Your New Year is like a Wine Making story

by Cool Things, Food, Wine

I met in person 5 amazing men during 2016 – Tony Robbins, Seth Godin, James Altucher, Ramit Sethi and Daymond John. All of them inspired me to create even bigger aspirations for myself and I would like to share at least 10 things on my blog, that I have learned from these big 5 men. Before summarising their wisdom, I thought that this simple metaphor would be a way to understand what is Life Making through Wine Making.

Your New Year is like a Wine Making story

When we start a new year, we are full of energy and determination to get things right this time, or to make them even better, or just to accomplish something, that we have procrastinated. I am coming from a family of wine makers and yes, I think our life cycle is like a wine making story, because it is a unique Premier Cru blend of passion, knowledge and labour of love. In winemaking there are few stages that are crucial to structure and specific steps, important to follow.

You get to decide and commit first, how much you want to produce, do you want to start with small steps or do you want to get few big stainless still barrels and risk it.  Also decide would you buy the grape, or to grow your own vineyard?Choose what is your focus – growing and making or just making it.Once you have decided how much litres of red and litres of white you want, it is time to research. You need to find out who can give you the best lessons and the best advice. Ask great winemakers, experts and sommeliers. Ask specific questions, ask what grape variety is best and cheaper to buy, what region has given the best Vintage, how to blend them, where is the best market to go and negotiate.

Then clear the canvas and put the agenda. Deadlines and specific tasks should be on the calendar.In winemaking you depend on the season, the quality of the grape, the weather and your personal discipline. Some of these are in your control, many factors are not. Get to understand it and prepare yourself, so you don’t get frustrated later. You will need to consider these dependencies and create a risk log, as well as the right mitigation actions.

Next step is to purchase the right equipment, import if you need top quality yeast, or oak, or cork, hire resources. If you are not there the wine will ferment too quick, or will be suitable for vinegar only. Ask yourself who do you work with, what qualities you want to bring out of these people?  Do you want them to know how to make wine or you want them to be good at following your agenda. Resources may be not knowledgeable about winemaking, but passionate enough to learn. Friends of mine, who already produce wine are saying that this is a very therapeutic process, it needs full focus and concentration. In winemaking care and attention is a must and total focus is crucial.

Winemaking is a very scheduled collection of activities. You need exact timing for everything, plan of the actions to avoid delays. One day earlier of one day later and the taste can be damaged. A degree more or degree less than recommended, can make the taste sour. Measure the alcohol levels, the sugar levels and the temperature of the cellar every day, measure your effort every day. Plan the next day.

I watched recently Rick Stein, visiting Bordeaux, saying that he hasn’t seen an unhappy winemaker. What makes the Wine Making special is the passion of what you do and the sharing of the end result. The story of your engagement, effort, the story of your learning and the relationships around the process.

My grandad, who was a great winemaker, has told me that he talks to the wine, that there is a deep connection between him and the magic of making wine and yes… some years the results are not as expected, the taste is not smooth and flavour not so rich. But my grandad gave his best shot and most importantly he learned something new every year, which he will implement next time.

What I remember from all these years is the late October days on the Danube river, when we all get to together to try the “new wine”.

This is what gives the meaning to everything – sharing this divine taste,  the celebration of winemaking, the celebration of finding your passion.



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