Wade Bales


Over the last 25 years Wade Bales has built a hugely successful wine brand and business for himself and his colleagues on the back of an obsession to have both unsurpassed local industry knowledge and the most intimate of personal relationships with SA’s leading winemakers. His unique wine merchant business model, which closely resembles that of private banking, continues to soar to new heights year after year as he is able to offer a highly personalised monthly service to his clients, who today number well over ten thousand, as he unlocks unbeatable quality, convenience and most importantly is able to get his hands on those ‘to die for’ limited-release wines, often not available anywhere else. We hope you enjoy his interview as much as we did:

My Definition Of Success | The meaning of success for me has certainly changed over the years. Success for me now ultimately means having a healthy balance between the most important aspects of my life which in turn should hopefully translate into a sense of contentment, inner peace and joy.

My Highlights | The highlights of my life and career up to now are having raised three happy and balanced children and at the same time building a successful business which is well regarded within the industry and marketplace and makes a meaningful contribution to the community which it serves.

The Difference Between good And Great | I think the key difference between good and great is that those who are great have been able to find meaning in what they do! From my experience, finding meaning or a purpose is not something that you know when you set out in your journey, but rather a pursuit of your passion and what you love doing, which evolves into meaning. It’s a commitment to oneself to stick with what you love and believe in, throughout the entire journey and I believe it is this that enables you to become great at what you do.

A Key Talent | In line with my definition of success, the one strength which I would say has been critical to my success is the ability to infuse my identity with authenticity – being true to myself and having an understanding and acceptance of who I am and wish to be as a person. This gives my life meaning. It’s the only sustainable way to reach and continue to achieve success. Without it, my success would be fleeting and inconsistent. True authenticity requires me to live consciously and make ongoing choices every minute of every day to choose the high road and do the right thing to align my thinking and actions to my value system and beliefs. The ability to live in the moment has been critical to my success. I try hard to not harbour baggage of the past or worry too much about the future by being present and fully immersed in the moment.

Dealing With Doubt | I have learnt to accept that life is challenging and both good and bad things happen to everyone. It basically boils down to making a conscious decision to either do things out of love or out of fear. Both are powerful motivators for achievement. The difference is that one is sustainable and enriching and the other short lived and destructive. A large part of my life was driven by fear, by a mind-set of scarcity rather than abundance. It took a crisis to learn that by changing my mind-set to one of abundance, success could be so much sweeter. Mindfulness and awareness are important behaviours to conquer our fears and ensure we don’t become enveloped in negative thought patterns and behaviour. The demons are there in all of us. The important thing is to recognize them when they arise, but then make the conscious choice to find and focus on the positive.

Performing At My Peak | To continue to perform at your peak requires you to be motivated to do what you do for the right reasons. Material gain is often not enough to sustain peak performance. A sense of purpose combined with a healthy balance with other areas of your life, such as family, health, spirituality and recreation ensure you are in the right frame of mind and have the energy to perform at your peak.

Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | I make sure I develop and nurture strong relationships with positive, inspirational influencers and thought leaders and whom I have an insatiable curiosity to listen and learn from.

Balancing high performance with happiness & contentment | Human beings seem to be hard-wired to never be satisfied and we’re always searching, trying to improve, trying to have more, to get bigger and be better. It’s in our DNA to evolve. My antidote is to be mindful of living in the present and to be happy with what I have in that particular moment.

The Best Advice I’ve Received | Although a bit of a cliche it’s still a classic: “ if you find something you love doing, you will never work another day in your life”.

I Am Inspired By | All those people who are working tirelessly behind the scenes to serve and improve the lives of others less fortunate than themselves.

Interview Questions

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