“All the outliers we’ve looked at so far were the beneficiaries of some kind of unusual opportunity. Lucky breaks don’t seem like the exception for software billionaires, rock bands, and star athletes; they seem like the rule.”
Gladwell asks these questions, and then shares his exhaustive research that shows that success isn’t just about people of extreme intelligence and ambition. Success is also intricately linked with other things such as family, birthplace, birthdate, and cultural legacy. Gladwell looks at patterns in the lives of successful people and is able to discover things like, there is a magic year to be born in if you want to be a incredibly successful software engineer (like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Bill Joy). Or that if you’re born in a country like Japan, Korea or China, you have a higher probability of excelling in math (the pattern there has to do with rice paddies!). By the end of his story, Gladwell has proven that those people who are wildly successful – and outliers – don’t reach that level of success as a result of their own efforts. That level of success is the result of contributions from many different people and circumstances that are completely out of their control.
In using Gladwell’s critical eye for how to view
success, I’d like to take a look at Sevtap Winery, which is being
awarded the 2015 Winery of the Year by Cal Travel
Association! I first met Ertugral “Art”
Sevtap, owner and winemaker at Sevtap Winery, when I was working at
Sunstone Winery in Solvang, CA in 2007. At the time he was a driver for Cloud
Climbers Jeep Tours, a popular wine tour company in the Santa Ynez Valley, and
we formed a quick friendship that grew as I got to know him a little bit more
with each new group he would bring into the tasting room. I learned that he was
from Turkey, and that he originally came to California to study deep sea diving
in Irvine, but a last minute decision instead brought him to attend Santa
Barbara City College to study marine technology. This led him to move to
New Orleans where he worked as an underwater construction worker for the oil
rigs and pipelines off the coast. To pass the time on the rig when he wasn’t
diving, Art would watch Emeril Lagassi’s cooking show on the Food Network, and
three years later gave up life at sea to work at Emeril’s restaurant Nola in
the French Quarter of New Orleans. I learned that Art’s love of cooking and good wine eventually brought him back to Santa Barbara.
making his own wine and opening up his own winery, and over the years I
watched as he moved from driving jeeps, to working on wine production at Kalyra
Winery and Carina Cellars, and eventually to opening his own winery and
purchasing his own winemaking equipment. In 2008 he found the perfect spot to
open his tasting room in downtown Solvang, and he grew his wine production from a couple hundred cases to currently about 2,500 cases per year. Then in 2012 my husband and I held
our rehearsal dinner at his tasting room…only 6 years from when I’d met
him, Art had seen his dream become a reality, and I was privileged enough to
incorporate his dream into my own as we celebrated the eve of my marriage to
the man of my dreams.
grapes and their characteristics and personalities led him to discover his love for
Bordeaux varietals, which he uses to create innately simple yet delicious wines such as his Cabernet Franc named after his daughter, Autumn. This wine is deliciously smoky and berry-filled
Cabernet Franc with strong tannins and great age-ability. Art’s story of success, and this wine is one of several bottles that proves that fact. Art’s success story is also a great example of Gladwell’s 10.000 hour rule – that it takes roughly 10,000 hours for someone to achieve mastery in a field or craft – and Art’s dedication to his craft led to his mastery of the art of winemaking.