A brush with the horror of the September 11 attacks on a visit to New York prompted Rebecca and Peter Work, Californian corporate executives, to rethink their lives and opt for a quieter existence on the land.
Peter Work, the chief technology officer for an outsourcing firm, had a 9 a.m. appointment near the World Trade Center on that day which would have put him close to the Twin Towers when the hijacked planes hit. It was canceled at the last moment.
The near miss was an epiphany for the couple, both in their mid-40s then, who were trapped in New York for four days trying to get a flight to their Long Beach, California home.
"We realized what we had been doing in our corporate careers, which had been very successful for us, but it really didn't make us happy anymore," said Rebecca, a former IT consultant to Fortune 500 companies.
"We realized that life is too short to not really enjoy it," she said. "It was time to trade in the Mercedes for a John Deere tractor."
They moved to an 82-acre (33-hectare) plot they had bought in the Santa Rita hills two years previously, about a 90-minute drive north of Los Angeles, and planted about 15 acres of vines.
They hired wine consultants and built up what has become Ampelos Cellars, which produces about 3,500 cases of nine different wines.