Like fine wine, life gets better with age: Life lessons learned from a master winemaker

(BPT) – The things you pick up from past generations go well beyond how to catch a baseball and grill the perfect burger – even though those things are important. Traditions and lessons learned from fathers, grandfathers and even friends can be the most important in your life – they’ll shape who you are and how you live, as long as you live. And if you haven’t had the opportunity to ask your elders what they would choose to impart, there’s no time like the present.

The family behind the Louis M. Martini winery knows quite a bit about inherited wisdom. They have been crafting wines for 80 years and three generations – and that’s plenty of time to live and learn. They have learned not just how to pursue their trade, but to become masters – and the lessons they’ve learned over that time apply outside the wine world, too.

Mike Martini, now the third-generation master winemaker of the Louis M. Martini Winery, shares eight lessons from his family’s 80 years of expertise – which you might just learn from, too.

1. Great creations reflect the personality and strengths of the person who created it. Your strengths shine through when you’re passionate about something. Whether it’s your secret-recipe barbecue sauce or the way you play a favorite song on a guitar, your own style will make something not just great – but uniquely your own.

2. There are many different paths to the same goal. Not everyone approaches their work the same way – and that’s OK. As long as the goal is the same, keep an open mind about how to reach those goals, particularly when working with others.

3. You’ve got to learn to make your own mistakes. While you can learn from others’ mistakes, sometimes the knowledge that comes from making your own mistakes can be just as valuable. Don’t be afraid of mistakes; instead, see them as an opportunity to improve.

4. The most fundamental skill is patience. With winemaking, you get one shot a year at harvest, and just about any good wine is worth waiting for. Develop your patience as you would any other necessary skill and in the end, you’ll be happier with the result.

5. If our neighbors succeed, we all succeed. There’s a saying that you’re as only as strong as your weakest link, but if you flip that, you can also be as strong as your strongest link. Over time, the success of any one of us brings all of us up.

6. Perseverance pays off. There will be times in life when giving up seems like the best option – but really, it’s only the easiest option. Stick to your plan through the difficult times and you’ll be rewarded in the end.

7. To master anything, you need to learn everything that goes into it. When times do get tough, you need to rely on more than just surface-level information. A deep understanding will make it easier for you to think creatively, find solutions and excel.

8. If you’re passionate about what you do, the clock doesn’t matter. How many golfers check the clock while they’re on the course? How many surfers abandon the waves to go see what time it is? Not many. If you have a passion for something, it’s no longer work but a pursuit of doing what you love. If your job is something that you enjoy as much as a hobby, putting in the time and effort won’t ever feel like a burden.

Life is what you make of it – you can ignore the wisdom of the years and past generations, or learn and grow from it. Keep these tips from a master in mind – or learn from him in person when classic cabernet meets classic rock in the Louis M. Martini and Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp Napa Valley “Wine, Wisdom and Rock Experience” this August. Join Mike Martini, multiple Grammy Award-nominee Joe Satriani and other rock legends as they explore firsthand the wisdom passed down and lessons learned from making great wine and great rock. For more information, visit or Louis Martini Winery on Facebook.

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