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  • Writer's pictureHolly Kirby


What is waiting to be brought to life by you?

“ Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”

— Robert Bresson

You see a vast ocean with white sand stretching before you. It's beautiful, it's inviting, it's a blank canvas. You know what it needs? It needs YOU.

Creativity seems to just be a part of us, doesn't it? From the time we're a child, we want to interact with our environment and make something. We bring what's in our hearts and minds, our imagination and possibly some tools to the party and we can dig in and create something that wasn't there before. What a gift! What an honor.

The sandcastle in this picture holds more than face value for me. I see the ocean, and it's a great equalizer. With sandcastles you can see the whole cycle of things very quickly but the truth still remains even for other things we create that may last a little longer.

Let's push aside any "comparing of sandcastles." Truth is, we are ALL on a timeline, just building the best we can. Let's take joy in creating and in appreciating the creations of others. We may even want to lend someone a bucket or a shovel along the way.

Remember this today: There is something waiting to be brought to life by you.

My childlike pursuit: To see what's possible and have my bucket and shovel always at the ready.




We have been invited to participate in the High Desert Museum's annual fundraiser, High Desert Rendezvous. More details to come!


We have been invited to participate in The Gathering benefit for Saving Grace Maternity Home where their goal is to raise $100,000 to make significant progress in paying off the home's mortgage balance of $245,000. Stay tuned for more details!


This is a space created for appreciating those who go above and beyond.

This edition of Two Claps goes out to Allen Goodling of Insiders Wine Tours. I can't even count the number of times I've reached out in recent weeks with questions about policies, wineries or even just to commiserate about certain aspects of running a tour business. Allen has been there for me with resources, positive input and good advice. He has even been a source of referrals for my business and I am so appreciative of the support. I'm mostly grateful to feel a part of a community that is there for each other. Thank you, Allen, for going the extra mile and for modeling a sharing & collaborative spirit!



If you're looking for a great gift idea, look no further! Serendipity Wine Tour Gift Certificates now available! Can be purchased in $100 increments or "The Works" for $600.



Prioritizing work with my career coach around creating a Project Plan for the founding of the Willamette Valley Wine Tourism Collective. The creation of the mission statement has been first step. First meeting targeted for end of August.

Serendipity's very first Wine Guide Reception will be scheduled for June. The goal is to create culture, provide training and a forum for communication. I want those who work with us to feel like family.

I am working with Hannah to plan our first Serendipity Business Retreat. We think it will provide a forum for reflection, forward-thinking and fun.



When it comes to honeybees there's just so much to talk about so this probably won't be the last time you see these beautiful creatures here on Curiosity Corner. Did you know that a "swarm" is not plural for many honeybees (like a "herd of sheep" or "flock of birds," etc.), but instead is a word used to describe a grouping of honeybees that have split off to build their own new colony. It's the colony's way to reproduce by replacing the old queen and allowing her to take off with half the workforce. So a swarm is really like a group of winged pioneers, if you will.

I also learned that "wrangling" a swarm is a thing. You can safely capture a swarm and they're ready to start building comb in their new home. Since this is the season for swarming, you may want to find out more and become a beekeeper yourself. If you're interested, here is a link I found fascinating and a great resource: Bee Built.




I'm so excited to introduce you to Gerry Rasch in this edition of Serendipity Spotlight. I can honestly say that Gerry has been a bright spot for me in the wine industry from the moment I first met him years ago at Brooks Wine. You can now find him at Bjornson Vineyard and his quality of service and care is still the same. Not only does Gerry have a knack for story telling that inspires and captivates but he also has a natural way about making you feel special and that it matters that you're there. Even now, as I introduce my wine tour guests to him, he's still creating fans by doing his thing, his way. The signature Hawaiian shirts (this one happens to be my favorite, featuring Big Foot with a martini glass), the little black book, the tours in the vineyard, the power of connection...all of it makes Gerry the perfect guest to highlight creativity and hospitality in our beloved Oregon wine industry.

What is one misperception about wine that you would like to debunk?

It’s not snobby or pretentious. It’s social.

