Following your passion, stepping outside the box, not letting fear keep you from being the person you want to be, and living each day to the fullest is the hope we all have for ourselves. Especially now. Over ten years ago I stepped away from the corporate world as a successful executive in the media industry to follow a passion I held for wine.
I love the story of it, I love the taste of it, I love the history of it, the travel, the adventure. It is rare, and rather scary, to abandon the world you know and are comfortable with, to begin something truly for the love of it.
When John Shafer uprooted his life as a successful businessman in Chicago to move to Napa Valley to make wine, some might have thought he was crazy. He had never been a farmer or a winemaker, but he had an idea and the passion, driving him to create one of Napa Valley’s premier wine estates. The timing was perfect, as in 1973 Napa Valley was still finding its modern self, making it the ideal time for a new adventure to begin for Shafer and his family, so at the age of 50 he and his family made the move, and never looked back. Shafer Vineyards Napa’s Stags Leap District and quickly began producing some of the region’s finest earthy, robust, bold, and delicious Cabernet Sauvignon.
TD-9 is their latest creation, honoring that adventurous spirit, as John Shafer went from riding trains to work, to riding a TD-9 tractor to work, giving up suits and ties for denim shirts and straw hats. 2018 Shafer Vineyards TD-9 ($60) blends 56% Merlot with 23% Cabernet Sauvignon and 21% Malbec creating a red plum, black cherry, and red berry-filled palate bursting with vitality. Aged 20 months in French oak, the wine has a succulent lushness and easy approach, with soft tannins, layering in toasted baking spice, and red licorice.
Every day since I left the corporate world, or what I call “the real world,” the only thing I miss is the paycheck. I say it is the “real world” because the opportunity to do what I love, to write and speak, telling the story of great wines and wonderful winemakers, is a gift, not a job.
Right now so many people are redefining themselves, stepping into new roles, taking new adventures, and frankly, if you aren’t going to do it now then when will you, as this year has certainly showed us every minute of every day is precious. Something to think about. Enjoy this special wine when you do.