I spent the last two years of my life figuratively and sometimes literally immersing myself in wine. Lacking fulfillment in my job, I decided I was moving to Napa to learn everything I could about wine. 10 days later, me, my U-Haul and my two dogs, Chucky and Estee, moved into my modest one bedroom apartment and I started school the following day at Napa Valley College.
I instantly fell in love with Napa, and who wouldn’t? The weather is amazing, vistas are surrounded by picturesque vineyards and everyone is always up for enjoying a bottle (or 3) of wine. I took every class that the NVC had to offer in Viticulture, Enology and Wine Marketing. I studied under Stephen Krebs, Brian Avila and Paul Wagner, 3 of the most amazing people and professors you could ever encounter. In just a year and a half I earned 3 different degrees in wine. I couldn’t stop though and felt that although I had learned so much there was much more to understand so I decided to take the wine immersion course at the Culinary Institute in St. Helena. There I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible, Cooking with Food and Friends, and all over amazing woman!! She was looking for a tasting coordinator while she wrote the 2nd edition of The Wine Bible and I knew I had to have that job. I interviewed and I got it and for over a year I got to taste with and learn more from Karen every week.
In my time in Napa, I also knew that until I worked a harvest, I would never truly understand the art of wine making so in 2011 I became a cellar rat and for two months hardly saw the light of day. My life became sorting tables, pump-overs and sano’s. My manicure turned into mechanic hands–not a job for everyone, but truly an experience that anyone interested in wine should undertake.
At this point in my adventure, I had become quite comfortable with my life in Napa, I had great friends, I had moved from my apartment to a very nice home in Browns Valley and could call all of the teachers in my field my friends. But I am a single woman and the night life in Napa is a little lacking (as are the available men) so I knew it was time to continue my journey and leave Napa behind.
I had my sights set on Austin or Nashville, as I wanted to be able to see live music and accompany co-workers to happy hour and I knew both those amazing towns had that to offer. I had a few friends in Nashville and a lake house in SC that I can’t dream of selling in this market so I decided to take a trip south and visit SC, GA and TN. When I got to Nashville, my aunt told me of a winery that started at an old southern plantation called Belle Meade. From my “wine snob” upbringing in Napa, I knew the wines had to be distinctive, so I figured I might as well check it out. As anyone who has ever stepped foot onto the grounds can tell you, there truly is something magical about the place. The way I was interviewed and offered the job is still a whirlwind in my mind but when I toured the plantation and saw all the beauty and amazing event spaces that I had to work with I was sold. I went back to Napa, tied up my loose ends and within a month I was driving across the country to live in Nashville.
I moved win with some friends while waiting for my apartment to finish construction but jumped right into my job. Please follow me on my adventure from Napa to Nashville. I’d love to keep up with you, answer questions and make new friends here in the area so please visit and keep in touch!!