Living the Good LifeDecember 2017
By Jon Vanzile
Dan Cohn knows a thing or two about staying healthy on the road.
As the CEO of the Daniel Cohn Wine Company, a start-up brand that introduced its first wine in January 2016, Cohn maintains a punishing travel schedule. In 2016, he spent 308 days on the road promoting his first blockbuster vintage, Bellacosa Cabernet.
“The wine business is a very exciting industry, but it’s a 24-hour-a-day commitment,” Cohn says. “In order to stay on top of the quality and every single detail, the day cannot end at 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. Weekends off are rare.”
His challenge is compounded by where Cohn ends up spending a lot of time. Selling wine involves visiting fine restaurants, where butter and saturated fats rule the menu and alcohol is a central part of the experience.
To stay fit, Cohn has developed a routine and philosophy that makes it possible to hopscotch across the map—and of course he relies on Life Extension® supplements to make sure he’s receiving the nutrients he needs.
The Road Warrior’s Routine
Cohn’s typical day begins in a hotel room and ends in an airport. On any given day, he might find himself traveling to a new city or two and meeting with potential distributors or clients, all while doing press and staying in touch with the company itself back in Sonoma County.
“The whole idea is to share the experience of the wine,” Cohn said. “Because a lot of people can’t go to Sonoma or Napa, these beautiful wine regions, I bring it to them.”
Along the way, he’s learned a few crucial tips to keep up his energy.
“One of the keys is that if you ever have to eat in an airport, don’t do it,” he said. “The food in airports is terrible for you, so you’re better just to avoid it totally.”
When he does eat out, he tries to avoid butter in favor of simply grilled proteins that aren’t swimming in saturated fat.
“Eighty percent of staying healthy on the road is about what you put in your face and keeping up your exercise routine,” he says. “Keeping up a healthy lifestyle on the road can be hard.”
Cohn aims for 20 minutes of exercise every day, even if that means exercising on the floor of his hotel room. It adds up to 200 push-ups and 200 sit-ups every day.
“I also rely on Life Extension,” he says. “I’m fortunate to have Life Extension supplements that support me while I spread the joy of wine one bottle at a time.”
A Bottle of Joy
So far, there’s been a lot of joy to spread. When it comes to the wine business, Cohn draws on a generation of experience. His father, Bruce Cohn, was a legend in the music world who helped establish supergroups like Night Ranger and Bruce Hornsby. He also managed the rock band The Doobie Brothers for thirty years, traveling relentlessly to support the band.
In the early 1970s, Bruce Cohn purchased a tract of land in Sonoma County, California, to put down some roots. The California wine business was in its infancy at the time, so it was mostly by sheer luck that Bruce realized he had lucked into some of the best cabernet grape acreage in the country. The property was already planted with Spanish olive trees that dated to the late 19th century. Looking for a break from the hectic pace of the music business, Bruce Cohn started making wine.
“I was raised in a vineyard,” Dan said. “Back then, it was very much about community and small but beautiful vineyards. The fields were covered with independent wine growers and artisanal winemakers who labored to create great wines. It was about what went into the wine. The connection was the most important of making and sharing wine.”
Dan spent his childhood and teenage years working in the family business, crushing grapes, cleaning tanks, and working in the cellar. When the family sold the business in 2015, Cohn knew he didn’t want to continue, so he started his own wine company.
The company’s first release, Bellacosa, was launched in January 2016 and quickly earned rave reviews. The vintage was named as one of Wine Business’s 2016 Top Hot Wine Brands and was awarded more than 90 points by several leading wine critics. In an extensive profile in Forbes magazine, Cohn was identified as one of America’s hottest and most exciting winemakers.
The first vintage sold out of 25,000 cases in 10 months. Recently, Cohn announced plans to introduce the single-vineyard Oakville Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon as a thank-you to everyone who helped Bellacosa become one of the most exciting wines of 2016. Oakville is a handcrafted, limited 500-case release. Cohn quickly received pre-orders for the first 200 cases.
“I’ve been in the wine business my whole life and never seen a launch like Bellacosa,” Cohn said. “We sold out our first vintage completely.”
One of the remarkable aspects of the Bellacosa story is how the company is in many ways a throwback to the vineyards of Cohn’s youth and the small, artisanal wineries he grew up around. In the decades since then, as the region’s reputation for great wines grew, bigger and bigger companies moved in, until “those small guys have been bought up.”
But not Bellacosa. Artisanal wine is still in Cohn’s blood.
“I’m still living in the early days of Sonoma and Napa Valley wine making,” he said. “The connection, the moments. I’m involved every step of the way from concept, creation and curating to the connection and sharing of Bellacosa. I see the industry moving back into more of a connected, intimate setting, with smaller productions and more consumer connection.”
In the future, Cohn plans to continue building his brand—which means he’ll likely be on the road for a long time, signing bottles and spreading the word.
“Because of Life Extension, I can keep up with my rigorous travel schedule,” he said.
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