Wine, San Francisco, Art.
This sounds like life pleasures — the epicurean kind, doesn’t it?
There must be a very thin line between work and play for US-based Joy Tolosa-Ohler who creates art for an Australian wine company and who enjoys gastronomical trips with husband in a city where dining is never a boring experience.
“I have been spending most of my time on art directing photo shoots—product shots, portraits of winemakers and lifestyle images,” says Joy, who works for Treasury Wine Estates, which has over 80 brands. Their team works on California and Italian brands, while helping execute the promotions and print/web campaigns for their Australian and New Zealand brands for the US and Canadian markets.
“I have done four different shoots, mostly here in California and one in Italy,” she says.
Outside work, wine continues to flow.
“My husband and I love to eat. Who doesn’t? We like to cook elaborate dishes and we equally like to dine out,” Joy says.
“The San Francisco Bay Area is a great place to try different restaurants and cuisines—there’s always something new.”
“Of course being in the wine industry, we like to go wine tasting.” Joy says she and her husband would explore different wine varietals in California. “It’s very interesting how different aspects of winemaking can affect the end product.”
“To balance out our eating and drinking, we also like to hike. Marin County—the area where we live is famous for its numerous hiking trails.”
Living in Mill Valley, California, about 6 miles north of Golden Gate Bridge, Joy says they couldn’t have picked a better place to live. “We love San Francisco but not the hustle and bustle of a big city. Mill Valley is close enough but it’s quiet here plus we get the nature and wildlife that the city doesn’t. We can drive 10 minutes south to downtown SF, 15 minutes west to the coast or the mountains, 30 minutes north to the Wine Country… what more can I ask for?”
“I’m also 20 minutes away from my parents. When I visit them, my mom makes me baon her home cooked Filipino meals. My husband loves my mom’s pancit and menudo.”
Joy doesn’t consider herself a wine connoisseur but she knows her wine. She would look for the right body, acidity and flavor, which dictate the wine’s aspects such as variety, appellation, and vintage quality. “Your palate develops over time, you just have to practice,” she says. For her, the best wine she’s ever tasted is a Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 Beringer St Helena Home Vineyard, but her favorite wine is Etude Pinot Noir from Carneros.”
And why wouldn’t she develop a kind of appreciation for wine? Influence is strong around her since she’s surrounded at work with people passionate about wine and vineyards. But working for a wine company isn’t all fun and play.
“We’re always on a tight deadline and swamped with projects, it is tough being a perfectionist but with experience I have learned to pick my battles,” she says.
Joy’s biggest challenge now is managing a team of two designers and a production artist on top of all the project requests. “I was never trained to do these things but since my boss left, I have to step into most of her roles. It’s tough. All I want to do is art direct and design, but I think this is a good opportunity for me. Lots to learn.”
“I’m in California working for a global company, I don’t think my environment can’t be more diverse than that.”
A sparkling perspective goes with this kind of workplace.
“I have to do my best all the time. I take every project as a challenge and opportunity to grow. When I was a kid I did not care as much about what I do, I just wanted to cross things off my list but my mom told me ‘if you’re going to do something, do it well. If you’re not going to give it your best, then don’t do it at all. You’re just wasting your time and effort.’ Now I’m stuck with this thought in a good way.”
Q&A by Ai Macalintal. Ai couldn’t stay in one place for too long, so she’s always walking, traveling or changing address. She’s been an editor in Singapore and has written for Aussie magazines, but penning stories about the Philippines delights her most.