The Magic of Planting the Seeds: A Letter from Vinitaly

The Magic of Planting the Seeds: A Letter from Vinitaly

It’s the most important trade event for anyone concerned with Italian wine, and Beck and I have been regular attendees for several years now.
This time it was different, at least for me.
This time I experienced a very strong sense of “reap what you sow.”
This time, I saw with extreme clarity the results of my actions. Whether it was a chance encounter walking between pavilions or coming out of the restroom, or during a very intentionally scheduled meeting or presentation, or else as part of a serendipitously happy conversation after hours at Bottega or over gin… this time at Vinitaly I could see the long thread of cause-and-effect, like so many beads strung on a meditation mala, one after another after another.
I could make this particular joke with this particular colleague, for example, and we could laugh out loud about it, because of so many conversations before as we built our relationship over time.
I could present a masterclass confidently and enjoyably, partly because of the longevity of my experience writing and learning about Italian wine but mostly because I asked for help from friends who know more about the subject than I do. The cause-and-effect of their experience combined with the cause-and-effect of my own; it was one of their beads, then one of mine, then one of theirs, then one of mine, for an end result that was dynamic and textural, and much more interesting than it would have been individually.
Beck and I together co-led the “Fermati e Respire” session at the close of the first day of Vinitaly, adding another bead to the mala of A Balanced Glass. If Beck could speak with perspective about the community of ABG, it’s because the perspective has been built over time. If I could lead a meditation, it’s because it’s familiar territory. If I could be present and attentive to the person in front of me, it’s because I’ve practiced being present and attentive before.
Each of these interactions at Vinitaly, where the lightbulb of “this is a result of that” flicked on, was a discrete moment, of course. But here’s the thing: they’re each in proximity to another moment, both in the past on one side and in the future on the other. Just like those beads on a mala.
Everything we’ve done and experienced brings us to now. And everything we do now fertilizes more ground for what’s next.
I know you know this already.
This week though, I’d like to encourage you to pause on this thought, and hover over it for a moment.
Notice the intricacy of the web of our interactions. Notice how interwoven they are. Notice the surprises of them, and how the “aha moment” has actually always been there just under the surface; it only took a specific (and fairly miraculous IMO) sequence of this-then-that to uncover it and bring it to the light of day.
Notice the beauty of that. And enjoy it.

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.

The Latest in Military Strategy: Mindfulness, in the New York Times
“Soldiers in several countries, including the US, are being taught deep breathing and meditation techniques to improve focus during chaos.”
Moms to Medical Doctors, Burnout is Everywhere These Days, by Jenny Rough in The Washington Post
“Ninety-five percent of human resource leaders say burnout is sabotaging workplace retention, often because of overly heavy workloads.”

Meet the Tribe!

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

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Shana Clarke, Journalist, Copywriter and Wine Editor, (USA)

Years In Industry:

Officially about four. I was in fashion for ten years and during that time I became very interested in wine. I started a blog (more for myself than for public consumption), began taking classes, and eventually passed WSET Level 3 Advanced. After a near-panic attack over the way models walked down a runway at a work event, I knew I had to make a change, and I knew the move had to be into wine.

My Biggest Challenge To Wellness: 

Being freelance means any time is a good time to work; I have a hard time creating boundaries for “work time” and “play time” and carving out downtime. I often have to beat back guilt on those rare occasions when I reach for a book or the remote and remind myself that breaks are good, even necessary.

How I Keep It Together To Stay Well:  

Daily workouts are essential. I need to start my day with some kind of exercise, whether yoga, a sculpting class, or a good old-fashioned sweat session on the elliptical. When I’m traveling, I bring my TRX (a suspension training apparatus) so I can work out in my hotel room if the place doesn’t have a gym. It sets the tone for the day and I feel more energetic and creative. If I don’t get this time in, my equilibrium is completely thrown off.

I know this may not work for everyone, but when I travel abroad, I don't get an international data plan and I try to only connect when I have wifi; without the distraction of a buzzing phone, I am much more present and engaged. It’s amazing how stress dissipates when I’m not compelled to check email/Insta/Twitter/Facebook every five minutes.

Every January, I create a mantra for the coming year. It’s usually something that I say to myself in a time of stress or self-doubt, and often stems from something I wanted to work on from the previous year. Simply pausing to take a few deep breaths and silently repeating the phrase helps me re-center. 

You can follow Shana on Instagram and Twitter at @ShanaSpeaksWine, or view her work on Also, sign up for Inside Wine at

Let’s Meet Up!

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

Drop a line to or if you are interested in getting together for practice, a chat or a great glass together.

The Tribe Gets A Facelift!

The Tribe Gets A Facelift!

6 Tips to Managing Sickness while Traveling Or, How to Not Be Sneezy Dwarf!

6 Tips to Managing Sickness while Traveling Or, How to Not Be Sneezy Dwarf!