Fresh Start

 

It was sunrise the day after Christmas when I captured the picture above from my son’s kitchen window.  How appropriate that the morning began with a fresh layer of snow.  There is something peaceful about seeing the snow drape the trees. For me, there is no better way to close out 2010. 

With 2011 just getting underway, I can’t think of a better time to clear the slate and have a fresh start.  This past year has been challenging for the wine industry but there are many positive signs that the economy is moving forward. 

I …

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Facing the unthinkable – Sage advice

I was rafting down a river in the Canadian Rockies when I first heard that my granddaughter, Mikyla, had a brain tumor.  It was like getting struck by lightning, how a vibrant energetic seven year old could get struck down with such a serious disease.  I stumbled home as quickly as I could to see a semi-conscious post-operative Mikyla surrounded by balloons, stuffed animals and many relatives.  (Her Dad comes from a big family.)  She had just endured a 15-hour surgery to remove the tumor and had five or six supplemental brain surgeries in the following week.

It has now been …

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Tax changes not final yet.

The news services have been reporting that the 2010 tax stalemate over the “Bush-era” tax cuts has ended in December 2010. 

Are we counting our proverbial chickens before they hatch?

On December 6, 2010, President Obama and the GOP came to a handshake agreement to extend  the Bush-era tax cuts for an additional two years for all taxpayers.  I caution taxpayers that this is just a handshake agreement to extend tax cuts  and not officially tax law. 

We have not yet seen a bill presented and voted on by the House of Representatives or the Senate and definitely not signed by President Obama.  …

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Changes in Lattitude, Changes in Attitude

Maybe Jimmy Buffet had the right idea.

My first trip to Cancun was thirteen years ago during “spring break”.  Neither the accommodations nor the service at the resort at which I stayed made a good impression on me.  I left with no desire to see Cancun or that particular resort ever again. 

Fate, however, had other plans and I recently found myself returning to the same resort in Cancun in the “off season”.  In the interim, the resort had undergone a cosmetic “face lift”.

In spite of my initial  lack of enthusiasm about revisiting the resort in question, I found myself quite favorably …

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Too Many Steps

Wow, what a climb!  Do you ever feel like there are just too many steps before you? On my recent business trip to the East coast I spent a day in Lynchburg, VA to visit family.  While out and about as a tourist I came across these 132 steps.  They serve as a memorial for local veterans dating back to WWI.  As I ascended the  steps and read each of the memorials I began to reflect on all of those who have given up so much, often their …

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The devil is in the details.

The details matter.  Nuances make a difference.  Ask any winemaker in the middle of harvest if another day on the vine can really have that much impact on the taste of their wine. (I advise you to be out of striking distance if you ask that question now, when they are wrestling with that very issue.)

Millions of tiny details are the reason one bottle of wine scores 92 points and another scores 89.  If the world was simpler, our choices would be  black or white, on or off, true or false, and there would be no need to have 51 pages on Wikipedia devoted to …

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Don’t Get Burned

Barrel-making1-400x600.jpg

Where there is smoke there is fire.  Proceed with caution.  Does this sound familiar?  We have seen an uptick in wine sales in 2010 when compared to 2009.  However, before we start celebrating, we need to dig deeper and understand what is happening.  When you begin to look further you will find that 2010 looks like the last half of 2008 when we saw the recession hit the industry hard. 

We are at a critical stage in the …

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Breaking Away

This little fawn sure looks attached to her Mom.  As she grows, the fawn will watch and  learn and pick up all  of the pointers she needs to survive.  Eventually it will be time for her to break away and venture out on her own. 

In the current economy,  the day to day challenges of doing business have caused many owners to rely on instinct.  They resort to practices that have worked in the past. For some, past approaches will prove to be useful.  For others, these approaches could prove to be their downfall.  For example, if you were lucky …

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Language: dividing or uniting?

Language is a powerful tool. When people speak a common language they feel part of a shared experience.  Think about the way you order a soft drink. In the South it’s called a “Coke”, in New England you hear “Pop” or “Soda” . Out here, folks  just go for a “non fat espresso latte ” instead.  But when someone steps up to the counter to place an order you can generally tell where they are from. By having knowledge of the vernacular, you are united with others who use the same language. When you don’t have the right words, you feel …

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Promises, promises.

What makes promises so difficult to keep?   

The dictionary defines “promise” as “a declaration that something will or will not be done, given, etc. by one”.  It sounds simple enough. You agree to do something and then you do it.  So why is it that so many promises are not kept?

Even worse, those who make and then break their promises often don’t seem to feel the least bit of remorse or the need to offer an apology or explanation for having broken their word.  

Currently, the college age daughter of one of my friends …

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