On the shoulders of giants

Late last year I wrote a very personal guest post on top London wine merchant Berry Brothers & Rudd’s blog.  It was about the leap I took in starting my own wine label whilst continuing to consult around the world.

What I didn’t mention in the post is that this leap may very well have remained a fantasy had it not been for the inspiration and confidence instilled by some key individuals in both my personal and professional life.

Cedalion standing on the shoulders of Orion from Blind Orion Searching for the Rising Sun by Nicolas Poussin, 1658, Oil on canvas; 46 7/8 x 72 in. (119.1 x 182.9 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art

It’s something I’ve been thinking about as I skim read the news, hoping not (but half expecting) to see the name of yet another musical revolutionary referred to in past tense. We know their influence, but often don’t pause to reflect until they’re gone.

With what seems like supernatural powers these single individuals work tirelessly at their art or research, committed – it often seems – to a cause beyond their own needs and desires, something almost beyond conscious thought.  Blowing through barriers and leaving a trail of conventions in their wake, they inspire us to be that little bit braver, that little bit more committed.

Newton’s famously modest quote references the significance of these people.  He calls them ‘giants’ and attributes his immense discoveries in large part to their mentorship.  I love this sentiment: of acknowledging the past in our ever-present quest for ‘the future’.  It guides my own life and winemaking philosophies — in fact, our Cedalion wine takes it’s name from it.

Whether you’re on the brink of a leap or, like me, simply taking a moment to reflect and feel gratitude for those giants who have touched your life, I wish you a prosperous new year.