Today you’ll hear my conversation with Al Fulchino as we talk about everything from
What Makes a Good Wine to The Power of Observation
This was a very special interview to me. Every year that I go back home to New Hampshire for Christmas I make a point to stop by and visit with Al Fulchino of Fulchino Vineyard….the same place where I celebrated my wedding day. This year’s visit promised to be extra special, as I had scheduled an in-person-interview with Al for Dec 23rd. I always send my interview questions to my guest’s ahead of time so they can familiarize themselves and feel more comfortable during our conversation. Al chose not to see the questions beforehand – said he didn’t want to overthink anything and cause it to influence his responses.
We each pulled up a chair, he poured us each a glass of his signature Cenare red wine, and we begin chatting. Al’s interview was going better than I could’ve ever imagined, at about 75 mins into the interview we decided to take a short break. I went to pause the recording as I normally would and for whatever reason the entire recording disappeared! I know what you’re thinking…that’s what CTRL-Z is for right? Edit-Undo? As I was taking all the steps I could think of to recover the recording I could feel my throat tightening and my stomach begin to knot. But no dice. The recording was gone.
As you can imagine, I was feeling pretty low because there is such a pure magic that happens – especially during an in-person interview – it’s a moment in time that I am able to capture…like a photograph. During the time I spent trying to recover the recording while still at the vineyard… I overheard Al telling people downstairs that it was the best interview he’d given in his life….that he would’ve wanted it played at his funeral one day. My heart broke. I felt like I had failed him. That I had failed all my listeners who would not get to experience the magic that I had heard.
The next morning by some hand of fate – my husband and our good friend Stephen were able to recover the lost recording! It was my very own little Christmas miracle. It is because of their help that I am able to bring you guys today’s episode. You’ll hear it in two parts. The first day’s recording ends rather abruptly just before we got to the rapid-fire questions at the end.
Al said it deserved a proper ending, so he was generous enough to meet me a second day – on Christmas Eve no less – to wrap up the interview. This second part was done with a single microphone (technology was seriously NOT on my side) but we made it happen so hopefully you can forgive the sounds of microphone passing for the rapid-fire questions. Like I said – there is a magic that happens during these interviews – something about the single encounter with a person you have either never spoken to, hardly know, or just someone you don’t talk with that often. I have found this gives the conversation a deep, bold richness; much like some of Al’s wine.
You could say Al has gone back to his roots. His grandparents originally from Gesualdo Italy, specialized in the wine business. Al’s Grandfather was the first of his family to immigrate to America. In this episode Al discuss his not-so-straight path that lead him to where he is now. From landscaping, to managing gas stations, to starting his own winery and vineyard. This conversation is truly overflowing with gems. So much so that I had trouble narrowing down the clips I chose for the intro.
You can learn more about Al Fulchino’s wine & vineyard at: fulchinovineyard.com
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I N T H I S E P I S O D E:
- Al talks about how he learned to be humble from his family. And how his Grandfather taught him how to press and make wine.
- What attributes defines a zinfandel. Most wine grapes produce a clear-ish juice. Allowing the must on the skin of the grape to sit extracts the red color.
- Al discusses his education and starting his own landscaping business at 19 years old.
- He shares his philosophy on “handouts” and how they impair a receiver’s ability to appreciate, learn, and grow.
- He shares what he learned from his wife’s gift shop. Specifically the Thomas Kinkade paintings: marketing, collectability, and different levels of the quality in the product. Which has lended itself to his business of wine.
- He discusses his opinion on parenting and the dangers of over-praising our children and run the risk of having them develop a sense of entitlement https://youtu.be/_lfxYhtf8o4
- The change of entitlement he witnessed in the pool of his entry level employees from the 70’s into the 2000’s. And the result of dealing with the reality of his business.
- How he worked 120 hours/week for months when he found himself in a pinch while managing a gas station, and the situation of fate that saved him.
- When approaching someone with opposing view; Al talks about the difference between being brutally honest versus honest about the situation.
- Wine is an experience, tool, and accompaniment to the food you’re eating
Photos courtesy of Mat & Ash Photography
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