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Do you ever wonder what inspired me to become About Town Deb?

The Gift of Adoption – The first person to inspire me would be my Mom known as Granda B, Brenda. Her strength to give the gift of a child made it possible for my adoptive parents, Terry and Tony – aka Nana and Papa. Together they are the reason as to why I became the individual I am today. These two have always shared their love for family, the community and friends. From day one, they made sure I felt at home, felt loved and felt secure. They both worked hard each and every day and made sure we said our prayers before meals, in the mornings and at nights. We also never missed mass! Faith was a huge part of growing up.

 

Nana and Papa never gave up on me. They always made sure I was healthy, had extra tutoring and speech therapy to help build up my confidence. They made me feel special and showed how much love and care they had for me. Nana and Papa truly influenced me in countless ways, but I would say the biggest influence they had on me was their faith, love and Grace they shared with everyone.

 

I grew up as a very self-conscious little girl. At the age of 6, I had a stutter that had stopped me from wanting to speak because I constantly felt embarrassed. When I started middle school, I got over my fear and started becoming the bold, confident and independent woman that I am today. My first major step was when I became active in the student council of my junior high school and high school.

 

I have always loved fundraising and bringing the community together. The very first fundraiser I participated in was a “somersault-a-thon” – where I took pledges from donors who would contribute a nickel per somersault. The event ended up generating a couple thousand dollars for the cause. This being my first successful fundraiser was when I began falling in love with the potential of what I can do…gathering the community, spreading positivity and helping those around me. I do want to add that there were many times when I had to give a speech and the spelling salts were brought out. I never gave up and to this day I never know when I might freeze.

 

I continued to grow and continued to love what I was doing. I LOVE to see a wholesome, happy community, and I LOVE being a part of our community. As my tag line says, “My Town, Your Town, Any Town, Let’s Connect.”

 

Throughout high school, I continued to participate in student government, such as being the event coordinator for dances, clubs and many other school events. Skipping ahead to adulthood – I decided to step away from my career at the time, and switch my focus to my adopted father. I became my adopted father’s (aka Papa Tony) caregiver after he suffered from a heart attack.

 

As Papa Tony started to recover, I did everything I could to take care of him and made sure he enjoyed the rest of his time. I did this by taking him on adventures all over Reno-Tahoe to explore, to enjoy life’s beauty and to fully experience what this beautiful region had to offer.

 

Papa Tony was loved by all and built a great reputation here in Reno. He was able to enjoy the rest of time with many laughs, great company, beautiful views and countless memories. He was a great soul, and I was fulfilled that I was able to be there for him and make sure he enjoyed his time. Being my dad’s caregiver for his last ten years was truly the best gift I could have ever asked for.

 

After my father’s passing, I continued to be involved in the community. Something I always reminded myself then, and even now, is that “it’s what my father would have wanted.” That is what continuously inspires me to do what I do. One of my greatest accomplishments was raising $35,000 in one night for a local tumor patient. I have continued to love my community, and all those that I encounter daily inspires me.

 

My About Town Deb’s media outlets now reach over 30,000 people and only continues to grow. I love embracing my passion for wine, food, travel and most importantly the community. I love sharing my experiences and seeing our community so wholesome and happy. To my family, neighbors, community members and local businesses, thank you for always being there to lift me up, share your stories and allow us all to become one and continue to make our world a better place. Remember #TogetherWeAreOneHeart and with that Heart we can do anything.

A Family Affair at Dillian Winery

Last month, I had the opportunity to interview Thomas Dillian of Dillian Wines, a family-owned vineyard and winery in the Shenandoah Valley of Amador County. Thomas’ story is an interesting one, like his wines.

Thomas and Tom Dillian at Dillian Vineyards

Thomas and Tom Dillian enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Thomas is the fifth generation to grow up on the ranch! The original Dillian Ranch property was purchased in 1917 by his great-great-grandparents when the family grew what they ate and what their livestock ate. They had three acres of vineyards, which eventually died out. Thomas’ father, Tom, along with his two brothers, replanted that original vineyard in Zinfandel grapes in 1972. Today, you can taste those grapes in Dillian’s Tre Fratelli Zinfandel!

Dillian Winery, Amador Winegrowers

At a young age Tom learned the business of grape growing and winemaking while working for his stepfather, Mike D’Agostini, at the historic D’Agostini Winery. Using the knowledge he gained in his youth, Tom managed several vineyards for local grape growers while continuing to farm his own ranch. At that time there was no Dillian Winery, so Tom sold his grapes to Rombauer, Jeff Runquist, and Turley, who still buy Tom’s grapes today.

