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And that's one of the tough things about winemaking that's really hard for me to get used to. I'm used to solving problems: you see a problem, you solve it; put out a new release of software; work on it harder, think about it, ask people. But in the case of wine, there are some things that are just better left to work themselves out.
NM: Making peace with the process, allowing it to unfold on its own, and seeing where it takes you. Is there any other significant life lesson that you've learned from making wine?
LC: The one thing that I think I've learned is not just from making wine but from being in the wine business with my husband, who has a very different approach to life than I do. I'm very German, very analytic, and the type who can fix anything if I work hard at it, whereas Vince is very Italian, very laid back, and the type for whom life is for enjoying. I might want to spend every single available moment out in the vineyard making it absolutely perfect, but you just can't do that when you have a business and are trying to produce something in any sort of viable quantity. So, from a combination of managing the vineyard, making the wine, and running a business from it all, you always have to be asking yourself, "Am I enjoying life? Am I having fun?" Because that's what it's all about. Otherwise you can work too hard and make life miserable for yourself and your family. I mean, the wine business is already a lot of hard work: we might project this image of sitting under the trees, enjoying food and wine, with not a care in the world, but that's just an image; it's not reality. Making wine is hard work, so you have be sure you're also enjoying it and enjoying life.
It is said that the challenges we come across in our lives are tailored precisely to where we need them the most in order to grow as human beings. The same could be said of Lise Ciolino in her second career as winemaker, coming from her first one wherein she held a vastly different role as computer scientist. Much of the concrete thinking, pragmatism, and empiricism that are valuable assets in building technology can actually confound the practices of viticulture and enology, as they deal with a dizzying myriad of variables in the natural domain and are therefore prone to influences beyond our direct control. Understanding that these influences have a language and set of rules of their own is perhaps the most important step in crafting truly great wines like those of Montemaggiore's. Hearing the story of how Lise and her husband Vince continue to evolve in that process was truly inspiring. To learn more about their story and taste the fruits of their labor, visit Montemaggiore online.