Atlanta wine blogger lands 'dream job' in California

Atlantan Hardy Wallace, author of the Dirty South Wine blog, was chosen Tuesday from more than 2,000 applicants for a highly touted "dream job" in California wine country.

After an intensive application process that played out online like a reality television challenge, Murphy-Goode Winery in Sonoma County asked Wallace to become its "wine country lifestyle correspondent." The job, which requires a mastery of various social media outlets to market the products to younger wine drinkers, pays $10,000 a month for six months and comes with upscale housing near the winery's tasting room.

"I am blown away," Wallace said minutes after winning. "The support I've been given from Atlanta is why I am here."

Wallace, who was laid off from a sales and marketing job with Kodak earlier this year, had been hoping to find a way to turn his passion for wine and skills in social media into employment when Murphy-Goode announced the position in April. He flew to California and was first in line to meet the winery crew and get his application in at an event kickoff in San Francisco.

Per application rules, Wallace made a short video for Murphy-Goode to show online, then began relentlessly pushing his cause on Twitter, Facebook and a special blog (www.goodetobefirst.com) he set up to document his quest. He also racked up endorsements from wine media, bloggers and retail outlets nationwide.

Earlier this month, the winery named Wallace one of 10 finalists for the position.

This past weekend, Murphy-Goode flew the finalists out for four days of games and challenges. When Wallace won a "blending challenge" (combining barrel samples of three Bordeaux varietals into a drinkable blended red wine), he seemed the one to beat.

"Hardy really knocked us over in the interviews with his passion and enthusiasm," Murphy-Goode winemaker David Ready Jr. said in a prepared statement. "He's like us: He's a people-person who loves wine."

The job will start Aug. 15.