about

Hello!!

I’m Jayme Henderson, and I am a farmer and winemaker for The Storm Cellar, a winery in western Colorado. I also write the blog, holly & flora, a space where I share my recipes for botanically inspired cocktails, tasting notes and wine pairings from my viewpoint as a certified sommelier, and stories from my life both here at the Redstone vineyard and from my travels abroad.

If you’re interested in finding inspiration to live a more creative and vibrant life, increasing your wine knowledge, and learning how to craft cocktails based upon the seasonality of ingredients, you’re in the right place. I also enjoy telling the stories behind the wine and behind the cocktails. You hear the word, terroir, tossed around a lot. To me, it is a reflection of place. I like to connect the people, place, and history to the stories I share here.

It’s terroir-driven storytelling.

I tend to keep it pretty casual here, sharing what’s going on in my life, my kitchen, my garden, the vineyard, and the winery. I live in a renovated farmhouse in the small town of Hotchkiss, where I live and work on a vineyard with my fiancé, Steve. Two years ago, we made a bold move and left long careers in the Denver restaurant industry and now farm 15 acres of vinifera grapes. We work the land, nurture our grapes, and make wines. Together. We are releasing our first vintage of high-elevation white wines and rosés this spring under our label, The Storm Cellar.

We couldn’t be more excited!!

Where did your blog’s name originate?

Although I often get addressed as “Holly” in social media and emails, my name is Jayme, and holly & flora has an entirely different meaning. For years, Steve and I lived at the corner of Holly Street and Flora Place in the University Hills neighborhood in Denver. The blog started out as a creative outlet for me, a documentation of life at our house, our backyard urban garden, and the preserving and DIY projects I’d routinely make. I’m talking citrus scrubs, preserves made with local peaches, natural lip balm, and dried herb blends made from our garden.

My topics were all over the place!

Even though holly & flora is still a documentation of my activities, it’s now my journal for all-things related to drinks. While I focus primarily on culinary-inspired cocktails, I also share a lot about wine, both from a sommelier’s and a winemaker’s perspective. You can also find a lot of DIY projects such as bitters, infusions, liqueurs, shrubs, and syrups here on the site.

What’s my philosophy?

I believe in living a creative life, pushing boundaries, exploring new ideas, challenging myself in the kitchen, and keeping things simple and pure. And fun. Steve and I love the challenge of using what we have on hand or what our land and our neighboring farmers provide us. We have adopted a “zero waste” mentality both in our kitchen and behind the bar. This means using up all parts of a fruit or vegetable, lessening food waste and expanding our enjoyment factor.

Take a lemon, for example. Instead of simply juicing a lemon and discarding the peels, I zest the lemon for citrus salt, or I use the lemon peels for cocktail bitters, limoncello, or a citrus body scrub.

You can follow along with my Instagram posts on decreasing food waste, upcycling produce, and dusting off forgotten bottles with the hashtags, #DRINKINGBYTHESEASON and #BACKBARFORAGING!

When did my love for cocktails begin?

Although I have always enjoyed a well-made cocktail, my love for craft cocktails began with my tenure at Barolo Grill in Denver. Although I was limited in my creativity there, I learned about amari, had my first taste of Fernet, commenced my spritz addiction, and even got inspired to craft my own limoncello. From there, I became the bar manager at Coohills and got to create my own beverage menu. The challenge stretched me creatively. I loved making my own syrups and bitters. I loved layering flavors. And I loved the pace.

Even though I was a certified sommelier during those bartending gigs, I was more focused on making drinks. When I began working as a full-time sommelier, I missed the creativity of MAKING something. I loved curating a wine list, but I felt somewhat like a DJ — I became well-versed in someone else’s product. I then began to focus on making cocktails here on the blog. It was something that I had control over the taste, aromas, texture, and design. It was my creative outlet.

Where am I from?

I am a seventh generation Floridian and grew up in Lakeland, a medium-sized town just south of Orlando. My sister, Heather, and I grew up making homemade meals on a nightly basis with our mom. Our kitchen was the heart of our home, and it’s where we learned how to cook and how to show hospitality. My dad taught me how to sail, how to fish, and how to appreciate Cajun food. He also introduced me to the music of Roy Orbison.

My family means the WORLD to me.

My love of gardening began, crazily enough, with a packet of seeds that I got in a kids meal at Burger King. I wish kids would get that in their meals today! I grew my very first green bell pepper plant from those seeds, and gardening has continued to play a large role in my life. My grandfather and his dad were orange growers in DeSoto County, Florida, and I am happy to continue the family farming tradition.

What’s my favorite thing to drink?

