There are many people who have dreams and once in a while their dreams converge with yours. It isn’t really anything more than water in the river, but isn’t it a good thing when one is recognized for their efforts? Brian Larky is one of those with a dream. And when I met him in the very early 1990’s, I honestly thought what he was talking about was just another scheme. Call me cynical, or distracted, or arrogant, but I never thought he would have the stick-to-it-iveness to do what he did.
What he did was to bring together a stable of iconic wineries in Italy, aligned them with his dream, and proceeded to assemble a company dedicated to growing the Italian fine wine business in America. Old friends, Selvapiana, Badia a Coltibuono, Marchesi de Gresy and Vietti among them. Wineries I sold in the 1980’s and thought I’d never get to be part of their world. But Brian had a dream, a crazy, California kid dream. And maybe Italy lured him into her web too? Whatever the mechanism, now Brian can look at all of those who thought he was a crazy kid with a wacky dream (me amongst them) and he can have the last laugh.
And laugh he loves to do. The guy really has brightness about him, and I’m not just talking smarts. Oh, he has that. It’s as if Italy saw something in him and lassoed him into the big dream of Italian wine growing into the dominant imported wine category in America. Or maybe it was mutual. However it was so arranged, there are a lot of winners because of it.
Dalla Terra’s website and see for yourself. I have been visiting the wineries in the last year, in Alto Adige, Piemonte, Tuscany and the Veneto and my mouth waters at the thought of these wineries. Maybe I am speaking out of order, for I work in the business and come into contact with a lot of different models. I don’t think my enthusiasm for Dalla Terra should take away from the other folks out there trying hard in their way. At least that’s not my intent. Really it’s more like a re-union than anything. And I am just happy because of that.
So to those of you who keep me young and hungry, thank you. Italian wines are a metaphor for something in life I quite haven’t figured out. But with folks who are at the top of their game and who keep me in their court, this wine trail business stays interesting and engaging. I love it. And I am forever in the debt of those who keep me in the game.