Passion for Life – Passion in Wine
Recently Raffaella and I, along with a friend, had the opportunity to participate in the pre-opening presentation of a new Central Market. Central Market is a homegrown version of Whole Foods. Each has their strengths. We shop Whole Foods for meat and Central Market for Cheese and wine. Both stores have fresh fruit and vegetables, attempting to source locally, where possible. The presentation was done very well. It is most likely apparent that I strongly support any attempt to improve the quality of food and to bring the production of our food sources back to a local level.
As we walked through the store, danced to the Jazz band and marveled at the mimes, we met some interesting people. People passionate about their life. One such gentleman, a computer software salesman, had just started a small winery in Oregon. As we talked and he expressed his dream to create something of value, I told him of a good friend, a powerful investment banker, who, after 9/11, left his investment career and started a winery in Maryland. He felt life meant more than just accumulating numbers in a bank account. He and his family wanted more. His winery is successful. He produces a quality wine sold only in local restaurants.
This gentleman asked me what I thought of his idea. I tried to express what I had learned from the family producers in Italy. I encouraged him not to try to compete with the Gallo or Yellow Tail type producers. Their model will always be the McDonald’s concept. The same thing every year, lower the quality to produce consistency at a cheap price. A newcomer cannot compete in this market.
Wine is a combination of good land, a good growing season, knowledge, and a tremendous passion. I suggested he forget the industrial production methods, risk the wine clouding a bit, take more time, and always work for the best quality he can produce. In this way he acquire a following, even in the years when the weather is not favorable. Most importantly he has to love what he is doing. Each harvest is a new child to be nurtured, followed with fatherly attention, and loved for its natural characteristics.
This morning Italian Wine Guy wrote about a couple of passionate winemakers from Veneto. Without knowing them personally I can see their passion in the photographs, I understand their way of life and what makes them tick. They are the artisans, the masters. They are not the most profitable of wineries, nor the most famous, but they, or should I say their grandchildren, will be there, producing quality wines, long after the Yellow Tail and Gallo have been forgotten.
Quality of life is about balance. Good food, good wine and good friends are what make us happy. They are our memories, the things we hold on to in difficult times. Quality of life is passion for who you are and what you do. Good wine, which cannot be rated on some arbitrary wine spectator scale, is a compliment to a balanced life. Are you doing what you are passionate about?
Tags: Whole Foods Food and Wine Central Market US Wineries Quality Foods Wine Travel Italy