While I truly enjoy stretching my creative limits and making complex, wild cocktails, my go-to is sparkling wine. In fact, I would drink it every day if I could. My favorite domestic sparkler is Schramsberg Brut Rosé, my favorite value bubbly is Gruet’s Domaine St. Vincent Brut, and my splurge is anything from the Champagne producer, Jacques Selosse.

I also get asked which wine was the catalyst for further wine study. The wine that started it all. While I can’t pinpoint an exact bottle, I can say that an experience at Denver’s Rioja restaurant many years ago was pivotal. Steve and I went there and fortunately had an amazing server that truly exemplified HOSPITALITY. He guided us through the wine list, served us an outstanding $40 bottle of wine, and finally gave us our first taste of the Hungarian dessert wine, tokaji. So, I might have to say that Royal Tokaji was my gateway wine.

My favorite cocktails or spirits? A Negroni, Taylor’s or Woodford bourbon over a large block of ice, or a simple St. George Spirits Terroir gin and grapefruit juice.

Which camera do I use?

I am a self-taught, professional photographer, and, unless otherwise noted, I take all of the photos for this site. I use a Nikon D7200, and my iPhone 7 Plus makes an occasional appearance. I enjoy using natural lighting and work hard at composition. Capturing beautifully crafted cocktails in the midst of their formation, along with snippets of what it’s like to live on a vineyard and be a winemaker, is rewarding and truly reflective of my life. I also try and show off the beauty and uniqueness of life here in the North Fork Valley.

If I could travel anywhere, where would I go?

  • PORTUGAL — I’d take Steve with me in a heartbeat. I was there on a press trip in 2018 and fell in love with the wines, cuisine, people, and countryside of the Vinho Verde region.
  • ITALY — l so want to go back to Italy. I visited the Barolo region several years ago, so I’d love to see more of the central and southern part of the country.
  • BALI — I’m dreaming of going somewhere tropical, and there’s this one treehouse on Airbnb that I’ve had bookmarked forever…sigh.
  • MEXICO — I’m not talking about Cabo or Tulum, although I’d happily go. I want to visit the Valle de Guadalupe and visit Mexican wine country, since so little, if any, of their wines make it to the States.

What does my typical day look like?

Since my primary occupation is that of a farmer, I tend to wake up a little after sunrise and intentionally carve out time to start the day over breakfast with Steve. We make a hearty meal, go through two French presses of coffee, and outline the day’s responsibilities. From there, it’s working in the vineyard, doing winery chores, dealing with emails or social media, or getting after accounts and deliveries.

This year is going to be especially crazy. We will be showing our wines in all of the major Colorado wine festivals and tasting events, and we will be driving back to Denver [a four-hour drive] each week to sell our wines at the Pearl Street Farmers Market. Truly, I don’t know how we are going to do all of this, just the two of us, and maintain the vineyard. When you own your own business, you do what needs to be done, no matter the cost.

I have high hopes, though!

Regarding adhering to a “regular posting schedule”, that’s something to which I can’t commit. Mother Nature is my boss, and her unpredictable actions dictate my own. You might think I’m self employed, but I report to her. 14-hour workdays are the norm, and by the time the day is over, I’m often ready to crash.

What’s my background?

I worked for fifteen years in the Denver restaurant scene, from event planner, manager, and sommelier, to mixologist. I am the sole creator of holly & flora, which won Saveur magazine’s readers’ choice award for “Best Drinks Blog” in 2016. I’m also a freelance recipe developer, writer, and photographer, contributing pieces for many publications, including Grand Junction’s Spoke+Blossom magazine, Eat Boutique, and the cooking website, The Kitchn, where I have written nearly 100 articles on wine, cocktails, and gardening.

Before taking the plunge into farm life, I studied and interned in wineries in Oregon, California, and Spain, and on organic farms, most notably at Findhorn in Forres, Scotland. I also continue to host creative cocktail workshops and create culinary cocktails, wine pairings, and spirit-free drinks for chef dinners and events.

You can read more about our big move from city life to vineyard life in Denver’s 5280 Magazine. Their February 2019 issue, titled “Colorado’s Wine Boom“, features a Q+A with me and Steve about our drastic life change. The issue also features multiple articles on Colorado’s exciting push to produce high-quality wines. If you want to read more about how we decided to trade our roles as sommeliers for roles as farmers and winemakers, you can visit this link within our winery’s website.

Do I accept guest posts?

I do not accept guest posts at the time.

Do I do sponsored posts or accept samples?

I accept sponsored posts on a limited basis, and I only support brands which align with my values, aesthetic, and taste. Regarding samples, I am happy to accept them and give them a try; however, my accepting a product does not necessarily mean that I will post about it. If you are a brand and would like to discuss rates or opportunities, please reach out to me via email. I am happy to chat!

