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Sunday, August 28, 2016

08/29/2016 - California Wine Month

September is around the corner and Slow Living Radio celebrates the vintners, wines and winemakers of California for California Wine Month.  We welcome Nancy Light of the Wine Institute and Kathleen Heitz Meyers of Heitz Wines to bring us the details on the month and an insight into the extraordinary wines of this vast and diverse region.

California Wine Month

SAN FRANCISCO—September is the time when California’s wine grape harvest is in full swing. Visitors can experience the excitement of harvest during California Wine Month in September with more than 50 winery events and immersion experiences—from wine festivals and winemaking classes to winemaker dinners, VIP tastings and tours happening around the state.

This September marks the 12th annual California Wine Month, created by Wine Institute to honor America’s top wine-producing state. “The celebration recognizes the contributions of vintners and growers to our state economy, culture and lifestyle,” said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, president and CEO of Wine Institute. “With an economic contribution of $57.6 billion annually to the state economy and $114.1 billion annually to the U.S. economy, California wine is an important economic engine for our state and our nation. Our scenic wine regions draw visitors worldwide to enjoy California’s great wine, cuisine and attractions.”

Here’s a complete listing by region of all the events. Visit to view events by date and order a map of California wine regions and their 138 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). For great California wine and food road trip ideas click here.

Nancy A. Light,
President of Communications

Nancy A. Light is Vice President of Communications for the Wine Institute, a trade association of 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses dedicated to enhancing the environment for the responsible consumption, production and enjoyment of wine.  With three decades of experience in strategic communications for wine and related businesses, she is responsible for guiding the organization’s media relations, member communications and issues management agenda.

Light manages several Wine Institute programs designed to support the long-term growth and vitality of the California wine industry. “California First” is an initiative to identify and communicate the positive and distinctive attributes of California wine to consumers, trade, media and public officials. Working in collaboration with regional winery and grower organizations around the state, she helped create California Wine Month, a signature promotion in September that engages wineries, growers, regional associations, restaurants and retailers in showcasing California wine and is now in its tenth year.  Down to Earth Month in April is another statewide campaign that highlights the commitment of California’s growers and vintners to sustainability and green practices.

Light helped orchestrate Wine Institute’s participation in a strategic partnership with Visit California, the state travel and tourism commission, to promote California wine and food throughout the U.S. and in key international markets.   She is a Board member and frequent speaker at wine and wine tourism industry conferences.

Prior to rejoining Wine Institute in 2004, Light was Vice President of Public Relations for the Robert Mondavi Company for seven years and also ran her own PR and communications consultancy. 

Kathleen Heitz Myers
President and CEO

Years of hands-on experience in every facet of the family business inspired Kathleen Heitz Myers' deep-rooted love of winemaking. Her firsthand knowledge of every aspect of running a winery combined with a broad-based education in science, genetics and the culinary arts uniquely prepared Kathleen for her dynamic leadership role at one of Napa Valley’s most revered wineries.

The Heitz family values education, and Kathleen approached  her studies with the intent of gaining an international perspective. She began her scientific studies in Switzerland, ultimately earning a Biology degree from the University of Oregon. She also attained a lifetime teaching credential from UC Davis, and continued her education in France and Thailand with the study of cuisine.

In 1978, she returned home, eager to contribute to the Heitz Wine Cellars winemaking legacy. Her career at Heitz began in sales and marketing, where she spearheaded a program to export Heitz wines to markets around the globe. Her ability to identify innovative ideas and flawlessly execute them won her the family’s vote of confidence to lead the entire operation.

Since 1998, Kathleen has been the President and Chief Operating Officer of Heitz Wine Cellars. She has charted a highly effective course for the winery by embracing frontline business practices while continuing to preserve Heitz's commitment to quality and innovation.

Kathleen’s ability to create long-term relationships has fostered valued business connections and friendships with customers, employees and community leaders alike, a vital cornerstone of Heitz Wine Cellars’ ongoing success. Her respect for community involves her service on several boards-of-directors including past Chairman of Wine Institute, past President of Napa Valley Vintners, past President of Wine Service Co-op and the Advisory Council for the Land Trust of Napa County.

“My parents believed in the American dream of building a family business,” says Kathleen. “I think they would be amazed at the far-reaching impact of our small winery today. We hear stories from people around the world who celebrate life with Heitz wines, and we promise that we will continue to polish our legacy.”

Kathleen is married to St. Helena businessman George Myers, who is also an avid wine connoisseur and fly fisherman. They synchronize their busy schedules to travel together often as Kathleen represents Heitz Wine Cellars around the world.

