People shared the following wisdom – not about wine, but about life – during conversations for my book Vino Voices (now in paperback).


“People work for one of two reasons. One: to make their wealth. Two: to fill their heart with wealth.”

Bill Wilson – Proprietor, Wilson Creek Winery, Temecula, California, USA


“You know Zen? Japanese. Something very slowly. The rhythm is in the moon, in the sun, the nature. You can do nothing against this.”

Carolos Costoya – Owner, Costoya Winery, Ribeira Sacra, Spain


“In a situation when things go wrong in a small community, a lot of people come together and make a big difference. That’s one of the great things about living in a small community. You’re really connected with people.”

Autumn Millhouse – Author, Napa, California, USA



“I’d rather under promise and over deliver if you know what I mean. Well I reckon’ that’s the way forward.”

Summer Bell – Winemaker, Stonyridge Winery, Waiheke Island, New Zealand


“You say, ‘I can’t.’ Then you say, ‘Well, yes, I can.’ You say, ‘I couldn’t,’ but then you say, ‘I’m going to see whether I can.’ It gives you enthusiasm.”

Flavio Fenocchio – Winemaker, Marchesi di Barolo Winery, Barolo, Italy



“I woke up one day and thought, ‘Okay, I bought a house, I’m here, I’m unemployed. What do I love, what do I want to do that would be cool?’ This is what happened with that thought pattern.”

Windee Smith – Proprietor, Valley Wine Shack, Sonoma, California, USA


“Serendipity? I think that’s for anyone who’s open to what the universe sends them.”

Les Kellen – Proprietor, Villa Saint Simon Guest House, Blaye, Bordeaux, France


“Innovation is the way forward in life.”

David Lehmann – Winemaker and Owner, david Franz Wines, Tanunda, Australia


“It’s all about not forgetting that you don’t stand here today having accomplished it all on your own. You’ve done it through the help and support of other people. It’s about what goes around comes around.”

Norm Benson – Winemaker and Owner, Dark Star Cellars, Paso Robles, California, USA



“I did what I had to do. I proved that I will succeed, and I can succeed, and I don’t need a man to do it.”

Robyn Drayton – Winemaker and Former Owner, Drayton Wines, Pokolbin, Hunter Valley, Australia


“People don’t realize that today you need something extra. Like good music. Like having time for reading. Or eating. Something extra. Something like a slow life. That means you have the time for appreciating wine, music, lots of things. These are things we need to indulge in because they’re healthy, good, stable.”

Alvaro Arriagada – Winemaker, Casa Donoso Winery, Talca, Chile



“I love teaching. You watch these people who are so lacking in self-confidence and so wanting to learn but so scared to ask questions. And you watch them turn into confident people who can evaluate and critically analyze and think. That’s what makes me happy. That’s why I do what I do.”

Marianne McKay – Lecturer, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa


“My philosophy that I share with the family is it should have some support and encouragement – divinely – in that you should be good at it. The way that you know you’re good at it is you think you are. That’s one thing. But if other people think you are, then it’s not just in your mind.”

“Give me a passionate person in anything they’re doing. I want a passionate airline pilot. I want a passionate chef and a passionate winemaker and a passionate brain surgeon and a passionate dentist who’s not thinking about earning ten thousand dollars, but wants to do the best he can. I consider it a good day when we encourage the best in others because that brings out the best in us.”

Peter McDonald – Farmer and Musician, Finger Lakes, New York, USA


“My husband said, ‘If you can read a book then you can be whatever you want.’ ” 

Zlatka Cvetko – Co-Owner, Kogl Winery, Velika Nedelja, Slovenia


“Work’s never really been much of a grind for me, because otherwise, why do it?”

Samantha Scarratt – Winemaker, Wither Hills Winery, Marlborough, New Zealand



“For us, rather than always being first, it’s more important being among the first three, because if you are consistently among the first three out of ten or fifteen… that’s a big result.”

Mauro Gamba – Co-Owner, Botti Gamba Barrel Producer, Castell’Alfero, Italy


“Balance. You want balance at the end of the day.”

Shaun Turnbull – Winemaker, Stone Hill Wine Company, Hermann, Missouri, USA


“You have a company. You have an image. If you make a mistake in one market with a big customer, that can be known nowadays in all the world. So you have to really work the best you can so that you will not have problems. Otherwise your image will be compromised.”

Filipe Brandão – Manager, J. Tavares corks, Santa Maria de Lama, Portugal


“There’s the being your own boss, entrepreneurial side of things, where you’re building it. The reward is that satisfaction of starting a business, being successful in it, making a good product, and then you get immediate validation from the customer – whether or not you met their needs or didn’t.”

Jason Gerke – Co-Owner, Jowler Creek Winery, Missouri, USA



“I don’t want to get sucked into a job that’s too comfortable. I’d rather be financially a little uncomfortable…and find the right opportunity.”

George Stevenson – Chef, Seattle, Washington, USA


“My goal is to get people what they want. To give a little education, but not preach. Listen to your customer and show them something new. The non-pretentious sort of path.”

Clint Hillery – Sommelier and Wine Bar Owner, Sydney, Australia


“I am independent with my own business. I say always to my employees, ‘I work harder than you, longer than you, but I must have time for people.’ It’s important to have time for people and not say, ‘Okay, we have five minutes.’ I think it’s very important. It’s a way of life also.”

Louis-Bernard Emery – Owner, Cave Emery Wines, Valais, Switzerland



“It’s about composition, not about numbers. Somebody asked Mozart one day, ‘How many parts in a requiem?’ And he looked at them and said, ‘Well, there are enough of them and they’re in the right places.’ ” 

“There’s inherently nothing that’s perfect. Everything can be improved on, ultimately. But the purpose of wine and books and art and music is…they encourage people to go and search for more. Especially young people. It’s like in art, Cezanne and Gauguin are of course obtainable by a rich person, but they inspire other people to do better than they would otherwise have done.”

“Everyone is great in their own way, and they are different. They are original and have their own quality. It’s the composition that matters. It’s not how many words. They don’t sell books by the weight in kilos, thank God.”

Danny Shuster – Wine Consultant, New Zealand



Leave a Reply

Close Menu