Dive into wine & change your life

Updated: Jul 31

In my 50’s, I not only changed industry but completely changed my life – by creating a wine château in Bordeaux, launching red and white wines and developing a wine tourism experience. Are you thinking of a life change? Fancy a new adventure in wine and always wondered if you should or could ?


Here are 7 good reasons I believe that going for it in your 50’s (even on your own as I have) is not as crazy as it seems and why doing so later in life even has certain advantages.


1. Mature is good


Wine is not ageist - unlike so many other industries which would be difficult to get into later in life. Wine does not have an age barrier for entering or for having credibility. People are respected for their know-how and achievements whatever their age and elder 'gurus' or 'wine statespeople' are looked up to. Your years of experience elsewhere give you the confidence of knowing your own mind, your likes/dislikes, you have more patience in terms of understanding what you can and cannot change and you are more resourceful to deal with knocks and setbacks which will crop up.


2. Think boutique


You can start small. That's ideal, because you don’t want to risk all your life’s savings on a crazy punt into the unknown. I started with 1.6ha (about 9000 bottles here in AOC Fronsac) with a focus on getting it right and making quality wines with the money I wanted to invest. I have now taken back 1 hectare I had rented to a neighbour and I rent other vines to make my white wine, Château George 7 Blanc. Big isn’t always better despite the traditional view that bigger means more successful. Economies of scale certainly help profitability, but ultimately, investing in making better quality wine in smaller quantities as a boutique winery, will mean you sleep better at night and you can enjoy the ride without the stress of having hundreds of thousands of bottles to sell.


3. This is personal


Launching into wine at this stage of life is about finding your pleasure, fulfilment, and life-enhancement. The kids are grown up and gone, and so the focus is on what makes you happy rather than worrying about everyone else. It also means some of the financial pressure is off, so you can enjoy following your own passion unhurriedly and without feeling guilty that it is all about you.


4. Variety is the spice of life


Wine has so many aspects from nature to history to science, art and technology. So a wine adventure will never be dull or monotonous and you decide whether you want to cover multiple aspects or deep dive. Wanna be in the outdoors? Work in the vines. Keen to get into flavours and aromas? Experiment in the winery. There are so many aspects so choose what you enjoy most or dabble in everything as I do. Never a dull moment.


5. Learning keeps you young


I had always meant to learn more about wine but just didn’t have the time to study it properly with a family and full-time job. I felt alive and energised as I tackled the WSET courses in my early 50's. Doing the WSET Diploma (level 4) did not give me all the knowledge I needed to create a wine château in Bordeaux, but it gave me enough to feel confident and to ask the right questions so I didn’t come across as a complete numpty. It has given me credibility and a thirst to keep on learning. That qualification also helps with the ‘imposter syndrome’ that you can get afflicted by when you have some early success despite being new to the industry.


6. You have lots of skills


Past careers and life experiences have equipped you with so many skills that you can transfer to your new wine life. Mine included interacting with and managing people, marketing, business in general, renovation and hospitality - from careers in education and running a Cotswold Inn to working for a global company as a marketing director.


7. Wine is fun


Wine is sociable, engaging, creates memories and is at the heart of so many gatherings and landmark celebrations with friends and family. At this age, we know how important fun is and can spare more time to seek it out or create it. Our kids are also of an age where we can share a good glass of wine with them over a meal - nothing beats toasting the future with your own wine. I get so much pleasure from meeting and greeting people from all over the world and sharing my wine as we chat about where it came from.


So, as I embrace being 60 and look at the packed adventure I have had since starting those first wine studies at the age of 52 to bottling the first Château George 7*, I can honestly say that it has been one of the most thrilling, scary yet fulfilling adventures so far!


If you would like to try my wines, here is where to buy.

If you are in or near Bordeaux, do come and visit.


AND, do leave your comments (scroll down to box below) - I will be delighted to hear your thoughts or answer questions.


*Timeline: 2014 started wine studies

2015 bought parcel of vines & buildings to renovate in Fronsac

2017 Approval to make wine & created 'Château George 7'

2018 First full harvest of 2 Fronsac wines

2020 Bottled first wines, Decanter World Wine Awards 94 points, opened tasting room

2021 First white wine


#fronsac #lifechanging #womeninwine #chateaugeorge7 #winemakerslife