As a part of life
The story commenced in 2002. One night, my father questioned about my intention of running a family business and I asked him to tell me what it was. This is how I took over the winery.
Unlike Dad, I have led a relative stable life. Born and growing up in Hong Kong, I received the bachelor degree in the U.S.A. and had a good job at Goldman Sachs HK.
In fact, it was great to be hired by Goldman Sachs HK, and I enjoyed the premium business trips as well. Such lifestyle was too good and I came to realize how empty such life was since it lacked ideals and goals. At this point, my father invited me to helm the winery.
Dad is unusual, bringing us to fish during typhoon signal no. 8 in Hong Kong, taking us outdoors for fun on the day before the test was held without notifying Mom. My major in women’s studies and psychology was a taboo to the clan owning and running the family businesses since majors in business administration and accounting are the sole option. Still, he was on my side and told me, “My little girl, you have my support as long as you are into it and determined to do it well.” His words moved me a lot.
It is wonderful to work with Dad, which drove me to leave Goldman Sachs HK. Due to shared ideas and features of father and daughter, we enjoy ourselves by having fun and being dreamers. Indeed, money does matter and few dare to deny the importance of it, but it is fortunate that 2 dreamers fond of winemaking are free to pursue a shared dream since money is never a concern. Our dream is to make a premium vintage representing local terroir in China.
This is never a slogan to me. Other wineries aim at the Top of China, Leaving China and the Top of the World. On the contrary, my only wish is to see my guests enjoy the vintage with bright smile and joy on the face deeming China’s vintage as a fine wine. Some might ask, “Why do you fail to export your vintages?” and doubted the quality concerned. The winery aims at winemaking for local Chinese and would like to keep the premium to itself. Dad and I have exactly the same idea.
Frankly speaking, helming the winery was a nightmare to me in the first place. I took over at my 24 having the coworkers senior to me. Shanxi and drinking were strange to me. I just gave birth to my first baby. I was totally lost and defeated, and therefore asked Dad for help. He replied instead, “You have a bachelor degree and I taught you so much, so go ahead and solve the problems with your ideas. As long as the loss is acceptable, we can start it over anytime.” How sweet and nice Dad is!
That time was hard since I never found it hard to sell wine, but most customers rejected our vintages with low prices. Also, the workplace in China was new to me and what was learnt in HK failed to work anymore, so I had to learn everything from the very start. The sommeliers and I never shared the same opinion and comments in wine tasting. My sole salvation was strolling in the vineyard since the orange sky at sunrise and the starry sky at night saved me and let me forget the obstacles.
In the beginning, wine meant little to me, but now I cannot carry on without it. Wine is a wonder that drives you crazy. It is said that wine is a fruit of civilization as well as a lubricant to interpersonal interactions. I am happy to have good wines and warm talks with my close friends in my private hours. The simplest is the happiest. Last year, we celebrated the 10th anniversary and Asia Times Weekly says, “What shall be achieved by a winery in few hundred years is now achieved by Grace Vineyard in ten years.”
We are happy and content to see our dream actualized.
Unlike our competitors in China, we chose to take the road less traveled. The upscale hotels and high-end consumers accept the vintages made by Grace Vineyard without fierce propaganda and advertising.
“Fine winemaking requires long-run deliberation and implementation over generations”, says Dad, so I know that Grace Vineyard is confronted with challenges and global acknowledgements are granted to premium vintages only. Still, it is never a dream as long as the clan never compromises. If I fail to finish such task prior to my death, my daughter will with perseverance and dedication to oenology.
I have 2 children of 3 and 5. I play with them although I fail to cook for them. We have good time at the vineyard and enjoy wine tasting by smell since I want to teach them what is good to life in the childhood. Schools never teach you to enjoy the goodies as a part of life in the first place.