Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Late-Blooming Vintners

Hans Wilhelm, a well-known children’s book author and illustrator with over 35 million books in print, e-mailed me the following "late bloomer" story about his in-laws:

My in-laws were in their sixties when they totally changed their lives.

They were in California, having a wonderful bottle of wine at a local restaurant. When they commented on its high quality (they really know their wines!), the restaurant owner told them that the wine was local and that "the vineyard happens to be for sale."

The next day they visited the vineyard. Even though it was completely run down and hardly operating since the original owner had died, they bought it on the spot—without knowing a thing about how to run a vineyard.

They put all their love, time, and money into it and made it into California's most celebrated organic boutique vineyard.

Today this vineyard has won almost every medal there is, and the New York Times recently reported that it produces the best Chenin Blanc in the whole country.

You can read all about this on their website: Heller Estate Vineyards - Monterey Wine ( www.hellerestate.com).

I need to mention that before they became vineyard owners, my father-in-law was a banker and my mother-in-law, an artist. Many of my mother-in-law's sculptures are displayed on the vineyard.

NOTE: The Heller Estate Wine Club label pictured above depicts one of Wilhelm's mother-in-law's sculptures.

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