Wine Paralysis

We learn how to change the culture of an organization and about Spain's famous Rioja region.  

Plus a 2-for-1 February deal on some Helicium Glasses. Enter "halfoff" at for 50% off all Helicium Stemware through Feb. 28th! 

Get a bottle of some caliente Rioja with a set of Helicium and starting living la vida with your "amor" this February.  


Getting Paralyzed in Barcelona

by Greg Gottsacker

It’s almost 5am in Barcelona and we have our annual sales meeting kicking off in 3 hours. Vamos!  Hit the showers and suit up! 

I was in Barcelona last week for my company’s annual sales meeting which repeats itself annually (as title suggests) but also in so many other ways…

But this year there was a new theme: “Change the Culture of the Company”

Excuse me?  Change the what of the company wh-what? Such talk should not be thrown around so lightly after 45 salesmen have just crawled out of their bunks post-power siesta.

Organizational change is a nasty concoction of methodical work and indiscriminate human emotional reaction to those methods. It can leave a hangover worse than dozens of emptied bottles of Tempranillo and Venezuelan rum.

Cultural change in an organization, government or society is a tricky subject and an even trickier one to implement in a business.   

Think of some major cultural changes in society and how they went down.  

The French revolution required a decade of implementation, organization and ultimately a beheading of the monarch Louis XVI.  

The cultural revolution of the 1960’s demanded a solid decade of straying from the standards and morals of the time through music, literature, film, and drug use in order to shake the pillars of governing elites...and even then we got the dirty results in the 70’s!

My 3 biggest take-aways about cultural change in an organization. (At least the 3 big ones I remember from my MBA years).

 1Culture eats Strategy for Lunch

Shared values are the core of how a company works together and interprets how things will get done.  That “workin’ as a team” and common value stuff will kill any trendy strategy some fancy suit tries to put into action.

 2. Culture is like the nervous system of an Organization

Imagine breaking your back while dancing in Barcelona and you become paralyzed in a wheelchair. Tomorrow your friend says, “You have to walk on the beach with me--now.” Ummm…I am going to need about 15-20 years of therapy and maybe I’ll be able to take a couple steps.  The culture of a company is very difficult to change, almost like teaching a paraplegic to walk again.  

3. Cultural Change requires Urgency

Management has to have a good story, a compelling argument and establish some urgency behind the change activities. Establish urgency of the need for change!  

There is so much literature out there on change management and cultural change in organizations that we need to stop here and talk about what I really learned in Barcelona. 

What I learned about Spain's most famous wine region, Rioja.

 Rioja Grapes: Comprised primarily of Tempranillo, Garnacha Tinta (Grenache), Graziano, and Mazuelo (Carignan).

Tempranillo will most often be the backbone of these wines (60%), and if you enjoy a high tannin wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon yet desire the fruit bombs of a Grenache, this might be your "amor". 

A Different Class System: Rioja is classified based on its time in oak barrels and bottles. (think Cru system)

  • Rioja:  Low price points, couple months in oak, straight to bottle and out to market.  Young, fruity and juicy. 
  • Crianza: 1 year in oak, 1 year in bottle.   Accessible price points, tannins easily noticeable and not overpowered by the oak.  
  • Reserva: 1 year in oak.  2 years in bottle.  Prices above $15 but this is a great value category.  Powerful and structured, oak is present and gives it nice balance and mellows out those tannins.  It's molecular. 
  • Gran Reserva: 2 years in oak. 3 years in bottle.  Count on over $30 and you can keep these bottles for a long time.  True depth with wood flavor from the oak but does not abandon its ties to its fruity mother. Sleek and Steady from Spain. 


Here is a suggestion for you that you can find at Wholefoods.  A Reserva from 2009 for $19.99.  
Hell, with Helicium's immediate aeration technology it'll probably taste like a Gran Reserva....don't forget about the "halfoff" code for 50% off at




Greg Gottsacker 

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Gregory Gottsacker
Gregory Gottsacker