Monday, May 30, 2011

A Slingshot to Passion

If you haven't had a Tinhorn Creek Wine you have been missing out. Winemaker for Tinhorn Creek, Sandra Oldfield, talks to us about how she found her passion.

Following My Passion
Sandra Oldfield

Sandra and her sdopted daughter Melody 2005
I was not raised with wine in the house. My father was not a winemaker. There were not 7 generations stretching back to the “the old country” that handed their knowledge down to me. I never worked the land or grew up on a farm.

I backed into the wine industry as a diversion from a relationship gone bad.

If you go to work at a winery and find yourself staying later than you’re scheduled for, not taking lunch breaks, absorbing every tidbit of information you can glean--you may have to recognize you’ve found a career that is right for you. Even if you already have a degree in business. Even if you’ve never taken a college science class in your life. Even if your parents think you’re whacked. Even if you are on the rebound.

My passion for wine was carved out by myself. It was not handed to me. It led me to 2 ½ years of Chemistry, Physics, Calculus, and Biology classes in between working one full time job and one part time job in the wine industry. It led me to the Master’s Program at the University of California Davis. Once there, it opened up a world of learning that I could take to any level of my choosing—and I sucked the marrow out my two years in the program. I learned that a little bit of knowledge leads to a universe of knowledge yet unknown. I was treated as an equal by professors who I had only read about and admired for their lifetime’s work. Idolized. I also learned what it was like to attend a real college party—two or three times a week!

My passion for wine led me to my husband.

A Canadian studying viticulture at Davis, starting a new venture in some place called the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. It pulled me North. Away from my home and my family and the only life I had ever known. Away from my colleagues in the wine industry and away from my mentors and classmates. Away from my support network.

My passion for wine was now intertwined with a new life where I was once again very much on my own. Working through what would work and what would not work based on trial and error. Learning the rhythms of nature and seasons and weather. Walking row after row in our 130 acres of estate grapes to get a sense of place. Learning not only how to be managed but how to manage others. Employee after employee, consumer after consumer, and friend after friend, I began to build a new house of support. A new network of interactions. Not a home I had been given but one I had built myself.

A rebound that turned out to be a slingshot to a new life.

Posted by Passaggio Wines

Monday, May 23, 2011

Walking the Vine With Liz

I love Liz's products and her story about her pilgramage to the place she wanted to be. Liz Healy-Kay explains her passion and inspiration for I Walk the Vine. Read about her guiding principle and pet peeves.

Following My Passion!
Name: Liz Healy-Kay

Creator/Owner of I Walk the Vine, LLC an apparel and gift line for wine enthusiasts, with national placement in over 50 wineries throughout Oregon, WA, CA, Napa, Sonoma and Texas.

Inspiration for I Walk the Vine:
I started this line from my own frustration of never finding hip, stylish wine tees when in winery gift shops – you don’t have to wear rhinestones to declare your love for wine!

Professional background:
Over 20 years experience in diverse marketing & management roles, primarily in the recording industry. I launched “I Walk the Vine” three years ago.

Education: BA in Political Science, Stockton State, Pomona, NJ

Residence: Portland, OR

Following Your Passion:
Great ideas can come simply from your gut especially if you are bringing to market something different. Products that “wink” and make people smile set a great foundation for enthusiasm. I knew nothing about developing a gift or t-shirt line, running a full commerce website or selling to the wine industry. I had always worked in a tough, competitive, creative industry where you only survived by being special – that translates in whatever you do.

Best way to keep competitive:
Keep it fresh with new designs & products; find ways to communicate & engage with your fan base

Guiding principle:
Always be moving forward & improving – complacency will never grow your business

Yardstick of success: Continued growth in tough economic times.

Best business decision: Trade-marking “I Walk The Vine”

Toughest business decision: Investing in outside consultants to help me grow

Mentors: Entrepreneurs & risk takers

Word that best describes you: Dedicated

Like best about the job: Autonomy

Like least about the job: Uncertainty

Pet peeves: Bad design and cheap t-shirts

Most important lesson learned: Tap your smart friends for business advice

Most respected competitor: I love the story and the massive success of Johnny Cupcakes t-shirts – not a competitor by any stretch but a product & entrepreneur I respect.

Greatest passions: Wine and cooking for people I love

Favorite wine: Buttery Chardonnays and big reds – bring on the Jam!

First choice for a new career: Launch another great idea!

Favorite quote: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them” – Dr Maya Angelou

Most influential book: The Color of Water

Favorite cause: Big Brothers, Big Sisters – I am a mentor to 8-year old “little sister” Promise

Favorite movie: Pulp Fiction

Favorite music/musician: Johnny Cash, of course! All great singer-songwriters

Most treasured possession: My wedding ring

Favorite food: fresh, local, simple with really good olive oil & herbs

Favorite vacation spot: Equally Mexico & Hawaii

Favorite way to spend free time: Cooking

Posted by Passaggio Wines

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chase Down Your Passion

I would like to introduce a wonderful friend of mine, Elizabeth Smith. We met on twitter and have actually met in person a couple of times when she has visited wine country. She is known on twitter as @cestbeth and on facebook as Elizabeth Smith and Traveling Wine Chicks. Elizabeth has so graciously shared her passion with me. Read what she has to say...

