European Inspiration

September 7, 2021 — Valley Commons

Kyla Richey found inspiration in cultures all over the world and brought it back as the essence and pillar of Valley Commons

Ever since I started playing professional volleyball abroad, I fell in love with the uniqueness of each culture. I was unintentionally immersed in these lifestyles; wandering through markets to experience new smells, bright colours and bold textures, and of course, transfixed on new tastes. 

I would often be in each country for six to eight months, giving me ample time to explore and take on this newness. 

These were moments often experienced by my personal senses — but I soon came to love something far greater, which was sharing these moments with others. 

In many European cultures I have experienced, there is a sort of slowness to the day. People still hustle around fresh markets, send children off to school, go to work — all normal experiences we have over here in North America. But when you’re connecting with another individual, especially over food and drink, there is something so sacred about that. A slow, sacred act of connection. 

It starts here and infuses into the day. How individuals experience their surroundings and seem to be much more aware of the sensitivities of nurturing time.

I see this sacred act in such fleeting moments; smelling the coffee beans before putting them into the grinder, taking a large inhale when food is placed in front of you, walking outside to take some of the freshest herbs from a garden, closing your eyes and feeling the wind on your face, sharing the best wines in your cellar with new friends, cooking for a group of twenty — nobody is turned away. I always felt that these sacred moments were more challenging for me to experience on this side of the world. After all, in Europe, these moments seemed to be consistently all around me. 

I was constantly reminded to take it all in. 

The importance of sharing food and wine with my overseas teammates became a necessity in the first week of meeting. We often didn’t speak the same language so true verbal communication was minimal. After a lot of hand gestures and google translation sentences, we would make plans to meet for dinner, often at someone’s home. There would always be an abundance of wine and food, so much laughter, loud conversations in multiple languages which, through this moment, a bond would be formed with these strangers. Over food. Over wine. Before I knew it, these strangers became my overseas family. 

So often during these experiences I would think, “this is what it’s all about.” The sacrifices as a professional athlete, the pressure, the moments away from home — this is what makes it worth it. Connecting with strangers all over the world. And the beautiful and mesmerizing part of that is it’s possible. For individuals with different backgrounds, with vastly different stories, who look differently, believe in many different things — can form a strong and unique bond. 

This is what I want to create in Valley Commons. 

To me, European influence is a reminder to slow down. To look for that connection between myself and others and myself and the world. An invitation to invigorate my senses and pay attention to what my body and mind are trying to share with me. 

I see our vineyards as our backyard garden. Planted firmly in the earth, tended with care, grown and nurtured. Everything from our wine making process to how we welcome you into our Valley Commons tasting room is done with intention. 

These beautiful, unique cultures celebrate the art of living through their wine and food. It is the catalyst for connection and friendship which is why our tag line is “Where We Gather,” which is proudly displayed front and centre of our brand. 

Long, leisurely evenings spent with amazing food and a few bottles of wine, sharing stories and encouragement over a table is something that we never forget. So let’s build that into our everyday lives — with the help of a little European inspiration.

We’ll keep you posted

New wines, new experiences. When we have news, we’d love to share with you.

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