Creating a Rare Vintage – Decanting Wine, Life, and Relationships

This will be my last Rambling Blog post until mid-September. Summer is a good time to recharge and let simmer much of what has been written over the past 14 Ramblings. Let the messages and reflections ferment. Mid-September will be the start of a new chapter in my Ramblings, transitioning from what I have learned and self-assessments I’ve made, to observations and experiences concerning the wonders of life.Black LineSome of my favorite memories and trips are the visits I’ve made to Napa Valley in Blog Post Photo 1California. Although I have learned a great deal about wine I have found there is still a great deal to learn and understand as to the delicate and subtle ways water and grapes are nurtured to create something wonderful. This is much like life, relationships, and faith—a constant journey to grow, learn, and mature.

It is this reflection that prompts this Rambling about wine and relationships. It takes patience, interesting ingredients (notice I did not say great, I truly mean interesting), mistakes, trial and error, effort, desire, collaboration, and nurturing to make something great, whether it is wine or relationships.

What I learned from Napa is that wine has the potential to be a rare vintage if you have patience and allow it to decant, you know, to breath. Isn’t that much like life? There needs Blog Post Photo 2to be good, interesting ingredients, respect, and substance and with that as a fundamental foundation, in the process, there are surprises in the outcome of the wine. This is how it is in life and relationships—outcomes we often did not expect until we seriously nurtured the aroma, body, and subtleties of the taste of the evolving creation (and relationship).

I have learned there is a subtle difference between good wine and great wine and the
difference to get the result takes incredible effort and nurturing. It takes desire, it takes patience, it takes science and it takes some very subtle yet incredible level of collaboration (communication). If it’s all done properly, the outcome can be so amazing and savored (especially if paired with a little chocolate J ).

As you peel the “skin” back on wine making you discover something amazing and special, something that you did not expect—again, so similar to deeply personal relationships.

In some cases, keeping the skin on the grape is what is needed, yet there are times, if you are looking for something REALLY special, you take the skin off and you peel back into the soul of the grape to make the great wine, just as you do in great relationships.

As with winemaking and sampling, in life and relationships there will be surprises, both good and those that make you pause and take a big step back—setbacks you may say. You take a pause and let the wine and relationship breath, let what had developed—that still needed some work—to breath. Letting it breath brings out the substance of what was yet to be fully released, enjoyed, and experienced.

Digging deep into the intimacy of the relationship with amazing, intimate, and honest communication is the very act that creates something unique, treasured, and seldom really experienced.

There is a choice: Stay true to the foundation and work through the learning curve with a well decanted breather—a wonderful technique unique to every wine and relationship. OR, let the communication breakdown, forget the foundation, bolt and run, or in some cases allow the wine to turn to vinegar not allowing for the gift of what had been fermented. It’s like sending the wine back for another bottle before it has been decanted—giving up on what could have been one of the great vintages of your wine experience only to discover that the next bottle was not near what the first could have been after allowing it to fully mature.

A Facebook friend just posted this about a relationship that apparently had a superb foundation (was fully decanted) and was allowed to flourish into an amazing never-ending joyful life together:

June 7, 1974, the day I thought was the happiest day of my life. It was so short-sighted! Barely 20 years old, I couldn’t imagine what saying “I do” would unfold . . . I only knew I loved Gordy and didn’t want to be without him in my life. It has been said that “hindsight is 20-20.” Today marks 42 years of married life and I can clearly see the happiness grew as each moment of “I do” continued. I am so grateful that my retiree continued his “I do” and we have experienced countless “happiest day of my life together.”

So what is all of this wine, life, and relationships rambling about? (Replace the word, “wine” below with “relationship” as you read this as this Rambling was not about wine!)

  • A great wine takes unbelievable effort to create unbelievable JOY (not just happiness)
  • A great wine takes a vision
  • A great wine takes patience
  • A great wine takes nurturing
  • A great wine has its flaws that need to be re-engineered collaboratively
  • A great wine takes time and fine tuning along the way
  • A great wine takes maturity
  • A great wine requires time to breathe to bring out the best
  • A great wine needs to be uncorked
  • A great wine needs to be decanted
  • A great wine needs to be savored and enjoyed, not taken for granted
  • A great wine sometimes requires a new harvest of grapes from the same vine
  • A great wine needs to be watered and the grapes not picked too soon
  • A great wine needs to be paired—with a compliment—that on the surface may not be seen

Reflect on this and use it as a template or conversation tool in your relationships and see how they can become a great wine—a vintage that will be enjoyed and treasured for eternity.

Enjoy and savor the wine of life! And I will see you this fall!