WineMaking vs. WineSelling

The cellar is one thing. The marketplace is another.

I leave the house early. My first appointment is at 10:15, but I’m ahead of schedule and three more potential clients have called to confirm ‘an interest’ in tasting our wine. Ten minutes later, I get two more calls. My day just got jammed up and I might not have enough wine to go around.

I get to the first meeting. I’m assembling my selling effects in the parking lot: cork-puller, technical sheets, business cards … when it hits me. I’d much rather be in the winery, in the cellar, with my nose in a beaker of Chardonnay.

Then I see the client, a close personal friend actually. I smell the water in the fountain splashing; the aromas from the kitchen wafting. This is where it all comes together: the earth, the seasons, the wine. It happens in a single handshake, in the exchange of a joke.

Moments later, the wine is before us. Business abounds. It’s the dance of winemaking in another forum. There are no grapes here. The grapes have been beaten. The question is, how much?

How was the wine made? How well was it cared for? How often was it topped up? How often was it stirred? One discovers this by flavor, by enjoyment.

Does the client enjoy the work that went into it? Do the numbers make sense? At the winery, as a load of grapes came in, I might be asking myself the same questions: Are the grapes in good condition? How can I make them work for our program? What is the best course of action?

Truthfully, I think of the handshake, the enjoyment on the client or customer’s face whenever I make a decision in the winery. It’s just not that often that I’ve had an opportunity to see it.

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