Welcome to your first taste of Second Helpings. The column merges in-depth interviews of your favorite celebrities and their passion for food, wine, and so much more. Join Christopher Logan, Lapalme Magazine’s culinary and culture editor as he brings you intimate interviews that stir the soul. Guaranteed to keep you coming back for a second helping.
In our inaugural Second Helpings, we welcome The Bella Twins Nicki and Brie Bella.
Christopher: What is one of your most memorable holiday meals?
Brie: It would have to be our grandmother always doing her famous spaghetti and meatballs for our special holiday dinner called Drummer Boy, which is now a memory of my grandfather for the family. It was a time when my grandfather would line his grandchildren up, we would march to the Drummer Boy and he would take us around the house and point out all the nativity scenes. After, we’d get the famous grandma’s secret spaghetti sauce and meatballs. I can still smell it now!
Christopher: Is that a signature dish? One in your home that has been passed down for generations?
Brie: It’s definitely one that’s been passed down. I don’t do the regular meatballs. I like the beyond meat meatballs. I might be the only one in my family though, but it’s something I continue to do.
Christopher: Several years ago, I managed a wine department in Charlottesville Virginia, and I absolutely fell in love with the industry. I’d love to know more about your wine, “Bonita Bonita”.
Nikki: Bonita Bonita is made up of my sister and I, and Ryan Hill. Ryan is a third-generation farmer in Napa Valley. We became really close to Ryan and he really introduced us to the raw side of the wine industry. Brie and I grew up in a small town and we come from a farming family, so we are very familiar with that. We were familiar with cantaloupes and watermelons and then we got introduced to vineyards and grapes. Ryan really saw the love that Brie and I had for wine. It went way beyond social drinking; Brie and I truly loved wine. So, one day he said, “Let’s all make a wine together”. Brie and I were like that’s our dream, but we thought we had to do it when we were 60. We came up with Bonita Bonita and our one thing was that we wanted to make amazing wine. We’re not here to mass produce; we are here to grow our grapes, to produce it, to bottle it, to be hands on, and that’s what we do with Ryan Hill. We go out and meet them for harvest, they harvest it, they bottle it and that’s the story of Bonita Bonita.
Brie: Bonita Bonita means, “It’s Beautiful” in Spanish and as we are the Bella Twins, and with Bella meaning beautiful in Italian, we thought it would be nice to give a little cheeky nod to our Hispanic side. So that’s why we decided to go with Bonita Bonita.
Christopher: Tell me about your love for Napa Valley.
Brie: Heaven on Earth you mean?
Nikki: It’s one of those things where when your soul knows, it knows.
Brie: Every time Nikki and I went to Napa Valley, we just felt free, we just felt happy. I don’t know if it’s the energy that people bring when wine tasting, or if it’s the farming culture or if it’s the sunshine in Northern California. But every time we were there, we felt so free and happy, and we knew we had to live there. When you’re out there and you see the open sky, the mountains, the rolling hills, and the vineyards, it just takes your breath away.
Nikki: Well, I kinda believe your soul knows where it wants to be and it draws you to that. Every time we went to Napa, we were like: What is it about this place? It keeps bringing us here. We realized we were meant to be winemakers, in the wine industry, in Napa Valley. And from the minute we moved there, I think it’s the happiest we have both been in our entire lives.
Christopher: What have you been the most thankful for in the past year?
Nikki: I’m gonna say, my son.
Brie: He was born in 2020.
Nikki: But I’m still grateful to be a new mom and to experience every milestone. Before the pandemic, I was on a flight every week going somewhere. But because of the pandemic and having the opportunity to work from home, I get to be there for every milestone for Matteo. I get to truly raise him how I want and be with him every day, so I’m so grateful for that. In a time with so much sadness and negativity, there are many times when we may not have everything that we want. But I actually, under our little roof, have everything I want because he is right there, and I get to watch that every day.
Brie: I have to say this past year I’m really grateful for my husband taking the summer off. He had to wrestle throughout the pandemic, and he’s been going nonstop; I mean ever since I’ve known him and it’s the first time we we’ve been together like this for 10 years. It was the first time where we spent months together without traveling. It was really refreshing and nice to be up in the mountains. The whole summer together as a family with our two little ones and waking up and going to sleep every morning and night together.
Nikki: And hashtag a lot of sex!
Christopher: You have both been involved in so many charitable organizations. How can everyday people give back to their own communities?
Brie: I always believe that you should go wherever your heart pulls you towards. I was always drawn to helping animals and helping the planet, so I found organizations in my community. You can even find organizations on Instagram. Whether it makes you feel good to donate a little money, or if it makes you feel good to go out and just help for a couple of hours. Whatever it is, maybe put up a social post. I suggest you do it. Everyone always thinks you have to take this huge step. But it’s actually the little ones that help. Just do whatever you feel like your calling is when it comes to giving your time.
Nikki: For me, this is a hard time of the year for a lot of people. A lot of people enjoy this time of year, but it also brings in a lot of sadness and hurt. It’s the holidays, so I can suggest there are going to be a lot of hungry families, a lot of families that are going to be cold, families that don’t know how they’re going to make it tomorrow. So if you can donate clothing, shoes especially, and blankets to families, provide Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, even something for the Jewish holiday. Whatever holiday that is special in the next coming months, however you can provide for a family in your community – even if it is just 5 families. When you think how much it costs to provide for 5 families, it’s not that much, but to them it’s everything. So I just encourage you to pick off something that you see on trees at your local supermarket or the mall. You can find out families that are in need and truly help to make their holidays special in whatever way is possible. Especially for single moms or dads out there, because I don’t know if y’all watch the show “Made” on Netflix, but hopefully that will open up a lot of people’s eyes. It’s not easy being a single parent.
Christopher: During the pandemic, many people’s lives have been turned upside down. How can people turn their worries into strengths?
Brie: You know I saw this quote one time that said: “When you hit rock bottom is when you’re truly going to see yourself” because it’s going to be the strength that gets you out. And I feel at times we are all so scared to get to that point. Like it’s going to make us the weakest, that you won’t be able to come out of that. But actually it will make you the strongest. I think it’s kinda like butterflies: in a cocoon, you’re tied up and confused you don’t know what’s going to happen and then all of a sudden, you become a beautiful butterfly and just fly away. I think we need to find the positives in all the negativity. Whenever Nikki and I have heard No’s, we have made them into Yes’s. You can do it too!
Nikki: For me, first get off social media because I think it makes us want things and there are times in our lives that you can’t afford to have what other people have. Get off social media so don’t see it, so you don’t feel like you’re missing out, because I feel that it brings a lot of depression when you see that other people have things and you don’t. Whether it’s love, money, material things, just get off social. I love meditation and breathwork. When you can clear your mind and your head, you feel so much better. Also, write down what makes you happy. What’s your definition of success? There are ways to get there. So those are definitely some ways to start and just grow.
Christopher: Lastly…What do you know for sure?
Brie: One thing I know for sure is that my family is always going to be there. So I feel that not only am I blessed, but everything will always be okay. Because I will always have them.
Nikki: The first thing that popped in my head was – she’s my identical twin – I know that for sure! And I know our wine is really freaking awesome!