Knowing about wines is one thing, going around the world visiting vineyards and wineries and learning from local instructors is another. Atul Singh, managing director and chief executive officer of private wealth management company LGT Wealth India, does that quite often. In around 18 years, he has travelled to countries like France, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, etc., spending two summer weeks in wine regions every year and learning about the local wine.
“What fascinates me about wine is that it is natural and living. It ages. Some of the wines get better as they age,” he says, quick to clarify that it is not the case with every wine. His favourite is the Brunello di Montalcino wine from Tuscany. Whiskey is not the same, he adds, since it is distilled and once it is bottled, there is no aging.
One of his passions is to know about different types of wines and be able to differentiate one from the other. He calls himself a student—a “good one”—who is more than eager to join classes on wine at the places he visits.
“Everything you need to know about the wine is there in the label of the bottle. You just need to read it in totality,” says Singh, offering a tip to the newcomers on the scene.
Much of the good wine comes from the most beautiful parts of the world, Singh points out. “The vine will not grow unless it is a great place. ... [my wife and I] figured out that if we are chasing wine, we anyway end up spending time in some of the most serene parts in the world. So, there is no compromise [with travel time],” he grins.
Besides work and wine, the one thing that Singh is passionate about is spirituality. He was introduced to it around nine years back, he says. His understanding of and faith in the subject has only grown, courtesy his spiritual guru Swami Parthasarathy and reading of scriptures. Every morning, he spends around 45 minutes reading scriptures and contemplating on the learnings.
There is tremendous learning in the Indian scriptures, according to Singh. “Spirituality helps you be at peace with yourself while being productive. It shows you how to live your life so that you do not get overstressed and overworked,” he philosophises. He disagrees with the common perception that learning about spirituality is for the retirement years, insisting that the knowledge is needed to be fully productive at one’s peak.
The scriptures have an important lesson which is quite relevant to entrepreneurs, Singh points out. “Never get attached to your business,” he says. “Most entrepreneurs get too attached to their work. Businesses will see turbulences. The only way to not get impacted by these turbulences is to be passionate without getting attached,” he avers.
His secret for happiness: absence of agitation. “When you are not agitated, you are happy. Worrying about the outcome all the time will not help, because the outcome is not in your control,” the spiritual wine-loving businessman says as he sums up his pursuit of happiness.