2018 Olympic Games
I’m sitting in beautiful Snowbird Utah at The Cliff enjoying a glass of Selby Chardonnay and watching the snow fall by the fireplace, waiting for the opening ceremony of the Olympics. It feels surreal as this morning I was hosting a trade lunch with wine buyers in Park City and could see the training facility for the USA Olympic Team from the window of the restaurant. I also saw the ski jumping slope and the bobsled sliding track that was utilized in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The culture is different here because everyone I’ve met knows someone who is at the Olympics, went to the Olympics, or almost went to the Olympics. Looking for an Olympic athlete in Utah is like looking for a winemaker in Sonoma County. It is incredible that the athletes train their entire lives for moments that ultimately define them. I can’t imagine making just one bottle of wine that would determine how good I am internationally, then maybe or maybe not having another chance.
The one comparison I can make between the wine industry and the Olympic Games is the deep history that they share. The first Olympic Games were in Greece in 770 BC. Today the Olympics are focused on preserving the integrity of the ancient games; so there are a number of rules, regulations, and protocols that must be followed during the Olympics. Conversely, the oldest-known winery was discovered in a cave in Armenia, dated to 4100 BC, where archeologists found a wine press, fermentation vats, jars, and cups. The wine industry somewhat preserves it’s history and tradition by using traditional production methods and packaging; e.g., capsules were historically used to protect the cork from insects and vermin which isn’t necessary in modern times.
As the fanfare begins in Seoul, South Korea for the XXIII Olympics, I anticipate the excitement, exhilaration and the trepidation that the 2,952 athletes from 92 countries must be feeling right now. I know that I will be up late every night for sixteen days cheering on the 241 athletes from the United States and watching the proverbial thrill of victory and agony of defeat. I raise my glass with a toast to tradition and say, “let the games begin.”
Congrats to 2018 Olympic athletes!