Wine and cheese are a pairing as classic as any, and one we wholeheartedly love. That's why we were super excited to chat with Kayla the owner of Salt & Bubbles Wine Market and Bar. Located in the Essex Experience in Essex Junction, Vermont, Salt & Bubbles has quickly become a local hotspot. In addition to their wine bar (which can be rented for small private events) the team offers catering for off-site events. Kayla's knowledge of wine is rich, and her personality as bubbly as libations she pours!
Read on to learn more about Kayla and Salt & Bubbles!
How did you get into wine?
I was working for Marc Provencher who opened Taverna Khione in Shelburne, VT. He focused on showcasing unique and different wines all from Greece to go along with all the authentic Greek food he was bringing to the Vermont food scene. Part of the job training included learning about the Greek "places of origin" or what I now regularly refer to as appellations, a term I use more frequently than I'd ever thought possible back then. I got the chance to taste, learn, and get the hang of the wine world.
I started reading about wine more and wound up at Honey Road where not only was the wine program fabulous, but the education was really top notch. Learning from experts not just on these regions but how to talk about wine, sell it, and enjoy it was fascinating to me. As I continued to work at Honey Road with mentors like Allison Gibson and Dana Parseliti I found a path for myself, and knowing how I best learn, I needed a goal - Certified Somm. The rest is history and many many many empty bottles and scribbles in notebooks.
Do you have a favorite wine?
I can't pick a favorite wine, but I'll share one that stands out and embodies a fun wine concept of "terroir" (fancy to say, nostalgic to taste and smell, and an all around romantic concept). The bottle is COS Cerasuolo di Vittoria, a blend of Nero d'Avola and Frappato from Southern Sicily made by some legends of natural wine and winemaking in general in Sicily. I remember drinking this bottle and feeling transported to another place, a moment in time, tasting specific notes of earth, fruit, sun, and having a lightbulb moment enjoying sipping on this delicious treat. It's still a favorite bottle for me and COS is still a favorite producer. That being said, I love a lot of different wines from all over the world!
What inspires your work?
People inspire all of this. Wine is wonderful and romantic, but to me it's really a vessel or a bridge to connecting with others. It's a moment in time to maybe relax with your friend or partner, to learn something new or discover even the smallest thing about yourself (i.e. your palate and what you enjoy). While serving guests at Salt & Bubbles, I love sharing new knowledge and information in small bites that feel accessible and watching first time guests become regulars.
I love seeing Salt & Bubbles actually be the place I envisioned it to be - a place for people to come and celebrate being together, celebrate each other, to reconnect, to be joyful, or just to be content and happy in these small moments. Each day friends get together with old friends, or partners get a few moments of peace from their rambunctious kids, or get to know our regulars enough to know their kids names, ask how their new job is. It all matters and especially learning how much we all really need each other and need connection. I'm not just happy but feel compelled to continue to provide that safe and joyous place for community to be built and sustained.
How would you describe Salt & Bubbles as a venue for intimate events?
A small, cozy, bright space for your group to gather, taste, enjoy, and indulge. We can curate a more specific menu to your needs but are focused on a cheese, charcuterie, and other small tapas style items that pair well with wine. We offer flights or tastings, bottles (especially of bubbles) and would love to host your next event.
What's your favorite moment during a wedding?
Every wedding has one, or hopefully many, but the first moment of full blown joy and laughter gets me. For me, it was when everyone began to dance. My wedding was a traditional Jewish wedding in a few ways, one of which was the horah dancing that immediately ensued after my husband and I came back from the altar. Everyone, young and old, began to dance, and while I can't say I loved being lifted in a chair, I did love seeing everyone together joined in this one moment of smiles, happiness, especially after being so far away from one another.
What's your favorite thing to do in VT? / Local spot to visit? Etc.
I love riding my horse or walking my dogs anywhere in Vermont. Two favorite spots are Charlotte Park and Wildlife Refuge and Mills Riverside Park in Jericho, VT.
What's a fun fact about yourself?
I love animals and I have 2 rescue dogs, 1 rescue cat, 1 rescue horse! I love them all and they are how I both stay sane and sometimes go insane.
What's a song that always gets you on the dance floor?
Thank you, Kayla! Learn more about Salt & Bubbles in the vendor guide.