We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah Tomasetti and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarah, what do you attribute your success to?
Wine 4 Paws appeals to so many people, which has helped it gain huge momentum over the last 13 years. I am the “Wine 4 Paws Lady”!
When I started this fundraiser, I was looking for a way to raise money for our local Humane Society, and also wanted to promote our wine industry and this amazing community. It’s pretty basic – we get people to go out wine tasting, and hopefully during Wine 4 Paws weekend our wineries see a boost in business and in return raise money for Woods Humane Society – both the wineries and Woods Humane Society benefit!
If you’re a pet lover, here’s your incentive to go out and have some fun tasting and buying wine. If you’re a wine lover, you’re going to go out to taste and buy wine anyway, so why not go during a weekend when your purchase will help homeless pets? We have supporters who wait for Wine 4 Paws weekend to really stock their wine fridges.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My career started in Human Resources. After moving from the Bay Area to the Central Coast in 2001, I quickly realized I would not be able to find a job at the same level. I wound up working for a Restoration/Construction company as an Office Manager for a bit before finding an opportunity as a 3rd party recruiter in the Produce Industry. As a former HR Manager I was not a fan of recruiters, and now I was one- I had gone to the other side! My approach with clients was to provide them with the service I had wanted when I was a client and really listen to their needs. After recruiting in produce I moved over to plastics & packaging. Super exciting, huh? By this time I’d been working for myself from home for 7 years and loved it. I made great money and set my own schedule.
But I wasn’t involved in my local community as much as I wanted. That’s when Wine 4 Paws was born – it was a way for me to connect locally and see the results of my efforts first hand. 4 years ago I left the recruiting world to venture into consulting for the wine industry, all thanks to Janell Dusi of J Dusi Wines. My years of work on Wine 4 Paws has forged some great relationships and I was able to take my background in database management and organizational development and put it to very good use. I have been working for J Dusi ever since, and also manage the Wine Club for Guyomar Wine Cellars.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
That’s a tough one! It’s honestly hard to narrow that list.
Head to the coast for a day. Start at Hearst Ranch Winery in San Simeon. Head South and Grab lunch at Moonstone Beach Grill in Cambria. Stop in Cayucos and walk the beach. Keep going south to Morro Bay and taste at Absolution Cellars, then grab a casual dinner at Bayside Cafe.
Downtown Paso has great restaurants. These days it’s really hard to eat without a reservation, so plan in advance if you can. Les Petites Canailles, The Hatch, Il Cortile, and Thomas Hill Organics are all great. No reservations needed at Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ! La Cosecha’s Sunday Jazz Brunch is awesome. There are also a lot of great tasting rooms in downtown Paso – Bushong, LXV, Pianetta and Copia come to mind, plus the Paso Underground where you can find Ranchero Cellars.
The West Side has an abundance of great wineries. Right on the 46 West you’ll find J Dusi, Shale Oak, Grey Wolf, and Four Lanterns. There are also some wineries that serve lunch – Niner always comes to mind. AronHill Winery is another one – they have an awesome burger!
The East Side also offers fantastic choices for wine and food. Villa San Juliette and Paris Valley Winery both offer lunch and great wine! I also love the East Side because you can find some small tasting rooms, away from the crowds, like Ranchita Canyon, Tackitt Family Vineyards, and Locatelli.
Sensorio is pretty cool. There’s nothing like it. And there is a new, second light installation. If you go, bring a coat – it gets chilly!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Leon and Cindy Tackitt from Tackitt Family Vineyards. They are one of our smallest Wine 4 Paws wineries, yet they come up with one of the biggest donations EVERY year. And this is in addition to their own fundraising efforts for EOD Warrior Foundation. They have their wine label EOD Cellars plus an annual fundraiser Warriors Helping Warriors, which is usually held the same month as Wine 4 Paws. So not only are they busy planning and promoting their own event, they are busting their butts for weeks leading up to Wine 4 Paws to raise a HUGE amount of money every year.