Napa Valley is filled with performers, broadcasters, showmen, hucksters, and barkers. Some have even mastered the fine art of storytelling. A few of those have honed the most compelling skill a storyteller can acquire; the ability to know when not to speak and when to listen.
This is what makes Paul Lange so intriguing – he has that ability. Originally from Tallahassee in Florida, Paul joined the Navy, then discovered he loved performing and spent twelve years in the acting profession in New York. After getting married, he and his wife Danielle decided to head out west and in time they landed in Napa Valley. He is Assistant Tasting Room Manager at ZD Wines.
Earlier this year he decided to launch a project called ‘People of Wine Country.’ He puts his performer hat to one side and becomes a compassionate listener. Soft-spoken and intent, he draws out his subject’s most intimate stories with casual precision. His project participants reflect the diversity of Napa Valley and come from all walks of life. Paul’s stories are honest but forgiving. He intends to use this project to publish a book of the same name in 2020. Paul also takes very creative and professional photographs after the interviews. This helps him “see” his story subjects in a more complete way. In return for their participation, Paul gifts these photos to his subjects to use as they wish.
To be a powerful storyteller you don’t need to acquire outlandish experiences like traveling to a foreign land or climbing an inaccessible mountain peak. Like Paul, all you have to do is look at your world a little closer and listen a little harder. He discovered his stories all around him, because as he has said, “The heart of every region is the people.”
Article By: Colin McPhail