The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Pursuing Wine with Joy in Our Hearts

Posted on | April 8, 2010 | Written by Tom Powers | No Comments

Over the last month I made a point to visit many retailers in my local Chicago market. I was surprised by how many abrupt individuals I ran into. I was also surprised that my industry teems with people who are so quick to dismiss credible products altogether or are eager to tear down the success of another in an effort to make their own work seem better. My intention today is to implore all of us wine professionals to relinquish those unpleasant behaviors and to rediscover those passionate qualities that drew us to wine in the beginning.

For many of us, our love for wine, our joy in sharing it with old and new friends, and our appreciation for the craft of winemaking all worked together to draw us to the industry. Somewhere in some people’s professional journeys, however, many wine professionals seem to have lost their ways. Their thoughts are colored by conflict, their comments tainted with bitterness, and their posture shaped by contempt. They seem to have lost their sense of joy.

Over the years, I have been fortunate to work with many open-minded individuals who approach wine with a high degree of respect, a dose of humility and a passion for the experience. I call these people “soul friends.” I am proud to say that my colleagues at IWM all possess these qualities. On the other hand, I’ve also had the regrettable experience of coming in contact with individuals who can be abrasive, obtuse and argumentative. I call these people acquaintances.

I firmly believe that our lives pose enough challenges and enough conflict that I don’t need to bring this cantankerous behavior into the one area in my life that I look to for joy. Furthermore, I don’t care to share my wine experiences with people who act churlishly. Certainly, many of these people have a considerable amount of knowledge, many hold respectable positions in our industry, and some are even celebrated for their deportment. However, I decided remain pure to what made me pursue wine in the first place: the artistic and communal energy that it fosters.

The haters, those who feed off of the negative energy, have a product whose essence reflects their candor: vinegar.  I say, leave the wine to the lovers. We appreciate it.

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