In just 6 days, I’ll be “exploring the world” in a beautiful estate, with this self-professed reformed nomad, Heather Gee Cole, the founder of Toasted Stave. Through Toasted Stave, Heather provides wine tours and education from the Texas Hill Country to California and Oregon, all the way to France. She loves learning about who makes the wines we drink, how they were made, where the products came from, what kind of barrels were used, and how all of that affects the way it tastes.
And inevitably, how all of that affects the way it’s priced.
She began her career as a paralegal at a law firm and enjoyed a stink in the technology side of the medical field before somewhat coincidentally accepting a job, one day a week, learning all about wine at a wine bar. That led to her becoming the General Manager of the wine bar. “I had found my path…in this little bar, I was able to learn about wine and then, more importantly, turn around and share that knowledge and passion with the people who came in, week after week. I found myself wanting to know and taste something new and different.” Through her desire to learn more about the wines she’d learned to love, she was accepted into the International Wine Trade Program at the Viti in Beaune, Burgundy, France. There she had the opportunity to learn from the true experts in the field from harvests, to winemaking to exporting and marketing, she experienced it all. During that time, “amazing friends and amazing adventures” led her through France, Naples, South Africa, and Morocco, all the way back through California and even the Texas Hill Country to soak up all the knowledge in the field of wine.
That’s where the tours started.
Heather deeply desires for people to make the connection that the wine doesn’t just appear in the glass. It has a story. There is a reason one bottle is $16 and another is $60. She loves to help people understand that story of why, and decide for themselves whether or not it’s worth the difference in price. Now as a wine educator, tour guide, and sommelier, she enjoys the privilege of teaching wine classes, consulting on wine programs for bars and shops, and taking fellow wine lovers on tours to wineries in Napa, Sonoma and the Texas Hill Country. I love this because, like so many things in life, it’s not a science.
It’s an art.
Art always has a story. The story of the wine that ends up in your glass, began all the way back in the soil, with the creativity and care of the winemaker. Most of the time you only know whether or not you like what you taste. But when you go beyond the surface. When you choose to get curious, lean in, and learn more about the context, there is always so much more to the story. You end up seeing wine in a whole different way, that can sometimes completely negate the number on the price tag. In order to understand whether one wine is worth more than another, you have to learn more about it.
It’s true of wine, it’s true of life.
It’s most certainly true of people. When you look beyond what appears on the surface to be the most important measure, you may find you’ve been measuring the wrong thing all along. When you choose to get curious, lean in, and learn more about the context, there is always so much more to the story.
Only you can decide if expensive wine is worth more to you, once you learn the story.
All people have a story too, it’s up to you to decide if you’ll care enough to learn more about it.
to more love,
P.S. Even if you’re not a wine drinker, this Girls Night Out is more than an incredible education about the way culture, climate and different winemaking regions of the world, it’s an experience that will highlight the ways context can change your perspective in all of life. It’s especially for you if you like to solve puzzles! You’ll enjoy taking the clues from the class and applying them with the maps and the scent bowls to determine which wines are from which region, made with which grapes, etc . . . which could ultimately help your table win the prize of the night! So come join us at “Vines Around the World GNO ~ Estate Tour and Wine Tasting” at the stunning Knotting Hill Place Estate...there’s a lot of world and wine out there to explore!”