world was through a credit course at my university. I learned about wine while earning credits towards my degree. This was a really great course and dealt with all aspects of wine from tasting and drinking wine to the main grape producing regions and the science behind wine making.

Volunteering at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival is one of the biggest festivals in Canada. For the past three years, I have volunteered during their main tasting event. This has benefited me in two ways: First, volunteering lets me interact with wine makers and industry representatives from all over the world in ways I would not be able to as a consumer. Secondly, volunteers get to attend a tasting event of their choice which allows me to sample an incredible variety of wine and hone my palate at no cost. Regular tasting tickets cost $95.

Working as a wine store clerk

Getting a job at my local wine store has done more for my love of wine than almost anything else to date. The exposure to a wide variety of products on a regular basis and the connections I’ve made with other like-minded people has been invaluable. Having the extra source of income has also allowed me to pursue formal credentials through the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses. I recently completed my Level 1 Foundation of Wines certificate and am now saving up for the Level 2 Intermediate course.

I don’t know where my involvement in wine will lead, but I’m happy to do something I enjoy for some extra income and a better knowledge of the industry. My point in explaining all of this is to show that following your passion doesn’t have to be a financial burden. I encourage you to be creative and find sustainable ways to do what you love.