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  • Writer's pictureHolly Kirby


When have you bent so as not to break?

"The oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent when it must and survived."

— Robert Jordan

Resilience is something you see in the eyes of a child and in the shelter of a willow. It is something easy to recognize around us and possibly more difficult within. Yet it is a seed waiting to bloom in its time, it's there.

When I think of children and how many choices and circumstances are completely out of their control, I'm amazed at their resilience. To me, when I think of resilience, I think of a capacity to love, to hope, to move forward and to grow. It could almost be seemingly out of place, unexpected or unexplained and that is what only adds to its power, its value and its unmistakable beauty.

I think over my life I have learned to be a fighter, like the great oak trees I see in the Oregon landscape. A good trait, I think, in the right context. However, in more contexts than I would probably choose for myself, another childlike trait would be more suited...that of resilience. Learning to bend so as not to break and bouncing back to provide shelter and hope for those that come after me.

My childlike pursuit: To bend like the willow and be resilient like a child.




We are so proud to now be a member of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association! If you haven't yet heard of this great organization, here is their mission statement:

" promote, preserve and advance the prestige of Oregon’s Willamette Valley AVA and its wines through the support of our members, community and environment."

We are definitely on board with that and we'd like you to check them out as well because the hub of information and resource for visitors and the support and community for members is phenomenal!


Serendipity is also participating in WVWA's May In Wine Country campaign in celebration of Oregon Wine Month! What does this mean for you? When you tour with us in May, you will receive a complimentary bottle of J.L. Kiff Vineyard's newly-released rosé. It's always delicious and you may even get a chance to meet the winemakers on your tour!


Serendipity Gift Cards now available through Square in four different amounts. So easy to personalize and send! Check it out through link below.



This is a space created for appreciating those who go above and beyond. It's fun to catch people in the act of being kind!

This edition of Two Claps goes out to Amanda Kelly of Oregon PoshTours, Transportation and Adventures! She is truly a class act, my friends. I was able to meet with her a few months ago and have come to find an ally and a friend in the wine tourism business. Amanda is highly sought after as an excellent wine tour guide and she has been graciously recommending guests that seek her out, but that she is unable to accommodate, over to me. She doesn't have to do that but chooses collaboration over competition and customer service over scarcity mindset. They are always the best guests and I love working with them. Since I believe in the law of attraction, this is just one more reason to give this hard working woman kudos for the value she brings each and every day. I'm looking forward to a great year for all of us and am hugely grateful to be in a community that includes Amanda.

A huge, heartfelt TWO CLAPS to you, Amanda! Your generosity and belief that a rising tide raises all ships is a beautiful tribute to the collaborative spirit that began this incredible Oregon wine industry we are so blessed to be a part of. ;)



Revisit idea of launching the Oregon Wine Tourism Collective ("OWTC") in context of new membership with Willamette Valley Wineries Association (WVWA) and also connection with Women in Wine Oregon. Excited to see how this vision fits in with what is already moving and shaking.

Create report of Serendipity Business Retreat 2022 and share highlights in future newsletter.



With all of the rain we've had in April and even into May, we have been seeing a lot more of these beauties. (Loved taking these pictures while on my tours.)

I let my curiosity get the best of me and looked up how they are formed and also picked up some additional little known facts (for me anyway). Here are some of my takeaways, courtesy of National Geographic:

  • In simplest terms, rainbows are made by light striking water droplets and creating a multi-colored arc visible to the viewer at a certain angle.

  • The colors are always in order of their wavelength from longest to shortest (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet).

  • Rainbows are actually circular and we only see them in arcs because we are limited by our horizon. If we're in the air though, we can see the whole thing!

  • Double rainbows (or second-order rainbows) are made by water reflecting twice in the raindrop and therefore the visible spectrum is reversed on the secondary rainbow so red is on the interior while violet on the exterior. (You can see this in the picture I took in April!)

  • Other types of rainbows are: supernumerary, reflection, reflected, red (or monochrome), fogbows, and moonbows or lunar rainbows.



Helen Avery & Mark Treick of Cellar Door Wine Tours

(Below photo courtesy of Oregon Wine History Archive)

I feel honored that Mark and Helen agreed to allow me to interview them for this month’s Serendipity Spotlight. Not only are they part of my personal origin story in the Oregon wine industry, but they are an amazing example (both personally and professionally) of the childlike characteristic I’m exploring in this month’s E-Newsletter…Resilience.

Who was the first person who believed in you?

Mark – Helen, and Dave Gear, my art high school teacher.

Helen – My dad and my music teacher in high school.

Did you both have separate careers or have you always done this?

They had separate careers when they first met. Helen earned a degree in Communications and subsequently continued her education in an Airline Academy program, all the while supporting herself by waiting tables. She did get the job she went to school for but learned that restaurant management would be her next step and was mentored in business while on the job.