In the mid-1990s, things in Amador County began to change. A boutique wine scene started to evolve. Tom wanted to create a mom and pop winery, but he wasn’t really a winemaker. Thomas was in college and wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, so he came home to work a harvest season with his dad. As luck would have it, he never went back! He quickly dove into winemaking and sales to complement his father’s grape-growing background.

Man holding bottle and glass of Dillian wineWith the extensive network of his father’s friends and associates in the wine industry, Thomas had many excellent mentors. Everyone had different ideas and techniques, and Thomas tried everything eventually adopting what felt right to him.

Winemaking came naturally to Thomas. As he put it, he and his father were sourcing and growing excellent grapes, which is pivotal to making quality wine. He found his wine style pretty quickly, which gives Dillian Wines their unique profile.

Over the years, the Dillian’s have learned how to manage all aspects of winery business, from the growing side to the sales and marketing side, to the experiential side. Dillian’s wine club and Reserve club grew out of trying new things to see what people wanted. The focus has always been creating top-quality wine and top-quality experiences for its customers.

And based on my afternoon there during Behind the Cellar Door 2020, I can confirm that Dillian has succeeded at both!

Note: With tasting rooms required to close during the COVID-19 crisis, Dillian is offering a variety of sales and promos, along with offering curbside service for wine club and purchase pickups. Their goal is to keep the wine flowing for our wine club members and customers! Please check out dillianwines.com, email info@dillianwines.com, or call 209-245-3444 for current promotions.

Holidingo Fun in Midtown

 

I had a blast this past weekend playing Holidingo in Reno’s Midtown District. Wow, what a day Jorja and I had shopping, sipping, and supporting our community! We hit ten local businesses and have another 13 more to visit.

Want to play Holidingo, too? You can collect one stamp at each business and you only need to collect five to enter to win fabulous prizes including $1500 in gift cards. Don’t panic – you have until December 22!

I encourage you support our local businesses for your holiday shopping, entertaining and enjoying time with family and friends. Not just today but every day. You can see all of the spots we hit in the video. In the spirit of friendly competition, we’re determined to hit the final 13 because we want to WIN!

Our first stop was Mari Chuy’s Mexican Restaurant and our final of the ten stops was the 40 Mile Saloon, a fun rustic local bar. I loved that 40 Mile Saloon makes craft cocktails and had Tahoe Blue Vodka, one of my favorites. Can’t wait to return!

If you’re feeling hungry for some chicken wings, then Arario MidTown is the place. A real bonus for me was discovering that they were serving yummy cocktails with the brand-new, much awaited Frey Ranch Estate Distillery Whiskey! We also loved running into Jaci Goodman and Amanda Burden with Edible Reno-Tahoe Magazine.

We also loved stopping by one of Reno’s newest local Hot Spots, The Emerson Bar where you can enjoy delicious fresh hand-crafted Cocktails made just for you as you sit back and relax! Bonus finding out I could ask for one of my favorite local spirits, Theory Gin by Old Trestle Distillery!

Stay tuned for my report on the final 13 stops!

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Celebrating National Dairy Month, Nevada-style

If you know me, you know that I love good food. You may not also know that I’m a huge fan of all things dairy, especially cheese. (Also, ice cream.)

 

So, I was thrilled to be a part of National Dairy Month in June, organized by the Nevada Dairymen & Dairy Council of Nevada®. Who wouldn’t love a chance to taste a variety of dishes created by local chefs especially for Nevada Dairy Month?

 

My wing woman Jorja and I visited four different restaurants last month, each offering a unique dish that was only available for Nevada Dairy Month. Spoiler alert: those dishes are no longer on the menu; you can find the recipes for them at the end of this post.

 

We began at Sassafras Eclectic Food Joint with the Cheezeno Burger, which included grilled paella cheese on a potato bun with mixed artisan greens and a homemade chipotle crème. Owner and Chef Anthony Fish said he was inspired to participate in National Dairy Month to support his favorite Dairy, Sand Hill in Fallon.

 

  The Perla di Zafferano at Liberty Food & Wine Exchange was almost too pretty to eat!

 

Next, we headed to Liberty Food & Wine Exchange, where we sampled a delicious and unusual dessert, the Perla di Zafferano. Chef Katie said she was inspired to participate in National Dairy Month to showcase her creativity using spices that are not usually found in desserts.  The Perla was a delicious and light dessert that’s perfect for summer. Chef Katie won’t give everything away, but she did tell me that ingredients include milk, along with cardamom and saffron, which give it a surprising flavor.

