I often find myself these days using an old expression that I was once rather fond of — “trump card”, only to cringe slightly and wish there was some way to retract what I had just said. Without being hyper-political in what I hope is my good-natured wine blog, let’s just say that the expression has lost meaning for me. With that in mind, I can see how the title of this blog post might raise eyebrows or even blood pressure. Rest assured that this will be quite different from any previous writing that shares its title, first in that it will be brief and pretty much just about wine and my family, and second in that I will write it myself.
Sonja and I have been working with our friend Jerry for quite some time to try to come to an arrangement where we partner with him in his distribution business. What I keep telling people — and this is true, is that the ink is not dry on the deal yet. We are still trying to figure out just precisely what this looks like. So much of business is blue sky, ethereal and intangible things that are nevertheless highly valued. And given that the alcohol industry is regulated to a ridiculous degree, we have to get this right the first time because it will involve a lot of paperwork and registering things with the state that will be later difficult to alter and must be done correctly. So last night, Jerry and Sonja and I sat down… and we kept talking.
I’ll spare you all of the details, but the gist of it is that we all respect one another, and we all have the same goal: to have fun. “This should be fun for all of us,” is something Jerry often says, and I admire him for that. He made his money in flooring, and Sonja and I have full-time careers. It is our collective passion for wine and, more importantly, winemakers, that brings us to this industry. We don’t have to make money — at least not to feed our families, and I think that gives us the potential to disrupt this industry slightly, because we’re at liberty to worry more about the wineries and retailers that we serve, and less about profit margins. So, in essence, that’s my take on deals. Were I to rewrite The Art of the Deal, I’d put someone better looking on the cover (probably my wife) and I’d just jot a few notes that include things like “This should be fun,” and “Be sure to share a glass of wine when talking to potential business partners.”
Last night, the wine we shared was from a winery that I’m helping bring into the state of Nebraska, Alpha Omega, and I couldn’t be more proud of that fact. I consider the winemaker at AO, Jean Hoefliger, to be a friend, and we’re having dinner in Napa next month. He’s a great guy who I met through an interview when I was writing for Vivino, and he is at least part of the reason that I wanted to get into the distribution industry, recognizing that there are so many amazing wines that are not available in my home state and wanting to correct that.
The Alpha Omega Proprietary Red 2014 is a stunner. Straight out of the bottle, the aromatics are almost overpowering, and I could smell the wine well before my nose was in the bowl of the glass. Black cherries and wet granite abound on the bouquet of this deep, dark, ruby wine, leading into a balanced palate of more granite, graphite, black and bing cherry, hints of plum and maybe blackberry, and more. It is complex yet easy drinking, and truly artisanal from the first sip. 69% Cab Sauv, 17% Cab Franc, 9% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot, it’s a big one at 15.5% ABV, but doesn’t come across as “hot” at all. A spectacular wine from a terrific winery and a wonderful winemaker, I’m very proud to be part of bringing this wine — and many others from Alpha Omega, to the great state of Nebraska.
Zooey woke up before my alarm this morning, a little before 4 o’clock. She was wet. I changed her, snuggled with her for a moment, her perfect little head upon my shoulder, and put her back to bed where she happily went back to sleep. She is everything to me. Then I came downstairs to write this. Here’s the real deal: as much as money and obligations stress me out from time to time, people are everything. They deserve to be. I worry about a world in which we’re all so driven by ambition and bottom lines that we don’t take care of one another. I truly believe that if we can step back from those sorts of concerns, worry a little less about maxing our our Roth IRA or getting one more paper graded, one more line entered, one more dollar earned, and just spend a bit more time drinking wine and conversing with one another, we’ll all be better for it. I haven’t mastered these things myself just yet, but I am trying, and I believe that once I have accomplished this, then I will have mastered the art of the deal.
Cheers to valuing one another,