Mark earned a degree in Geography with a minor in Art (which by the way, you HAVE to see what he does with that art degree). He wanted a job outside and worked for a chocolatier as a delivery driver. He moved to Portland about the same time Helen did and met her through his job as a beer salesman.

What is one of the most rewarding things about what you do?

Mark – Meeting people. Realizing that they are here for a reason.

Helen – Acknowledging them for why they’re here and us being able to share our passion. Connection becomes very personal as the day goes on. You fall in love with everybody that gets in your car. When we get in the car, we’re excited to go be with the people and show them what we’re passionate about. Absolutely love what we do.

“All our tours are great. We never have a bad tour.”

What are the most important qualities for hospitality?

Listening to the guests for what they want. Sometimes what they want though, we may have to change and take them to places.

“You may think you know where you wanted to go, we just had to take you to where you needed to go.” – Mark

Mention or know their name. Create a relationship. Prepare the experience where they know you and are expecting you.

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

  • Travel. Get into hospitality and see what they’re doing. We all like to be served.

  • Monthly take time to be a part of family occasions. Completely de-compress.

  • Weekend adventures and camping. Spending time in nature.

What is it like, working together?

They are a team. Each one has strengths in certain things that they do. It’s fortunate that the things they’re good at complement each other and they make up for each other’s “inequalities.” She’s more of the manager. He’s more of the worker…she can delegate. Being husband and wife team can help communication because they know each other so well.

Biggest clash is that they’re both right. Ha!

What is your best advice for other couples who work together?

“Make sure one gets up early enough to make the coffee.” – Mark

You are going to say things that may not come across as constructive. Be prepared to be interrupted (or interjected if you’re a story teller).

“Everybody has a different way of looking at things. Might have different routes of getting there and that’s okay. Acknowledge and be aware of it.” – Helen

If running the business from your home, you need to know when to shut off and enjoy family time. You can’t change it. Be okay with it.

For people who may not know you, what are some of your passions, outside of wine?

Helen – Expert snowboarder – grew up in Colorado. She’s run a marathon, triathlons.

Mark – Expert at tying flies.

They both love camping, fishing, going to the coast…traveling and making those moments happen. They love Halloween and go all out. Also love decorating at Christmas.

How did you get started on your amazing professional journey?

Early seeds: Mark has family with a vineyard out here. In fact, a dinner with family where they enjoyed a 15-year old bottle of wine became Mark’s first wine story.

First steps together: They moved to Colorado in 2003 and married. Mark worked at another beer company, Helen at a restaurant. It’s almost as if together their entrepreneurial spirit only burned brighter because there they made a leap to buy a coffee cart! Mark would open the coffee cart, go to his job and then Helen would take it from there. They learned about coffee and perhaps most importantly, they learned people were attracted to good service and friendliness.

Peaks and valleys: They stayed open to the idea of opportunities. They were looking at a B&B as well. The recession was hard on everybody, especially entrepreneurs. In 2009, they moved back to Oregon to be near family (although not in “wine business” at that point). Looking for “working from home” options landed Mark with websites and Helen with coaching programs. He also worked as a courtesy clerk at a grocery store and Helen as a bartender, everything leading to what they do now.

Schedules made them like ships passing in the night. “Our dream was running way faster than we could catch it.”

Mark and Helen tell of this next event with such courage. Their little girl Chelsea passed away. This is the part where I could barely take any more notes. Their generosity in sharing their story and what they have learned is the embodiment of resilience. Resilience and pure love.

These are some of my takeaways:

We were able to heal after Chelsea passing away. People come into your lives for a reason. Learn from your past but don’t identify with your past. All you have is from this point forward. She is on this journey with us. We’ve had so many connections since her death. Death is not the end.

Helen says, “She’s with me all the time. I feel her and it’s a gift.”

Mark says, “When you’re going through a healing, you’re shedding. As you’re climbing up two sides of the same hill, you get closer and closer together. You can possibly find more problems as you get closer.”

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

For Helen, it’s living her passion and giving that back to the world and the people who are with her. Learning how to live life without regret.

“You do have a palette. If you can realize that you have your own palette, I’ve done my job.” – Mark

Can I just close this by saying if you want to meet some special people, take some time to get to know Helen and Mark for yourselves. If you’re booking a wine tour, seek them out. If you’re looking for some stunning art, seek them out. If you need to see resilience embodied and hope restored, I give you Mark and Helen…beautiful human beings with depth, humor and a gift for storytelling.

Mark and Helen, your life experience inspires and I’m better for knowing you. So glad we booked that wine tour seven years ago. I share your belief that people come into our lives for a reason. Cheers!


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