About Heitz Wine Cellars

Founded in 1961, Heitz Wine Cellars is a true Napa Valley legacy: a multi-generation, successful family business that has held true to its founder’s vision for decades and continues to stand proudly in the world’s spotlight. Pioneering vintner Joe Heitz and his wife Alice shared an innovative, entrepreneurial spirit that helped usher in Napa’s modern era with his iconic, globally-celebrated wines—including Napa Valley’s first vineyard-designated Cabernet Sauvignon, the legendary Heitz Cellar Martha’s Vineyard—and the vision that Napa Valley wines could achieve international recognition. Today, the Heitz family is steadfastly upholding the principles and unwavering commitment to quality that built a wine portfolio of enduring excellence, while thoughtfully modernizing and diversifying the business. With hands-on management of the winery and organically farmed vineyards, the Heitz family continues to offer quintessential wines, made with 100% Napa Valley fruit, that celebrate their agrarian roots and commitment to the stewardship of Napa Valley, a place they call home.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

08/22/2016 - THE GREEN SHOW

This week, Slow Living Celebrates people and organizations working towards a more green, sustainable and healthy planet and healthier lives.

Judi Shils
Executive Director

Judi Shils has spent the last 14 years of her life spearheading grassroots community projects. While attending a Marin County Supervisors meeting in 2002, she listened to concerned citizens pose questions about the high cancer rates in their neighborhoods and express thoughts as to possible cause. The dearth of answers led Shils to form the Marin Cancer Project: Search for the Cause, and then the youth-driven movement for sustainable change, non-profit, Turning Green. As well, Shils worked with students and ethical business partners to create the first line of eco-body products for this generation launched nationally with Whole Foods Market in 2008. In 2013 she created the first organic/non GMO-school lunch program called The Conscious Kitchen. In 2015, with two kitchens opened for business, the Sausalito Marin City School District became the first organic non-GMO school district in the nation. 

After attending Temple University and American University, Shils started her Emmy Award-winning career with ABC Sports in New York and remained in television for 25 years. in 1988, Shils moved to Los Angeles, and produced the first critically acclaimed reality television special “3,000 miles, 21 days, 10 cents” for Fox Television. In 1989, a move to the Bay Area and motherhood to daughter Erin, changed the course of her life. In 1995, Shils created the successful Diary Project (DP), one of the very first on-line forums for teenagers to discuss their lives, as well as an accompanying newspaper component and Emmy Award-winning television series called “Life in Progress” on Oxygen TV. As well she produced a stage version of the DP, with the script created from website entries. Shils’ environmental work began at the California Coastal Commission, where she has been a consultant since 1996, focusing on public education programs and the annual California Coastal Cleanup Day.

History, Turning Green

Teens For Safe Cosmetics, as the campaign was originally called, launched in January of 200580 forward-thinking and inquisitive teens attended a meeting in Marin County, California about the harmful chemicals in beauty and daily use productsCancer, birth defects, reproductive harm, asthma, and other serious health risks were linked directly to many ingredients in products young people use dailyThis information shocked everyoneDriven by outrage at lack of oversight, transparency, and protection of public health, coupled with a desire to raise awareness about eco responsible living amongst young peer groups, the campaign was born.

Under the guidance of Executive Director Judi Shils (who founded Search For The Cause in 2002, to probe into Marin County’s skyrocketing cancer rates), and her daughter, then 13-year-old Erin Schrode, teens began to come together for meetings each SundayWhat began around their kitchen table soon grew to have chapters throughout middle and high schools in the area.

Early work of the campaign focused on identifying the personal care products most used by teens  and collaborating with chemists to outline the risk factors of specific ingredientsThis research is what created Dirty Thirtya list of common ingredients to avoid, what products contain them, and the health risks they poseSubsequently, they developed a list of Greener Alternativespersonal care product companies vetted for safety, sustainability and efficacy

As the movement grew in size and scope, legislative action became a vital piece of TG Not deterred by industry lobbyists, a group of campaign members went to Sacramento to lobby in support of SB484, a bill requiring disclosure of hazardous ingredients by manufacturers to the Department of Public HealthThis eleventh hour push by TG played a key role in the CA Governor signing the bill into lawSubsequent lobbying highlights have included the Toxic Toys Bill, Nail Salon Worker Rights, a ban on lead from lipsticks, TSCA hearings, and the Green Chemistry Initiative, among others ranging from local to national levels.

