Hi, I’m Valerie Quintanilla, but you can call me Val. Thanks for visiting me here at Girl’s Gotta Drink!
I started my little site back in 2012 as a way to occupy my time during my early expat days. The region has long seemed elusive to would-be travelers with little information available online. My approach in my writing here has been to answer questions I had as a visitor to the area, but with the insight of a local.
In addition, as a wino I am blessed to live close to other incredible wine regions around Italy, France, Spain, Germany, etc. So, I write about those adventures as well.
One of the first questions I get when I meet readers is, “how did you get here?”
In 2011, I found my way to Piedmont (Piemonte in Italiano) located in Northern Italy. It was a short three days at the end of an amazing adventure driving the boot, south to north. (Talk about contrast!)
Upon arrival, I dubbed it my one-day Italian home. I returned to Denver, Colo. saying as much. Reactions were interesting: my then-boss tormented me endlessly about packing up and moving to Italy immediately (I swear, I was good at that job!) A good friend (always the realist) said, “What Val, you’re going to meet some dude and make him move to Italy with you?” Me: “I dunno. I’m just gonna move to Piedmont. Shut up.”
Truth be told, I didn’t actually believe I would move to Piedmont. But, what did it hurt to dream!?
Well, fast forward to Italy 2012. I just had to go back to soak in the region, so I planned seven full days in Piedmont. On my first full day out wine touring, I met a British chap who worked for a Barolo producer. He seemed like a nice guy, so I let him show me around – hey, a girl’s gotta
Long story short, eight month’s later I traded the Rockies for the Alps. I quit my job, rented out my townhouse, and got a one-way ticket to Turin. Oh, and started this blog. The blog eventually became a business, starting with Barbaresco and Barolo wine tours.
The Piedmont adventure never ends!
Today, Il Marito (“The Husband”) and I are raising Il Raggazino (“The Little Boy”) in Alba, where we also run our accidental Piedmont food and wine tour business. I say ‘accidental’ because the site has sort of taken on a life of its own. These days we have expanded our travel planning and guide services outside of Northern Italy, spanning other parts of the country.
As a family, we enjoy exploring wine regions all over Europe – particularly other parts of Italy and France. Il Ragazzino is quite the little traveler and does very well on the road – siamo molto fortunati!
Life seems fast and furious these days with regional tourism at an all-time high and a toddler who keeps us on our toes. In addition, I write for different publications about the area and even had some photos published in Food & Wine Magazine in a feature on the Piedmont wine region!
I am continuing my wine education with WSET (Wine and Spirits Education Trust) certification; I am pleased to report I passed Level 2 with distinction (batti cinque!) and am looking ahead to the more involved Level 3 studies.
We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities my little site has brought us by way of experiences and new friends.
A heartfelt thank you to our readers, our producer network (wine and food), and guests who have trusted us with their travel plans. Our work does not save lives, but we like to think we are enriching them. Certainly, those we have met through this great adventure enrich ours.