by Rick Terry
Unintended Consequences and New Year Resolutions
Happy 2016 everyone! By now I’m sure many of you are deep into the process of reinventing yourself by way of the age old tradition of New Year’s resolutioneering. And perhaps, at least a few of us have already fallen from grace and reverted back into our well worn and quite comfortable roles as willful transgressors. My advice dear reader is to be careful with what you resolve. The law of unintended consequences is alive and well and I speak authoritatively of its effect.
The Resolution that started it all
In my early 40’s I was well into a challenging career and New Year’s resolutioneering was a firmly ingrained habit of which I was quite proud. Backsliding from the enormous list of things I resolved to do each year to become a better ENTJ was also quite engrained, ensuring that my next year’s list would be even more daunting…and soul sucking. Patience please, loyal reader, this story will eventually get to the subject of wine…and perhaps even become interesting.
After over a decade of under-performing on my lengthy resolution list each year, (read serious perfectionist tendencies) I happened across an article that suggested having only ONE resolution annually. This was a very novel and radical idea. I had so many things that needed improvement. How could I pick just one? By this time, I was half of a youngish married couple with small children, and we had developed an almost daily wine habit…also a nightly ice cream habit, which was adding to my waistline, creating yet another resolution that needed attention.
But, as a newly minted convert to the minimalist school of Resolutions, I bravely selected only ONE New Year’s Resolution. I still have all of my annual resolutions for the past 25+ years and this is what our resolution was for that year. “We will drink less, but better wine. By increasing the quality of the wine we drink, we will increase our enjoyment, and therefore, reduce our overall spending.” Both of us signed on earnestly.
As the new year unfolded, all went as planned until maybe February…Yes we were buying better wine (read 750 ml vs. jug). Yes, we were enjoying the wine much more, noticing nuances and varietal characteristics that just didn’t exist in the jugged plonk we had become accustomed to. But we noticed something else almost immediately–we began learning about wines and regions and how to pair it with foods, and we enjoyed talking about wines and sharing wines with friends.
We began splurging for special occasions, and even vacationing in wine country venues. Wine had quickly become much more than a joyless habit, remarkable only for its flabby sameness. And NO, we did not reduce our overall wine spending.
As the years rolled by, resolutions came and went. I became more scientific about my spending patterns. By this time I had improved my wine knowledge and enjoyment, and had even allowed myself the aspiration of owning my own wine business. In preparation for that distant reality, I paid off all my debt and continued to track my spending, still resolving to drink less but better wine (no comment on nightly ice cream).
Under the steely eye of my expense tracking software, the truth was inescapable—I was learning a lot about viticulture and enology (farming and wine-making) and spending a LOT of money on wine! As I consulted with my financial advisor (and my own inner critic) I was always a bit uncomfortable speaking the indelicate truth of the extent of my annual wine spend until my CPA quipped, “Don’t be so hard on yourself. You have no debt and you have a good income. The amount you are spending is not any different than a modest mortgage or car note. Why don’t you just call it your ‘wine note’?” Savvy advisor or enabler? Either way he’s still my financial guy today.
Terry Family Wines
Fast forward a few more years, and many more New Year’s Resolutions, and here I am on January 3, 2016, preparing yet another list of to do’s. This dear friends, is where we get back on task and start to talk about wine. Thank you for persevering with my trip down memory lane. I am sure there is a point to be made somewhere in our very near future.
Oh, yes, be careful with this dangerous habit of New Year’s Resolutions. They can lead you to unintended places, and have strange, unintended outcomes. As for me, I consider myself somewhat of a radical “resolutioneer”. My resolutions this year are: 1. Be kind to all living beings; 2. Gratitude is the central tenant of life; 3. Never, ever compromise on quality; 4. Be authentic, and 5. No regrets. Finally, I’ve checked off the resolution to drink less but better wine.
Now, about our wines. The year 2015 was a perfect year for growing grapes in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Our harvest was plentiful and very high quality. Noted experts claim it was the best crop in the last 35 years. Time and barrel aging will tell. Our 2014 lineup was released in October. All of our 2014 releases are sourced from our estate vineyard. We did not purchase any fruit, preferring to control every aspect of the wine making by using our own carefully tended fruit exclusively.
We now have two Chardonnay offerings, one is a Burgundian style and the other is more of a new world style. Both are outstanding! Only 48 cases made. We also released two 2014 Pinot Noirs which are 100% estate sourced. Tasting notes and critical reviews are forthcoming in the not too distant future. We are very pleased with all of our new offerings …and…Yes, our family is drinking higher quality wines than ever…and… No, we are not eating less ice cream.
Resolve to drink better wine, but be careful, you might find yourself owning a wine business, a major unintended consequence. We still have a few cases of our inaugural 2013 Pinot Noir left. Our 2014 vintage of Estate Pinot Noir and Estate Chardonnay are recently released and ready for your enjoyment. Call me at 503-839-6343 for pricing and availability.