This mom knows her wine

When you are a mom with a big dream, it can be easy to set it aside in favor of doing things for your family first. But going for that dream is a big and important thing -- and one that benefits everyone.

Learn how one mom is making her dream of being a professional sommelier come true.

Rachel Voorhees had always dreamed of becoming a sommelier, but it wasn’t until she started writing a wine column that the mom of two decided to go after her dream. “My father has been a wine collector since I was two years old, so wine has always been an important part of my life. I remember laying bricks with him when he built his big beautiful underground wine cellar when I was just nine years old,” says Voorhees. “Once I started writing my wine column for Momtastic last August, I realized just how much I already knew about wine but also realized that I was thirsty to learn more.”

Last December, Voorhees decided to do something about it. After some research, she decided she wanted the Court of Master Sommelier Certification. She applied and began an intensive program in February at The International Culinary Center, which has the only program approved by the Court of Master Sommeliers. "The program combines lecture with intensive tastings, food pairings and practice of service techniques and is taught by a Master Sommelier," says Voorhees. As a bonus, the school is a mere 10 minutes from her house.

Balancing responsibilities

With a 3-year-old, a 5-year-old, a husband, a writing career and a household to run, fitting school in is challenging, says Voorhees. "Organization and communication with my husband have been key. Every week is different with everyone’s schedules, so each week we have to sit down and plan the week out. He has been home holding down the fort on nights I have school and on the weekends when I have to go and study," says Voorhees. "I study for school and write wine articles while my kids are at preschool, during naptime, which has now become 'quiet time,' on nights I don’t have school and early in the morning."

Despite the challenge, Voorhees says that her family has been “extremely supportive,” of her dream. “I think my husband and children miss me on the nights I am at school, but then in turn, perhaps appreciate me more on the nights that I am at home! I like setting an example for my children by showing them school is not only important but also takes dedication and hard work,” says Voorhees, who admits that she loves calling her dad when she aces an exam.

What’s next?

Voorhees will graduate in June. "My plan is to continue writing my wine column, continue writing about wine on my own website, all while pursuing a career as a sommelier,” says Voorhees. “Food and wine pairing is my passion, so I would love to write more about pairings and one day write my own cookbook. I would love to work in a wine bar, work for a wine auction house, be a wine distributor or importer… the list goes on and on!”

Mom advice

Communicating with your family is the key to success. Make sure that you set aside quality time to spend with your husband as well as your children.

More from Chasing the Dream

Why you need a mentor -- and how to find one
Becoming a business owner
An interview with author Debbie Koenig


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Comments on "Chasing the Dream: Becoming a sommelier"

Sue Robinson May 22, 2012 | 4:22 PM

I am SO SO SO proud of you and to call you my friend. Love you and cannot wait to see where this all takes you. The sky is the limit my dear.

Kris May 16, 2012 | 7:30 PM

So excited that you're almost done with school. I can't wait to have you work with me on a few projects. Congrats on following your dream!

Alicia May 16, 2012 | 4:54 PM

I think having homework that revolves around wine might just be enough to make me go back to school! Good for you, that is a great accomplishment!

Sherri May 16, 2012 | 4:05 PM

Love this, my sweet and amazing friend! I am SO stinking proud of you!

angela May 16, 2012 | 11:22 AM

Sometimes when I'm up late tinkering with a story, I think of you. Seriously. I can't imagine how much you have to juggle to get everything done, but you are really following your dream. And that's amazing.

Nichole May 16, 2012 | 9:52 AM

I am so happy to see Rachel here, Sarah! I can't count the times she's helped me to stay focused on my own dream and reminds me that I deserve to set goals and reach them. Hearing about all that she's doing also makes me tired, though! That girl has endless energy. I am so incredibly grateful to call her one of my best friends.

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