Chase down your passion like it's the last bus of the night. ~Terri Guillemets

I fell in love with the French language in high school, yet I failed to see it as one of my passions until after my sophomore year in college. I began college as a political science major, then I became a computer science major, but I was always minoring in French. One day it dawned on me, "French is my calling." I talked to my parents, crying, as I told them I wanted to major in French. They supported my decision and gave me their blessing.

Between my junior and senior years, my dream of studying in France came true. I spent a summer in Paris, the Loire Valley, and studying at the University of Provence in Aix-en-Provence. From that sprang my second passion, traveling.

I continued my studies in French and language education through the doctoral level and have taught both French and Spanish at a Virginia community college since 1989. I met my boyfriend in 1997 and am in my fourteenth year of commuting to and from Yonkers, NY and around the world. In 2008, a virtual frequent flier friend of mine saw my love and gift for travel, and decided to take a chance on hiring me as his company's travel manager. From this, my part-time travel company, C'est Beth, was born. I also began blogging about travel and subsequently created a Twitter and Facebook presence for my new business. This year I took the next step and became an independent travel agent with Montrose Travel's home-based travel agent division.

Wherever your passion lies, seize it and live it now, for all we really have is today.

Posted by Passaggio wines

Monday, May 9, 2011

A New Generation of Passion

Following Your Passion is something that we all dream of doing. My blog features contributors who have dreams of their own. Melissa Gresham, my first guest contributor (and daughter-in-law) writes about her passion. Read what she has to say.

What is my passion? I don’t think anyone has ever asked me that before, and so directly, to make me really stop and think (and write) about it: What is my passion? Mine?

So often I think we lose sight of what truly excites us. We become bogged down with our nine to five jobs, the Monday through Friday routine, and trying to stay afloat amidst our busy, always on-the-go schedules. We get overloaded with doing chores and, if we have kids, helping them with their homework or breaking up arguments. Life is hard, exhausting, and with all the responsibilities we have it doesn’t leave much time for following dreams.

Though if you’re like my mother-in-law Cindy, she has charged her once tucked away passion and found a way to follow it. With ambition, vigor, and strategic planning she has made her dreams reality and to our benefit, with the creation of Passaggio Wines.

With her great accomplishments in mind and her challenge to me to write about discovering my own passion, I find myself excited to share with you.

I have several passions, but only two that truly move me to top a level of excitement that the others do not. My passions, igniting my heart, are simple: fitness and writing.

When I was in high school, I convinced myself I was going to become a personal trainer and do that for a living, for my career, for life. But I was discouraged.

Personal training is not a real profession, people would say. You also have to have a “real” job.

And as the pressure of other peers going off to great colleges to get four year degrees began to perpetuate the dissuasions of my foggy plan, I found myself formulating the same idea for my own short-term future that would follow in my peers’ footsteps. I would go to a four-year college myself.

So I put my real passion on the backburner and went to Southeastern University. Not really doing the due diligence I deserved to give myself by researching degree options, I went without a plan and began an education undeclared.

Saddened to find that there was nothing physical fit-related to study there, I pursued a Journalism degree. And through my junior and senior years I began to really uncover my love for writing. It was all coming together, and the joy of being at college, this college, excited me more and more. A passion, dormant in my heart, was being unleashed.

My father, who I attribute the roots of this passion, is a writer. He has authored songs, stories, articles and books galore, and continues to do so even in into his graying years. He is one of my deepest inspirations.

My Journalism degree sparked an interest to become an avid blogger, documenting family life and notes of inspiration about my Lord Jesus. I also became a freelance writer for the Manassas Patch where I contribute weekly to its hyper-local focus. And I get to write about what I love: this hometown of mine that melts my soul.

My passion for writing is unmatched. There is nothing that blesses me more than touching someone with words on a page and relating to them in a way that no one else can. There is nothing more exciting to me than formulating stories to touch a heart or help someone recount a memory or inspire them to find their own passions. And so I write. All the time.

After discovering and living one dream, I decided to revisit my aspiration for fitness all over again. And six years after college ended I pursued a Personal Training Certification. This past February, I obtained that degree.

My zeal for physical training started when I was young with gymnastic lessons. And soon, I learned that my highs came from using my body to perfect physical technique, skill, and precision. And when I was in this mode, this mindset, nothing could stop me. I was on top of the world. Gymnastics led to cheerleading and simultaneously, an interest in softball. I found such purpose in being active, in keeping my body moving and in shape. I constantly craved reaching new levels of excellence and helping others find the same excitement to perfect their own bodies.

I am not up to par to teach lessons with my new degree at the moment because, excitedly, I’m a soon-to-be first time mom. And needless to say, I am out of shape and lacking much drive to do anything that requires a strong center of gravity or balance! So, starting this sub-career will wait.

For now, I am happy just to say I passed the test and finally accomplished this goal.

Though it may take time, or a different route to figure out what you truly love to do, don’t give up on it.

Discover your passion. Live your passion. Follow your passion.