Wine has developed a following that number in the billions worldwide. Of the beverages of choice offered to mankind, aside from water, wine is one of the earliest recorded drinks in antiquity. And wine in all of its infinite combinations from many regions and in a wide array of smells, fragrances, tastes and strengths, continues to top the lists on menus and in homes around the planet.
I must have been no more than fifteen or sixteen years old when I first chanced upon Winesburg, Ohio. Gripped by these stories and sketches of Sherwood Anderson's small-town "grotesques," I felt that he was opening for me new depths of experience, touching upon half-buried truths which nothing in my young life had prepared me for. A New York City boy who never saw the crops grow or spent time in the small towns that lay sprinkled across America, I found myself overwhelmed by the scenes of wasted life, wasted love-was this the "real" America?-that Anderson sketched in Winesburg. In those days only one other book seemed to offer so powerful a revelation, and that was Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure.
I started with an $18,000 budget in 1983, and sold for $250,000 in 2011. I learned that I didn't have to be nearly as smart or creative if I could steal the good ideas of others. I'll tell you what I learned during my 29 years as a winemaker. Starting a small business is difficult and dangerous, akin to catching a tiger. Once you are on the tiger's back, the power and control you feel are dazzling. Do it for the pure joy and satisfaction of living your life to the fullest.
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