 

I always love visiting Two Chicks in Midtown, since it means I get to see Jessie and Haley!

 

After that, we visited Two Chicks in Midtown for breakfast. But not just any breakfast, mind you. We got to try their special Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast Quesadilla!

 

Haley (Red Chick) and Jessie (Yellow Chick) and I go way back. They both made sure they spoiled my dad, Papa Tony, and me during every visit. Both are Nevada natives and Reno enthusiasts. Best friends and co-workers for over a decade, they’re more like sisters.

 

They’ve been in the cheese business since they were kids, so it made sense to capitalize on what they know best! The Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast quesadillas featured Sand Hill Dairy serrano white cheddar, scrambled eggs, ham, salsa verde, and avocado. Check out my interview with them below!

 

 

My final stop for National Dairy Month was The Slanted Porch, where Jorja and I enjoyed chatting with Chef Steve Hernandez and Owner Dawn Whitten. Oh my goodness, the Sand Hill Dairy Mac and Cheese was the BEST! The creamy freshness brought back memories of being on my family’s farm in Nebraska.  This is the perfect down-home, farm fresh, locally sourced mac and cheese made with Sand Hill whole milk, cream, and three kinds of Sand Hill cheese!

 

 

If you didn’t have a chance to try these dishes last month, you can in the comfort of your own home, since the chefs kindly shared them. Let me know how the dishes turn out, and which one was your favorite!

 

Nevada Dairy Month Recipes

Sassafras Eclectic Food Joint Cheezeno Burger 

Liberty Food & Wine Exchange Perla di Zafferano

Two Chicks Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast Quesadilla

The Slanted Porch Mac and Cheese

My Martha Design Boutique

Nestled on Main Street in historic downtown Placerville is My Martha Design Boutique—a fantastic upscale women’s clothing store with plenty of charm.

 

The store itself is a perfect representation of its owner, Martha McGuire—warm, colorful, and full of personality. Martha is an artist by trade, and her love of art is reflected in the beautiful pieces of jewelry she creates and sells at her store, as well as the variety of clothing items available.

 

The boutique was an idea that Martha’s husband encouraged her to pursue as an alternative to the strenuous work of being a decorative artist, which had her painting ceilings 40 feet in the air. When they came upon a storefront for rent in a darling courtyard in downtown Placerville, they knew they had found the perfect spot for Martha to sell her jewelry creations and other beautiful items.

 

Through her art Martha has brightened up the homes of many people—through her store she is brightening up the City of Placerville and beyond. She is a firm believer that love is the most important thing in the world, and conveys that love to all who visit her.

 

Martha now spends her day helping her clients find the perfect treasures—and there is no shortage. From casual wear to wedding gowns, My Martha Design Boutique has something for every woman. This #DebsPick is a must visit!

 

You can find Martha in downtown Placerville, or online at www.mymarthadesign.com!

Fountainhouse at Victorian Square

I recently had the opportunity to tour the new Fountainhouse Apartments in Victorian Square in Sparks. It’s so nice to have such wonderfully appointed luxury in an unbeatable location! The close proximity to shopping, dining, and entertainment makes it ideal for anyone who wants to experience urban living without a lot of driving. It’s my latest #DebsPick

Be sure to stop by and take a tour of these gorgeous apartments. Who knows, we might end up neighbors! Learn more at fountainhousesparks.com

Falling in Love with Saluti Cellars

As the saying goes, life is what happens when you’re busy making plans. For Tina and Randy Rossi of Saluti Cellars, their venture into being a choice wedding venue in the Northern California
El Dorado wine country showed up on their unfinished doorstep over
10 years ago.

“We were pouring cement, and a woman showed up and asked to have her wedding on the property,” recalls Tina. “We were probably two years away from being ready, but she had it all planned out in her mind.” So Tina and Randy went ahead and made arrangements for it to happen, and the bride was thrilled.

Weddings have been a regular occurrence at their 250-acre canyon

vineyard ever since, with many of those couples returning with their growing families.

“Randy and I are very involved with every single bride and groom,” Tina explained of their business philosophy. “We know their families, they come back and visit us.

We have life-long relationships with them.”

