Friday, February 12, 2010


I just finished Malcom Gladwell's wonderful book, What the Dog Saw, and one of the essays underscored a thought I was having about Lineage. Gladwell was describing his conversation with a playwright who had used some of his material, without attribution, for one of her plays. His immediate outrage at the act of plagiarism, upon reflection, turned to very thoughtful discourse about how the concept of plagiarism can change depending upon the way the work is used or what it becomes.

Gladwell wrote that though the playwright used roughly 650 words worth of phrases from his work, the way she used them was so wonderfully different that the phrases became just simple bricks in a beautiful edifice. What became important to Gladwell was the difference between something that was transformative and something merely derivative. 

While plagiarism doesn't exist in the wine world, there is no lack of "me-too"-ism especially in regard to the production of ultra-luxury wines like Lineage. The mission for me is the same thing that became acceptable for Gladwell...I am out to transform the idea of the Livermore Valley from a quaint, average-quality wine region to one that can compete with and be compared to any great region in the world.

To be certain, the best Bordeaux blends from California owe their inspiration to those from France. But, the similarity between French and California blends ends at the grapes used to make the wines. In the same vein, Lineage will be different from the blends made in other parts of California. It will have its own structure, its own way of expressing the intricacies of five different grapes. And, in my opinion, it is in those differences that the greatness of wine lives.  


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