We had the good fortune of connecting with Devin Reed and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Devin, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
YES, I drink wine for a living. But it’s way deeper than that. I’m a sommelier, which by definition, is a wine steward. So traditionally, I combine my wine knowledge (3 different wine academies & a decade’s worth of work experience) with customer service and a love of people who want to learn more about wine & enjoy wine more thoroughly.
People see us on Instagram drinking fancy wine at our favorite restaurants, or having wine on the beach and think it’s all glitz & glamour. What they don’t see is the ton of time I spent studying, and all the not-so-sexy work put into getting to where I am today.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I’m a wine expert, aka a sommelier. My first wine job was 10 years ago in a dirty, dark room in an old building at a wine company. I was in charge of shipping wine all over the world. That’s what peaked my curiosity – why is this bottle $5,000? Why is that bottle $10,000? I came to work every day and worked hard because I wanted to succeed. And people began to notice the quality of my work!
2 years later, I got a promotion to manager the entire wine store. A year later, I got a promotion to become a General Manager at our new restaurant concept in Beverly Hills. I met a lot of well-known people but I treated everyone the same. With respect & courtesy. It didn’t matter if you were Leonardo DiCaprio or Joe from Wisconsin – I made it a point to treat everyone like rock stars.
Behind the scenes the work was daunting. I mean, it was fun, don’t get me wrong lol. I drank incredible wine everyday. But there were nights where I didn’t get home until 4am. 15 hour days. There were days where I literally spent hours counting tens of thousands of bottles in cold wine rooms. There are some dark corners of the wine industry also – the rampant greed. The jealousy. The lack of ethics. As a general manager, I had to deal with all the personalities; the good, the bad, the ugly. It taught me how to juggle. How to speak to people better. How to motivate people better. How to better lead by example. And most importantly, how to work hard.
I had 2 more jobs in the wine industry years later, and then came Covid, ruining my opportunity at my then-current dream job with Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, the leading wine & spirits company in the world. But after Covid shut everything down, I woke up and began working harder on my dreams. Running my wine concierge company, 59Wines. Doing wine education for Lebron James’ media company, Uninterrupted. Doing virtual tastings and teaching people about wine. Doing private events. Creating groundbreaking wine content for the world to see. Covid was rough on all of us, but what I took most from it is to never, ever, ever give up and to work HARDER until you’re where you want to be, and you’ve created the life that you want to live.
The biggest lesson that I can tell anyone, by far, is to believe in yourself. If you don’t have belief in yourself, find it, because if you don’t believe in yourself, neither will others. How do you find belief? Through confidence. How do you find confidence? Through doing the work you want to do over and over and becoming good at it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
You gotta spend time in LA at the beach! And then watch the sunset with some wine at the Hotel Erwin rooftop in Venice. For sightseeing, grab a glass of wine at any of the outdoor patios in Beverly Hills, then head to dinner at any of the million nearby restaurants. LA county is this great landscape where you can snowboard, go to the beach, see Hollywood, hike, and literally everything else you can imagine, so your options are endless.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There were so many people that helped put me where I am today. My first boss who took a chance on me for my first wine job. My owner who saw my potential. One of my “big bros” who gave me a broader platform to speak about wine. People at various jobs and roles who all believed in me and helped take me just a little bit closer to the next step. Don’t get me wrong – I had worked hard and I was prepared – but I would be nowhere today without the help of others. So shoutout to BELIEF. The belief that so many people had in me.
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