Looking Back on an Exciting Year: Our Top 13 Memorable Moments from 2013

It has been quite a year! We began 2013 with a mantra: “This will be the year for laying the foundation.” And in many ways it has been. Granted, there is much left to do in the coming years, but for now we’re content with the ground we stand on.

2013In looking back on a year, it’s hard to say which moments were most memorable.

We ate a lot of great meals, drank quite a few fantastic wines, made new friends and enjoyed our time with old ones. But a few memories stand out, in part because we have pictures, and because they were significant moments that create a snapshot of 2013 and move us closer to our dreams, woo-hoo!

To pay homage to another awesome year (and to catch up on so many neglected blog posts), we’d like to share our 2013 Year In Review. In order of appearance, here are our Top 13 Memorable Moments from 2013:

#1: In January, we spent a week at the beach with friends and thought up the idea to start a blog to document our journey of finding land for a vineyard. There’s almost always a week of unseasonably warm weather every North Carolina winter. Without much effort, we found it early in January and spent time playing outdoors like schoolchildren in June. There’s nothing like taking a play break. We hope 2014 brings more opportunity to play, travel and enjoy life!

NC Beach Football

#2: On Valentine’s Day, our love story appeared in the INDY Week regional magazine. This was pretty cool to see in print, as if we were reading someone else’s story. Looking back on the first two years of our relationship, we were in different countries for nearly three quarters of that time. Now that we’re so deeply rooted in our Raleigh routines, our lives in France seem like they took place in another lifetime altogether.

#3: In early March, we transplanted 2 flats of 48 tomato plants and started this blog! Looking back at that particular weekend, the warmth of the sun on our shoulders, it was a magical start to the year for us and nearly 100 tomato plants. We transferred little seedlings from their first tiny flats, to larger flats where they would stay for several weeks until they were large enough to transfer to pots and face the wild world outdoors. Step by step, they grew into juicy and ripe tomatoes for so many meals in 2013, or were canned for meals in 2014. Nature always has a way of making sure there’s enough.


Phillip preparing to transfer 48 tomato plants

#4: In late March, we traveled to the northwestern-most corner of the state to visit our friends at Old Orchard Creek blueberry farm. While this wasn’t our only visit to the blueberry farm in 2013, it was the most memorable because it snowed! Rarely in the city do we get snow. Maybe a dusting, but mostly we get ice!

In our down time, we wrote the fourth post to our blog here.

SeedtoVine.com at Old Orchard CreekSeedtoVine.com at Old Orchard CreekSeedtoVine.com at Old Orchard CreekSeedtoVine.com at Old Orchard Creek

#5: In May, Phillip and his business partner Phil made Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s “40 Under 40 Tastemakers of America — a significant accomplishment for The Wine Feed that will no doubt contribute to future opportunities.

Phillip’s business partner, Phil, went up to New York to receive the honor and celebrate with the 39 other Tastemakers. This memorable moment put the guys on the map as a wine pair to pay attention to in the coming years.

The Wine Feed Makes Wine Enthusiast 40 Under 40 

#6: Throughout the late spring, summer and into early fall, we attended 5 weddings making this year a record for the fewest number of weddings we’ve attended in a year together. Over the past three years, we’ve averaged about ten weddings a year, celebrating so many of our friends and family, and providing the wine to help them make their events even more memorable. So far, we’ve got three weddings on the docket for 2014. We’ll see what else the New Year brings!


#7: In June, Phillip went to D.C. with his dad, brothers and uncles to see the Nationals play the Rockies. The stadium had never seen so many handsome men at one time (HA). The weekend of bonding called for beer and peanuts as two generations of 3 Zucchino brothers caught up in the Capital City.


#8: In August, we went to Upstate New York to visit Heather’s family. This was the first time Phillip was able to join Heather in a trip to her summer stomping grounds. With the little cousins in tow, we picked enough apples to last the rest of the year from O’Neil’s Orchard on Route 20 in LaFayette, NY.


