Kalí Týchi (καλή τύχη) is Born

The Founding of a Vineyard

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Authors note: The facts in this story are (mostly) accurate though many are (barely to greatly) exaggerated or altered somewhat (or a lot). The idea is that this will be the founding story published on our (myself + my business partner) vineyard/winery website. A much condensed version is planned for the back of the label on every bottle of wine we produce. My partner and I agreed that we wanted something really melodramatic and over the top, almost unbelievable, but still grounded in truth. Sounded easy when we talked about it but sitting down to write it has been really hard. Not sure it is quite there yet but a good start I think. Also an excellent writing prompt/exercise if you are into that sort of thing.

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A letter for my adopted brother and sister (translated from the Greek),

Kalí Týchi (καλή τύχη) means roughly good luck when translated to the English vernacular from the Greek. A more literal translation is good fortune, but it can also refer to the general condition of luckiness. Finally it can be used in the sense of a fluke of luck or a good break. No matter the exact translation, the name encapsulates everything the founders believe the grapes grown in the vineyard bearing that name will bestow upon the wines which are made from them. They also believe that Kalí Týchi will be passed on to any persons who drink those wines or share them with others.

The story of Kalí Týchi vineyards is a story of hope. A story of a search for healing born of personal tragedy and a story of yearning for something greater than oneself, a connection with history, with the earth, and nature itself. Finally it is a story of love for an ancient culture and people with a tradition of grape growing that extends as far back as recorded human history. The two proprietors of Kalí Týchi vineyards each gave a part of themselves themselves to the grapes grown there in the hopes of finding what they were seeking, healing for one and deeper meaning for the other.

The original founder of Kalí Týchi vineyards, Miss Jennifer Wolfe is an intellectual and athletic prodigy. She attended college at age 14 and speaks 5 languages. Her formal training is as a scientist with bachelors and masters degrees in biology, microbiology and immunology. In addition to her university education she has studied botany and plant biology for years and has deep knowledge of every aspect of the grape as a plant and as a vehicle for wine production. In addition to her intellectual accomplishments miss Wolfe is an elite athlete and has competed at the highest levels in fencing, won several large swimming tournaments, and is an accomplished kayaker and sharpshooter with expertise in weapons of all types including guns, knives, and bow and arrow. Her body is a weapon in its own right as she is considered expert level in the fighting discipline of the Israeli military and secret police, krav maga.

Before founding the vineyard she spent five years in the rain forests of northern Australia as a core team member in a long term research project seeking a cure for the scourge of flesh eating disease that had plagued the aboriginal population that lived there. Entomology was a major focus of her research efforts and that skill set has also come in handy in the development of novel insecticides and the selection of appropriate root stock and cultivars for optimal resistance to the traditional pests of southern Kentucky. It was also in those forests that her love of plants truly blossomed.

Prior to her stint in Australia Miss Wolfe was traveling much of the time, in fact she spent most of her formative years abroad. It was during those journeys that she first fell in love with the peoples and cultures of the Mediterranean and Middle East. Greece became a personal favorite and her memories of that place planted the seed of the idea that would eventually become Kalí Týchi vineyards. The people of that region have been growing grapes and making wine for thousands of years. Though in the modern era they have been overshadowed in prominence and popularity by wines from the new world their craft continues to thrive though with a much lower profile. Kalí Týchi wants to change that and refocus the attention of the wine worlds on it’s origins and reintroduce the western wine drinker to the pleasures of the wines from a too often ignored grape growing mecca.

Despite her intellectual and athletic accomplishments and world travels Miss Wolfe longed for a deeper connection with the land. Her travels in Greece had sparked her imagination but it took a chance encounter with a very unlikely fellow traveler before that imagination would condense into action.

At first glance Daniel DeMarco would seem a strange fit for a business endeavor like a vineyard. The co-founder of Kalí Týchi vineyards Daniel is a Ph.D. research scientist in microbiology and molecular biology and a globally recognized expert in the development of molecular diagnostic assays for foodborne pathogens. He has worked in public health as an infectious disease fellow with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as several large fortune 500 companies. Over the course of his distinguished career he has published countless abstracts and publications, has been an invited speaker and presenter at technical conferences the world over, and has seven issued patents. Beyond micro and molecular biology Dr. DeMarco is recognized as one of the foremost (non academic) authorities on the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein and continental analytic philosophy in general. He maintains an active web presence through his popular blog and website where he writes regularly about a broad range of topics including the simulation hypothesis, artificial intelligence, his love of cats, politics, business, and of course all aspects of science and philosophy, to name just a few. All of Dr. DeMarco’s written works are scientifically minded to be sure but also suffused with a brilliant wit and he is admired for his sense of humor as much as for his technical acumen.

It was a personal tragedy that lit the spark in him and caused him to question the path he had pursued with such single mindedness from a very young age. When a chance encounter with Miss Wolfe presented him with the opportunity to forge a new way at first he hesitated. The love of his life, his wife of only two short years, Victoria Withington, had died tragically less than a year earlier. His pain and grief were still fierce and at first the thought of taking on a new challenge filled him with dread rather than excitement. He knew in his heart though that if he had any hope of ever finding some small measure of healing a great change was needed. After much thought and serious deliberations including consultations with friends and family he agreed and Kalí Týchi vineyards was born. As an expert in microbiology with significant expertise in the microbiology of fungi, including yeasts, his role is as the wine formulation and production supervisor. Dr. DeMarco has spent the past year studying the wine making process and wine fermentations with the same zeal he applied as a star student in his graduate school days. He has become an expert wine maker at the book level and in the real world where he begun and continues a series of tightly controlled studies using design of experiment (DOE) statistical methods to optimize the Kalí Týchi wine making process on a per grape strain/wine variety basis. His goal is nothing short of total wine perfection and he has vowed to never stop innovating or improving until the name Kali Tychi vineyards and winery is known world wide and the wines of the old world are returned to their ancient prominence.

Both Jen and Daniel have found much of what they were originally seeking when they began this great journey together. The Kalí Týchi vineyard story which began as one of hope has transformed into one of triumph. Jen now feels that deeper connection with the land and with history she was so desperately seeking. Dan still grieves but has found some small measure of relief and views every vine that springs from the vineyard earth as a living memorial to his late wife. He has little doubt she is smiling and watching and caring for the grapes just as he and Jen have done and continue to do each and every day.

Sebastokratōr Daichi Alexopoulos

Athens, Greece — July 2017

From our vineyard to your home and hearth we wish you Kalí Týchi!

Daniel DeMarco, Ph.D. and Jennifer Wolfe — July 2017

Written by

Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/mol biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

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