Vintage901 Founder Stephanie Ferreira: FACES of Memphis
by Kristen Waddell
The phrase ‘never met a stranger’ could very well have been referencing our newest FACE of Memphis, Stephanie Ferreira, founder of Vintage901. After visiting and living in other cities and then coming home to the Bluff City, she believes even more in its undeniable character and rich culture. So Stephanie started thinking about ways to bring Memphis together to connect and celebrate our city’s unique culture, in turn building a stronger community. She decided to create a nonprofit community organization with events and an annual weekend experience where relationships are formed over shared interests: wine, food and music. And thus, Vintage901 and its signature annual Vintage901 Wine & Food Festival was born.
Stephanie wears many personal and professional hats each day, none of which seem to slow her down. In addition to maintaining her community organization and planning an upcoming fundraiser, Stephanie stays busy running her family’s floral and event business and raising her two teenagers, a son and daughter. In her rare free time, Stephanie can be found traveling from coast to coast to spend time with extended family or attend a wine dinner. We are delighted to introduce our newest FACE of Memphis, Stephanie Ferreira!
Where did the idea of your nonprofit community organization, Vintage901, come from?
It came from the privilege of experiencing wine and food events with my late husband. We learned about wine and more about each other, we laughed out loud and held hands in silence, we met great people from many places and we drank more wine. It was always a great day.
Initially, it was personal around my husband and my interests. But it has already become something much more on its own. It has become the experience between the people. It’s about the organic relationship-building and bridging the gaps and finding friends in common or through crossed paths.
What does your tagline, Community. Culture. Purpose. mean?
We are a grassroots organization providing experiences for people living in or visiting our city to connect with one another and learn something new. Our mission is to engage, educate and entertain our guests by providing artistic and creative culinary programming and using our individual talents to foster philanthropy for a greater good.
Is Vintage901 only for wine connoisseurs?
Vintage901 has developed a curriculum of sorts that works well for the curious, as well as the connoisseur. Our goal is to provide guests with an enjoyable experience and have them leave with new information they can apply often, whether they have any prior experience or knowledge on the subject.
Tell us about the big upcoming event?
Yes! Our Third Annual Spring Wine & Food Festival is coming up March 1-3, 2019,. The weekend event consists of a Perfect Pairings dinner Friday, Grand Tasting Saturday and Sparkling Brunch Sunday. There is something for everyone! During each of the three days, we will showcase diverse Memphis venues and explore our local crafters and makers. We are bringing in Grand Sommelier Laurie Forster, The Wine Coach, to pair wines for each day’s offerings. Laurie will provide an ‘edutainment’ wine class during the Grand Tasting, and she will be available to speak with guests, answer questions and provide an additional resource to our local wine partners throughout the weekend.
What is your favorite thing about Memphis?
My favorite thing is that it is the city where I was born. Memphis, along with a wonderful family, helped to shape who I am, and I believe the environment couldn’t have been more nurturing. I have lived in several other cities, and that gives you another perspective when coming home — there is nothing like coming home.
What would be the first place would you take an out-of-towner in Memphis?
To one of Memphis’ great local restaurants (there are too many to name just one) for a wonderful meal and a glass of wine, possibly introduce them to a good Tennessee wine.
What is your favorite city to visit?
I really enjoyed visiting Santa Fe, New Mexico. I appreciated the welcoming nature of the people who live in Santa Fe. Their kindness only enhanced the richness of the culture and beauty of the desert city.
What is something not everyone knows about you?
I love music, any type of music, if it’s good … I just like talent. Also, I can play the piano and violin.
What is on your playlist?
I don’t really have a traditional playlist, as my musical taste is all over the board. I was raised on jazz and pop — Nina Simone, Nat King Cole, Miles Davis, Coleman Hawkins — and folk music like Odetta, Harry Belafonte and Peter, Paul & Mary. I like classical music. My favorites are Chopin, Tchaikovsky from the Baroque period and Rachmaninoff from the Romantic period. I like opera, specifically Maria Callas and Kathleen Battle. I will listen to anything Soul, Motown and Stax … Prince, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, David Bowie, Sting and Phil Collins. I love the Gotan Project (Latin) and the Punch Brothers. I listen to Drake, Travis Scott, Cardi B and Migos, because my kids like them. I mean I’m definitely not stuck in a time warp. I’ve got to stay relevant!
What inspires you?
Adults who intentionally live their dreams … the honesty, innocence and fearless attitudes of small children … experiencing natural beauty — oceans, mountains, rolling hills and green valleys — and knowing there’s a higher power.
A spread of smoked salmon with bagels and fixings; chicken and waffles; live music; camaraderie and conversation; and, of course, bubbly were on in abundance at last year’s Sparkling Brunch. Image: Vintage901
What is your secret to a work life balance?
Easiest question ever. Absolutely love what you do, and balance quickly follows.
What is your best piece of advice?
Trust your instincts and always be patient with yourself; it will make you patient with others. I have learned on numerous occasions that if I’m uncomfortable with a situation in the beginning, I will be uncomfortable with it at the end. I process difficult information in a gentle way, so that I do not upset myself or others too much.
What are three frivolous or lighthearted things you can’t live without?
Comfy pajamas; teapigs tea — I’ve got to have it every morning; and classic black and white movies — I watch Turner Classic Movies every chance I get. I specifically enjoy period pieces, such as Jane Austen.
Thank you, Stephanie!
The Third Annual Vintage901 Spring Wine & Food Festival is coming up March 1-3, 2019. Tickets for Grand Tasting and Sparkling Brunch are available at vintage901.org. (Three-Day Weekend passes and Perfect Pairings dinner are SOLD OUT.)