Wednesday, June 16, 2010

This is what I know so far...

1. I need to pack gym clothes and tennis shoes. (Can anyone say grape-picking?) :) But don't worry, I won't be like the illegal foreigners we have working in the US of A. I'll be legally in the country on a tourist visa working for room and board and not for money. Perfectly legal. However the foreigner part I can't really get around!

2. I will be staying with Sarah. Sarah is Antonio's ex-wife. I'm thinking (and hoping) that they must still be on good terms. My contact, Giorgia, tells me that I am to stay with Sarah because she is English and we can easily communicate.

3. I will have access to the business' computer and internet service, which is great news for my blog followers!

4. I've been asked if I can drive a manual shift...I'm imagining myself in a big tractor type thing right now...

5. If I plan to use anything that plugs in from the US I will need to buy an adaptor. I'm thinking my hair drier and straighter won't fit in my backpack anyway. Looks like I'm going all na-tu-ral, curly for the trip.

6. This is going to be an amazing adventure.


Fattori was the completion of my lucky Connect Four game, and I was finally a winner!! After a year of searching and hoping and planning and wishing on every stinking star I could see, I finally found my way to Europe. Antonio Fattori, the answer to mine, and everyone else I could convince to pray for me's, prayers. For several weeks all I knew was that the family had extended an offer for me to stay with them for two months and work for my room and board. I had no idea what kind of work I was going to be doing or what type of shoes I needed to pack. But I had a back pack and I was going to Europe. That's all I needed for the moment. Soon after I purchased my ticket and set the whole thing in stone. No way I'm letting this one get away!

Fattori family winery is in a town called Terrossa di Roncá. This town is situated in the Northeast part of Italy in the Veneto. The estate sits between Verona and Venice. Yes, that's right, not only am I FINALLY going to Italy, but I'm going to be 96.7km or 1hr and 14 minutes away from Venice. VENICE, THE Venice. The same Venice that I have dreamed about seeing since before I even knew where it was on a map. I don't remember how my obsession with Venice, Italy started, but it's always been the city of my dreams and I've got the posters, back ground pictures, and I'm sure the pre-teen "dear diary" entries to prove it. I still can't believe that I'm actually going there...this is the real deal.

Anywho, Antonio comes from a long line of winemakers. He's done some amazing things and won many, many awards. He's very esteemed and really amazing at his job. I'm excited to learn from not only someone in what we in the wine biz call "the old country" but from someone who has as highly decorated wines and family history as the Fattoris.

Thanks to our distributor Lee, I was able to get a hold of some of Fattori's wines. I just opened the first bottle the other night and I'm no wine critic, but it tasted pretty darn wonderful to me. For my wine enthusiast friends, the bottle I opened was their Fattori label Soave 2007. The color was a rich golden yellow. It had a very light sweet floral bouquet (however I would like to point out that I had to taste my wonderful wine out of a tiny plastic wine glass since we are in the middle of a move and everything else is packed, could have cut the nose a bit). The front end had a quick burst of lemon followed by a strong apricot flavor that lingered and faded into a rich butter scotch taste. This wine had a great body, almost that of a lighter style CA Chardonnay. Over all note was that it was very bold and expressive which I did not expect from the aroma. Mmmmmm...tasted like Italy :)

If you would like to read the family history or see pictures of the Fattori family estate you can visit their website at: Also you can find information on the amazing wines the Fattori family produces on Colleen's website:

The Plan

The original plan was to have a plan to keep my mind off of the monotonous daily routine. This plan then became the plan to leave Springfield, but I didn't know where to go. So, I aimed big. I decided that what better time in my life to live my dreams then right now? I'm not married, I don't have kids, I have a steady job and am able to save money. So I decided one ticket to Europe would make it possible for me to change the most pins on my map from pink, purple, and yellow, to turquoise.

From here on out the plan became a game of Connect Four. I told one person I wanted to go to Europe, they told another person, they told someone else. Before you knew it people were crawling out of the woodwork with connections for me all over Europe. Which was awesome, but how was I going to afford traveling, for what was then, a year time frame without being paid? I needed a JOB in Europe. So I started searching for jobs doing everything from being a nanny to being an organic potato picker. But every program cost money just to be a part of the program. Then my sister found an article about organic wine growers and how they hire for the harvest. *Que little light bulb clicking on here.* I began my game of Connect Four within my wine circle of friends.

I have to give great thanks to Stephanie Valla for all the hard work she put into finding me a job. She even had a Connect Three for me when she met face to face with Madame Guigal and told her she should hire me. Mdm Guigal liked my resume but would not hire me because I wanted to stay for a whole year, and I wanted pay rather than room and board. Stephanie tried other places but all were giving her the same answer. Around this time I also met Lee Reid. Lee Reid is one of our distributors at my other job, Vino100. So I met Lee through my boss Matt. I told Lee I wanted to go to Europe. Lee said, "Let's make it happen for you!" The next day Lee emails his wine consultant in Italy, Colleen. I sent Colleen my resume and she sent it on to 5 wineries. Things were looking promising but still no one would take me because of work visa requirements and federal paper work.

Around the beginning of May, I finally had a one-on-one with myself and realized that if I really wanted to do this thing I needed to make some adjustments. So I told adjusted what I looking for to housing and food instead of monetary pay and I would only ask to stay for 3 months (which is the amount of time you can stay on a travelor's visa). I told Colleen this at 9:00 am. Before I knew it Matt had spoiled the surprise and I was sprinting back from my lunch break to check my email to see what he could possibly be congratualting me for! I was shaking so much from excitment that I could barely type my password, but when I finally got into my account, there it was...the offer from Fattori!!

The Beginning...

It all started about a year ago. I was 22, newly graduated, just waiting to get out there and use that degree my parents paid so much money for! But alas, the economy and the apparently laaaaaarge supply of experienced hospitality managers had different plans for me. So doing what any college graduate with that college loan payment hanging low over their head signed on to a good, full-time, desk job with all the required benefits and a lovely cubicle with a window view. Don't get me wrong, I'm very VERY grateful for this job and all that it has taught me. I love the people I work with and the people I work for. I'm just not cut out for a desk job, simple as that. I quickly realized this and began to wonder if I was about to sink into the "Springfield trap" that I heard about all through college. People would say to me, "Yea, Springfield is a great college town, but make sure you get out before you get too comfortable. It'll suck you in and before you know it you'll have been here 15 years." I panicked; this was the trap and I was falling in and all of a sudden I couldn't stand the thought being in Springfield, MO for yet ANOTHER year.*

Thus started, the plan.

*Someone pointed out to me that this could be offensive to my Springfield friends. So I would like to be very clear that the "trap" only applies to those who want to leave Springfield. If you want to stay forever, then stay! Whatever makes you happy, you should do it! :)