Prosperity is not automatic: a lesson from top wine producers

by Jan 7, 2021News, Thinking outside the bottle0 comments

Soares Franco family: generations behind the winemaking traditions of José Maria da Fonseca brands

Soares Franco family: generations behind the winemaking traditions of José Maria da Fonseca brands

Paulo Pinto

Alti Wine Exchange founding member


Dear reader,

I hope you’ve had a fantastic beginning of 2021 after such an uncertain year.


Today I want to speak to you about the wine producers that have listed their wines at Alti Wine Exchange.

These are people who work hard to provide excellent wines, but above all: each one of them being an exceptional human being.


How imagination and foresight drive the finest producers

With fine and rare wine, it is easier to understand that, in order to be successful, these people cannot be lying or cheating. Their product is the result of truthfulness, diligence, competence and good judgment.

I am a big fan of these producers whose wines we list on Alti Wine Exchange, because they have proven they are better than the average wine producers.

For some of them, sure: money makes life easier, but their singularity of imagination and foresight is the real driver.

People like Adrien Beaulieu, from Château Coutet, who created a replica of the oldest Bordeaux bottle in existence with their outstanding organic wine.

566adavidbeaulieu coutet.jpg

People like Eduardo Chadwick, who boldly decided to put himself on the line to have his finest wines competing in blind tastings against the best vintages in the world – and succeeding.

They don’t do what other people do. They are willing to be different.


These are people who will carry forth values worthy of the wealth: they don’t consume more than they make – and they don’t spend: they invest, they create capital.

In a nutshell: they take the long view, they put their money on things that hold value over time: fine wine.


Funny enough, some of the most interesting wines come from wine families –  some with much more than one hundred years of accumulated capital and knowledge passed from generation to generation.

Old wine families like David Beaulieu, making wine since 1784 in France, or José Maria da Fonseca, since 1834 in Portugal, or the Errázuriz family since 1870 in Chile, or the Klein family in Germany – keepers of a winemaking tradition that spans more than 1150 years (no, not a mistake).


Everything changes, nothing is given. Why live above our means?

Those families have their own values, but the family side is the most important. Having success is difficult, but having success for more than one generation is even more difficult.

These families perhaps better than anyone else know that prosperity is not automatic or guaranteed.

All these families have seen a number of inflationary cycles, and that is probably the reason they understand money better than most – along with their knowledge of wine.

Families have a way to remind all within the family that everything is relative. All families go through bad phases, as companies (and even countries), but time is there to make things right if you do the right things.

Within my lifetime, I have seen the end of the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the re-birth of China.


Things always get better somewhere along the road, nothing is really new, and these families of wine producers are here to remind us that not everything needs to be in fashion.

It’s your choice: wishful thinking or tradition. Inflation or real assets.

Debt only allows borrowers to live off the capital that others have accumulated. The world in this 21st century has basically forgotten this. And now, with Modern Monetary Theory, it just wants to give it a good excuse for people to live above their means.

The traditional wine families they know: the excuse might be good, but nothing is really new if people keep doing the same mistakes.

Until next time.

Explore More from Our Blog

Would you bring your child to a winery?

DEAR READER, What a pleasure to be back! I admit it: these mailbags are now my favorite point of the week. Even during the contentious back-and-forth, I always enjoy opening my inbox to see words from you all. “Kind” ones, sometimes—but as you know from last week—I...

Our Sommeliers suggested wine

DEAR READER, I must be honest—I expected many more well wishes after posting that old journal entry. Everyone is modest when they say they don’t want well wishes, and so I expected there would be a few of you who saw through my “plea for privacy”. But, I forgive and I...

Because Life Needs Good and Evil

Black and white. Chaos and order. Sinner. Sinless. Life is a constant search for the happy medium, the yin and the yang. It’s as renowned psychologist Jordan B. Peterson explains, “Order is not enough. You can’t just be stable, and secure, and unchanging, because...

Thank you, Lehman Brothers?

On this day, 13 years ago, the world broke out in a panic when Lehman Brothers filed for Ch. 11 bankruptcy. Still the largest bankruptcy filing in US history, it was the climax of the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Subprime mortgages were to blame, lending money to...

Beer vs Wine, a timeless debate…

DEAR READER, Blah blah blah let’s get right to it! Dear Sommelier Ferdinand, You’ve dropped some hints that you look down on beer. Why is this, Sommelier Ferdinand? You have a growing fanbase—surely, you’re aware the effect that your insults have? And before you...

What would you do if you found an expensive wine in a cellar?

DEAR READER, Never in my life have I been happier to pontificate about wine than at my computer desk. In person is stimulating, sure, but they always talk back at some point. My lovely readers, however, only speak when I like! This internet thing has utility!...

The Beginning and The End.

Alas, the sun has crossed the celestial equator from north to south. Summer is now quite uneasy, shifting into fall in the north, while life is springing into action down south. What a beautiful time of the year! When grapes are cut from the vine to create new wine,...

Ever heard of a wine cocktail?

DEAR READER, I hope some of you learned from the reader letter last week [hyperlink to Week Ten post] and checked your attics! You never know how much wine sits above you, waiting to be uncorked and decanted—on someone else’s dime! Dear Sommelier Ferdinand, I have a...

The Future of Wine

We humans are bold if nothing else. Unlike any other species (that we know of), only we have chosen time and again to go boldly where no other has gone before. This holds especially true to the modern European, the first to really “discover” ignorance. Though they...

Could Mozart Make Your Wine More Complex?

We usually do three things when drinking wine: look at it, smell it and taste it. We activate three of our five senses to understand what’s going on in the glass. I propose we go further by incorporating sound and touch. Surely what we’re listening to while...

What on earth is a ‘Wine Decanter’?

DEAR READER, It’s come to my attention that many of you are ill-informed, misinformed, and frankly, uninformed about how wine is to be consumed. Were I only a wine enthusiast, it would be wholly dispiriting. But—wine is my profession, and I’m obligated to recognize...

“What’s My Next Question?” – Benjamin Kaplan

What’s My Next Question? On a random day like today 11 years ago, a legendary Harvard Law professor and lawyer, Benjamin Kaplan, died at 99 years of age. A rich, marked life that left an impact long after his last breathe. Apart from influencing the likes of Ruth...