So bizarre! We were siting round an convivial dinner table sharing the simple elegance that France still does the best with our Cardan vineyard and operations team celebrating the countdown to another amazing year ahead. It was a perfect evening and celebration with a small team of people who have created so much, so steadily and so passionately and who cannot yet appreciate their true brilliance in what they have achieved with our tiny Bordeaux vineyard.

Who better to spend New Year’s Eve with?

Westerly view across Hourcat Centre - the new home of Paradise Rescued Merlot

                                                        Westerly view across Hourcat Centre – the new home of Paradise Rescued Merlot

Suddenly around the table, there was a realisation that within a few minutes, Paradise Rescued would be celebrating its fifth birthday! There was no cake, no candles, just a couple of very excellent bottles of our organic viticultural passion and a great team to celebrate the occasion!

We had all been there at the start, when Hourcat Sud was an unloved pesticide / herbicide drenched sad little vineyard and no one else wanted a part of it. Everyone of us had taken the gamble of making it work, the organic conversion, the risk of not succeeding nor making a good wine nor… It’s easy as “the boss” to hang in there for the long haul, piling in masses of passion and optimism. It’s harder for a team to share that vision. But we have all hung in there, driven by the passion to sustain the heritage of our village, Cardan.

Winter Paradise – a frosty start in the Cabernet Franc vines

                Winter Paradise – a frosty start in the Cabernet Franc vines

Once in a while, in a world that loves to be critical and take a bight out of every one of us, you have to stop and reflect on just how far we have come. The mess that was Hourcat Sud is now a flourishing organically managed vineyard, creating a high quality practically unique Bordeaux 100% varietal Cabernet Franc. The difference over 5 years is actually quite significant, even if we say it ourselves. We shared a lot of smiles and New Year hugs.

And the same time, we all knew instinctively that the journey ahead of us is greater than what we have already accomplished. We have not arrived – nor will we! Our internal benchmark of what we want to achieve becomes higher every year. We have limited our 2015 goal list to ten Golden Goals – our very top priorities covering all aspects of the Paradise Rescued from vineyard to market and IP, which we will share some more of very soon.

The external feedback from the last few days in Bordeaux has been a useful indicator of our progress to achieve organic viticultural excellence in Bordeaux. When we (probably forget to) celebrate again in five more years, I can almost guarantee that our internal level of satisfaction will have moved up another level again.

In the meantime, we are still growing, sustaining, flourishing. And that’s our people, wine, brand, customers, business… Happy Birthday Paradise Rescued! Bring it on 2015 – let’s go!