A “Fine Wine” Kind Of Decision!

Ever want things to just hurry up and happen?

One of my very close friends is in the midst of making a pretty important career decision.  It will change the course of his professional life so he is very concerned about the timing.  He is trying to be patient, but wants the change to happen soon.

We were discussing the situation a few days ago, and at one point he reminded me that he is a “breakthrough” kind of person.  He likes things to go quickly.  Make a decision, take action, move on.

His need for speed reminded me of a lesson I learned recently in a book I’m reading.

The name of the book is “Passion on the Vine” by a man named Sergio Esposito.  He was born in Italy but his family moved to Albany, NY when he was about ten.  His father drank wine with every meal, so Sergio was introduced to it at an early age.  Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 12.36.19 PM

In his early 20’s, he decided to move to New York City.  He got a job there selling wine for a local distributor.  The book is about his journey of becoming the leading expert of Italian wines in the world.  He also owns the largest wine store in NYC!

Every year, Sergio takes several month-long trips to Italy and meets with winemakers.  The book is full of stories of these meetings.  Many of the families have owned the land that their vineyards are on for generations.  His knowledge is amazing and his tales transport you.  It’s a fascinating book.

Anyway, one of the stories he told was about when he was a young man of about 25.  He was already getting well known in the wine industry and mentioned that he was “full of himself.”  He was pretty convinced that he knew everything there was to know, “and possibly much more.”  He also mentioned that in his mind he was a “whiz kid.”

One day he met with an older winemaker named Bartolo.  Sergio wanted to only take a few minutes at Bartolo’s estate and sample a few of his wines, then speed off to his next destination.  So, in short, that’s what Sergio told Bartolo.

This is a quote from the book,

“Bartolo wasn’t into it.  First, it’s hard to be speedy when confined to a wheelchair.  Second, Bartolo belonged to a rare sub-species of human, the members of which are entirely uninfluenced by external sources of energy.  His emotional state persisted despite those around him, as though he were surrounded by a force field of resolution that insulated him from all external anxiety, desire, and chaos.”

Bartolo poured Sergio a glass of wine and then one for himself.

In Italy, it is considered rude for a person to drink before the host tastes his wine.  Bartolo picked up his glass, held it up to a light to look at the color, and then smelled it.  Then he put it down.  He waited a few minutes, picked it back up, took a big sniff of the aroma, and then put it back on the table.

After a few minutes of this, Sergio started getting agitated.  “Drink the wine, old man,” he thought.  He was ready to taste the wine and move on.

After about 45 minutes, Sergio started to get suspicious.  “He’s wants to see how long I can hold out.  Well, I’m not giving in, so he can just play his sick little game.  I’m waiting him out if I have to stay until midnight!”

So for the next hour or so, Sergio sat there with Bartolo.  He gazed at the wine.  He smelled it over and over again, each time finding new subtle nuances.  He looked at Bartolo who was off in his own little experience with the wine.  Sergio went deeper and deeper into the wine as the minutes passed.  He began to really see the beauty of the wine and became engulfed in something bigger than the day he had planned.

After nearly two hours, Bartolo tasted his wine, and Sergio his.  He said he had never experienced a wine like it before.  He knew the wine . . .

Then they shared the bottle together.

Sergio said that it was one of the most important lessons of his life.  By forcing himself to be patient, he had gone deeper into an experience than he ever had in his life.  He had learned things about the wine that he never would have if he had rushed through the process.  He went deep, and he grew in the process.

As he left that day, he thanked Bartolo, and walked out to his car.  He also mentioned this:

“The whiz kid did not come with me.”

Well said!

The lesson learned was that important things are not to be rushed, but to be savored, relished, enjoyed, and treasured.  Sometimes “breakthroughs” take time.

As Carl Jung once said,

“Hurry is not of the devil; hurry is the devil.”

I pray that my friend has this sort of a breakthrough in his career.  That he can take the time to see all of the details, fine distinctions, and subtle shades which make up his decision.  This I know: God has something very special planned for him.  I hope that my friend’s need for a breakthrough doesn’t spoil a great experience.

I hope he sips from the glass when it is ready, not when he is ready.

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