Diane Sparks-Moore, Co-Founder
Nathaniel Moore, Winemaker
Tim Moore, in memoriam
“Doing good holds the power to transform us on the inside, and then ripple out in ever-expanding circles that positively impact the world at large.” - Shari Arison
It’s a concept as old as time: the notion that whatever you put out into the universe will come back to you. Without immediately going off on a major tangent, my basic internet research suggests that even Aristotle was thinking about this back in the day, the inevitability of causality in the universe. Personally it’s a concept I can get behind, if for no other reason than the powerful motivation it creates to do good, and I found a beautiful—shall I say, inspiring?—manifestation in my conversation with Diane Sparks-Moore, co-founder of Finger Lakes gem Inspire Moore Winery.
It began as his dream.
Tim Moore always wanted to own a winery. A California native, Tim studied enology (wine making) at the University of California-Davis—where he also met his wife, Diane—before embarking directly to a career in wine. He started out in the Midwest, spending five years helping to open a winery and ultimately a dozen years working for Constellation Brands, a Fortune 500 producer and marketer of beer, wine, and spirits.
It all changed in 2006, when Diane turned to him and said (as only a wife can): You’re not getting any younger. What are you waiting for? As it turned out, nothing.
It became their dream.
From the start, Tim and Diane approached their winery with a deep sense of purpose. Within a year of Diane’s fateful remark to Tim, the couple had purchased seven acres of land in the Finger Lakes town of Naples, NY. They chose the land with care, finding a place that resonated with all their deepest values and ideals: beauty, functionality, artistry, peace. It was only the beginning.
Next up: the name. Anyone who has ever tried to write a story knows the importance and agony in choosing a name. Names define, they infuse with meaning, they embody history and hopes.
Tim and Diane understood this, which is why they took the naming of their winery very seriously. After much deliberation, self-reflection, soul-searching, and consultation with friends, they finally decided on “Inspire Moore.” Tim’s idea was that they would name each of their wines after things they would like to see more of, and inspire more of, in the world, like love, harmony, and peace.
So that’s what they did, and Inspire Moore was born.
The dream came to life.
Tim threw himself into winemaking with all the passion of a lifetime. For every blend he created, he thoughtfully came up with a name of a value or concept that he felt reflected the blend; just as one example, the Love Riesling was a very fruit forward, semi-sweet blend, and Tim strongly felt that this was his representation of love. What a beautiful way to create, I must say.
Tim wasn’t alone in embracing the dream: the entire Moore family—by then grown to include five children—became part of the vision. Family has always been a core value of the Moores, and they envisioned their winery as a celebration of their family blessings. And so, as they prepared their first vintages and had to design the bottles, it felt natural to use family as their inspiration. A photographer friend took beautiful photographs of their children and those images were screen-printed onto the bottles—becoming visual representations of the concepts behind the wines.
If you’ve browsed any of the Inspire Moore wines, you’ve probably noticed that the bottles no longer feature those photographs. They’re still stunningly beautiful, of course, in the same artistry that Tim and Diane did everything with at their winery, and there’s such a cool backstory:
To celebrate their 10-year wine-iversary, the Moores decided to redesign the bottles. Right around that time, Diane had gotten a henna tattoo on her arm that she loved so much, she ended up tattooing over it—and that was the lightning strike of inspiration. The new bottles would feature henna designs, and Diane would settle for nothing less than the artist responsible for that inspiration. That henna artist did multiple designs for Diane that were screen-printed onto the bottles, and Diane came up with quotes related to each of the wine names that she incorporated into the henna designs.
Truly, the Moores have done all things with love, at least as far as their winery is concerned.
They carry on the dream.
Sadly, we can’t live our dreams forever. In 2019, after a courageous battle with cancer, Tim Moore passed away.
It took no more than a moment of internet research for me to discover the extent to which Tim was loved and respected in the wine community, which just confirms the concept I posited at the very beginning of this post: Tim put love and ideals into the world, and he generated so much more love as a result. I can only aspire to be as loving, passionate, caring, thoughtful, and inspired as Tim Moore, thanks to whom the world is a better place.
Notice I said above that we can’t “live our dreams forever.” That was a very deliberate choice of words, because although individuals can’t continue living their dreams, it doesn’t mean the dreams die. In the case of someone like Tim, whose dream was powerful and meaningful, of course it lives on, in his wife, children, friends, wine community, and the rest of the world that benefited from the ripples of his positivity.
Diane was determined to carry on through tragedy, and fate smiled on her: Nathaniel, their fourth child and first son, had just graduated from a viticulture program in upstate NY. At just 20 years old, Nathaniel took over winemaking at Inspire Moore and carried on his father’s legacy almost seamlessly, together with Diane running operations.
In fact, it truly became a family endeavor. After their father’s passing, all five Moore children stepped in to help their mother continue the business, each in their own unique way. I don’t know if it’s possible for a voice to shine, but I swear Diane’s did when she spoke of her children on the phone. Operations, art, cellar work—even Diane’s 86-year-old mother jumped in, representing the winery at tasting events and visiting wine shops. I can’t emphasize enough the depth of family love and commitment embodied in this winery, and I swear it comes through in the wine.
They’re helping the world in more ways than one.
Personally, I think putting positive vibes into the universe matters a lot. But if your definition of “help” is more concrete, don’t worry, Inspire Moore has it covered. From the beginning the Moores have been deeply committed to sustainability, and thanks to their location they were able to benefit from a partnership with Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to establish sustainable practices for the winery.
Today, Inspire Moore embodies sustainability in ways across the board, including:
- Partnering with grape growers who implement Vine Balance practices developed through the Cornell Cooperative Extension;
- Composting basically everything;
- Installing a high-temp power washing system for their bottling line that allowed them to eliminate chemical cleaners;
- Using primarily screen printing for bottles to eliminate paper labels;
- Working with local businesses as much as possible to provide economic viability to the region.
Do you believe in karma? I think I do, and after speaking with someone like Diane Moore, I really hope karma is real. Diane is a beautiful soul carrying on a beautiful dream, and I have to believe that someone who puts out that much love into the world is receiving it back in spades. Certainly she’s making the world a better place in so many ways, not the least of which is by making some fantastic wine. The names of the wines might represent ideals, but they could just as easily describe the way you’ll feel when you drink them.
Even better: by trying a bottle or two, you’re also carrying forward the dream. And just like love, dreams don't diminish by spreading. They multiply.