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.

"Life is too short to drink bad wine."
~ Zen Winemaker ~

3 terms, 2 quotes, 1 question

May 20, 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.

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3 - Wine Terms - Location, Location, Location

People tend to confuse the difference between a winery and a vineyard. One is manufacturing and one is farming and since I can't grow a darn thing, we chose to open an Urban winery and here is why.
  1. Location : why drive to remote location with dangerous roads when you can easily stay in your neighborhood and save gas? (yesterday Costco gas, $5.59/gallon oh my) We follow the brewery model where we bring the wine to the people and not the people to the wine.
  2. Location : every varietal of grape loves a specific climate and grows best there. Pinot Noir loves cold foggy mornings, Merlot loves clay moist soil and Cabernet Sauvignon loves well drained rocky soil. Some like it hot, some like it cold. This is why I source fruit from wherever it grows best not with what single vineyard can provide.

    I firmly believe that:

    "If you start with quality fruit, don't screw it up, you have a fighting chance of making a quality bottle of wine."

    This is why I am drive willing to drive 10-20 hours each way to pick up only the best fruit all across the state and bring it home to Koi Zen where we take grapes from clusters to bellies.
  3. Location: when I proposed to open the winery in Lisa's photography studio (Suite P, and all the artwork in the winery is Lisa's) in a business park in Carmel Mountain, I had some convincing to do.

    "Look honey, we are familiar with the area and we are ONE block off a MAJOR retail center, what a huge advantage!" The joke goes, "the disadvantage, is we are ONE block off a MAJOR retail center."

    But think about all of those times when it is so easy to pop in for a glass, to meet a friend, to find new friends, to enjoy air conditioning, to enjoy live music, trivia, take classes, and to stay out after 5:00pm 5 days a week enjoying wines from all around the state, or talk to a crazy philosophical Zen Winemaker.

    And how many of you need some liquid fortification either before or after Costco or Home Depot? We know who you are.

    Hope to see you soon.

P.S. I want to thank the thousands of people who support us and share their lives with us. We are humbled and blessed by your presence each and every day.

2 - Quotes from Me:

  1. "Live in the moment and not in the future ." ~ Zen Winemaker
  2. "Live in the moment and not in the past ." ~ Zen Winemaker

1 - Question to ponder:

8 Years Ago plus 2 days

Many people ask why I write the crazy things that I do in the Zen Breathe 3-2-1 newsletter, so let me tell you a little story that happened May 18, 2014 and you might begin to understand.

I have re-posted this blog for the last few years. It continues to inspire me and I hope others as well.

8 years ago , I stood in the parking lot puffing on what was to be my last cigarette.

I was nervous. My heart was racing and my mind spinning. The words I hear moments ago rattled me to the core. I snubbed the cigarette and walked through the Emergency Room doors and admitted myself.

The day before was a Sunday and I woke up feeling a little weird, like when you sleep funny and you feel all scrunchy and numb. “ It’s fine ”, I thought, but it wasn’t. Throughout the day, Lisa and I did chores, hung a curtain rod, ate our meals, but the “weirdness” I felt stayed.

The next day, the numbness across my entire right side was still there and yet I kept it to myself. I called the doctor’s office and explained how I was feeling and they urged me to see the doctor, soon , like now soon.

I sat in the examination room as a young nurse placed the blood pressure cuff on my arm and started pumping. And pumping. And pumping. I felt like a tube of toothpaste when you try to get the last little smidge to come out. Then she did it again. And then again on the other arm. She had a forced faint smile on her face.

She left and soon returned with the doctor in tow. And the process was repeated.

“Is everything OK?”, I asked. “Well your blood pressure is dangerously high, it’s 220/190”. I glanced at the machine, 230 was as high as it went; " oh, this isn’t good, " I thought.

It wasn’t good, I had had a full-on Stroke at the age of 52.

This was my second “ wake up ” call (but that is another story) , and now I heed its calling daily.

I do less of the stuff I don’t want to do, and more of the stuff I want to do. My priorities have shifted and my values have changed. I take time to enjoy the moment for this may be my last. I fret less about the past and try to stay in the moment with a clear path in front of me. I care less about what the Jones have and more about the blessing I have.

From that Monday morning 8 years ago, I have not had a single cigarette; I quit cold turkey.

Quitting cold turkey after 36 years of smoking has given me the strength to know that I can accomplish what I truly want. It has given me the courage to push myself in ways I could have never imagined and also the perspective of appreciating what I do have – my wife, my kids, my friends, my life, my health, and my humble accomplishments.

I still love a glass of wine and I think wine has been part of the healing process. Wine brings people together, to engage with others, to share food and stories and I thank you all for being part of my life; for this is the most important human experience.



What will it take, or what did it take, for you to realize that if you don't start following your dreams now, they may never happen? I want to hear.

Zen Giggles:

What has 4 letters,
occasionally has 12 letters,
always has 6 letters,
but never has 5 letters.

(think for a moment and then see below)

~~ Notice ~~

The opportunities that exist all around you.


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.

Zen Giggles: notice I didn't use a question mark. Read it again.
What has 4 letters,
occasionally has 12 letters,
always has 6 letters,
but never has 5 letters.

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

P.S. Signed copies are also available at the winery, just stop by. May be the best $20 you will ever spend.

Creator of:

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

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