Upstate NY Apple Picking

Then, we headed to Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard for some amazing apple vodka, gin and cider. This was a first for us both — we’ve ventured outside of wine and beer many-a-time, but this was our first apple vodka and gin. They were mighty fine. We brought back several bottles for the vodka and gin enthusiasts in our lives.

Beak & Skiff Apple Vodka

dr. frank wine

In 1962, merely a decade after arriving in America, Dr. Frank founded Vinifera Wine Cellars. The winery quickly earned a reputation for spectacular Rieslings and its original planting of vines formed the backbone of New York’s world-class wines and champagnes.

The highlight of the “adult” portion of our Upstate NY trip, was our private tasting with Frederick Frank of Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine.

We toured Keuka Lake, tasting at a number of vineyards and wineries. Dr. Frank Wine stood out as the very best — not surprisingly, The Wine Feed carries their award-winning Chateau Frank Blanc de Noirs bubbly.

A brief history of Dr. Frank — as an immigrant to the United States in the early 1950’s, Dr. Frank, a Ph.D. in viticulture, was instrumental in elevating the New York Finger Lake wine region to what it is today.

We are inspired by his vision and the community spirit he must have had to spend a lifetime (and two family generations thereafter) cultivating vitis vinifera in the Finger Lakes.


Dr. Frank's grandson, Frederick Frank who leads the winery's vision today.

Overlooking the vineyard with Dr. Frank’s grandson, Frederick Frank, who leads the winery’s vision.



grape vines

grapes on the vine

#9: In early September, Heather made the local newspaper when international artist JR‘s team showed up in Raleigh to photograph people in the community as a part of the Inside Out/11 M public art project in downtown Raleigh.


The INSIDE OUT Project/11M is a nationwide participatory art initiative aimed at creating a portrait of America that includes immigrants and the descendants of immigrants alike.


inside out project raleigh

inside out project raleighWe found out this morning (New Year’s Day) while writing this blog post that she was in the paper again — the same image was used for the News & Observer’s 2013: Our Favorite Photos. They just can’t get enough!

#10: In September, we bought a house close to downtown Raleigh which makes our commute shorter and bike rides more frequent. It’s a small one-story home that we look forward to transforming into a rental property once we find that land we’re after. We’re extremely blessed to have found our home in 2013 while our little city continues to grow and gain national attention as the place to live.

#11: In October, Phillip was a panelist at the Virginia Wine Summit alongside notable food & wine industry professionals. We spent two incredible days in Richmond, in and around the Jefferson Hotel and the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. You can read more about our VA Wine Summit adventures here and here.Virginia-Wine-Summit

#12: In November, we joined a talented photographer couple for a tasty mid-morning photoshoot. We met Carla and Khris of Timeless Photojournalism and everybody fell in love. They are an awesome pair of photographers specializing in travel, interiors and editorial photography.

Carla and Khris also have a blog which you can follow here. Below are some of our favorite photos from our shoot with them.

Timeless Photojournalism Shoot Timeless Photojournalism Shoot Timeless Photojournalism Shoot Timeless Photojournalism Shoot Timeless Photojournalism Shoot Timeless Photojournalism Shoot Timeless Photojournalism Shoot Timeless Photojournalism Shoot

Looking back, it really has been an incredible year. Sometimes it takes an entire day of flipping through pictures and calendars to fully digest 365 days.

#13: And to top off the year, in December Phillip’s business expanded operations to his brand spankin’ new wine shop & wine bar located in Raleigh’s lively Glenwood South commercial district. After a month and a half of comparatively on-schedule up-fit construction, Phillip & Phil opened the doors to their new space.

They have officially been open for 3 weeks, and tout being a “Wine oasis in a beer town,” which is the truth! Please stop by for a visit when you are in the Raleigh area.the wine feed raleigh

the wine feed the wine feed the wine feed the wine feed

The new Wine Feed will have a ribbon cutting ceremony and a Grand Opening in January — we’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Well, it sure seems like we’ve done a lot in 2013, but we’re ready to kick it up a notch! We look forward to sharing our adventures and getting to know you in the New Year. Here’s to 2014!!

Cheers —

Phillip & Heather

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