Wine and the Meaning of Life


JimBoLast week Jim Barrett, the founder of Chateau Montelena, one of Napa Valley’s and California’s most iconic and important wineries, died.

Jim’s son, Bo, offered the following observation on his father’s death:

“My dad died of a life well-lived.”

I suppose there are other, more sentimental, more earnest things that could be said about a recently departed soul. One might mention their contribution to their community, their rock solid friendship, their family ties. One could acknowledge their accomplishments.

But this statement by Bo, about his father Jim, strikes me as just about the best thing that could be said about the recently passed. Living life well isn’t the easiest thing. Surely it means different things to different people. But even so, this acknowledgment strikes at the heart of the singular dilemma of human life: There are no second chances and it is easily wasted.

I met Mr. Barrett a couple of times, but he wouldn’t remember me. And yet his well lived life impacted mine in a number of ways just as it did countless others. He did a great deal, more than most others, to help put California wine and Napa Valley on the map. This will certainly be part of his impressive legacy as is, of course, the iconic Chateau Montelena and its wines. But now he ought to be remembered for something else: Raising a son with the good sense to be able to recognize the real meaning of life.

The post Wine and the Meaning of Life appeared first on Fermentation.


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