Lockdown life: My virtual favorites and inspiration


My lockdown life favorites and inspirations from around the globe.

I can’t believe we started this ride nearly two months ago. The kiddo (aka il ragazzino) has been out of school since 25 February and lockdown started 10 March. The first three weeks of quarantine were the hardest for me. When the little man was at his father’s, getting out of bed was a chore most days.

My Recipe: Wine, Food, & People

Then, slowly something began to happen. I started doing wine offers with Elisabetta and Stefano of La Vite Turchese. The initiative helped me to connect and reconnect with so many readers, clients, partners, contacts, and my social media community on a more personal, intimate level. It was instrumental to the shift that began for me.

Next, Denise of Castello di Sinio and I began our kitchen adventures, which I’ve finally titled: #cookingwithdenise. And, oh boy do we have plans. 

With the offers taking off, I now messaging Stefano, Elisabetta, and my producers almost daily developing custom offers, discussing wines, styles, tasting notes, pairing ideas, vintages, and more. It’s all just…coming together.

It’s not been easy and the adventure continues with good moments and challenging ones. But, I am proud of the projects in the works and the deepening of so many relationships – personal and professional.

So, I want to give a shout out to some of the online places I’ve found useful and inspirational during my time in quarantine – something that is so personal for each and every one of us.

It’s been invigorating to see everyone’s creativity during lockdown life. Read on for some of the new additions to Girl’s Gotta Drink and my picks from around the globe.

Stay well, friends!


Our initiative came to be because I wanted to take my cooking to another level and better incorporate it into my wine life and wine knowledge. So, Denise and I started our video cooking adventures.

It might surprise many to read, but I’m a bit shy, so I am still not comfortable with the idea of taking it somewhere public, like Instagram Live or Facebook Live. But, Denise and I are working on other ways to bring our cooking to you in a more intimate, controlled manner. Stay tuned for updates!


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Y’all seemed to like the Glazed Balsamic Blueberry chicken that Denise and I did last week, so her recipe’s up on the site! Direct link in profile or visit girlsgottadrink.com! #cookingwithdenise – – – Had a blast with the wine pairing on this one. The night we made it, did a Roccalini Barbaresco. What a match: elegant and rich with amazing red and black fruits. For lunch the next day, I did a glass of @principianoferdinando’s metodo classico Belen (100% barbera). Also fantastic with the lively forest fruits. More notes and other pairing ideas with the recipe! #girlsgottadrink _ _ _ Blueberry Chicken ?: @castellodisinio #foodandwinepairing

A post shared by Valerie, Girl’s Gotta Drink (@valeriekq) on

To order wines for pairing, hit me up. Denise and I have a list on standby of wines we’ve selected, plus the wines mentioned in the posts and my wine offers. Submit through any of the offer order forms.

For all the #cookingwithdenise recipes, click here.

Girl’s Gotta Drink Wine Offers!

We just launched our latest offer with a focus on the Etna wine region. It’s also got an educational component, so check it out. More is coming!!

Remember, shipping is FREE on 12+ bottles. And, we’re doing a donation to local Coronavirus relief efforts – we started at 10% of sales and have shifted to 5% to reinvest in the program with things like a direct eCommerce order form and other fun stuff.

Offer List:

Italian Wine Direct from Italy

Italy Coronavirus News and Updates

Italy News: TheLocal.it

My favorite Italian news site in English. It offers great in-depth content and is always up-to-date. The site has a paywall, but they have made most of the practical content free during the lockdown.

Girl in Florence

My pal Georgette, based in – you guessed it – Florence, Italy continues to kill it on social media and her site. Her Instagram efforts are particularly impressive. She does a daily evening update in Stories on the number of infections, deaths, recovered, etc. And, she has a lot of unique posts to keep you feeling connected to Italy as well as good summaries of information on the situation here.

lockdown life northern Italy

Romeo and Juliet Guide in Verona

My friends Sara and Virginia of Romeo and Juliet Guide are offering wines from their Italian wine region to keep y’all connected with the Fair Verona – check out the list of great Valpolicella wines.

And, check out the incredible drone video they created. It’s so beautiful and almost haunting to see this exquisite ancient city from above in all its glory without the normal crush of people. I’m also tickled to say that I helped with the copy! Not going to lie, when I saw the finished product, I got teary-eyed.

When you are ready to start making those Italy travel plans again, check out my girls in the city of love – I know I am already planning another visit with them when things calm down. And, as a reader, when you book mention Girl’s Gotta Drink – they will throw in an extra glass of bubbles at the end of the tour!

For more on one of my favorite Italian cities, check out my Verona travel section.

Carpe Travel: Wine education and travel from home

Elaine of Denver-based Carpe Travel enlisted the help of her daughters in virtual wine country adventures. She got a Spanish tapas cookbook, loaded up on Spanish wines, and bam – quality time in the kitchen with the girls, then chill time with The Husband sipping the vino with home-made paired foods. Check it out here: How to explore new wine regions when you can’t leave home.

The other one I love is her new wine pairing segment featuring a dish from a local restaurant – a great way to support the local hospitality community. Featured Food & Wine Pairing: Restaurant Olivia (Denver, Colorado)

Check out more of her lockdown wine / travel features here.

She ordered some wines from us, so I can’t wait to see if she does a virtual Piedmont exploration!

What have been your favorite finds and activities during YOUR lockdown life?

I’d love to know! Drop me a note below!


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