Like golden ticket winners to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, the ten remaining candidates for Murphy Goode winery’s much-talked-about $10,000 a month social-networking gig are headed to Healsburg on July 18. Over four wine-soaked days, they’ll take part in a final round of interviews, meet winemaker David Ready, Jr., and experience “hi-jinks, excursions, poker, Liar’s dice, food and, of course, wine drinking,” according the winery.
Making the final cut: Hardy Wallace, author of wine blog DirtySouthWine.com; Adam Beaugh, a DJ and web whiz for the governor of Texas; college student Rocky Slaughter who’s resume includes leading a statewide campaign to change the California state statue in 2006; former reality-show casting director Todd Havens; video producer Kamary Phillips; a former host of two network cable shows and banjo-player, Rachel Reenstra; Spin Magazine digital guru Nicholas Pandolfi; web designer Eric Hwang; Microsoft advertising staffer Annie Lee; and nutrtionist/blogger Jennifer Weber.
Hailing from locales around the country — Austin, Boston, LA, New York, Seattle and Tampa — these hopefuls are busting their humps to land what may be the most coveted job in the wine biz. As “Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent”, the winner will spend six rent-free months touting the the winery on Twitter, Facebook and other online social networking sites. They’ll be paid $60,000 for the half-year gig and be expected to spend plenty of time interfacing with the public, drinking wine, hanging out in the vineyards and making the rest of us green with envy.
Since the contest was announced in April, nearly 2,000 applicants submitted brief video resumes to the winery’s website, areallygoodejob.com. Controversy broke out in June when the winery announced the Top 50 finalists would not be selected based on popular votes from fans (several had launched extensive vote-getting campaigns), but by criteria set forth by the winery. Meaning that candidates actually needed to have the requisite skills needed to create videos, interface with customers, write cohesively and use the Internet.
The winner will be announced on July 21 and begin work at the winery on August 15. Losers go home with some fine memories of Sonoma County and a hangover.