So it goes.
It was a difficult decision to make.
When I first started, I didn’t know if I would like it. But I figured, “What did I have to lose? If I don’t like it, I’ll quit.” Little did I know that I’d not only love it, but I’d also take away so much more than wine knowledge…
I’d make friends with people all over the country with whom I probably would have never met otherwise…
I’d earn some fabulous trips…
Including those to Sonoma…
Where I’d learn to love Pinot Noir in the Russian River Valley…
To Puerto Vallarta, Mexico…
Where we took a break from wine and tasted tequila instead….
Then, there was Tuscany…
Ah… Tuscany… One of the most spectacular trips I’ve ever been on…
A beautiful stay at Villa Dievole…
Where my husband proposed…
And then there was Napa….
Which was so much fun that it’s mostly a blur…
Outside of the trips, being part of The Traveling Vineyard changed my life.
Those of you from my childhood or even high school, know that I was painfully shy. In college, I was even told by an acquaintance that when she first met me, she thought I was just stuck up because I didn’t really say much.
Traveling Vineyard lit something inside me.
I felt good in front of an audience. (A little wine could always calm the nerves otherwise!).
I got to teach!
When I was a kid, I loved school so much that as I ascended through each grade, I wanted to be the teacher of that grade! Then, when I hit high school, I realized it wasn’t really about teaching any more. Most kids/teenagers didn’t want to learn. I saw teachers pulling teeth to get the class interested or just to behave. I was even threatened to be kicked out of class once for falling asleep.
I no longer wanted to be a teacher.
But when I started doing Wine Tastings, I got to teach about wine. And I got to teach people who wanted to learn about wine.
One of the greatest rewards was hearing from other people that they never really liked red wine before; but that I had taught them how to like it. I walked them through each wine and explained how to recognize the aromas and flavors in each one so that they could determine the style they liked. I demonstrated that by pairing the wine with simple foods, the flavors could change as well. I gave them the ammunition to become more confident about wine, to describe what they like at a restaurant to get a recommendation, to be more confident in trying new things.
It felt so good.
I met the greatest people. They all loved or wanted to learn about wine!
This included fellow consultants (aka, my Wineaux friends)…
Wine Tastings Hosts…
and the guests…
A special thanks to every single host and guest I met over the past ten years! My Traveling Vineyard experience would not have been nearly as enjoyable without you!
And I even got to meet many of the winemakers…
I earned awards.
I got not only recognition for my efforts, but the fun, friendship and financial reward that came along with it!
So, it was a difficult decision to cut ties.
In all honesty, I believe that The Traveling Vineyard is truly at its height. There is so much room to grow. If I had been putting the same effort as I had just a few years ago, I’d be twice as successful.
But I lost it.
I lost the passion.
I still love wine. I still loved meeting all of the people. I still loved teaching about wine.
In 2012, I started on a path to better my health. My health became priority and running became a new part of it. After a herniated disk at the end of the year and back surgery in March of last year, I stopped doing tastings completely.
I needed to heal.
I needed to recover.
And I learned one thing…
I needed to slow down.
For the past ten years, I’ve basically had two full-time jobs. I was very involved with TTV. While there were no minimums to remain active, I did an average of six to eight tastings per month. In addition, each month, I held a Team Meeting. I participated in a Taste of the Business Meeting. I listened to the consultant and leadership conference calls. I taught Learning with Leaders classes. I didn’t miss anything that was offered.
When I slowed down with my tasting events, my husband noticed how much less stressed I was. I had more balance.
But I can’t do anything half-way. Generally, I am “ALL IN” when I’m passionate about something. By slowing down and doing less, I lost interest. I lost the passion. I found I liked the time at home with my husband and my dogs.
Then I realized that I’ve pretty much had two jobs most of my working life. I had summers in high school and college with two, or even three jobs. The same happened after college.
It’s taken me this long to realize that it’s time for me to slow down.
To take care of myself.
To just enjoy life.
It’s a little difficult because I’m so used to being busy. But I’m learning.
2014 is going to be all about self-care.
Traveling Vineyard has taught me so much not only about wine, but about life. The company will always hold a special place in my heart. I would still recommend The Traveling Vineyard to anyone wanting to learn about wine, wanting to earn some extra cash or to take it on full force as a career. I know many consultants across the country and would be happy to recommend someone, if I can, in your area for more info about hosting or consulting.
And with that, I say, “Farewell,” to that part of my life. I have fond memories frienships that will last forever.
Remember… “Over a bottle of wine, many a friend is made…”
Thank you for ten fantastic years, Traveling Vineyard!