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InterView Magazine

The Perfect Blend... In wine & Life

        Michael Tingley as a
semi-retired enologist— or winemaker to use a more common term— knows how exciting it can be to find the perfect blend and balance in a fine wine. “The end result actually outshines each component,” he says. He is speaking, of course, of wine, but the parallel to life is clear.

        The 67-year-old Murrieta resident is currently transitioning into full-time retirement from his long 40 year career
as a winemaker. He is seeking the same rich balance in this new chapter of his life that he has always pursued in his

A Seed Is Planted
        In the late 60s and early 70s, Tingley spent a good deal of time in Europe, primarily in Holland, working under contract as a singer-songwriter. It was during this period that his European friends introduced him to the pleasures of a fine wine paired with a fine meal. This was a revelation for Tingley and his love of wine only grew from there. “It was really life-changing for me,” he remembers. “I fell in love with the flavors of fine wines, how they blend so well with certain dishes.” When he eventually resettled in the States, he knew that he wanted to work in the wine industry. “At that point I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, but as events unfolded I ended up learning how to be a winemaker.” He found mentors, took classes on wine and wine making at the University of California Davis, devoured textbooks on the subject, and “asked a lot of questions.” The more he learned about
wine making, the more he discovered what a perfect fit it was for him. “I found that
with wine making I could exercise both sides of my brain,” he says. “If I wanted to be
analytical, I could go into the lab and do analysis… if I really wanted to create  something, I could blend different batches of wine together… sort of like when an artist blends color.”
        Tingley has now spent more than 40 years making wine in the Temecula valley area, and a large portion of the that time at the Danza Del Sol winery.  He still works there as a consultant, while he gradually transitions into retirement.

A Fine Balance
        With the promise of free time on the horizon, Tingley and his wife  Gabrielle, who herself retired from the Murrieta School District two years ago, enjoy planning for their new future. “Like most folks, we would like to do some traveling,” says Tingley. The couple has plans to buy a motor home for traveling around the United States and Canada. They plan on visiting Europe as well.
        In the meantime, they like to take day trips to Los Angeles and San Diego. They enjoy going to various museums, to beautiful Balboa Park in San Diego, and they like finding “unusual” events to attend.” Tingley calls these their “off-the-beaten-path journeys.” The couple recently visited a tamale and a lavender festival.

        Staying active and engaged with the world is very important to Tingley. He and his wife both visit the gym regularly—usually four times per week for about an hour— and go for frequent walks around their neighborhood.

Gabrielle also spends some of her time volunteering as a docent at the Western  Science Center in Hemet, and Tingley looks forward to finding his own volunteer opportunity when fully retired. “It’s really going to be paramount to stay busy,” he says, “both mentally and physically. Keep moving and keep thinking.”
        Tingley also believes in the importance of staying socially active. To that end, he has plans to launch his own small business entitled, “Temecula Lunch with the Winemaker.” The business is still in the planning stages but promises to provide a fun and educational experience for those who attend. In a relaxed, small-group  setting, he will teach anyone who cares to learn about fine wine and what goes on behind the scenes at a winery.
        He plans to focus on recent retirees like himself. “Most folks I know that are my
age… once they retire they want to start learning something. They go back to school, they take classes.” With words that could just as easily be describing his own motivation, Tingley adds, “Even though they’re retired, they don’t really want to
stop working; they just want to do something different.” This is a need he hopes to fill with his new endeavor, and perhaps filling the same need in himself.
        He does not know what the future holds, but he looks forward to the fulfillment and adventures this new phase in his life will bring.      

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