Their commitment to their guests is second only to their commitment to their community. One of their largest events each year is a law enforcement appreciation night. Randy, a 30-year veteran of law enforcement, and Tina, having a long career on the administrative side of law, met while working in the field and continue to share a strong bond with first responders, including firefighters.

They were happy to have been able to help when a large fire impacted the community around them, by providing shelter for displaced horses during evacuations, and by allowing fire personnel to stage their response efforts on their property and use the water from their lake to help battle the flames. These are just two examples of their love for their community and the people
who come to share in their enjoyment of the area.

While weddings and events keep them plenty busy, their property allows for so much more than a walk down the aisle. Saluti Cellars is, first and foremost, a vineyard, yielding between 1,200 and 1,500 cases of wine per year. Their wine is known for its bold, yet smooth, handcrafted flavors and has won numerous awards, including four Double Gold medals and numerous Gold.

“We make wine how we like it,” Randy said of their views on developing their products. “It may not be the way the next person likes it, and that’s ok. We just make wine that we enjoy and that we find our club

members enjoy.”

Saluti also boasts a beautiful bed and breakfast with three separate suites to accommodate a total of six people, perfect for an intimate weekend getaway with family or friends. Guests can expect to feast on meals made from ingredients grown on the property, including organic vegetables, cage free eggs, and beef and lamb raised and cared for on site.

“Everything we try to do here is as environmentally friendly as possible,” Randy explains. “That’s why we have caves to store the wine and avoid using harsh chemicals to treat the barrels or sanitize equipment.”

In fact, Saluti has received awards for being “Fish Friendly Farming,” which denotes that any runoff they have doesn’t negatively impact their ponds or the fish that live in them.

Their solid commitment to the environment and reducing their carbon footprint includes serving the needs of their property through the utilization of solar energy, a gravity fed water system using a large lake on the property, and electric powered vehicles and forklifts.

Guests with electric vehicles also have access to two charging stations to power up while they enjoy the beautiful scenery and atmosphere of

the property.

Things have certainly come a long way since that first bride saw the potential in Saluti Cellars. As Tina and Randy reminisce about how ill-prepared they were for the event at the time, Tina can’t help but laugh.

“We must have done something right,” she said. “Because they came

back and did their 10-year vow renewal this year.”

For more information on everything Saluti Cellars has to offer,

visit their website at saluticellars.com.

 

A Tasty Afternoon in Clarksburg, California at Three Wine Company

Matt may be the winemaker but his wife Erin is the boss!

“I inspire him to make great wines!” she says.

Three Wine Company is a lovely vineyard nestled in the Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg, CA. As I sat down with owner Erin Cline and Direct to Consumer Manager,  Matt McCollough over a delightful glass of Three’s Escapade California, they gave me an insider’s perspective on what their lives are like at Three Wine Company.

Pega-Trog-Acorn

Three has a unique label on their Escapade – it’s a piece of original artwork by one of their three daughters, Anna, who drew it when she was a freshman in high school. “It’s called a Pega-Trog-Acorn,” Erin explained. The colorful label combines a pegasus, unicorn, trout, and a frog and gives this fun, light, white wine blend that pairs exceptionally well with spicy foods, just the right feeling of whimsy.

History

Erin and her husband Matt Cline have been in the wine business since the 1980’s when Matt opened Cline winery with his brother Fred. After leaving Cline, Erin and Matt opened their second label – Trinitas, before finally selling it and opening their third label, which they named in honor of their 3 daughters, Three! They have ran Three and produced delicious wines for 10 years. Erin says that they do everything right there to make the wine, bottle it, and sell it. “It’s 90% production and 10% tasting. Although, some days it feels like 99% production.” Erin laughs as she tells us about managing Three Wine Company.

Indulge

While Erin admits that she can’t choose a favorite wine because it changes seasonally (“Trying to pick a favorite would be like asking me to pick a favorite daughter!”) Erin does admit that she can’t resist the sparkling wine and rosé in the Summer. Matt McCollough, Three’s Direct to Consumer Manager, says that his go-to reds are the Live Oak Zinfandel and the Mataro.

Plan your adventure!

Three is a delightful wine company to visit and during your tasting you’ll meet their lighthearted, hard-working staff, I can’t recommend spending an afternoon with Erin Cline and Matt McCollough at Three Wine Company enough. They are a joy to be around and are very knowledgeable about the wines they produce. “Our philosophy has always been ‘the dirt, the wine, and don’t screw it up!’” You can learn more about Erin, Matt, and Three Wine Company on their website – order a bottle or schedule your own tasting experience today!

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