How many of you actually turn your passion project into a profitable business?
Most of us toil away at the job we are told is best suited to us. From the womb to the tomb we plug away, giving approximately 33% away to the man at the end of every fiscal year.
Alright, done with the melancholic rant. While most of us struggle to escape the grind, there are the lucky select few among us who manage to spread our wings and take off.
The runway is long, however, and it sometimes takes years to learn how to strengthen those flying muscles. Nothing good ever came from doing something once and then never again.
An island nothing short of paradise plonked right in the middle of the Hauraki Gulf isn’t a bad start, though. I mean, if it all goes pear-shaped and nothing happens from your pipe dream, you can always channel Castaway and befriend the coconuts in the trees.
While you won’t find coconuts in any trees on Waiheke Island, you will find beaches, ocean views and near perfect wine growing conditions.
The year was 1992, and two ambitious twenty-somethings decided it would be a good idea to try living their dreams out loud. Their plans were indeed zealous: to buy a lifestyle block in the middle of nowhere, set up a vineyard that would (hopefully) grow some grapes, and live off the land.
Now, you’ll never guess the jobs that they’d left behind on the Mainland. I’ll give you a clue: they involved numbers, math, and almost no human interaction.
Both being accountants, it’s no wonder that Robyn and Nicholas Jones sought a way out of life as they knew it. While buying a piece of bare land and living off it with no promise of a profitable harvest sounds tough, staying in the stagnant business of accounting somehow sounds tougher.
Thank goodness they decided to give up crunching the numbers. Thank God Himself that two people who knew absolutely nothing about hospitality or winemaking chose to try both – because it sure as hell has paid off.
Let’s turn to the present day. We’re now clocking in eighteen years since they opened Mudbrick restaurant and twenty years since they planted their first grapes. Nick and Robyn have matured, and so have their plants – although they haven’t given up on trying new varietals.
As you may have guessed, neither shielded their eyes from the sun as they looked back on the Mainland, wishing they were holed up in an accounting office. You also won’t be surprised to hear that neither ex-accountants have grown tired of drinking wine and complementing it with beautiful tasting food.
Mudbrick Winery Varietals
Francesca 2017 Waiheke Island: this 2017 Chardonnay is described as a ‘magnificently complex bouquet.’ It is a flagship, premium variety of Mudbrick. If you have the correct conditions and the stars are aligned, you can cellar this gorgeous drop from 2018 to 2025.
This is a complex, powerful wine with a great texture.
Pinot Gris 2018: Mudbrick’s 2018 Pinot Gris brings together beautiful aromas of quince, apple, pear and geranium petals – of all things. You will experience spice and fruit characters on the palate that give way to a long, crisp finish.
Noble Riesling 2017: we all know the sweetness levels of a Noble Riesling, and Mudbrick’s Marlborough variety doesn’t disappoint. Let me catch my breath before I rattle off the long list of aromas you may experience with this wine: spice, marmalade, pie crust, dried apricot, and lemon curd. Rest assured that all of these are intense.
The palate of this Noble Riesling is rich and powerful that is balanced with a strong sweetness. The finish is long and lingering.
The 90’s were ideal for people like Nick and Robyn who had a bit of startup capital, some gusto and a great attitude towards trading their walled offices for bare land with nothing on it.
While you may have missed the boat – excuse the pun – on the ease of this pipe dream, there’s no reason why you can’t live vicariously through the success of these two math experts. Let’s drink to calculations.
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November 28 • certification
Certification vs. Real-world Experience
A sommelier’s ultimate mission is for people to share your love and passion for wine. One sommelier’s nose and mouth are completely different from the next, so individual smell and taste will differ greatly from one expert to the next.
November 09 • Best Bars
The world’s Best Bars
What makes a great bar? Is it the ambience, the signature cocktails, the music, the history?
From classic to modern, the list of the best 50 bars around the world ...
November 03 • singani
Singani in the U.S., a Bolivian spirit revolution
It was only made for domestic consumption, as it had for hundreds of years. Produced only in the Bolivian high valleys, singani has been distilled since the 16th century when the Spanish arrived in South America. Initially, it was made from grapevines brought by monks who needed sacramental wine. The name for the drink is believed to come from a village near the mission that first distilled it.
September 29 • Bolivian Wine
Bolivian Wine: from the Andes to your Table
Bolivia may not instantly come to mind when one thinks of wine, but the South American country has a long and rich viticulture history that dates back to the arrival of the Spanish missionaries, who first planted vines around the wealthy silver-mining city of Potosi in the mid-16th century.
September 25 • Coffee Producers
The ‘Arabica’ Whisperer
The best part of waking up? Well, it’s coffee, of course.
Humanity truly runs on this beverage that helps millions of people around the world wake up, work and function. And if it’s of the Arabica variety, its delicious ‘kick’ will keep you going strong all day long.
September 15 • Latino Heritage Month
Raise a toast to Latino Heritage Month
The Empire State Building kicked off Latino Heritage Month by shining red, white and green colors onto the New York skylight on September 15 in honor of the Mexican flag.
August 16 • Music
PEOPLE ARE STRANGE: Jim Morrison
Jim was quoted in his poetic nature: “Being drunk is a good disguise.” He said. “It means I can talk to assholes.”
May 31 • Civil rights
Hennessy: The Cognac of Hip Hop & Civil Rights (Part 2)
It’s safe to say we would all agree Hennessy and Hip-Hop are associated with each other in a special way. We would even go as far to say, Hennessy has reached global iconic status thanks to that fact. That being said, while the cognac of hip-hop was catapulted to its iconic stature thanks to the help of artist like Tupac and Nas, what we don’t know by looking at the surface is that Hennessy has a long standing tradition of supporting people of African decent.
July 15 • shots
The First “Shot” Ever Served: A Tale of the West
It’s always a race against the heat in the West. Hell, there’s a score of difference races around here. There’s a race to the riches and a race to the hills where the riches lay. There’s a race to food and shelter and the means in which a man might make to get them. There’s a race to the women and to the brothels and saloons where you can find them at. I don’t look for my women in those places but I often find myself in them for other races. Mine is a race to whiskey. It’s only a matter of time before I find myself in one today.
November 12 • Chile
Todo lo que tienes que saber sobre los nuevos vinos chilenos: nuevas regiones, nuevas variedades y aclamados productores de moda, una SommClass de la experta en vinos Loreto Ruiz.