What role do you think hospitality plays in the Oregon wine industry?

It opens the door to understanding wine and our region. “When I’m working, I’m working for Visit Oregon, for the travel industry and guides. I work for everybody.”

What are the most important qualities for hospitality?

Being Genuine. Being “on” all day, every day.

What do you see as your role in the wine industry?

Creating memories for guests.

What would you like to see improve in the Oregon wine industry?

I think wine can be intimidating to some. Because wine is social, we need to be more all-inclusive of everybody. I want to see our community reflective of the world around us. It’s not a special club. People need to feel more comfortable with the world of wine. I think we can do that through food and recipes and help people pair wine with it. The inclusive effect would ripple out from the experiences we create.

What do you love about the wine industry?

Usually the people who are here want to be here. They want to have fun and smile. There’s a place for everybody.

Was wine industry a second journey for you? What made you switch and what benefit did you gain?

Gerry recalls that he was paid to do 30 things in his life, ranging from officiating football and lacrosse, serving in law enforcement and as an MP investigating child abuse, child neglect and domestic disputes, to various positions in the corporate world. He found himself an out of work veteran and in 2013, entered a program to learn management. He earned a certificate and an internship, sat in a cubicle “for a few seconds” and knew it wasn’t for him. In a matter of days, he applied for a job at a local winery, enrolled in a wine business class at Chemeketa, and the rest is history! He describes the transition as “switching gears.” He had to start networking and doing things he had never done before. Most importantly, he had to “believe there was a place in this industry for him.”

June 6, 2014 became his first day in the Oregon wine industry. That is 7 years ago to the day I’m writing this spotlight. Happy Anniversary, Gerry! We’re all so glad you found your way to us!

What keeps your fire lit?

Visiting with new people. Meeting people and introducing them to wine and food. Making them happy. It’s important to respect each person, where they’re from and as individuals. See who they are and give them what they want.

Since we know that we can’t pour from an empty cup, how do you keep your own cup full?

Enthusiasm. Always learning and looking for different things. Listen to the people/find out about guests. See who they are. I do research if I can. If I take the time to listen, I make new friends. There’s just no room for snobby or pretentious with people.

When I asked how he keeps all the information he learns in his head, he wisely said that repetition helps us to remember. “If you talk about it, you’ll retain it.”

What is the difference you would like to make or perhaps a legacy you would like to leave?

Wine is fun. Travel is important. There’s wine all over the world. Break down the mystery of wine in a fun way. Explain in layman’s terms. Make it simple. He would love people to feel they’ve learned something or walked away with something new.

Speaking of legacy, let’s talk about Gerry’s books. Anyone who knows Gerry knows about his famous black books that he invites his guests to sign. I had to dig a little deeper into this unique way to engage with people.

The origin of the books? He encountered a server once who had a similar book and invited him to write anything he wanted in it. He said, “What if what I write is bad?” He still wanted that input as well. Turns out the service was exceptional and that interaction, coupled with the fact that Gerry used to go to kindergarten through third grade and talk to students and they would write him letters led him to start this tradition once he started at Brooks. The book reminds him to be kind because, well, who knows what someone will write in his book. He also uses it to refresh his memory for writing thank you notes. He currently has a total of six of these books. Gerry says he will wait to read through all of them until the day he retires. He’ll read them from beginning to end.

What is something people may not know about Gerry that you would like them to know?

I’m pretty much an open book. I like to polish rocks. I like being creative in my work and outside of work. I like doing things for people, telling stories. Gerry subscribes to the idea that you can figure out how to do anything. He has built furniture and has built his own shop where he now makes jewelry (beautiful creations you can find displayed at Bjornson Vineyard).

What drives him is to get better. He knows he’s not the best, that there are others who are better and more knowledgeable. "When we quit learning, we quit life." We need to keep doing things before we’re ready.

What do you think will be necessary for the Oregon wine industry to learn or maintain to survive and thrive through its rapid growth?

Hospitality. Treating people properly. This includes staffing up and training properly. It may be hard to take the money and time to set aside three days to train but it’s important. That, and hiring people who are truly hospitality-oriented.


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