Thursday, July 8, 2010

One Romance (21)

In his usual nightly telephone conversation with Theresa, who was in New York City for most of each week, Nick mentioned Gordon’s proposal.

Theresa was not impressed. She knew two things about Nick that he seemed to forget every fifteen minutes: he hated working with other people, and his passion for wine went well beyond becoming rich at it, something that he knew was unlikely to happen. She also knew the terrible strain that finances put on Nick, so she had to tell him to throw Gordon out on his ass as gingerly as she could.

“Oh, Nick, I know how hard you are working and I know how easier your life would be if only you had a few million to throw at the winery. But this guy sounds to me like just another slick money manager who will finagle you into a position either of failure and then indebtedness to him or success and indebtedness to him. I’m against it.”

“Against what? I haven’t said anything about going into business with him, just told you what he told me.”

“I’m against you having dinner with him; against you ever talking to him again. If you really need to establish a line of credit, we’ll have to work harder to find a bank willing to give you one. But don’t give your blood and sweat to a slickster.”

“Theresa, have you no faith? I told you about this because I tell you everything. I have made no decisions one way or the other about this guy and his offer.”

“Nick, you ain’t listening to me. Don’t even have dinner with the guy. He’s a pro: he’ll make you think he’s your savior. Do me a favor. After we hang up, think about why you wanted to start the winery and then think about what it is you want from the life you have chosen. Then, weigh carefully what this guy said to you about profit and cashing out and all that stuff. If after that exercise you still think it’s worth hearing this guy out, then fine, have dinner with him. But don’t have dinner with him if you find that what he said is counterintuitive to what you want, which is exactly what I think it is.”

Nick always knew when Theresa had a point—she had a way of making sure that he did know. She had a point and so he took her advice—well, almost.

That evening, he did something that he had heard about before but never tried. He sat himself down and, with discipline, made a list of the pros and cons of what Gordon offered. As he made his way through the list, he could see plainly that Gordon’s concept was not his. Nick was not in the wine business to cash out—he was in it like a taproot. Yes, he needed to earn a living, but he didn’t want to become a Gordon-like figure that placed money and conquest over everything. Besides, Gordon was at Nick’s wine tasting room and showed no interest in tasting wine. What does that say about him?

At the end of about an hour of pros and cons, it was clear to Nick that he would have to tell Gordon to take a hike. That is what he decided he would do; but only after one shot at trying to persuade Gordon otherwise. He called Gordon’s hotel. They arranged to meet the following day at 8 p.m. in Hammondsport at Nick’s friend’s restaurant, the Pleasant Valley Inn, which he considered the best around Keuka Lake.

Nick went to bed that night counting up the many reasons he would give to Gordon for not going into his type of partnership. He hoped that after giving Gordon his reasons, the man would see the light and come around to Nick’s vision, invest his money based on that, and then let Nick’s vision have wings.

Nick waited at the restaurant bar until about 9, sipping and jawboning with Harold, the owner. Gordon never showed. That was that.

A few weeks later, Nick found out from a local news item that Gordon had invested in another winery in the region. He felt a little bad about it, but if he could see into the future, he would not have felt bad at all: within two years, the local news about the venture wasn’t so good. In true money-management fashion, Gordon put not one dime of his own into the winery. He built a scheme to lure investors and then proceeded to milk the winery’s assets in various ways. When the investors grew restless, Gordon the winery angel spread his wings and vanished.

Nick went back to reality. With three weeks to go before the Catawba harvest, his crop remained homeless. He had to get moving on it.

If you are reading this entry anywhere other than on the vinofictions blog, be aware that it has been lifted without my permission (and without recompense), and that’s a copyright infringement, no matter that the copyright information appears with it.

Copyright Thomas Pellechia
July 2010. All rights reserved.

3 comments:

Marcia Macomber said...

Some romance! For love or money? Thither goes the wine industry....

Thomas said...

As goes the world, goes the wine world...

In many cases, Marcia, passion is all that keeps winery people going, especially those who operate a vineyard, which is agriculture, and for that you need stamina plus more stamina--and a whole lotta faith.

Samantha Dugan said...

Settling in after my vacation and getting caught up with Nick was a lovely morning spent....