10 Lessons We've Learned Thanks To You

10 Lessons We've Learned Thanks To You

“We’re glad you’re here.”

 That was the simple opening line of our first ABG post one year ago today.

It’s hard to fathom that 365 days ago I pressed “go” on a website platform even though I really had no idea how it would read. I just knew that it needed life.

So 75 collective stories later, and a year in the rear-view, here are 10 lessons we have learned from you during this journey.

1. You have to show up.

Every week. No matter how cranky, overwhelmed, jetlagged or jammed our days and weeks are, it’s you that keeps us showing up. Because we made a promise, and it isn’t one we plan to break anytime soon.


2. You help us keep it real.

You’ve taught us that it’s important not to shy away from the sticky subjects, the icky underbelly or the uncomfortable truths. It’s the stories that are tangible and relatable that resonate the most. From the jungle of selling wine in Manhattan, to inequality in our industry, or the aftermath of Anthony Bourdain’s suicide, you all ensure we keep things real around here.


3. It’s not always easy.

As the unstoppable New Zealand wine icon Erica Crawford says, “some days [life] is just snot and tears.” There have certainly been those times. When the deadlines loom, and your feet drag, some days just plain suck. But the jewel is to get up, dust off and keep on going.  It has never not been worth the effort.


4. You never know your impact.

Sometimes you think a topic will literally resonate off the page, but the response is crickets. Other times, the post you reluctantly put out there comes back with a slew of messages of thanks, appreciation and gratitude. We never know what others are going through, so we just never know what will hit a nerve.


5. When the sum is more than the parts.

Working as a writing partnership has been a gift. While Cathy is details, I’m mind-map ideas. I’m the WHY, Cathy the Why NOT? We can continue to work as we do because of a friendship based on a quiet respect and understanding. Finding a collaborator who is the inhale to your exhale is the best gift you possibly never knew you needed.


6. You’re showing up, and you’re bringing friends.

In 52 weeks, this community has grown to now more than 500 folks on the FaceBook Group, 400 weekly subscribers (if you’re not yet a subscriber simply go here) and every week brings new faces to the fold. Thank you for helping us plant seeds in the global wine and wellness garden.


7. You love gathering!

So many online groups remain just that, but not the ABG tribe. From a room of colleagues practicing breathwork and meditation at Women of the Vine and Spirits in 2018, to early bird yogis practicing at the base of Aspen mountain, and our upcoming “Fermati e Respira” (Stop and Breathe) session at Vinitaly next month, you have shown up in person too. We love to convene with you anywhere you want to go.


8. People are taking notice.

Katherine Cole and her NPR podcast “The Four Top” gave us the opportunity to share thoughts, insights and challenges of maintaining health while working in hospitality and wine. Next month will air our perspectives on wellness, self-care and all things cannabis with the Garden Society poTcast. Finally we are thrilled to share that ABG has been shortlisted for the “Vinventions Award” at this year’s Born Digital Awards.


9. You are a diverse and fiercely loyal bunch.

From New York to Napa Valley, Florence to London, you chime in from all over the world. We’re being stopped at events, and pulled into quiet conversations or messages of thanks. Please know that your sentiments live quietly in a “testimonial folder” that is referenced on the “Nope, it’s not that easy…” days for motivation.


10. We’ve only just begun.

One year down and many more to come.  This project is flourishing in more ways than we imagined. Thank you, sincerely, for coming along for the ride. There are plenty of new adventures in the months and years ahead, including projects, collaborations, partnerships and events.


Please stay tuned. We are just getting started.



What We’re Reading:

There's no shortage of wine stories and media inundating our IN Boxes. Here's what has piqued our interest this week.

Why This Entrepreneur Left Silicon Valley to Return to Ancient Wisdom – Melissa Jun Rowley for Forbes.com

“If ever there was a time to shift to the wellness industry, it’s now.”

The Four Attachment Styles and How They Sabotage Your Work-Life Balance – The New York Times.com

“Our subconscious programming — developed through our youth and on into adulthood — plays a huge role in how we survive or thrive at work. Here’s how your “attachment style” may affect your office relationships.”

Meet the Tribe:

Our community is only as strong as the company we keep, and here we meet some of the dedicated folks who make our profession so dynamic. 

pch bio2018.jpg

Polly Hammond

Managing Director, 5forests (New Zealand)

Years in Industry:

5-20+, depending upon who you ask! My father in law was a marketing director at Southern forever and the business of alcohol had been a backdrop of dinner conversations for as long as I can remember. I was a marketer specializing in behavioural economics and, about 5 years ago, I realized that I was spending an awful lot of my free time helping our friends in the wine industry understand how to communicate with customers in this digital era. 5forests was born.


My Biggest Challenge to Wellness:

My weight, my hormones, my brain. At the risk of veering into TMI, I’m headed toward menopause and my body cannot process alcohol the way it used to. My hormones are going nuts and the last thing I need is something that exacerbates weight gain, bad sleep patterns, mood swings, or any kind of depression. And because women don’t talk about this much, it’s not an easy story to tell when someone asks why you aren't drinking…


How I Keep it Together to Stay Well:

I work hard to be mindful and self-compassionate, especially as it relates to food and alcohol. It’s too easy to consume habitually or unthinkingly and I try to avoid that. But sometimes I fail miserably – because the company was good, or the offering was too wonderful to turn down, or because it was a tough day and I needed to get out of my own head – and I’ve had to learn to be gentle with my self-judgments.

More importantly, I’ve become open with the conversation, even (especially) when it’s uncomfortable. I talk about why I’ve cut back, chick hormones, worries that my daughters grow up thinking this is normal, fears that clients will be offended if I can’t keep up…and suddenly, everyone has a story to tell! And then, we all order tea instead. 

You can connect with Polly on her personal Instagram and Twitter or via 5Forests on Instagram and Twitter.

Let's Meet Up!                                             

As work life has it, we are traveling over the next few months and would love to see you.   

·      Guest Lecturer and Presenter at “Innovation Talks” at the University of Bologna, April 2 to 4 (Cathy)

·      Attendees at Vinitaly in Verona, April 7 – 10 (Rebecca and Cathy)

·      Judge at Concours Mondial de Bruxelles Competition in Aigle, Switzerland, May 2 to 5 (Cathy)

·      Presenter at the London Wine Fair, May 20 to 22 (Cathy)

·      Presenter at the CDO Executive Summit, in Atlanta June 26 (Cathy)

·      Attendee at Fine Minds 4 Fine Wines in Bordeaux, July 4 to 6 (Cathy)

Drop a line to rebecca@abalancedglass.com or cathy@enolytics.com if you are interested in getting together for practice, a chat or a great glass together.

How to Find the Time (and the Space)

How to Find the Time (and the Space)

What the Dalai Lama Doesn’t Understand

What the Dalai Lama Doesn’t Understand