Launched in 2012, holly & flora is an award-winning platform, where I share original and innovative drink recipes, designed for the adventurous home bartender.
If you're interested in making seasonally driven, garden-inspired cocktails and learning more about wine from a sommelier-turned-winemaker, shared in a casual, storytelling style, then you're in the right place.
Over the past five years, I’ve farmed grapes and made wines with my husband, Steve Steese, at our Western Colorado winery, The Storm Cellar. Our high-elevation white and rosé wines have been featured in publications, such as Wine Spectator, Decanter, and Food and Wine, and our story has been captured by John Deere International, Better Homes & Gardens, and The Wall Street Journal.
In January, we received the honor of being named "Winery of the Year" by the Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology.
I am a seventh generation Floridian, who grew up in Lakeland, a medium-sized town just south of Orlando. Every evening, my mom would make a from-scratch meal for me and my sister. Our kitchen table was the heart of our home, and it’s where my love for food and hospitality began.
In 2007, my life took a significant turn in its trajectory when Steve and I began the path to our sommelier certification. Simultaneously, we renovated our home, ripped up our lawn, and transformed our city lot into a garden oasis, which became the primary source of inspiration for this blog and further solidified our love of cooking and entertaining.
The dinner parties we threw were pretty epic.
What began as a part-time restaurant job to get me through my years at Florida Southern College evolved into a focused career path within the world of hospitality.
Over the past 20 years, I have fallen deeply in love with food and wine, and this love has shifted its focus over the years.
While I may not be a shining example of practicing balance in my personal life, I certainly strive for balance in creating my cocktail recipes and crafting the perfect bottle of wine.
At its roots, the world of making and enjoying drinks is all about connection and enjoyment. I strive to maintain a sense of joy and wonder, when I'm thinking up a cocktail recipe, while keeping the process as simple as possible.
The same rule applies to learning about wine. At its core, wine is simply fermented grape juice, but it is also about history, geography, geology, chemistry, botany, and, of course, art. I aim to keep it simple, while showcasing the attributes that make it unique.
In 2017, we traded our suits and late nights in the city for overalls and early mornings in the country, when we purchased a vineyard in Colorado's North Fork Valley. We hit the ground running, pruning 18 acres of vines that first year.
Our lives have never been the same since.
The chickens and the dogs get us up before sunrise – the cats choose to sleep in – and our days quickly fill up with vineyard chores, especially during the summer season. Winters here are for winemaking, blending, and bottling.
Initially, we thought we would miss aspects of the fast-paced restaurant environment, but we have created a very similar vibe for ourselves by constantly hosting guest chefs, leading farm-to-table events, and curating wine dinners at some of the state's most noteworthy restaurants, all throughout the year.
I've explored numerous regions within the wine world, most notably in Burgundy, Northern Italy, Spain, Portugal, and throughout the West Coast.
I've held varied positions in some of Denver's best restaurants, including roles such as sommelier, mixologist, wine buyer, and event coordinator.
I've done deep explorations of wine, beer, cider, spirits, non-alcoholic spirits, along with their complementary components.
While running the farm and making wine is my full-time job, I enjoy working with select brands on projects. If you are a drinks or lifestyle brand, and you have a need for content creation, recipe development, or lifestyle photography, I am accepting roles in a limited quantity for the 2023 calendar year. I'm happy to provide pricing options and a media kit upon request.