Passion for wine transforms banker into vintner

Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:07am EST
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By Leslie Gevirtz

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - As a banker and financier, Lenny Recanati became a vintner for love not for money.

"In order to go into the wine business, you have to have a passion for it. You have to have a love for it. Let's say there are better businesses to go into, more profitable, more lucrative. Easier ways to make money," said Recanati.

"In other words, you go into it because you love it, not because it's a business. It starts out as a hobby. When it makes money, it becomes a business."

His passion started as a child in Haifa, Israel, where his parents had a vineyard in the garden of his home.

Today, Recanati has about 5,000 bottles in his cellar and is the owner of a winery in Israel's Hefer Valley in the Upper Galilee that he opened in 2000 with a small group of investors.

His new winemaker, Gil Shatsberg, 48, who founded the Israeli boutique winery at Amphorae, traces his love of wine to working in the vineyard of Kibbutz Tzora.

After military service, Shatsberg was determined to find a job that would involve art but not spending whole days in an office or in the field. Winemaking met his requirements.

When he started Shatsberg tried to "take all the sunshine we have in Israel and push into the bottle and concentrate everything and shove it into the glass."   Continued...