With their work clearly reaching outside the realm of cosmetics, into many aspects of eco responsible lifestyle, the name changed to Teens Turning Green in 2007This represents the transition, the journey to ‘green. New chapters began to spring up across the country, with a stronghold in New York City that hosted numerous events, garnered widespread school participation, and received high profile media attention from the New York Times, ABC, CNN, People Magazine, Seventeen, Teen Vogue, ELLE, The NY Post, and many more around the world.

In 2008, TTG officially launched a Schools platform, using campuses as a palette for exploration around food service, janitorial supplies, landscaping, and classroom productsThrough investigation and case study analysis, students raise awareness amongst peers and teachers about toxic exposures and seek to introduce and implement greener, non-toxic alternatives.

Food rose to the forefront, particularly lunches, as health and nourishment affects students in direct and vital ways. Marin county, like the rest of the country and much of the world, is experiencing an acute crisis of affordable, quality food that is good for people and the planetProject Lunch, which we spearheaded alongside 400 stakeholders, aims to rethink and transform the system to ensure nutritious, locally-sourced, balanced, non-processed meals in schools and beyond.  Hence, Conscious Kitchen, which Justin Everett, Executive Chef of Cavallo Point Lodge, helped spearhead. 

In Marin County, they also worked tirelessly on legislation to ban single use bags under the BYOBag movementThe bag ban was signed into law and went into effect on January 12, 2012There is much more to be done, but progress is invigorating.

The mother-daughter duo behind TTG, Judi and Erin, also created and launched the first ever Project Green ChallengeThis 30-day eco lifestyle challenge took place in October 2011  with over 2,600 students from 510schools in 48 states and 21 countries

Artwork at Oxbow School

Stephen Thomas, Founding Director and Head of School

Stephen came to The Oxbow School as the Founding Director from his position as the chair of the art department at The Urban School of San Francisco, where he taught from 1984-1998. In 1990, Stephen was instrumental in developing the Aim High summer program at the Urban School site. In 1994-95, he was awarded a Klingenstein Fellowship to study at Columbia University's Teacher's College. In the late 1970's, before he encountered teaching, Stephen worked at Crown Point Press, printing intaglio editions for artists. He ran his own printmaking business from 1980 to 1992.

Alex Kielty, Environmental Science Instructor

After earning his BA in Psychology at St. John's University in rural Minnesota, Alex taught outdoor education focused on ecology adventure and agricultural science. More recently, Alex has spent years working on and managing pastured livestock, orchards and mixed vegetable CSA's with an eye towards sensible and modern land use management and food cultivation. These practical experiences have enabled Alex to appreciate the complexity of our contemporary food system, allowing him to address the challenges surrounding the balance between environmental crises and feeding the planet in the classroom. Alex's approach to teaching agroecology focuses on the craft of land-stewardship, the wonder of biological processes, and exploring the myriad means of creating a food system with a greater level of integrity.

— Roger Mandle Past President, RISD

The Oxbow School is a single-semester art and academically focused school for high school juniors and seniors in beautiful Napa, CA. At Oxbow students are immersed in an environment of critical thinking and creative problem solving that prepares them for life after high school. Students come from all over the country and internationally to learn from our distinguished faculty and world-renowned visiting artists.

At Oxbow they believe that immersive studio art practice and direct contact with artists are potent ways to engage students at this moment in their lives. Studio practice is not about waiting for inspiration; artists create problems, and then solve them, all along the way responding to materials that re-shape the originating question-and in so doing, opening new ideas and possibilities. Students leave Oxbow with the acquisition and ownership of a 'tool-kit' of skills that can be reconfigured to meet the challenges of ever-changing goals and environments.

The Oxbow curriculum is designed to fulfill the requirements of the nation's best public and private high schools and is as much about academics as it is about art making. All of the courses at Oxbow are fully accredited and are honors level and college preparatory.

n 1998, founders Ann Hatch and Robert and Margrit Mondavi sought to create a studio art environment where artists, faculty and students would collaborate in the practice of intellectual investigation and artistic inquiry. They acquired a three-acre site on Third Street in Napa, CA overlooking the Napa River and commissioned Modernist architect Stanley Saitowitz to design the campus. Each studio is a fully equipped 1,250-square-foot building, featuring 18-foot high ceilings and expansive glass garage doors that let in light and roll up to an inspiring view of the river. Since it's founding Oxbow's reputation has grown nationally and internationally as one of the best programs available to students interested in the arts.

Oxbow was one of a kind when it was founded, and remains so to this day.