Megan was a plastics engineer in Virginia where the local vineyards hooked her into the world of wine. She left everything behind and moved to Burgundy, France in 2004 to live in the epicenter of wine. Megan believes that wine, like life itself is a journey that’s meant to be savored and shared.
From plastics engineer to focusing on responsibly made wine, that’s a drastic change. What nudged you to switch career paths?
Don’t get me wrong, my job in plastics wasn’t uninteresting, but it lacked a bit of magic and spark, which I could often find in a bottle of wine. Then one day, at a company anniversary party, our director announced just how much plastic had been produced in our factory since its founding. I knew right there it was time for a change.
What was your first professional step into the world of wine?
I started working on weekends in the Veritas Vineyards tasting room in Afton, Virginia while I still had my day job at the plastics factory. They had just opened to the public. The tasting room was little more than an oversized closet in the middle of the winery, not to mention the only heated room in the building that freezing-cold winter. I could barely tell the difference between Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Humble beginnings but what wonderful memories. And look how far we’ve all come since.
In 2004 you moved from the U.S. to France to pursue your passion for wine. Why France?
Can you think of a better place to get to the heart of all things food and wine? I also took an awful lot of French classes in school and wanted to finally put those to good use.
There’s the cliché of the American in Paris. What’s it like being an American in Burgundy?
For me, it’s the perfect fit. I’ve never been a big city girl. Burgundy offers quiet country living with an international flair and great wine to boot! We have beautiful landscapes and charming villages steeped in thousands of years of history and tradition. At the same time, Burgundy’s amazing vineyards attract wine lovers and professionals from the world over. On any given day you can hear a multitude of languages and cross paths with folks of many different nationalities and cultures.
What’s your most memorable wine moment from living in Burgundy?
There are so many memorable moments, but one that really sticks is my first experience at the Hospices de Beaune wine auction. Just after I moved to Burgundy, it felt like Christmas had come early with all the festivities and fabulous wines flowing. I’d read and heard about the “Vente des Vins,” and finally experiencing it firsthand was a wine dream come true.
What are the benefits of learning about wine and really understanding it?
Wine is more than just pleasure in a bottle. There’s a lot of hard work, artistry and careful observation of nature that goes into crafting a bottle of wine. A well-made wine tells you a lot about the land from which it came, the winemaker’s philosophy and the traditions of the region. It can truly take you on a journey. When you know the story of your wine, you have a ticket to ride!
VIVANT is innovative and the first platform of its kind. What impact do you see VIVANT having on the future of wine?
I believe that VIVANT is a driving force in the democratization of wine and also in building a sustainable future for responsibly-made wines. There’s something on VIVANT for all ages (above legal drinking age of course) and all levels of wine knowledge. Without even leaving home, we meet winemakers striving to make a difference for the planet, the consumer and the quality of their wines through the use of organic and biodynamic farming practices. And best of all we get to taste, learn and enjoy together!
What was the turning point where you realized the importance of choosing a sustainably-made wine over a conventional wine?
I love to cycle, and there are so many great roads through the vineyards to ride bikes in Burgundy. But it’s the absolute worst when you’re merrily riding along and suddenly you get a big whiff of mystery chemical in your face from some big vineyard tractor. And when you see some winemakers out there in space suits spraying their vines, you know that can’t be good for anybody or the environment. So I decided to start searching for more responsibly-made wines. Not only do they taste better, but I know they are also better for us and our planet.
What’s special about coming face to face with wine producers and hearing their stories in VIVANT Live Experiences? How does it change the experience of tasting wine?
Much like pets often resemble their people, I find that lovingly-made wines often resemble the winemaker. So getting to know the winemaker only serves to deepen one’s understanding of their wines. In today’s social-distant world, it’s a real treat to be able to travel virtually to meet VIVANT wine partners at home in their vineyards.
Are you Curious by Nature?
You bet! I’m an engineer and a scientist by training so I love to experiment and learn. What better place to satisfy one’s curiosity about wine than on VIVANT?
Follow Megan on her profile page and get your spot in one of her upcoming Live Experiences.