Nicole first heard this expression during a summer in Spain, “Sobremesa is about not rushing a good meal in order to take pleasure in the company of friends and family, and enjoying these things without feeling like you should be doing something more important.” This cultural experience influenced her perspective on wine, community, and her career.
The summer before senior year at UC Davis, Nicole spent the summer in Spain. “My host family always had a bottle of wine on the table at lunch and dinner and they spoke as if it were just another dish of food,” remineseces Nicole. “It was the first time I thought of wine like a piece of culture. It was so enlightening and interesting and the experience made me enjoy wine so much more.” Nicole’s curiosity was uncorked and she returned her senior year to enroll in wine-related classes to fulfill her graduation requirements. “It was the first time since Mrs. Bova’s biology class at Carondelet, where I enjoyed a science class. I was inspired now to think of wine as the intersection of history, science, art, theory, culture, and agriculture. Although I was too far along in my degree to change course to a degree in viticulture and enology, I knew I wanted a career in the wine industry.”
Nicole received her degree in English at UC Davis. “When I entered UC Davis, I was thinking of teaching, because my strength out of high school was writing. Mr. Okey, my AP US History teacher and Dr. Murphy, my English teacher, were two of the most influential teachers I’ve ever had,” shared Nicole. “Mr. Okey taught me how to write, form an argument and express it cohesively, ardently and with precision. Dr Murphy taught me how to break down the structure of an essay to understand its components.”
Upon graduation, Nicole got her first job at a winery and never looked back. She’s worked across the US for a variety of wine stores, distributors, and wine makers. Her current role as Regional Sales Director at McBride Sisters, the largest black-owned, woman-owned wine company in the US, Nicole finally feels everything she’s worked for has come full circle. “I love my job and where I work. I’m at a company that creates wines that are inclusive, sustainable, socially aware, and enjoyable for all. We truly believe our wines cultivate community one delicious glass of wine at a time,” smiles Nicole.
When asked to reflect on her days at Carondelet? “The friends I met playing basketball and lunches in the DLS quad, were all great memories,” said Nicole. “But when people ask me about my fondest memory of Carondelet, I always say Kairos. I didn’t know what to expect going into Kairos. Once you’re there, it’s an indescribable experience to feel so much love and care from your peers, faculty, and staff. To this day I still have my box from those days. I’ve never had another experience like that since,” shared Nicole.
Words of advice: my Mother always said to me, “Stay true to yourself, focus on what’s important to you, and the rest will appear as it needs to.” Words Nicole lives by. “It’s okay to not know what you want to do right away after college. Women have an opportunity to be curious and learn, there’s no one direction for you. Everyone’s life moves in a different direction and at different wavelengths and that’s okay. It’s what makes you unique.”
Where does she see herself in ten years?
“If I’m not at McBride Sisters, I hope I’m running my own company in the world of wine. A company where I own, manage, and create everyday to make the world an all-inclusive community of wine lovers.”