Since our visit to Napa, I’ve been on a bit of a learning expedition about wine. My education took me to a couple of novels or memoirs, including one of my favorite books of the year: The Road to Burgundy by Ray Walker.
The book is the story of a young man who left his stable job in the world of finance to pursue his love of wine. With an internship at a California winery and one harvest under his belt, he travels to Burgundy, France to buy grapes and start a small winery. What seemed like a far-fetched dream became reality for he and his family.
The story was entertaining and inspiring, but I want to share three key takeaways.
1. Supporting someone else’s dream is just as important as following your own. I’ve never met Ray Walker (though I now follow him on Twitter), but he seems blessed to have an awesome wife. I was impressed how he wrote about her throughout the book.
On more than one occasions, she challenged him to pursue the dream, offering tremendous emotional support along the way. I think most dreamers have people like this in their corner. But if you don’t, you can be this type of person to someone else. If you want people to support your dream, maybe you should support other people’s dreams. Not only was his wife supporting, a financial backer used some of his resources to tangibly support Walker’s wine-making dreams. Whether it’s words of encouragement or checks, a lot of us are in a position to help someone else.
2. Sometimes, you have to pass on something good so you can end up with something great. As Walker stepped into the wine-making business (first in California and later in France), he learned how difficult it was to source grapes for wine-making. People with great grapes didn’t want to sell to beginners. At one point in the story, he had a line on some lesser quality grapes. His wife (there she is again) reminded him that if his dream was worth pursuing, it was worth pursuing correctly. “What do you really want?” she asked. He realized what he really wanted was grapes from Burgundy.
3. Pursuing your dream is more about hard work than it is romance. Follow your heart. Pursue your dreams. Start something special. All of this is great advice, but most of the time it leads to bankruptcy. Dreaming is important, but if you want to realize your dreams, it’s going to take hard work.
I was impressed how hard Walker worked to make his dream happen – from learning French to researching ancient wine-making techniques, to dropping everything and heading to the vineyard with 20 minutes notice, to enduring the endless amounts of paperwork required to set up a business in France. Some amazing things happened along the way, but this dream took a lot of work. When we add a little hustle to our hope, great things happen.
The Road to Burgundy is a fantastic book, and I highly recommend it to anyone.