My Happy Place and The Birth of a Company

For those of you who know me, you know that I have a little life obsession with Italy. From the moment I took my first steps on the blazingly hot stone streets of Florence in July, I knew – “This is where I was supposed to be born” – needless to say, I have been hooked ever since. I picked up and moved myself there semi-permanently at 20 years old to study art restoration, as it happens I studied very little of what I came to study (mostly the fault of the infinitely complicated bureaucracy that is Italy) and instead took a deep interest in studying life. Armed with as many Italian language classes that Los Angeles had to offer, a few months of summer studies in Italy, and more luggage than I should have ever brought, I arrived in August of 2003 to my apartment in Santo Spirito. I was greeted by a girl who was then my roommate, and would eventually become my best friend, and the hottest summer that the country had seen in many years. My melting survival skills were honed early on in my time there – the Mediterranean, cold wine, lots of fans, and the art of siesta.

My time spent in Italy over the subsequent 13 years (split almost 50/50 between Tuscany and L.A.) have changed me in ways that are difficult to explain. Becoming fluent in Italian was just the beginning, Italy has led me to the discovery of my deep-rooted love for cooking, traditional foods, wine, and life. I am a person divided between two places and two languages, just ask my mother – she likes to watch the change between my somewhat inexpressive, hard-edged, no-nonsense American self when speaking English and my apparently animated, charming, relaxed pseudo-Italian self when speaking in Italian.

At home in Los Angeles I work in the wine industry, I find that a closeness to Italy through it’s liquid expression of place helps to keep the longing to be there at bay. I am also a yogi – I was introduced to yoga at 18 years old while recovering from a waterpolo induced shoulder injury. Yoga never featured prominently in my time in Italy, partially due to a lack of resources at the time and partially due to me eating my body weight in things like pasta, bread, and bistecca and not giving much of a hoot about exercise.

Now after 15 years of both yoga and Italy and about 10 years of wine, I have dreamt up a way to have them become my work and life together.

Born is Vino and Vinyasa Tours.

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