Edible Monterey Bay

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Need a Mini Vacay? Can Do!

June 8, 2021 – If you live in the Highway 68 area corridor, (Carmel, Carmel Valley, Monterey, Pacific Grove and south Salinas), you can literally have a mini vacation in the form of a 4-pack of beautifully packaged rosé wine hand-delivered to you in a sweet gift bag by sommelier and wine lover Tamara Franscioni. Just go to Mini Vacay to order. It’s good stuff, Rosé of Pinot Noir sourced from the Central Coast and carefully crafted by a top local winemaker. And it comes in 250ml cans, which are 100% recyclable, require no corkscrew to open, chill in the fridge in record time—faster than glass bottles—and are pool safe. What’s not to love?

Sommelier turned Mom, Franscioni—who is married to Gary and Rosella Franscioni’s son Adam—was inspired by the birth of her niece Rose four years ago. Born with a visual impairment that rendered her nearly blind, as a special needs child, Rose has received amazing care, thanks to early childhood education programs. Franscioni, who was at the time living a dream life with a dream job selling premium bottles to collectors all over the world with Vinfolio, began to think about doing something that would have a societal impact. Watching her beautiful sight-impaired niece struggle in a sighted world, made her feel even more appreciative of the special education programs designed to help children like Rose. 

“It was my dream job,” she says, “But I did some soul-searching. I started my own event company and came up with the concept of doing a canned wine two years ago. I always wanted to give the proceeds to support early childhood education.”

Becoming a Mom herself gave her the additional impetus to create a vehicle that would accomplish several objectives. First, it would provide a way to bring a few moments of daily joy to women like herself; second it would benefit early childhood education programs; and third the free delivery would allow her to connect with neighbors she would never otherwise meet.

With the arrival of her son Max, Franscioni’s lifestyle changed markedly. “I still enjoy drinking quality wine, but I found myself drinking less. The slim (250ml) can format really suits our new chaotic lifestyle!”

Tamara Franscioni and son Max

Plus, she says, “When I had my son, I found myself craving time to myself: just 20 minutes every afternoon! That’s where Mini Vacay came from. I wanted something to drink that was a perfect escape, and I love rosé!”

Mini Vacay donates 5% of profits to educational programs that support children with special needs. With each release, they plan to do more. 

Tamara Franscioni grew up the eldest of four in a farming town in North Dakota. With a penchant for dance and a voice for opera (soprano), she headed for the bright lights of the Big City, learning new forms of dance (tap, Salsa, ballet) as she endlessly auditioned for parts in the pond of New York City, which turned out smaller than she expected. She found herself working at restaurants, enjoying the bawdy banter and unique camaraderie of the hospitality world. “I learned how to bartend before I was even legal to drink!” she recalls. At restaurants in The Palace Hotel and Oceana, her interest in wine sparked. Once she got onto the somm track, there was the constant quizzing and pushing to learn more and more about every wine and wine region on earth, and to prove your mettle. Eventually, she got a job doing events for clients that wanted high-end wine tasting experiences, which is how she met her husband Adam. 

“I frequently flew to San Francisco and one of the brands that was really popular with clients was ROAR. I found myself ordering it all the time, which is how Adam and I met. True story: he actually left me standing on the side of the street in San Francisco after unloading three cases of wine from his car. He just drove off! Well, I might have put on a bit of the ‘I got this’ act, but still!”  

All, however, was eventually redeemed and the couple married in 2017, the day before her niece was born. The couple is living in the Salinas Valley, which means she is back in farm country, far from the big city: something she is very happy about. Giving birth to Max last year proved a bright spot in the pandemic. It also motivated the fulfillment of her long-held dream.

She began working with ROAR winemaker Scott Shapely to source fruit for the Mini Vacay rosé project, with the wines of Provence providing stylistic guidance. While they’d intended to use grapes from the family vineyards, the fires of 2020 dictated a swift turn to Plan B, which included getting Pinot Noir from other areas instead. 

Franscioni hopes Mini Vacay Rosé will fuel many daily mini vacations. “We all need a bit of time in the afternoon to exhale, to spend time with friends, to take just a moment to restore. I enjoy it while I cook dinner or when I step onto the patio after work, and after a hectic day with a baby and a German shepherd!”

Free delivery is available to residents of the Hwy 68 corridor in Monterey County, including Carmel, PG, Monterey, and south Salinas. Select restaurants and country clubs will also carry limited inventory. 

Snag some now for those summer days ahead. Vacay on!

About the author

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Laura Ness is a longtime wine journalist, columnist and judge who contributes regularly to Edible Monterey Bay, Spirited, WineOh.Tv, Los Gatos Magazine and Wine Industry Network, and a variety of consumer publications. Her passion is telling stories about the intriguing characters who inhabit the fascinating world of wine and food.

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