- March 10 2014
Verve's founder and curator-in-chief, T Beller, has been shaking things up in Wine Country as a connector and community leader for more than 20 years. Her artistic flair and legendary Southern hospitality are the soul of our company, evident in every experience we create. Herewith, a special Q&A with T herself.
Q: What moved you to start your own company, Verve Napa Valley?
A: I have always considered myself a networker, connector, and catalyst. I started Verve because I really enjoy connecting with people and sharing my love for all things Wine Country. You can't live in the Napa Valley for 20-plus years and not learn to appreciate the many extraordinary winery properties and incredible landscapes at every turn. With Verve I wanted to create a company that would provide the kind of nuanced and tailored tour experiences and events that I would put together for friends and family coming in from out of town, where I could treat guests the way that I like to be treated when I travel.
Q: What are your favorite parts of the business?
A: Like anyone who shares something they really love, I have so much fun being involved in the creation of a couple's special anniversary getaway or a group's family reunion or company retreat. Along the way, I get to meet so many bright, diverse, and interesting people from around the world. I'm also dedicated to the intricacies of the event planning and full-service aspect of what we do at Verve. Honestly, I'm still pinching myself that I've stumbled into a career doing something I really enjoy that also allows me to play host and guide. Don't get me wrong, building a business has certainly had its challenges, but I am very much enjoying the wild ride! I'm also ecstatic to say that my fantastic team and I have had the pleasure of curating personalized experiences for more than 2,500 guests from all over the country and internationally, and future requests keep pouring in.
Q: You have a broad professional history including stints as an art concierge, interior designer, marketing consultant and more. How do you pull these other talents into what you do each day at Verve?
A: It all comes down to serving the client's vision. Whether I'm dealing with art, room space, branding, or wine tours, I'm always watching and listening for what exactly is wanted and needed at this time, in this place, and for this audience. With more than 500 area wineries and tasting rooms, it's no small feat, but I really enjoy matching a guest's personality and preferences with their itinerary. Because of my attention to detail, I'd like to think I avoid generic or ill-fitting options and, instead, craft creative solutions that perfectly fit the situation at hand. Ultimately, I thrive when working collaboratively with guests to transform their vision into a reality. Anticipating the guest's needs paired with our in-depth knowledge of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys always makes for memorable one-of-a-kind events and experiences.
Q: What makes Verve unique in the industry?
A: Verve is an extension of my personality. I'm originally from Montgomery, AL and my Southern hospitality shines through in everything we do. I'd like to think my brand of passion for what I do, along with my background in art and design, makes me a uniquely qualified woman to design and host tours and events that sparkle with fun, creativity, and just the right amount of quirkiness! I'm also really proud of the Verve team who shares my vision and passion — they work (and play) with me every day to make certain the Verve experience is a knock-out for our clients. At Verve, the details matter: from a complimentary sabering of champagne to freshly made local cookies and chocolates, we shower our guests with the best of the best! This includes our wheels —our signature Mercedes Benz Luxury Sprinter allows our guests to get acquainted with the authentic spirit of the Napa Valley in style and comfort. The adage "Enter as strangers, leave as friends" combined with a good twist of Southern hospitality truly describes the Verve experience.
Q: What would a typical customized day-long Wine Country tour with Verve look like?
A: Well, no tour is typical, that's for sure! We don't offer cookie cutter tours — instead, Verve creates personalized adventures of a lifetime. We tailor each Wine Country itinerary to complement the unique interests and personalities of our guests. From culinary classes to plein air painting, the guest's passions drive the agenda — ensuring that no two trips are ever the same.
We kickoff most tours with complimentary sabering of champagne before we visit some of our favorite off-the-beaten-path, limited production, artisan wineries. Often times, private tours will be lead by owners and winemakers — and will end in guest access to the hottest cult wines. In essence, Verve introduces you to the authentic folks who embody Wine Country lifestyle. We sometimes pair wine tasting with lunch in the vineyards. In order to have a full experience, we recommend a seven to eight hour tour day with two to four winery stops. We can arrange for multiple day transportation for your special event. From exotic sedans and luxury SUVs to 45-passenger Executive Shuttles, we provide transportation and full event planning for groups of 2 to 200. I also like to build flexibility into each personalized tour and include impromptu stops we think the guest would enjoy. We also offer a variety of themed "tracks" that guests can choose from, for example — Tee Time for golf enthusiasts, The Artiste for an exclusive look into art, architecture and landscapes, and Craft Beer Trail for those who are interested in beer and spirits as well as wines. Check out our Wine Country Experiences tab for more info!
Q: Outside of the office, what are your favorite pastimes?
A: I love working in my garden filled with as many seasonal vegetables as I can manage. I'm also a huge advocate for the arts and education, so I enjoy attending as many openings and exhibitions as I can — most recently I enjoyed the David Hockney exhibit at the deYoung in San Francisco. I fill my home with out-of-the-box mixed media artwork with plenty of color and pizazz…it seems to fit my life and personality quite well! I have noticed, though, that, no matter what I'm doing, I seem to find time to think about Verve and how to add even more satisfying and truly special experiences for our guests…it's my all-consuming passion!
Have a question for T? Leave us a comment below and she'll answer directly! Be sure to follow us on Twitter @VerveNapaValley, and Facebook at www.facebook.com/vervenapavalley for weekly updates and photos.