The Business of Passion
We've just returned from two weeks of sun soaked, warm fall days. The vendemmia, or harvest, was in full swing when we arrived, and was finishing up as we left. The lighter and medium reds - Dolcetto and Barbera - were picked earlier and that last beauties to leave the vines were the Nebbiolo grapes, of Barbaresco and Barolo fame. The sweetness of the grapes, after the excruciatingly hot summer, was akin to honey. Most winemakers agree it will be "un'annata stupenda"... a very good vintage.
We spent a good deal of time visiting wineries, because we are starting a new business selling Piemontese wines from small producers in Germany and the rest of Europe. This idea started six years ago, when we were in the middle of a full season at our B&B. Micha and I were walking down our long steep driveway with Max - it was hot and we were booked. He had just returned from having taken guests on a wine tour, and he spoke of the wish he had to help some of these wonderful producers - and human beings - to sell their wines outside of Italy.
That initial idea never went away, and Micha recorded and documented almost all the bottles he opened from that point forward. Once we made the decision to change our lives and sell the B&B, it was clear that we would start a new endeavor - and that we would do it from Germany.
It took us some time to get our feet back on the ground after what was a difficult and traumatic move. Changing everything, from the project and home in which we were completely invested, to country, culture and language is challenging for anyone.
We sifted through various business concepts and decided that an on-line wine business was where we would start.
We're in that very exciting, very scary business development stage where we are planning the initial orders from our hand-chosen wineries (all of whom we know personally) and creating a gorgeous website with an awesomely cool agency. We're running financials and talking about our mission and making sales projections. All of those things you do to launch a successful business.
But at the heart of this project is a mission - and that mission is to give an international platform to winemakers who make exceptionally wonderful wines, from a region to which we lost our hearts over a decade ago.
It's scary to be starting something at an age where most people would be counting the days to Social Security. It's not easy to learn about SEO and renting pop-up stores and the best way of planning events throughout the country. We could, conceivably, just not do it.
But what fun would that be? Where is the learning in that? Where is the joy of possibility?
So we're going for it. One day at a time, one grape at a time.
I'm proud of us for trying, and for creating something that touches on all the things we have ever done or loved or lived through. Our goal is to work at something that isn't really work for us, and through that to create something special and beautiful and meaningful. And to do that until we can't anymore.
After all, what is better than living your passion?
p.s. I of course am still creating art. It is my ying to all of this business yang. I am one lucky girl.