Kukkula Wines

Friday November 24, 2023

the next phase

This has been the lat­est har­vest we have expe­ri­enced, and although my inten­tions were (and always are) to put pen to paper for the fall newslet­ter much ear­li­er than this, it clear­ly didn’t hap­pen! So this year you are receiv­ing a hol­i­day newsletter!

The last wine was just bar­reled down a day before Thanks­giv­ing. For the remain­der of the year, I will get a bit of rest, enjoy the fam­i­ly, and enjoy the fes­tiv­i­ties of the hol­i­day sea­son. It will also be my time to take inven­to­ry, reflect on this last year, make plans for the com­ing vin­tage, and set goals for kukku­la in the com­ing year and beyond.

Next year will like­ly be very event­ful and hec­tic, as they always seem to be. It will also be a year of big change, as I have final­ly decid­ed to retire from my career in the finan­cial world, after almost 41 years at one company!

For the few of you who knew me when I start­ed my career, you prob­a­bly thought there was no way in hell that I would last 41 years at one com­pa­ny, let alone 41 years in the big cor­po­rate world! I cer­tain­ly didn’t! I came into the busi­ness because of my curios­i­ty with the stock mar­ket. I had a degree in eco­nom­ics and a math­e­mat­i­cal brain, so from that per­spec­tive it made sense.

This may come as a shock to most, but I also was extreme­ly shy (per­haps intro­vert­ed), and I didn’t real­ly appre­ci­ate that this career required that I put myself out there and meet peo­ple whom I didn’t know and ask them to trust me to invest their mon­ey. Seems kind of pre­pos­ter­ous, in ret­ro­spect! I came from a work­ing class Finnish fam­i­ly, and I had no idea how rad­i­cal­ly dif­fer­ent the world I was enter­ing was from the world in which I grew up.

What I had going for me, though, was that I dis­cov­ered I’m a tena­cious and intense guy, with a lot of sisu. Although I strug­gled for many years, and I was lucky to have an employ­er that was patient enough to give me lat­i­tude to grow, I fig­ured it out, and thrived.

This has been a reward­ing career from a num­ber of per­spec­tives. First, many of my clients have become close friends, and I look for­ward to stay­ing con­nect­ed in this next phase of life. Sec­ond­ly, it has been a finan­cial­ly reward­ing career, which opened oppor­tu­ni­ties to trav­el, build our home in Cana­da, and start this crazy project called kukkula.

Last­ly, it has enabled me the free­dom to explore life with­out the con­straints of a 9 to 5 life. It helped nur­ture my innate need to be entre­pre­neur­ial. Many of my clients are suc­cess­ful entre­pre­neurs, and through their exam­ple and encour­age­ment, I have cho­sen to fol­low my heart and pur­sue my desire to do some­thing that I am pas­sion­ate about. Admit­ted­ly, this is not an easy busi­ness, and maybe not one that most would choose to pur­sue. Yet when I fil­ter out the stress, sleep­less nights, and the cap­i­tal required to build the busi­ness, there is a real sense of accom­plish­ment and appre­ci­a­tion for being able to live on the land we occu­py, and the enjoy­ment of being able to share the wine we pro­duce from the land we farm.

Paula has been beyond accom­moda­tive with what is clear­ly my baby! She’s also been drip­ping on me to slow down, and right­ful­ly so (for both of our sakes). My exit from my finan­cial world will not reduce how many hours each day are con­sumed with work, but it will allow me to be more focused. Now that our kids are inde­pen­dent and pur­su­ing the paths they have cho­sen, Paula and I have been trav­el­ing more, and intend to make this a pri­or­i­ty. The jury is out for me on what an even­tu­al retire­ment might look like. Time will tell, but this is a first step. One plus, the sea­son­al­i­ty of the wine busi­ness will afford us the abil­i­ty to carve out sig­nif­i­cant chunks of our time each year when we can break away. Any less than that at this point might be too much of a shock to both of our sys­tems! Here’s to the next phase!



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