This is part of a series introducing you to interesting people in the wine industry. For many, the journey into wine is not only intriguing but often quite an adventure. These talented individuals are what make the wine industry what it is today so follow this series to meet this group of passionate people who have dedicated their lives to wine.
Why Wine? An interview with Corey Schuster of Jackalope Wine Cellars
Michele Francisco: Was there a specific wine, moment or place that unlocked your passion?
Corey Schuster: For me it was a series of moments:
My first day in the industry had me working in a sun-kissed tasting room, next to the vineyards and alongside a slough of the Willamette River. Much more scenic than the cubicles I’d been used to working in.
First harvest: cold and wet, suffering with the harvest crew, spoiled by the winery chef, and loving it.
Holding a bottle of wine in my hand and being able to say: “I had a hand in making that.”
MF: What did you study in school and what were you doing before you started in the wine industry?
CS: I studied civil engineering in university and practiced as an engineer for almost 10 years before the economic downturn gave me the opportunity to find a new career path, to find something about which I could be passionate.
During the transition from engineering to “something else,” I helped clean out foreclosed homes, worked for the U.S. Census, Starbucks, drove a mobile climbing wall around Portland, ran an afterschool program, and I can’t remember what else. Trying everything to find my path.
MF: How has being in the wine industry changed you?
CS: I’m no longer the guy that (always) pulls wine from the bottom shelf, first of all. It’s given me a new way to relate to my community and to the place in which I live. And much more of my disposable income goes to good food and wine!
MF: What’s your favorite part of being in the wine industry?
CS: The people. The people I work with and around are incredibly passionate about what they are doing. How can you not love that? And being able to share our passion with those who are wine lovers, wine interested, or that happen to be in the way when we prattle on about wine, is amazing.
MF: Looking back, was there something in your past that led you to wine?
CS: My mother is Italian. How could I not end up in wine?
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