Hi, I'm Veronique Raskin and I am the founder & CEO of The Organic Wine Company. My blog is mostly about organic wine & self-development, as well as anything else that interests and inspires me!
My COMPANY’S STORY…
As a young woman of 42, I walked across our vineyards one summer afternoon in Southern France. By my side, a man 47 year my senior, my grand father. He stopped us both on a hill to take in the sights. After filling our lungs with fragrant air, he said to me, “Look and See. This is what I am doing all this for. Look at this beauty. Smell this air. Hear the birds. They are coming back and so are the butterflies. Life is coming back!”. I stood on that rich red earth, on the top of that hill, totally intoxicated by the sun drenched scents of thyme, rosemary, pine trees and lavender. The smell of the “garrigue”. Baudelaire & van Gogh came to mind, potent yet still feeble reflections of the passionate overflowing beauty around me.
What he was doing back then was converting the family vineyards from conventional agricultural methods over to organic methods. He himself had been converted to organic farming while visiting an old friend whose grapes dazzled him with their unusual fullness and unmistakeable vitality.The reason? “Well”, said our friend, “Obviously organic farming, is The Way, The Truth, The Path to maintain the health of the vineyards, the earth, his employees, their children and the generations to come, while producing great fruits and obviously great wines!”
So my grandfather went home and at the ripe age of 75 years decided to pioneer yet another cause. He loved our ancestor’s land too much to let it be slowly destroyed by the conventional post-war farming methods. He had promoted human health throughout his life as an exceptional physician and now he would expand the range of his activities, pour his healing talents into our earth with the belief that its fruits could only become better and more alive for it. He bravely faced ridicule and potential financial loss yet he still marched forwards. His vehicle had changed but his basic commitment to the Hippocratic oath remained constant “First do no harm”.
He soon enlisted me in his campaign. When he asked me to help him market the fruits of his labor and passion by importing our family property wines into the USA this fit quite well into my own life’s path. I too am a healer at heart, much like all 7 of the men in the family, who are physicians, I chose to learn, ‘Structural Integration’, otherwise known as Rolfing. It was my way to help human beings towards balance and well being.
Helping introduce our organic wines to the world fulfilled all of my needs, personal and professional. At first, I thought I could add importing our wines to my daily work schedule, no problem. This would maybe be my hobby. I could help out the family, promote organic farming, & permit wine lovers who like myself, who got headaches from conventional wine to enjoy it again-
Just as important , it would allow me to express my abiding love and respect for the earth at large. My goal was to promote organic wines, and hopefully make a contribution to the health of our mother earth present & future.
Little did I know then how much work and sacrifice this hobby of mine would turn out to be! Only a few years later, it became clear that I could not be a healer and a successful promotional businessperson at the same time. I decided to temporarily give up the practice of Rolfing, my healing art, in order to take care of the Company.
For years, I aimed to integrate my healing mentality in the running of the company but had not really succeeded. There were times I seriously doubted whether I could ever combine these two sensitivities. Though I talked about it a great deal, wrote about it, preached it, still it was not where I wished it to be. Always looking, my next strategy became, “OK, I will run the business for another 5 years, then I will sell or delegate the company responsibilities and THEN I will return to my healing practice…”
This conflicting lifestyle was eternally painful as I searched to integrate these two important worlds. My spiritual values, were not necessary to promoting our wine, but neither could I walk away from a 20-year-old business investment in the family purpose. I had struggled for years to write our perfect ‘mission statement’ but felt for me it never became completely ‘right.’ None of the standard marketing descriptions of my objectives really captured what I was trying to do. I am not an importer of wine. I am a supporter of organic farming, but even that was becoming a “trendy’ thing to say… No, some essential fundamental was still missing and continued to tugg on my tails. By my forties, I could no longer tolerate it.
I have a longstanding belief that those who ask surely receive, so I practiced trying in meditation to “Be still and know”. One day in my practice, I lit a candle, used Essential Oils from Biblical times, Frankincense, Myrrh and Cedarwood for clarity and then focused my inner mind on the ancestral vineyards asking for Higher guidance. I remained in silence for a long while and suddenly the answer came to me far inside in my being. The scents of the oils reminded me of the scents of the ‘garrigue’, our earth when it is passionately alive. Something deep in my nature shifted, and suddenly saw our red earth and heard, ” The purpose of your company is to provide healing to everyone it touches. EVERYONE! Wine is a sacred beverage, it was good enough for Jesus to unify his disciples and celebrate life, it appears in major world religions as a ceremonial remembrance. It will to be good enough for you as a vehicle to share with people who want to create unity and celebration in health and important friendship in their homes. In that moment it became clear. I am not the importer of a commodity nor the founder of a politically correct movement, I am a contemporary healer and so is the wine of my company”…
Welcome to my Organic Wine Company, Veronique Raskin