thank you to katie hintz-zambrano, michelle drewes and the whole team at refinery 29 for the fun day!
Michele in one of her signature J.Crew button-ups and Ksubi cut-off shorts out in the vineyard.
It’s hard to think of a cooler life than that of St. Helena resident Michele Ouellet. The 23-year-old stunner not only circles the globe modeling, but when she’s back home in Napa Valley, the super-down-to-earth gal is out in the vines, playing vintner at Lorenza Rosé, the wine company Ouellet and her mother own. To find out what a Day in the Bay with Ouellet looks like, we caught up with the local lady and had her play tour-guide around her St. Helena home and 'hood. Naturally, a little dress-up ensued, as well. Take a look at the gorgeous results below, and get ready to schedule a trip up north, pronto.
"This is one of my first 'girly' purchases," says Michele of the itsy-bitsy Prada frock she dons in her backyard. "I've been dressing a bit more feminine after being a tomboy all my life!"
Tell us a little bit about your job and why you love it.
“I am a model and a vintner. My mom and I have a wine brand called Lorenza Rosé. My two careers are complimentary and both benefit from each other. There's a great balance between fashion and city life and a slower pace back in Napa making wine."
You and your mother are involved in an organization to help promote women in wine. Tell us about it.
“Wine Entre Femmes is a non-competitive group of women in the wine business. We share information, education, and experiences, and on occasion, we get together and pour all of our wines for marketing and educational events. It’s a really fun, beautiful thing to be a part of.”
Michele kicks back in her stand-by, in-the-vineyard Frye boots.
How much are you involved in the wine-making?
“We produce the wine in Lodi, which is also where we source our grapes, and I'm involved every step of the way! During the summer, I go out to the vineyards to check for ripeness and make sure everything is looking good. I'm there from harvest to fermentation, from blending to bottling, and to selling!”
A picture of Michele as a child and one of her modeling shots hang on the fridge.
Michele in her backyard in an Equipment shirt, a vintage hat scored in Paris, ballet flats from the Flats shop in St. Helena, shorts stolen from one of her best friends, holding a glass of Lorenza Rosé.
You’re on the front of your own wine bottle! How would you describe the product?
“Lorenza Rosé is a true rosé. We love the dry, pink wine of Southern France and model our rosé after it. It’s low in alcohol, light in color, and made with old-vine Rhone varietals. It's fun wine for all-the-time!”
You're constantly on the road. Can you share any packing tips?
“Bring nothing! I can be ruthless when it comes to packing. I stick to a uniform and never feel like I wish I had brought more clothes. I always bring a cashmere wrap for the plane and a bikini, just in case I end up somewhere tropical!”
"This is my standard summer outfit!" says Michele. "All stripes, all the time!"
What are three pieces you find yourself wearing constantly?
“I always wear St. James striped T-shirts, black April 77 jeans, and chambray shirts from J.Crew.”
What would you never be caught dead wearing?
“I've worn probably everything imaginable on photo-shoots, so not wearing something is an option I've given up! Overall, though, I'm pretty open-minded and love all kinds of style.”
Michele chills at the St. Helena skatepark while her brother shreds. "I love this Libertine dress. People always comment on it," she says of her philosophy-themed frock. "The shoes were customized by my boyfriend and are the coolest!"
What's the most treasured piece of clothing in your closet?
“My custom Vans made by my boyfriend Van Alpert.”
You’ve worn all kind of designer brands. Who are your favorite designers and why?
“I love fun clothing that make me smile and laugh! My friend Johnson Hartig's line Libertine always makes me smile! I'm also into Balenciaga, Prada, Miu Miu, Proenza Schouler, Chanel, Givenchy, Alexander McQueen...on and on! I love beautiful clothes!”
Michele and her brother pause for a family picture.
What trends are you digging right now?
“Denim and stripes! I love all shiny things, as well!”
What's in your closet that you've never worn?
“A vintage velvet Chanel suit. It doesn't fit, but the price was right and I couldn't pass it up!”
"This is a rubber neoprene bikini by Lisa Marie Fernandez," says Michele of her super-hot bathing suit. "She gave it to me after working together."
What do you love most about your Napa Valley-St. Helena ‘hood?
“St. Helena is where I'm from and I have so much love for Napa Valley! I love everything about it: The food, the wine, and the surroundings are unbeatable. The people in Napa Valley make it my favorite place in the world. I'm so lucky to be from such a beautiful place.”
What would you miss most if you left the Bay Area?
“Everything. I leave quite often and am always so happy to come back! It’s paradise. Northern California has such a great vibe, just super chill and natural.”
Michele at two of her top St. Helena haunts, Ana's Cantina (left) and Sogni di Dolci coffee shop (right), wearing her mother's vintage YSL shirt, cut-offs, and shoes from Flats.
What are you top five favorite spots in Napa?
“Solage in Calistoga, and in St. Helena: Ana's Cantina on karaoke night, Sogni di Dolci coffee shop, Sunshine Market, and just hangin' with my friends eating and drinking and swimming!”
What's a secret store you love that you're willing to let our readers in on?
“My local secret is Flats shoe store. I always wear their ballet slippers. They last forever! 10 years and counting for me! The quality is tip-top!”
Checking out the long-lasting "tip-top" quality shoes at Flats in St. Helena.
Best cheap score of late?
“I buy lots of men's shirts at the J.Crew outlet in Napa!”
What are some of your favorite beauty products?
“I use Kevin Murphy hair products. They smell soooo good. And my facialist Toni Rigdon turned me onto an organic line called Pevonia. It’s very soothing! I have also just recently got into lipstick! It’s so fun! I have a red one from YSL and a berry color from Boots.”
Ballet flats, Vans, and Prada pumps...a pretty good summary of Michele's overall style.
What are your favorite spots to visit abroad and what is the coolest hotel you’ve stayed in?
“Brazil and Japan are both soooo cool. So different from where I'm from. And I usually stay with friends when I travel, but I like the Bowery Hotel in NYC and Solage in Calistoga for a staycation!”
What's up next for you: In both wine and modeling?
“I'll be harvesting my 2011 vintage and as far as modeling goes there are some surprises coming up! You’ll have to wait and see.”