With apologies to Seth Godin, who is much better at this than I am, his recent post inspired my New Year's promise:
If you work in the wine business and read and believe what the major wine press says about the Livermore Valley, it would be easy to be discouraged. It would be comforting, in a perverse way, to accept that we will always be second-rate. It would allow us to stop competing with the larger world, to only pick off the low-lying fruit that are the folks who already know and are satisfied with what they have right outside their door. We wouldn't have to worry about trying to be as good as Napa or Bordeaux; we would be comfortable being cute...a local wine region whose grasp can't exceed its reach because it doesn't stretch for anything.
We have always thought of our Valley differently. Knowing what we know about the conditions needed to grow great fruit and having a firm idea about what great wine is (hey, our palate is only ours!), we have always known that greatness is possible in the Livermore Valley. It will take a lot of effort certainly. It will take a long time, too. It will take dedication to farming for quality, not for a small profit. It will take the desire to compete with the big boys...the need to prove to everyone that all our ascendancy took was time because we put into place all the other vital things.
It will also take not just an acceptance of risk, but a welcoming of it. We are a podunk wine region in most afficionados' eyes; we must push the envelope and stretch our arms out farther; we must strive to make statements, to make foolish(?) boasts and to work really hard to back them up. The only true glory comes in hanging your ass out over the line and seeing it pay off. This is what the Livermore Valley really could be. We know it...and welcome it.
That ass you see hanging out will be Steven Kent's.