Friday, February 4, 2011

"Be Yourself It's All That You Do" - Chris Cornell

For Christmas I was given a copy of "Reading Between The Wines" written by one of the great wine importers, Terry Theise. I have long admired the Terry Theise portfolio for its uniqueness and stylistic congruency. There's no trash for cash. I finally dove into the book this week and managed my way through the introduction and first 21 pages. It's not a tough read at all. I'm just focused intently on what he's writing and found myself stopping often to contemplate what I read. So far, I've realized two things:
  1. I don't spend nearly enough time reading and writing
  2. I don't spend nearly enough time with my wine geek friends
For quite some time now my reading has been relegated to wine reviews, emails, webinars and retail news and trends. When no one is looking I'll occasionally peak at ESPN Magazine, National Geographic and I'll skim the weekend edition of the New York Times. Having said that, I'm fascinated by the revolt in Egypt and glued to the front page every morning. I'm secretly planning a revolution in the wine industry fighting for the rights of the retailer and consumer alike. More on that later.  But this week, I started a new chapter in my life (pardon the pun). I gave up my car in favor of the Metro North rails and I find myself with two extra hours in my day with which I can do whatever I choose. I've chosen to dive head first into my first passion - wine, not retail (though that's in my blood). Reading the first few pages of Theise's book has given me new hope that not all is lost in this crazy wine industry. There are still some intellectuals that hold on to the dogma that wine is about soul and development. It's a way of life, not simply a part of it. It's not about flashy labels, big scores and marketers developing wines for the masses to show how smart they are and how gullible the consumer is. In just 21 pages, Theise has inspired me to get back to being me. I'll get back to demanding authenticity from wine. I'll get back to having a relationship with wine.

A means to reach that end is to spend more time with my wine geek friends. It's becoming all too apparent that hanging out with such winophiles enriches my life and the lives of others around me. It opens discussions, though heated at times, can only lead to the greater advancement of what's on the shelves at your local store. That's not to say my non-wineophile friends can't join in the fun. We're more than happy to increase the party. Come on over. Just don't call us "elitists" when we start geeking out on the virtues of new wood versus used and whether or not Michel Rolland was a good thing for the industry and wine in general. Instead, ask us questions and if we don't know the answer, let's find out together so that we all better ourselves, our palates and our souls.

For the last three years of my life I have let the retailer in me run the show. And while successes have been had, he's buried the passionate wine lover, the guy who could spend countless hours talking to customers about Joseph Pedicini and how he makes wine the way his grandmother would have. I have some people to blame for that. Of course, that's not to say I lost my passion for the juice. But, I've grown tired of the everyday rig-amoral. I just recently realized the retailer in me morphed my job, my being, my soul, into sales. I never wanted to sell. I never intended to sell. And to those that I sold to, my apologies. I wanted to teach and learn, bottle by bottle. And if you wanted a case, GREAT! My job is not a sales job. Leave that to the discounters, the guys on the phone pushing Silverado to one guy for a chance to sell DRC to another. I'm leaving that game and moving on. My job, as it always has been, is to enrich others lives through the development of their palates. I can't do that with flashy labels. I can't do that with a bloated inventory. I can't do it with shelf talkers. But I can do it by bringing the passionate wine lover back to the front. I can do it with careful selection. I can do it with knowledge. I can do it if the customer will let me. I challenge others to do the same. I know some have already taken the charge. The revolution will start soon. And maybe, just maybe, I've saved my soul. I have some people to thank for that.

1 comment:

  1. Well said. Love what you do, we're fortunate enough to be in a business that affords a greater chance of it.