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.

"We live in a very strange world"
~ Zen Winemaker ~

3 terms, 2 quotes, 1 question

May 6, 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 - Angel's Share or Devil's Cut

Roughly 3% of all red wine is aged in oak barrels worldwide; Koi Zen Cellars ages ALL red wines in oak barrels for a minimum of 16 months - up to 48 months. While oak aging has some distinct advantages, there are some large disadvantages also - namely Angels and Demons.

So let's just jump right in and talk about barrel aging - the pros and cons.
  1. Flavor - when wine is aged in oak barrels some of the oak flavor is released into the wine. The age of the barrel, type of oak (French, American, or Eastern European), and the toast level all contribute to the flavor of the wine.

    A new barrel will impart the most flavor and after a few years, the oak flavor will be greatly reduced. After about 5 years, the barrel is considered neutral and it adds very little to the flavor of the wine, however barrels still are an ideal choice to age wine due to their micro-oxygenation capabilities.

    New French oak barrels can set you back $1,500 and after 5 years they are only worth about $50 (very bad depreciation) . So a huge loss in assets. This loss is one of the large reasons very little wine is aged in barrels anymore.
  2. Angel's Share - Wine barrels are porous and allow a minute amount of oxygen to interact with the wine inside. This is called micro-oxygenation and helps smooth the wine and allow it to develop tertiary flavors. Without this small exchange of O2 wine can go into a reductive state. Common flavors of a reductive state are rotten eggs, onions, garlic, and rubber - all not too pleasant.

    In order for O2 to get in - wine must evaporate out of a barrel and this is refereed to as the Angel's Share. A 60 gallon wine barrel can lose up to 10% of total volume (6 gallons) per year. Since there are 5 standard bottles per gallon of wine, at 6 gallons loss, that's 30 bottles of wine per barrel per year. At Koi Zen Cellars, we range between 150 and 300 barrels - and that's a huge loss.
  3. Devil's Cut - I believe Jim Beam created the moniker Devil's Cut that describes the alcohol that is absorbed into the wood of the barrel. While this is a small percentage of alcohol (i.e. wine) it is still a loss. If you were to cut one of the staves (barrel slats) lengthwise you will see how the wine is absorbed into the wood to a depth of about 1/4 inch - I guess the Devil thinks he needs a cut too. (you can actually see this on the hand rails at Koi Zen)

2 - Quotes from Me:

  1. "Your true characters is who you are when nobody is looking." ~ Zen Winemaker
  2. "It is not what you say that matters, it is what you do." ~ Zen Winemaker

1 - Question to ponder:


People just amaze me, but let me digress.

I remember as a kid in elementary school, my buddy Micheal and I would walk to the shopping center about a mile away. The hardware store sold toys and my favorite, model cars . I would lust after these, but being on an allowance of 50 cents, I couldn't afford one often (you also had to buy the paint and glue) . It was the holiday season and the toys were moved upstairs and Micheal and I went to look at the new Revell Model Cars. I found one I wanted so so bad but it had been marked up to $1.50. I could see the previous price tag of $1.25 under it and Micheal said, "just peal the top label off - nobody will know." Well I did, and a clerk did know, and we were busted. It was a horrible 3 hours sitting in the manager's office almost peeing my pants until they let us go with a threat of severe jail time - all for a quarter.

I guess this set my moral foundation on stealing - unfortunately it is not universal.

Last weekend we hosted the Spring Gift Extravaganza which was a huge success. We had roughly 200 people attend to support local small businesses. And during this, two events happened that just make me shake my head and wonder about the state of the world.

I was walking into the winery and a couple was exiting and he says to her, "I'm not going to steal a wine glass for you." I just looked up at the two of them in the eye and smiled. People stealing wine glasses from us and wineries in genral is an unfortunate fact of life. Some people are crafty, some are blatant.

A few months ago, three women were walking out of the winery while I was arriving. Seeing them carrying three empty glasses, I offered to take them for them, and the response I got was, "Oh, I thought we could keep them." What on earth would make you think that this was okay? Is your kitchen filled with silverware and plates from your friends house? Or your bathrooms filled with hotel towels along with the hairdrier?

A glass is a glass but here is one even better.

During the Extravaganza, a guest approached Lisa and I and said the night before they had witnessed "two ladies" stealing two of the metal flicker candles we set on the tables. This guest said that they felt bad for not stopping the "two ladies" and offered to pay for them. We declined saying it wasn't their responsibility to pay for them. We thanked them for their honesty and offered a free glass of wine which was declined.  After reviewing the security tapes - guess who the guilty party was? Just amazing how someone can walk off with $180 worth of decor, then return, and blame others. Just amazing.


What is your moral stance on taking what is not yours?

Does it matter if it is a sugar packet or a car?

If so, why?

Zen Giggles:

I hate those big fluffy bathroom towels in hotels.
They are so hard to fit into the suitcase.

In the mind of a 3 year old:

If I see it - it's mine.
If I want it - it's mine.
If you have it and I want it - it's mine.

If it is broken - it's yours.

~~ Notice ~~

Where a dose of morality is needed.


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.'

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