Zen Breath 3-2-1

Note: You are receiving this email because you subscribed to my weekly 3-2-1 newsletter or you subscribed to the Koi Zen Cellars newsletter. Every Friday, I share 3 wine terms, 2 quotes from me, and 1 question for you to ponder. Occasionally, I also send out long-form articles on habits and self-improvement.

"Better to be quiet than noisy"
~ Zen Winemaker ~

3 terms, 2 quotes, 1 question

April 15, 2022

Happy Friday! Time to wrap up this week and get ready for the next! Take a deep breath and kick off the weekend on a positive note. Let's consider where we have been, improve it, and move forward next week. Packing the most content into the least words and trying to change the world, one glass at a time.

Subscribe to this newsletter

3 - Wine Terms - 3 Forbidden Words

Did you know that there are Federally Prohibited words that wineries are not allowed to use?
And you won't believe what some of these 'prohibited' words are.

We all know there are certain words that we probably shouldn't use such as the N -word, the F-w ord, or the S- word but the government has stepped up the game when it comes to wineries (along with many other industries) and while I understand the point in principle, I giggle at some of the rationales behind these decisions.

The Feds take these words very seriously to the point where EVERY single alcohol beverage label needs to be approved. Over 150,000 labels are approved by the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau - how you get TTB out of this is unclear)

The government is primarily scanning for "truth in advertising" claims. For example, I can't say "Wine is healthy." Or, "Wine prevents X." So no health claims. I also can't say the grapes are from Napa when they are not - fairly simple.  But then we get down to the words used on the label it becomes interesting.

Here we go, and as my daughter, Miranda, says,
"Words are hard."

So at the point of being scandalous, let's jump right into it with the first Forbidden Wine Word. Are you ready?
  1. Bold - the first time I made a Zinfandel it was a beast. There were so many intense flavors packed into the bottle I thought it would break. As part of the wine description, I described the wine as being Big and Bold - the label was promptly rejected.

    Why was it rejected? Well, that's obvious - the TTB claimed that Bold implies that there are flavorings added to the wine. To this day I scratch my head on this one, but the artwork was redone, resubmitted, reevaluated, and finally approved. The good thing was, it only took a few weeks for the label to be processed (processing times range from a few days to months)
  2. Powerful - similar to the Zin, I had another monster wine where the flavor intensity jumped out of the bottle and Powerful was a good descriptive word. This label was also rejected because according to the Feds, Powerful suggests that the wine has been fortified.

    Fortified? I am not sure how we got from Powerful to Fortified, but these guys call the shots, so I adjusted and tried again. But wait for the latest word.
  3. Clean - this forbidden word just hit the wine trade journals over the last week. Wineries are no longer allowed to describe a wine as clean.

    Wine geeks often describe a wine that lacks any fault as being 'clean' and this word has been used for eons - but not anymore according to the TTB. And here is the rationale:

    Cleaver marketing people started munging the word clean to promote wines that either had no added sugar, did not produce a headache, did not contain sulfites, or were organic and this is where the problem started because many of these claims are misleading.

    Not because of the definition of the word, but what the word began to represent.
And so we can only drink DIRTY wines now...

P.S. A few years ago there was an urban winery in Vista called 50 barrels and they had a wine called " Ben Dover " LOL.

2 - Quotes from Me:

  1. "Everything I wrote in the Zen Winemaker book is true - except for the fictional parts." ~ Zen Winemaker
  2. "Words are the fastest path to the dog house." ~ Zen Winemaker

1 - Question to ponder:

Right Speach

The English languages is simultaneously very descriptive and very vague. A simple example is the word "tall." A child may label an adult as being tall, but the adult is not compared to a high-rise building. But one should always be mindful of not only what we say, but how we say it.

A kind word is raises the spirit, while a harsh word brings us down. A truthful word (even if hurtful) is superior to a lie and a rumor is often a lie waiting to be proven.

There are myriad positive things we can talk about, however media often favors the risqué, sensationalized, inflated, false, scandalous, misleading, or hateful to get the rise. Who wants to talk about kittens when we have politics, party lines and dogma?

The Buddha defined Right Speech as four parts:
  1. Abstain from false speech; do not tell lies or deceive.
  2. Do not slander others or speak in a way that causes disharmony or enmity.
  3. Abstain from rude, impolite, or abusive language.
  4. Do not indulge in idle talk or gossip.

The merits of this moral code seems sound and good advice.


If you gave yourself one point for each of the four parts above that you consistently and habitually follow, and one extra point for doing all four, what would your score be?

Now take one point away for every one of the parts above that you habitually LISTEN to. What's your score now?
Want to share your score?

Zen Giggles:

Joe's dad scolded him for breaking a neighbor's window with a baseball.

"What did the neighbor say to you after you broke his window?" asked the father.

"Do you want to hear what he said with our without the bad words?"

"Without of course."

"Well, then, he said nothing."

~~ Notice ~~

How a simple kind word can lift someone's spirit
how an unkind word can cause them to fall.


A favor:

We strive to foster a community who are excited to learn about wine and create a better world for all. We are a small business and appreciate your support. Please encourage others to subscribe to this newsletter and build the community of like minded people. And don't forget to give me some feedback on what you want to learn about - I love hearing from you.

Also, if you are at a point in life where you desire change, but don't know what, where, or how - I suggest taking my online class on Finding Your Passion HERE. It might be the best investment you ever made.


Darius Miller - The Zen Winemaker

P.S. Let me know what you think of the 3-2-1 newsletter - or better yet, share with your friends - it would be much appreciated.

Author of a #1 best seller:
'The Zen Winemaker - Follow Your Dreams & Overcome Your Fears'

Creator of:

'The Zen Wine Tasting Journal - Life is too short to drink bad wine, or to wear ugly underwear.'

Become Inspired: