It’s catching on! People want continuing education to reach them in a different way; they want it to be raw and honest and provocative but also allow for connection and collaboration. People want to unpack unique concepts in a different way, and it turns out they want to do so with a wine glass in hand.
While Arizona was the first to conceptualize the idea of delivering continuing education content while traveling to wine country, other state associations are quickly following suit and inviting The Dental WINEgenist to design a customized continuing education/wine tasting experience for their members.
So next on The Dental WINEgenist tour was Texas!
Home to several wine regions, I was incredibly honored to design a wine tour with course content through Fredericksburg, TX alongside my fairy Godmother, Ms. Marianne Dryer who is lovingly known as The Ultrasonic Whisperer.
The weekend began with a 4-hour workshop customized for the leadership teams within the local components. Leadership & Libations, sponsored through the generous support of Dentsply Sirona, was an intensive workshop that provided participants the opportunity to deep-dive into personality typing, to identify their strengths & weaknesses, and to clarify ways to continue to step into their power as influencers within the dental community. In between modules, we enjoyed gorgeous pours of wine from a customized wine flight and food pairings by Windi of Alexander Vineyards.
Let me simply say: this workshop is EVERYTHING I want to be doing with my work. It was integrative and deep and fresh and, quite frankly, unlike anything else I’ve ever done before. It was exposing and raw and unique and honest. Between sips of wine, I marveled at the twinkle in the eyes of my participants as they smiled, understood and reflected on how their own unique gifts and talents absolutely have every opportunity to contribute to elevated success and development in their careers. Four hours flew by, and at the conclusion of the course, I was truly humbled to receive a standing ovation by this incredible room of teary-eyed women who had just joined me on this gorgeous journey. I can think of nothing more meaningful than to have the opportunity to connect, inspire and empower my colleagues in this beautiful way.
Within moments, I was whisked away in a soccer mom van to enjoy some fabulous Texas-style hot wings, wine and hygiene talk next to a camp fire. These hygienists: they are just SO bright and talented and futuristic! Their ideas about how to arm themselves with the credentials and education to truly take on the future of dental hygiene are awe-inspiring. “Let’s do a wine flight!” someone shouted, and after another short minivan ride, I found myself in a crowded wine bar lined with bottles from wall-to-wall. You see, that’s what is so cool about my wine tour travels: these hygienists are just so fun-loving and vibrant. They want to show me their town and they are ABSOLUTELY down for a few glasses (or bottles) of wine. It is truly my favorite part of my trips, by far! After a quick wine flight, some local live music and a few laughs, I retired to the hotel room to wait for Marianne to arrive.
2am: she’s here! Her flight had been delayed over several hours but in true Rockstar fashion, Marianne shows up fresh and exuberant! After a handful of hours to allow our eyes to rest, we were up, and sipping weak hotel coffee while our participants enjoyed early morning yoga.
In matching outfits (and a few bags under our eyes), Marianne and I enjoyed a few sips of champagne, then boarded the bus to wine country.
Over the next two hours, Marianne and I unpacked a jovial talk in which we introduced the 2018 AAP Staging & Grading as well as shared some unique ideas about how we see the dental hygiene industry evolving within these new classifications. Standing next to Marianne and passing the microphone back and forth while unloading this course content is absolutely one of my favorite experiences as a speaker.
Our road can oftentimes be isolating: arriving at an empty airport late into the night, crawling into bed in a single-occupancy hotel room, prepping for our morning, hooking up your equipment, delivering your program, shaking a few hands, then quickly packing your bags to board another flight to wherever’s next… it can certainly make the weekends feel long and the moments on stage feel short. To have the opportunity to stand alongside another key expert in the 2018 AAP Classifications and share our own unique ideas about it with a mother/daughter-like banter and a sliver of humor is just so incredibly special.
After making our way to our first destination, our participants enjoyed lunch while we delivered two more CE hours in which we delivered cases to help workshop the new AAP Stages & Grades in a significant way.
I know what you’re thinking: WHERE IS THE WINE?!
We thought the same thing!
Thank goodness, within moments the incredible team with 4.0 Cellars arrived with wine glasses and gorgeous bottles of hand-selected wines. You could almost feel the room come to life as we shared which wines we loved and specifically, which wines we were hoping to serve at our Thanksgiving tables this year. After an incredible wine flight, we were back on the bus and off to stop #2.
This stop was a CASTLE – seriously!
Its grand entrance and welcoming staff made us feel like the Cavitron Queens that we are!
We ascended to the second floor balcony which had been reserved for our private party. Over another customized wine flight, we learned about the grapes in Texas and about the varietals Fredericksburg is known for.
Somehow, as it always seems to happen with Marianne, we snuck into a VIP area. The owner of the wine castle gave Marianne a key to permit us onto the rooftop of the castle, and I must say: the view and the wine were unparalleled. You guys: THIS is the work I get to do! I literally get to travel to wine regions, enjoy views like this alongside one of my favorite humans while connecting with dental hygienists, sharing ideas, connecting and, of course, sipping gorgeous wine. Someone seriously pinch me!
After a few glasses of wine, some live music and beautiful views, we were off to our final destination.
Our bus pulled up to a gorgeous vineyard curated by Stonehouse Vineyards, and the beautiful view of the sun setting amongst the grapes was absolutely breath-taking.
We were shown to our seats and enjoyed a plated and wine-paired dinner with custom wine glasses, compliments of Dentsply Sirona which, after a day of wine-tasting, was just what the doctor ordered.
This beautiful menu and gorgeous wines were the perfect way to conclude our day as Marianne and I, in between sips of our own wine, delivered 1 CE course on the “dirty little secrets” in dentistry. One of my favorite ways to unpack course content is through a contrarian point of view; discussing the things we know to be true in dentistry yet we feel uncomfortable admitting out loud to each other… because, you see, if we admit it, then we acknowledge there are ways we must continue to grow and evolve in dentistry. THIS is what CE is about: getting to the core of what blocks us from truly evolving, breaking down barriers, embracing honesty and acknowledging the opportunities we have to rise.
After a full day of 6 CE credits earned, countless sips of wine and one fabulous wine-paired dinner later, a bus-ful of happy and wine-buzzed RDHs took us back through the winding roads of Fredericksburg, TX and eventually dropped us off at our “home base” hotel.
As we pulled up to the hotel, the TDHA leadership were already sharing how excited they were to make this an annual trip. Between hugs and “I’ll miss you’s”, Marianne and I retired to our hotel room, completely worn out, hearts full and livers working in overdrive. THIS is the good work of The Dental WINEgenist, y’all! To bring bright minds together, to drink some beautiful wine and to unpack provocative ideas. This bus had new grads and seasoned hygienists; hygienists who have been in the same office for YEARS and hygienists who are still looking for their forever home; clinical hygienists, hygienists involved in advocacy and dental hygiene faculty; but most of all, this bus held an incredible group of passionate, kind, motivated, driven and bright dental hygienists who are paving the way in the great state of Texas!
Thank you ENDLESSLY to the incredible people with Dentsply Sirona for their generous sponsorship of this event, for the GORGEOUS custom wine glasses and for providing these lucky hygienists with their very own PureVac HVE!!!! Endless thank yous to Eunice Guzman and her team with the Texas Dental Placement Network for their incredible support and to the amazing support crew of the Texas Dental Hygienists’ Association: Monna, Connie, Marian and Lynda for their organization and involvement in this event.
Marianne and I had the time of our lives with your group and SO look forward to making this an annual event!
If you or your organization would like to bring The Dental WINEgenist to your state/wine country, please feel free to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how to bring an event like this to your state AT NO CHARGE to your organization!