Do I have an Instagram account for my cats?

Of course.

Here’s the link.

Get in touch!

I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to contact me with questions, a simple hello, or other opportunities at hollyandflora [at] gmail [dot] com.

Be sure to follow my blog for regular updates and follow along on my favorite platform, Instagram.

If you’d like to learn more about our vineyard and winery or would like to buy our wines, be sure to sign up for The Storm Cellar’s newsletter, follow us on Instagram, or visit our website. It’s been an incredible journey so far, and we’d love to share our adventure — and wines — with you!

Cheers!!

Jayme

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16 Comments

  1. Reply

    Ecospired

    July 5, 2013

    I love your blog! Very inspiring. I’m really thinking about getting CSA (I’m in California) but I’m worried it’s too much fruits/vegetables for one person!

    • Reply

      jayme marie

      July 10, 2013

      Thanks so much! You should absolutely get a CSA membership – even for one! It forces you to learn a lot about preserving and cooking – sometimes I would receive a vegetable that I knew nothing about and was forced to learn how to prepare it (kohlrabi, for example). A lot of CSAs have single shares available, too. I am sure that you have an awesome array of CSA programs to choose from out there in CA!

  2. Reply

    Meredith

    July 24, 2013

    This blog is awesome! I think it is so interesting that you’re a sommelier and mixologist! How did you get into that line of work? What books would you recommend on wine and spirits?

  3. Reply

    emily

    April 9, 2014

    Hello! Just wanted to post a quick THANKS for including the pig & quill in your blogroll. 🙂 It’s always so humbling to see other talented bloggers sharing the love! (LOVE those jalapeno-infused blood orange margaritas, by the way — I’m a sucker for a spicy cocktail!) xoxo, Em

    • Reply

      jayme marie

      April 21, 2014

      Emily! I have been on a blog-vacation for about a month – I guess I’ve been making too many margaritas! Thanks so much for your kind words! And you are so welcome – I love your blog and your sense of humor! I’ll be back for more! 😉 XO, Jayme

  4. Reply

    oawritingspoemspaintings

    April 29, 2014

    I live in a apartment & try to make the most of my balcony & kitchen (!) experimenting with the planting of any seed I can get my hands on mostly from my own food beginning with local as apple seeds leek onion tomato & garlic to exotic as litchis pomegranate lemons kiwis but they are only less than a year old…
    I have a lot of pleasure from my victories (they do feel like that!) & take my failed projects as just that & focus on the growth of what takes root which would be nice if I could apply as a life philosophy 😉
    I am looking forward to following 🙂

    • Reply

      jayme marie

      May 16, 2014

      I actually enjoy the challenges of small spaces – do you use a lot of containers on your balcony? I am drying to try planting a lemon tree. Wow, kiwis!? How are they faring? I agree with you about your perspective on failed projects. I just realize I can’t change what happened, but I can take that new knowledge and apply it in the future (it just sucks, when planting experiments fail, because of all the time you put into the projects!). Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy your weekend!

      • oawritingspoemspaintings

        May 18, 2014

        Yes, you do put indeed a lot of time & effort & you become attached to them too!
        What I did after trial & error is to let my most exotic plants as lemons,kiwis,pomegranates,litchis all in my kitchen throughout but I have to put on the plant a (open,cut at the bottom) bottle which has the greenhouse effect or they die from cold 🙂
        The rest I “babysit” in the kitchen during winter & bring them on to the balcony around April.
        Wishing you the best of luck for your projects! Let me know how they are doing if you do the exotic ones too, if you need any more details I’d be glad to be of help!
        Have a lovely week 🙂

  5. Reply

    spoonwithme

    May 9, 2014

    I’m drooling over your garden! So pretty!

    • Reply

      jayme marie

      May 16, 2014

      Jenny, thanks! You’ll have to come over one day soon, for sure!

  6. Reply

    Tia Butts

    October 28, 2014

    Hi Jayme! I do public relations for Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards. I was wondering if you accept wine samples? Thanks!

    • Reply

      Jayme Marie Henderson

      October 29, 2014

      Hi Tia! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I do accept wine samples. Feel free to contact me at jaymemarie {at} mac {dot} com. I would love to include GF for a holiday post!

  7. Reply

    LFFL

    March 26, 2015

    I like your cute hair cut.

    • Reply

      Jayme Henderson

      April 1, 2015

      Ahhhhh, thank you so much! I try to grow it out, but I can’t get past the ease of keeping it super short. I just went even shorter and more asymmetrical. 😉

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