Extraordinary Vacations in the Wine Regions of France.
The Hidden France,
As many of you know Diana passed away this past June after a twenty-seven-month fight with stage four colon cancer. As her husband and "petit partner" in her business I have spent the last months reflecting on her legacy that brought her customers (friends) so much pleasure and joy. The Hidden France was Diana and Diana was The Hidden France in every ounce of her body: we all saw it, loved her, and her trips more because of it. With this in mind I thought how could I continue the spirit of Diana's business all the while creating a legacy for Diana's other passion coaching and mentoring young athletes in Freestyle Skiing.
As I sold my wine business in the summer of 2019 to the Boisset family of Burgundy I met their director of hospitality, Gaëlle Forey, who also worked with Diana on her last Hospices de Beaune trip in November 2019. Gaëlle was in the process of formulating her own bespoke tour business and this past fall Gaëlle and I began discussing how she might take over Diana's client and supplier base albeit in the face of covid's constraints.
In France when the creator of a small enterprise retires there is a system, or better said an understanding, that after a number of years grooming a "successor" she/he is "given" the business when the owner retires. I sensed in Gaëlle her enthusiasm and passion for France and its wine regions that is as contagious as was Diana's. Speaking beautiful English with an accent "charmante," charming, I felt she was a worthy successor.
Finally, in order to complete a two-pronged legacy, I have created a Memorial Fund for Diana in order to encourage and support Freestyle Skiers at the local, regional, national and international level.
The DeeWilliamsFund.org is a Charitable Advised Fund that will be administered under the umbrella of The Vermont Community Foundation that administers multiple charitable funds throughout Vermont, Diana's home state. The website is now up and running :
With this in mind, Gaëlle and I have agreed that for being Diana's "successor" she will contribute, a thank you really, to the DeeWilliamsFund of 5% of the gross of cost of trips for the next four years that come from The Hidden France's client base.
I suspect that you are as excited as I am at the thought of traveling again and look I forward to helping Gaëlle, as Diana would say, "Be a big fat success!"
Have a wonderful and healthy year and see you soon in France.Best, Alex