Guest Blog Post by Erin Gilchrist, owner of A’Tuscan Estate Bed & Breakfast
I have loved wine, specifically, Pinot noir, for most of my adult life. Working in the hospitality industry, particularly in food and beverage operations in destination resorts, I was exposed to great wines from around the world. I had the pleasure of overseeing wine programs with lists approaching 600 labels. To grow my knowledge and my career, I pursued some of the prominent wine training courses (Court of Master Sommelier and WSET). Throughout all of this though, I find that it is the story behind, and the romance of, wine (along with the aroma and flavor profile) that truly create the experience for me.
For years, I thought I would settle in California wine country continuing to explore my love of wine. I was working in Silicon Valley and owned property in Napa and Healdsburg when I got a call from a recruiter about the Food and Beverage Director position at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. My first response was, “Thanks, but no thanks.” I had been promoted to hotel general manager. I was close to Napa and Sonoma. I was earning a good living. I had just bought a house. And I do not particularly like rain. Two weeks later I get another call from the same recruiter, “Will you please just listen to the opportunity?” So, I listened. I grew up with parents who were avid golfers. My dad, who had passed a few years prior, would take annual golf trips with his buddies. The description of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort struck a sentimental chord. It sounded like a place my dad would have loved. So, I visited–twice. The resort and the sweeping coastal landscape hooked me. I packed my belongings; sold my house; and moved to Oregon…where it rains…a lot. During my tenure at Bandon Dunes, I was exposed to more and more wonderful Oregon Pinot noir, along with other varietals, and visited McMinnville and the Willamette Valley on multiple occasions for “research”, Oregon Pinot Camp, Willamette: The Pinot Noir Auction and multiple training excursions and buying trips.
The area drew me in…with its friendly residents; its community support; its collegial minded wine industry; its laid back vibe; its rural and agricultural nature; and it’s great Pinot noir. Growing up in Indiana, I found Willamette Valley and, particularly, McMinnville, to be a better fit for me… and there is much less wind than on the coast. As it turns out, I dislike constant wind way more than I dislike rain. Initially, I began looking for an investment property which ended with the purchase of A’ Tuscan Estate in the fall of 2017. I had previously managed a bed and breakfast at a Colorado ski resort and loved the intimate nature of the business… essentially, inviting people into my home. Hearing all the stories of my guests, sharing my story and the story of the surrounding area as well as cooking breakfast for my guests fills me up.
The last three years have proven to me that I made the right choice. I have met even more great people and experienced more great wines and learned that the story of Willamette Valley is one that I want to keep reading, and telling, for years to come.
Visit A’Tuscan Estate Bed and Breakfast’s Keep It Local Mac business profile page HERE!