Bożena Czynciel – began her career as a constructor, having graduated civil engineering with a Master’s degree. Then she co-built the Sephora empire in Poland, Czech Republic and Russia. Finally, she created a magical place on Cracow’s culinary and winery map – she’s been running winery and restaurant called Southern Climates for 10 years now.
Tell us something about yourself. How did your life look like before you became interested in winemaking?
I was born between two zodiak signs and I was left-handed. I was a third child, the youngest among my analytically-minded brothers.
To fulfill my ambitions of rebuilding the world, I graduated civil engineering at the Cracow University of Technology. I used to think very well of the great constructors, who created landmarks such as Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia – which nobody actually know what they were created for.
My life quickly took a turn even though there are probably a few buildings I created somewhere in Poland, such as industrial halls (counted by a certain young assistant to the constructor at the Cracow PZL Design Office). There is also my friends’ house in Poznan… but I keep both my feet on the ground now, not as a constructor.
A bit of history…
After years of looking for my place in the world, lots of travelling and lots of Polish and international companies, I finally found my place in the law firm of well-know Cracow’s lawyers/politicians. It was an interesting experience but it didn’t manage to fulfill my ambitions. Then there was L’Oreal where I was one of the chain’s first employees. What particularly grabbed my attention there was being trained to bring people’s (male and female) attention to the enjoyable value of the brand’s cosmetics.
After working on building the L’oreal brand in Poland for a few years, I landed a job at Sephora. It was 1998 and they actually didn’t have a shop in Poland. So me and my team from Poland and France just had to open them – and within just 10 years we opened over 80 Sephora shops in Poland, Czech Republic and Moscow.
And how did your interest in winemaking begin?
It was a bit earlier. I used to travel a lot and I got to know winemaking a little more. I also discovered the philosophy contained in the bottle of wine, as Louis Pasteur named it.
The wine, cuisine, aroma, flavour – they became a great hobby of mine. After many years of working in international corporations and an unfortunate ski trip, I decided to open one of the first places in Cracow where we educated (and still do) the customers about what wine is, how it influences our lifestyle, how much joy it brings and how it can beautifully open the door to great people’s lives.
What wine teaches us is the harmony of life, healthy lifestyle, it offers many flavours and cuisines, many aromas, and a unique form of spending time – so basically it brings us the lifestyle that can get us through.
How do you nurture your winemaking passion?
I’ve been running a restaurant and winery called Southern Climates. In the meantime I keep discovering new flavours, I organise and run tasting events and facultative trips for which I invite the best experts and winemakers. I also help organise international events for people in the winemaking business. Whenever I am in the jury of a winemaking contests, not only do I judge the wine, but also happily observe the evolution of winemaking market in Poland and abroad.
It’s great how you keep passion, work and beauty in your life. How do you maintain this busy lifestyle?
Whenever I feel like I’m losing my balance, I go to my friends’ house in Provence, where I restart my brain and then I go back to work. I also often visit other countries famous for winemaking, as well as Polish winemakers, and I can assure you – this is the best way and a best therapy when your life gets too busy.
In the meantime I finished a coaching course and a course of healing by touchless energy. You may ask: what for? Well, the knowledge I got helps me better understand the nature, live my life with more awareness and better understand the needs of my customers, my friends and my family.
Last thing – what do you think success is? Could you give our readers a piece of advice regarding success?
In my opinion, you get successful when your work is also your lifestyle. This is actually happening in my life right now and this is what I wish to everybody – cheers!