Born on the East Coast, Kristen Valenza always knew she was destined to live by the ocean - she just didn't realize it would be on the other side of the country. Twenty years ago, she traded snowy winters and proximity to New York City for the temperate shores of Northern California. Initially, design school brought her out West, and once she got a taste for the Golden Coast, she knew it was home.
She attended design school in San Francisco, then went on to study Wine and Spirits in Napa Valley. While in Napa, she received her Level 4 Wine & Spirit Education Trust certificate, which is considered an expert level qualification - translation: ask her for all wine recommendations!
These two career paths were instrumental in developing her communications skills, client relation skills, and ability to construct creative solutions. She took that finely tuned skillset to Santa Cruz, and poured into her new community from the kitchens of New Leaf Market and UC Santa Cruz. She loved working with students, teaching every level of aspiring chef how to create wholesome meals.
This is where her entrepreneurial spirit was sparked, and she created a food and wine pairing company. Kristen forged intentional relationships with local businesses and many Santa Cruz vintners, which gave her an even deeper appreciation for her community.
With a career path that introduced her to so many locals, Kristen switched her focus to real estate, where she can help clients find their dream homes. She loves to imagine her clients gathering in the kitchen, the heart of the home, and sharing delicious food, great wine, and meaningful conversation.