Daily Practice and the modern wine professional

An article in the New York Times about James Alutcher caught my eye. His story is pretty dramatic, and though I disagree with several key things he espouses, I found myself drawn toward his idea of the Daily Practice.

As covered by the New York Times:

A key tenet of the book is the Daily Practice, a wellness regimen that comprises the physical (eat well, try to go to sleep by 9 p.m. and rise by 5 a.m., break a sweat for at least 10 minutes a day), emotional (be around people you love, who love you), mental (write a list of 10 ideas each day to exercise the “idea muscle” before it atrophies) and spiritual (feel gratitude every day).

He calls them the four pillars of happiness. “A chair needs four legs to be stable,” he said.

I like systems myself, and the Daily Practice is a system. I’m drawn to it for the goal of happiness and/or “self-completion” (a word I just made up but I like it). And we can take ideas inherent in these types of systems and apply it to the life of somebody in the wine business.

What can you do for just a bit every single day to improve yourself and your career in the world of wine?

The answer will be different for everybody, but let me tell you about something I do. There are three massively powerful wine books out there:

Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding, and Jose Vouillamoz.
The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson and Julia Harding.
And The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson.

The links I provided go through Amazon, but don’t buy them there. Buy them through Apple’s iBooks store (I’m assuming here you have an iPad). By having those three books downloaded onto your iPad, you have the world of wine information at your fingertips. You can be in an account and read about anything in the world of wine (in a much cleaner and more effective way than a Google search), you can whip out your phone when you have some down time and learn about odd places and cool varieties. You can screenshot maps to use in staff trainings. The possibilities here are endless.

And for the Daily Practice? Open each one of those books in the morning and learn one thing from each one. Takes a total of about 10 minutes. A region you don’t know much about, a variety you’ve never heard of, etc.

The power of portable computing, especially an iPad, combined with beautiful graphics and higher quality digital experiences, has changed the wine world in ways that don’t get noticed nearly enough. Embrace it, use it daily, and become a modern wine professional.