Teresa Gasca-Burk ’83

Teresa M. Gasca-Burk ’83 and Steve Burk

Co-founder, with her husband and winemaker, Gary Burk
Costa de Oro Winery

What do you love most about LMU?
I had such an incredible college experience at LMU. It truly was one of the best times in my life. I loved learning, being creative, serving and making life long friends there. What is even better is that I was able to share the LMU experience with my son, Raleigh, who graduated in 2020! I think he had even more fun than me. His involvement and accomplishments were so impressive. I know he will continue to stay involved at LMU through the Alumni Association just as I have been able to do.

Why are you proud to be an LMU Lion?
Over the years, since graduating, I have made “new” friends with Alumni from both LMU and Loyola Law School. There is always an instant connection and sometime during our conversation, one of us always says, “Go Lions!”. It’s a wonderful feeling to be a part of not only this world class institution, but the Lion Family!

What is a memory that comes to mind?
I feel that LMU always inspired and supported my creativity. I was an English Major with an Art Minor.  I remember spending long hours in the studio enjoying the art projects I was working on. The beautiful campus was inspiration for me. One of my favorite spots was the area around the chapel. On one occasion I had gone for a walk after the rain. There were leaves stuck against the stained glass windows of the chapel. This was so beautiful to me that I wrote a poem about it. Years later when my husband and I had started the winery and were designing our wine bottle labels, that moment and poem were the inspiration for the design of our Reserve Wines.

What is a valuable skill you learned at LMU?
At LMU I discovered that learning and growing is fun and it should be a life long process. In high school, I was “required” to take classes that would lead me to college. At LMU, I felt like a kid in a candy store with so many class options to “choose” from. If I had an interest in something, I pursued that interest. So, in addition to classes for my English major, which I loved, I made sure to explore other interests and passions, too. I took my first ballet class at LMU and continue to dance and teach, today. After taking an art class, I was so inspired, I decided to Minor in Studio Arts. Now, I continue my love of Art with classes from a private teacher. The Early Childhood Development classes I took prepared me for one of my passions, writing music and performing for children (Check out Teresa & Gary’s music here). But, I believe the most important area of learning for me is my Spiritual growth. It is a priority in my life and I am so grateful for the foundation I was given at LMU!

What advice or encouragement do you have for graduates?
I am a goal setter and a planner. I love to map things out for myself. I think it’s important to do. But, I don’t believe we really ever arrive at our destination in the way we think we will. In other words, I believe the satisfaction is short lived once you arrive. Then a new goal is immediately set and the process begins again. So after years of life experience, I would say to graduates, by finding joy in the process, you will have accomplished greatly. The fun is in the journey!

How did your business originate?
My husband’s family and their business partners planted a 30 acre vineyard of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in 1989. It is located in the Santa Maria Valley of the Santa Barbara County. My husband,Gary originally started selling the grapes to other wineries in the area. He eventually was bitten by the wine bug and and in 1994 produced our first vintage of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines under our Costa de Oro label. 

Which is your favorite wine and why?
Well, if you asked Gary, my husband and our winemaker, what his favorite wine is, I’m sure he would say Pinot Noir. It’s a very complicated grape. I’m much simpler than that, so I love whites. I love bright, refreshing wines with a nice fruit component, like Pinot Grigios and Sauvignon Blancs. Oh yes, and I love, bubbles! Gary doesn’t make Sparkling Wine, but I’m hoping someday he will! 

Where can our audience find your wines?
Our wines are available on our website at costadeorowines.com. Our tasting room is located at 1331 S. Nicholson Avenue in Santa Maria, CA. They are also available at select retail wine shops and restaurants.

In 6 words or less, share a personal motto 
Celebrate with Family, Friends and Wine!

Favorite HH appetizer
Chicken wings!

Favorite restaurant when attending LMU:
My favorite restaurant was in Playa Del Rey. I believe it was called the Cliff House. We went there when we wanted to get fancy, because usually eating out meant Burger King.

Favorite beverage pairing with happy hour bites 
My favorite happy hour pairing would be Bubbles and Shrimp!

Favorite bar game
Definitely Corn Hole 

Song I currently have stuck in my head
Maroon Five - Memories