The little things in life do make a world of difference, don't you agree?
In reminiscing about my Mum & Dad (the founders of UMAMU Estate) I realised recently how much the little things impact life. Before I knew it, I was reading, thinking and researching about it – I am so stoked and wanted to share this with you incase this 'Go To for Balance & Contentment' resonates with you. And as we re-enter full lockdown at home, I re-explore my toolkit.
The annual Margaret River pilgrimage
February each year is the start of our annual pilgrimage to the Margaret River to hand pick the first grapes of the vintage (white grapes first, reds come later). Reflecting on these precious moments in lockdown, I never realised how much I have embedded them into every aspect of UMAMU Estate with positive psychology!
Each year we are religiously in Western Australia for that year's vintage, and we love joining in on the early morning hand picking of our prized Chardonnay block 8 (see pictures). Dad not being so mobile, he joined us from the car and I brought him a bunch of Chardonnay grapes – can you see his smile?! This is the joy that I try to bring to every aspect of UMAMU Estate, most especially the labels.
Read how Mum & Dad came to Margaret River here: UMAMU Estate Chardonnay – Why Margaret River makes best Chardonnay in Australia
In the Book of Joy, The Dalai Lama says:
"When we speak of experiencing happiness, we need to know there are actually two different kinds. The first is enjoyment of pleasure through our senses.... We can also experience happiness at the deeper level through our mind, such as through love, compassion and generosity. While the joy of the senses is brief, the joy at this deeper level is much more lasting. It is true joy."
I recently wrote to my dear friend Sally, a child psychiatrist, and asked her: "Would you know of any research into how we as humans get sanity or joy out of fun? How projects, little adventures, keep us going? Like how my mum bought me a car because it was a Porsche Macan, and she got the dealer to add an 'n' to make 'Macann' like MacAnn, after Mac & Ann, my parents's first names. Or how on our UMAMU Estate MacAnn Sparkling it is Dad who handwrote 'MacAnn'? Are these things we do to get a kick out of life? And how does that impact our well being in a positive way to give us tangible memories?"
Read about the Porsche MacAnn & our new UMAMU Estate release MacAnn Sparkling: Meaning behind the name – UMAMU Estate MacAnn Sparkling
Sally wrote back: "Within systemic practice, which I'm studying this year, I really like narrative practice/ therapy that focuses on how as human beings we are always looking for stories and meaning, and we can actually change our stories if we change the things we give more attention to. It's fascinating how people we are close to and share values with make really strong contributions to our stories and the meaning we find in life."
Positive psychology has been described as different from other areas of psychology due to its primary interest in identifying and building mental assets, as opposed to addressing weaknesses and problems.
Without knowing it, I suppose that is exactly what we have been doing at UMAMU Estate all these years. My family has found such deep joy in our winemaking and – just like the bottling process of converting each summer season into wine – we have captured those memories in these little visual reminders.
How do you embed the people you love into your lives?
As with so many UMAMU Estate wines, there's a back story to our Sauvignon Blanc 2013. My mum's favourite wine is the amazing Pavillon Blanc from Chateaux Margaux in France. So we had to try and produce something similar. We started out making a first batch in 2005, and then again in 2011 and 2013, for which we had Mum write ‘Blanc’ on the front label. Dad then wrote ‘For Ann’ on the back. To top it all off, when Mum set off on an international journey in 2014, I decided to selectively allocate this very emotional wine for her onboard. I submitted the UMAMU Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2011 to Qantas and mum got to drink it on Qantas First. What memories!
I got such a kick out of these things,I got Mum & Dad, Mac & Ann, to write in their handwriting on more labels of our UMAMU Estate wines (see pictures below). I try to embed them and our special memories anywhere I can think of, and as I reflect, I am so grateful I have done so. MacAnn, in their honour, and so they are always with us, has become our latest range: the MacAnn Sparkling and Cane Cut.
UMAMU Estate & positive psychology
'Margaret River' written by Dad on the front label of Sparkling Chardonnay.
'For Mac' written by Mum on the back label of Sparkling Chardonnay.
For MacAnn Sparkling 2019 & Dragonfly totem with thanks @bulanlifestyle.com.
I added the totem as we had had challenges with a couple of fires in the vineyard and the wine industry is not for the faint hearted so I added the dragonfly for its meaning of resilience.
Mum's all time favourite wine is Pavillon Blanc from Chateau Margaux in France – naturally she wanted us to emulate our version. So on the front label of our For Ann Sauvignon Blanc 2013 I got Mum to write 'Blanc'.
Cane Cut 2014 (I handwrite 'MacAnn' in front and 'For Mac & Ann' on back).
Ann's Cabernet Sauvignon 2011. Mac's Chardonnay 2010, sold out, only museum collection now!
Even when choosing our barcodes, I selected them based on their last few digits! Dad has always liked 69 for its inverted balance, so some of the wines have these two last digits.