Over the years I observed this man. He had a burgeoning business, a nice family, more money than he could spend in a lifetime, and plenty of power and influence. He also had an edge to him, something that seemed to gnaw at him from inside. His story fascinated me because his was the story of the American dream. But for some reason it appeared happiness had eluded him.
For my part, I thought I just didn't have enough information. Perhaps he was really joyful somewhere else; climbing a mountain, or sailing a ship in the Mediterranean. The few times I talked to him, he never seemed to be satisfied with how far he had come. Something always seemed to be lacking. Over the years, I distanced myself from him because his unease felt toxic. I didn’t want to lose my love for Italian wine or anything to do with Italy.
Roberto and his sister Emanuele from Florence. They grew up in a time when I did and we share similar experiences of growing up. And it seems we still share many of those similar values. Whether it is conversation about how the stone Tuscan structures were once covered in plaster (fascinating) or the artwork installations in a West Texas town, these relationships make their wine and their stories so much more compelling. I am drawn to them because their stories humanize their wines and the relationships we share. This is such a better way to grow their business.
Joe Sr.. I had never met him. But he is a legend in the wine business. He didn’t know me from Adam, but there he was, interviewing me about his new Italian brand, writing down the answers. And at the end of the evening, he walked in my direction, shook my hand, and thanked me.
This week several of us Americans participated in a seminar broadly covering the subject of bringing Italian wine to America. I don’t know how many times I have blogged about it (a lot) but this past day or two I have something to add, something that might even be good advice for the loneliest man in the world. One word: gratitude. Give thanks occasionally for the folks that have lifted you on their shoulders so you could see far. Feel grateful for all the years the people around you helped get closer to your goal, even if you are not happy that you haven’t gotten as far as you’d like. Show gratitude to the folks around you who are working hard to make you rich, famous and powerful. If you do, you will become wealthier than money can make you. Fame and power will cease to be seductive. And you'll never be lonely again.
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