Now I Know Why Rutherford

“Why Rutherford?” is the question baffled people asked me when I told them I lived in the tiny town in the Napa Valley. “Why not St. Helena, Yountville or the city of Napa,” they wondered. I never had much of an answer except to say, I was looking on Craigslist for a house to rent in Yountville and came across a listing for Rutherford, which stated in the ad that the house was between Yountville and St. Helena. The house turned out to be perfect so here I am!

Alpha Omega winery in Rutherford

Alpha Omega winery in Rutherford

I quickly bonded with the woman who is now my housemate when we met for the first time at the Rutherford Grill. When she took me to see the house, I immediately fell in love with the home, which oozed warmth with music and scents and Wine Country living with vineyards right outside of the back gate. While I had perused apartment listings in Healdsburg, which is all the rage in Sonoma, I knew that Rutherford was for me and stopped searching.

The thought of waking up and seeing vineyards when I opened my eyes delighted me and I couldn’t wait to move to Rutherford. It took me no time to adjust to country living.

When it came time to renew my driver’s license four months after moving in, I gave up my LA address for the first time ever. Even during my four years in NY and three years in SF, I never changed the address on my driver’s license for I knew I was not going to be in those places forever. When home in LA for the holidays, I closed my mailbox, an address I had used for decades. Those two acts signified just how much I love living in Rutherford and my commitment to the Napa Valley.

But still, it wasn’t until recently that I truly knew why Rutherford. It’s because of Alpha Omega, the boutique winery that seduces people driving on Highway 29 like a prostitute does men in a red light district.

Who knew that when I went to the winery on Oct. 22 to meet Carissa Ashman, a publicist from Silicon Valley, that four months later I would end up being hired as Alpha Omega’s Director of Communications? I had met Michelle Baggett, who along with her husband Robin Baggett are the vintners, during the summer. And as I think back now, I was rather fascinated by Michelle when we were seated near each other at a luncheon/fashion show at HALL Rutherford during Festival Napa Valley (formerly Festival del Sole). I remember how chatty and warm she was with everybody. I liked her! I saw her again a couple of nights later at a patron dinner at Buena Vista Winery, and we exchanged cards.

That month, I added her to my distribution list for Haute Living magazine, which could have been the smartest thing I’ve ever done. I thought she might like like the magazine on her coffee table; I had no idea she would start reading my stories and turn into a fan of my writing and work ethic.

When I saw her at her winery in October, she introduced me to Robin. I found out just how seriously he takes his grilling when we toured his BBQ grills with the owner of Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet, which makes the Bentley of BBQ grills. Several weeks later, I would see Michelle again at the Rutherford Dust Society’s holiday party. I didn’t even known there was a Rutherford Dust Society but when I received an invite in the mail I just knew I had to attend because, heck, I live in Rutherford and want to be a part of the community by helping the Rutherford Grange. I didn’t know that Michelle was the president. She invited me to Alpha Omega’s release party for its Wine Club members the following week. That’s when I tasted Robin’s “almost world famous” BBQ and had a chance to see what the winery was all about. Alpha Omega’s members raved about the Baggetts while I chowed down on one rib after another and enjoyed their delicious wines.

Fast forward to today and here I am. It was as if it was meant to be. Michelle and I are both God-fearing Christians so when she said that God guided me to Rutherford because he wanted me to be close to the winery—well, I quickly agreed. Thank you God.

Kelly at Alpha Omega in Rutherford in December 2015/Photo credit: Vi Bottaro

Kelly at Alpha Omega in December 2015/Photo credit: Vi Bottaro

About Kelly E. Carter

New York Times bestselling author Kelly E. Carter is the Director of Communications at Alpha Omega winery in the legendary Rutherford bench of the world famous Napa Valley. The bon vivant made a name for herself writing about sports, entertainment, lifestyles and pets. She founded The Jet Set Pets, the luxury travel site for pampered pets on the go. Her latest book, National Geographic's
The Dog Lover's Guide to Travel , was released April 1, 2014 and earned Kelly a Lowell Thomas Award. She teamed up with tennis phenom Venus Williams to co-author Come to Win: Business Leaders, Artists, Doctors, and Other Visionaries on How Sports Can Help You Top Your Profession, a New York Times bestseller in 2010.  

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