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.

" You are wealthy if you appreciate what you already have"
~ The Zen Winemaker ~

3 terms, 2 quotes, 1 question

December 3, 2021

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.

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3 - Wine Terms - Corks

Natural cork for wine bottles comes from the cork tree, or Quercus Suber. Ancient Greeks and Romans sometimes used cork, however most wine bottles were sealed with oil soaked rags stuffed into the necks of the bottles or the use of pitch and even lead. It wasn't until the mid 1600's that natural corks became popular. 68% of all cork harvested is used within the wine industry. And for those of you who worry about humans carbon footprint, cork production has a NEGATIVE CARBON impact. So let's jump right in.
  1. Sources - Today, the center of the world’s cork oak forest is concentrated in Southern Europe; Portugal, Spain, Italy & France, which accounts for 65% of the cork oak production. North Africa has the remaining 35%. The total land surface occupied by this oak is 2.2 million hectares (5.434 million acres!) of which Portugal and Spain alone represent 54%.

    The industry employs more than 20,000 workers in factories and commercial departments! In addition, the industry has 10,000 seasonal workers for the cork harvest and the maintenance of the oak forests.

    The older the tree, the more cork it produces. Some trees grow to be 170 years old.

  2. Types of Wine Corks - Corks can be made in several ways :
    • Natural cork stoppers are made from a single piece of bark, and have the best flexibility, keeping the seal strong for aging wine for over 5 years.
    • Colmated corks are made from a single piece of bark, but have pores filled with glue and cork dust. They are easier to remove from a bottle, and are good for medium aging.
    • Multi-piece corks have two or more pieces glued together. They are denser than single-piece corks, and are not good for prolonged aging.
    • Agglomerated corks are made of cork dust and glue, and are dense, inexpensive, and not good for sealing wine for over a year.
    • Technical corks are agglomerated corks with single pieces of cork on either end
  3. Presentation of the Cork - Many of us have experienced the awkward moment of when the restaurant server presents the bottle of wine and cork for your inspection, but why is this done? On the practical side, the server is making sure the bottle about to be opened was the one you wanted and to build excitement. Once you agree to the selection, then the cork is often presented to you, but why?

    While this is a little pomp and circumstance, this tradition dates back many centuries - back to day when fraud was rampant. Scrupulous restaurants would often refill expensive bottles with cheap wine and pass off the counterfeits. Wine producers stated putting the brand name and year on the cork to help prevent this since a reused cork was easy to spot.

    While fine wine counterfeit is still a big problem, most of the wine purchased in a restaurant is not counterfeit, however you can learn a lot about a wine just from the visual appearance of the cork and wine.

    First notice the color of the cork, it should look clean without mold or staining. A stain running the length of the cork could indicate the cork failed and the wine may be faulted. If the end of the cork is stained, it indicates the bottle was stored on it's side which is good. Then smell the cork, it should smell good without any fault or taint. Once is passes all tests, then keep the cork - you may have to re-stopper the bottle if you don't finish it (that would never happen at my table)

2 - Quotes from Me:

1. "Simplicity leads to happiness" ~ The Zen Winemaker

2. "Be grateful for the little things in life" ~ The Zen Winemaker

1 - Question to ponder:

House Painting

A few weeks ago, Lisa got inspired and wanted to paint the inside of our house, and easily got me on-board with the idea. We have been in this house for over 20 years and the color scheme was wide and diverse and we wanted to go neutral. But choosing the right neutral "white" was a challenge in it's self. After a slew of samples painted on the wall, we chose the final color and bought lots of paint.
I don't know if we are dumb, cheap or what, but we decided to paint the entire interior of the house ourselves. This took most of two weekends and a lot of sweat, sore backs, bruised knees, and tired bodies, but we are almost done. We just have a few more touch ups to go.

During this process we had to clean up all of the clutter, remove the junk, deep clean and dust in all those places that had been hidden for years. We were really good during this process to organize what we wanted to keep, what get stored, what gets donated, and what gets trashed. And after 24 years in the house, quite a bit was trashed.

There were probably 100 nail holes from previous pictures that needed to be patched and numerous hooks and swags in doors that were patched and soon one thing led to another. The project seemed to grow every day. "Since we have to take the doors off - we might as well replace the hinges with oiled bronze, and then get matching door handles and latches." "But what about the popcorn ceiling?" "How about hanging a new chandelier?" "Don't forget to replace the ceiling cans with LED, but then we need new dimmers also." You get the point.

But now that it is almost done, I can see the difference. The house is clean, uncluttered, minimized, open, spacious and calming. It has become very Zen.

I though all of my old possessions, decorations, the nick nacks, pictures, and various colors brought me comfort, but they didn't. Once they were gone, I could see the beauty in the simplicity. What I am also beginning to appreciate is that with the lack of clutter, how easy it is to clean up and keep organized.

When there were stacks, what does one more stack mean? Nothing. Now that there are no stacks, anything out of place looks awkward which is highly motivational to put away. I really understand how less is often more.


What is there in your house that no longer brings you joy? Is it time for you to part with it? If it doesn't bring you joy, consider donating it, it my bring joy to someone else.

~~ Notice ~~

The clutter and junk and get rid of it



Darius Miller - The Zen Winemaker

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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.'

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