Get Inspired; it’s easy

BTfZpvnCMAEIRFi.jpg-thumbI met a very interesting man the other day, Joel Osteen the pastor of America’s biggest church, a best-selling author whose books spend umpteen weeks on the New York Times best-sellers list and one of the most influential people on social media. I’m neither here nor there when it comes to religion and I’m basically a W/F (Weddings & Funerals) kind of person, so I was highly intrigued as to what draws people to him and why there are so many people looking for inspiration in their lives?

1150772_10151548998151331_772431878_nWe all have hardships growing up, some more than others and I definitely had my fair share, but as things go my life has turned out pretty well. I have a great husband, healthy, smart children who now have amazing lives of their own, friends I love to spend time with and a job I actually enjoy (most of the time). Was it fate, luck, hard work or divine intervention…or maybe a little of everything combined? I can’t really answer that, but it got me to thinking about what inspires me to be happy.

0One can always use more money, vacation time and a thousand other things but as I sit here on this beautiful September afternoon in my garden sipping a cool glass of Sylvaner from Alsace I’m not sure I would be any happier on a yacht harboured by the French Riviera (ok, maybe if I was sitting next to George Clooney).  As I get older I find it’s the little things in life that make me happy, cooking something I’ve always wanted to try, and laughing when it doesn’t turn out.

0-1Uncorking a bottle of wine that turns out to be amazing, like this Remo Farina Montecorna Valpolicella Ripasso from San Pietro, $19.95 at the LCBO. Singing along to the music even though I can’t carry a tune in a bucket or finishing a great book I can’t wait to share with my friends.  I know it’s not always easy to find happiness in a world filled with bad news but take a minute to enjoy the small things in life and I bet it will make you smile.

0-2So kick back, skip the mall and enjoy the last beautiful days of warm weather with your friends, family or even by yourself.  Just for today, don’t count the calories, enjoy a good glass of wine just because you want to and worry about tomorrow when it comes.  Life is hard, but it’s the little things that make living worthwhile so enjoy it while you can.

And while Pastor Osteen might be making millions from his advice I’m happy to share mine for free because we all know money can’t buy you happiness (but darn, it I could probably buy me much better wine).

And while I feel it wouldn’t be right to solicit your donations feel free to send wine as we are always happy to sample something new and give you our opinion.

 

 

Every Family Has A Story

After attending the Cool Climate Chardonnay conference at Brock University yesterday we accepted an invitation to visit the Colaneri Estate Winery in Niagara-on-the-lake.  We’ve been to Niagara-on-the lake many times but never to this particular winery so we were interested to take a look.  We knew it was a family run estate and assumed we would arrive at a lovely house on a vineyard like many other small wine makers in the area.

“Photo by © F.G. Couch”

To our great surprise as we drove up the road we saw a large building that resembled a cluster of homes in a small Italian village.  Even though the building is still under construction the winery is open and promises to be an amazing venue once it’s completed.

The front of the building forms a semi-circle that reminded us of a traditional Italian piazza where guests can mingle in the afternoon sun, sit and enjoy a lovely glass of wine and even snack on a slice of pizza from the outdoor oven.

From design to construction to the tiniest detail this winery is all about family.  Sitting on the original plot of land purchased by Italian immigrants Maria and Joseph Colaneri the estate today, shows what can be achieved when family works together.   We had the chance to meet Betty Colaneri, the daughter-in-law of Joseph and Maria, who took us on a tour and told us the family’s story…how she and her sister fell in love with the Colaneri brothers and raised their families together.

“Cavallone”

She explained how the artwork on the walls of the estate was the same design used for the labels on the various wines.  There’s a drawing for each family member based on their passions and personality but there was one drawing in particular that had us close to tears.  Called “Cavallone”  a nickname given to Betty’s sister, Angie by their mother, the drawing depicts two children clinging to the back of a beautiful horse.  Angie’s illness and recent death is one of the reasons the building is not yet finished because when family means everything you stop what you’re doing to look after each other. Now the drawing prominently placed on an easel with candles surrounding it, is a fitting tribute to a woman Betty says was a driving force behind this amazing winery.

We sampled a selection of wines, all delicious if I may say so myself and then Betty took us to see the rest of the winery that was still under construction.  Passion was written all over her face as she explained the family’s dream and how everything would look upon completion.  She talked about how they would be able to hold weddings and dinners and how she would be the first to cry when a bride finally stood on the balcony overlooking the vineyard.

Colaneri Estate Wine Cellar

Finally she took us down to the cellar where she kept her babies, row upon row of beautiful oak barrels filled with the wines lovingly produced by this family.  We couldn’t leave without buying some of the wine for our own cellars (ok maybe just a wine rack in the basement) and decided on the ’09 Corposo a Cabernet made in the traditional ‘Ripasso’ style and the ’09 Insieme, a rich red blend of Cab Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot.

As we left it was like saying goodbye to family and we knew we would be back to visit again.