All is Fair in Love and Wine
February 10, 2021
Love is in the air in Paso Wine Country! Celebrate Valentine’s Day with us and learn about five Paso Robles wine industry couples. Read about the perks of both partners working together, their challenges, romance, and their favorite meal to cook for their sweetie.
Vailia & Russell From
How and when did you meet? In between tank 152 and 153 at Paso Robles Wine Services, in Paso Robles, during Harvest 2009. Russell was dragging hoses one way and Vailia was dragging hoses the other. Vailia was just looking for a good Pinot.
What is the best thing about working in the same industry? It’s nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of and to share the stress that the business sometimes delivers. And Desparada gets really good used barrels.
What is the most challenging? Talking about something else besides wine and our businesses. And finding time for inventory control.
Living and working in Paso Robles Wine Country appears very romantic and idyllic… what is your most romantic experience in Paso? Having sex in a 1977 Royals International Diplomat 5th wheel trailer under a full moon in a biodynamic vineyard. It was DEFINITELY a fruit day.
What romantic meal would you make for one another, with wine pairing of course! Body sushi and the 2018 Chelle Mountain Sauvignon Blanc. #soldout
Jordan & Manu Fiorentini
How and when did you meet? I bet we have the longest novel-like story about our meeting. It was 2002 in Tuscany when I was working as a harvest intern at Antinori. I had made some friends while studying in Rome three years before then and they gave me Manu’s dad’s contact info as someone to help introduce me to Tuscany. Well, when I finally called Manu’s dad, I had lunch at his house and Manu showed up!
What did you drink on your first date? Not 100% – but it was a Sangiovese from Tuscany, most likely a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (Manu’s favorite).
What is the best thing about working in the same industry? We have a real appreciation for what the other person does because we do understand what’s involved. Me (Jordan), speaking here, I’ve loved watching Manu go from starting in the industry 18 years ago, to then creating friendships with winemakers from CA to WA and then introducing them to me.
What is the most challenging? Holding our tongues when we have an experience with wine we need to share and the other thinks they have all the answers 😉. Dinner table conversations are inevitably wine-related and interesting!
Living and working in Paso Robles Wine Country appears very romantic and idyllic… what is your most romantic experience in Paso? It really is, actually. One night in January of 2020, we had a spontaneous Saturday date night – a cocktail on top of Hotel Piccolo overlooking Paso and then trying to find which restaurant would take us in (they were all booked). We got to Alessio at Buona Tavola and he squeezed us in at the bar. We shared every dish and the risotto was amazing.
What romantic meal would you make for one another, with wine pairing of course! The last romantic meal we made together was homemade tagliatelle with frutti di mare (clams, shrimp, calamari) with a bottle of Epoch or Clos Solène rose! Nothing is more romantic than pink wine enjoyed as a couple. ❤
Jessica & Dan Smith
How and when did you meet? Our first introduction was as “neighbor Dan” by James at Opolo. A few months later at the Mid-State Fair, we crossed paths in slow motion which led to Dan asking Jessica on a first date. The rest was history.
What did you drink on your first date? Cocktails at The Hatch, a bottle of rosé at Hotel Cheval, and finished with a beer at Pine Street. The conversation was flowing!
What is the best thing about working in the same industry? We have a common understanding and passion for wine. Because we’re on different sides of the industry, our conversations are lively, sometimes intense, and we’re able to teach each other new things and push one another to improve.
What is the most challenging? Turning it off to focus on our other passions and hobbies.
Living and working in Paso Robles Wine Country appears very romantic and idyllic… what is your most romantic experience in Paso? Whether it’s a hike in the vineyard with our pup, a “day date” downtown to run errands, or a gorgeous dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, we do our best to make everyday moments special. We are fortunate that Paso is such a beautiful place to live, and we take it all in every chance we get.
What romantic meal would you make for one another, with a Paso wine pairing of course! A quality cut of steak seared on the cast iron with fresh, local veg, and one of Dan’s Villa San-Juliette Vineyard & Winery latest releases has become our romantic night go-to. Although, while pregnant, Jess has been saving up quite the impressive wine collection from her favorite clients. She’s ready to pair them with a home-cooked meal soon!
Hillary & Anthony Yount
How and when did you meet? Right at the beginning of 2010 Harvest. Our friends Dan and Donna Deming insisted that we meet each other. As you can imagine, it took us a few months to get out of the fledgling stage.
What did you drink on your first date? What didn’t we drink? We started with a bottle of Champagne at lunch after a morning of harvest, then many bottles of wine at the old Villa Creek Restaurant, and then there was a late-night stop at Pine Street Saloon – the rest of the date was a little foggy.
What is the best thing about working in the same industry? Pillow talk.
What is the most challenging? Pillow talk (Hillary says working with fussy winemakers – exhibit A).
Living and working in Paso Robles Wine Country appears very romantic and idyllic… what is your most romantic experience in Paso? Start with lunch in Cayucos – slices of pie and slushy mimosas at Ocean Front Pizza (or smoked shrimp tacos at Rudell’s Smokehouse), dinner at The Range (everything is amazing), then dancing and drinking at Pine Street Saloon. But seriously, any night we can have to ourselves away from the kids is romantic enough for us these days!
What romantic meal would you make for one another, with wine pairing of course! A home raised yardbird (rotisseried on the Weber), ETTO pasta with locally foraged Chantrelles, and Hillary’s incredible aioli. Ideally, we’d be able to invite longtime friends and neighbors – The Fiorentini’s and the Fresh’s (that’s From and Esh combined for all you non-locals) for dinner so we can drink all of their delicious wines!
No Younts we’re harmed in the making of this blog post – Only one glass of Assyrtiko for Hillary and 2 of Gigondas for Anthony was consumed.
Stephy & Brian Terrizzi
How and when did you meet? We met at wine school at Fresno State. Stephy made sure Brian passed Bio-Chemistry.
What did you drink on your first date? I don’t remember what we drank so much as what we ate. I made a pasta dish with sausage, peppers, and onions. I’d usually just open a simple Italian red, but Stephy thought this was strange when we were supposed to be studying. It wasn’t really a date as far as she was concerned.
What is the best thing about working in the same industry? We both really love wine, food, and travel (is there anything else?). As tough as it can be sometimes working with a significant other we always have each other to lean on and share a meal with and of course a bottle of wine.
What is the most challenging? It can be tough to get away from work. My mind is always thinking about one idea or another and it’s tough to stop. Watching a movie or the Golden State Warriors is a great escape from this.
Living and working in Paso Robles Wine Country appears very romantic and idyllic… what is your most romantic experience in Paso? There are so many it’s hard to single one out. Last Anniversary we went over the hill to the Sea Chest in Cambria. Since the Sea Chest doesn’t take reservations, we had a couple of hours to walk around and look out at the ocean. There are so many amazing places to visit within a short drive.
What romantic meal would you make for one another, with wine pairing of course! Etto pasta with white truffle and a bottle of our Nebbiolo always specifies a special occasion. Too bad Valentine’s doesn’t fall during white truffle season. We could use local mushrooms though from our friend Chris at Mighty Cap Mushrooms and it would be just as special. Stephy lets me do the cooking, but likes to make crème brûlée.