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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

12/27/2011 - 2012 Trends & Forecasts

This evening's guests will bring us enlightenment on what they predict will be "in" and "out", new and exciting, and emerging trends for the New Year.  From food and wine, to travel and, we'll get insight into what to expect for 2012. The team from Slow Living wish you a most safe, celebrative New Years' and a year ahead full of laughter, family, friends, good living and many "slow" moments!  Cheers!

Michelle Dickey
Marketing Team Leader

Jerry Aman, Store Concierge
Napa Whole Foods Market
A Whole Foods Story...

Wow! What a ride. Back in 1980, we started out with one small store in Austin, Texas. Today, we’re the world’s leader in natural and organic foods, with more than 310 stores in North America and the United Kingdom. What a long, strange trip it’s been. We still honor our original ideals, and we think that has a lot to do with our success.

Who are we? Well, we seek out the finest natural and organic foods available, maintain the strictest quality standards in the industry, and have an unshakeable commitment to sustainable agriculture. Add to that the excitement and fun we bring to shopping for groceries, and you start to get a sense of what we’re all about. Oh yeah, we’re a mission-driven company too. If you are interested in learning about our business practices and what makes us tick, check out our Core Values, Quality Standards, Declaration of Interdependence, and more.
Around here, we often talk about our mission in terms of Whole Foods – Whole People – Whole Planet. Basically, we think these elements all play a huge role in our success.
Whole Foods — We search for the highest quality, least processed, most flavorful and natural foods possible because we believe that food in its purest state — unadulterated by artificial additives, sweeteners, colorings and preservatives — is the best tasting and most nutritious food there is.

Whole People — Our people are our company. They are passionate about healthy food and a healthy planet. They take full advantage of our decentralized, self-directed team culture and create a respectful workplace where people are treated fairly and are highly motivated to succeed.

Whole Planet — We are committed to helping take care of the world around us, and our active support of organic farming and sustainable agriculture helps protect our planet. And while we assist our global neighbors through our Whole Planet Foundation’s micro-lending operations, we also step out the back door of each of our stores to support food banks, sponsor neighborhood events and donate to local non-profit groups.

Whole Foods Napa

Our Napa Store features several unique venues, such as a wine and cheese tasting room where you can experience the best pairings before you bring them home and a Culinary Center where you can take cooking classes with our in-house and guest chefs. We also offer fun cooking classes for kids, teaching them how exciting cooking with good, wholesome foods can be. You’ll can also order a coffee drink from our new outside patio walk-up window, or grab a freshly-made sandwich, slice of wood-fired pizza, or a scoop of delicious gelato while picking up your groceries. Your neighborhood store, with all of its stone, wood and recycled material décor, also makes it a natural fit for the Napa Valley landscape.

Whole Foods Market is proud to be a part of the Napa Valley community. Our store is committed to educating and helping our community understand the value of eating natural, fresh, whole foods that are minimally processed. By choosing nutrient-rich foods, and eliminating foods with artificial ingredients, you can improve your health and vitality.
We support a locally grown concept and you can learn more about our “family” at

Paige Piland
Store Manager
Foot Candy, St Helena
When Napa Valley vintner Perry Butler counted his wife Carolyn's pairs of shoes, he stopped at 500. Obviously, she had a passion for more than making fine wine. He thought "Why not combine both passions, which involve high style and world travel?" While Perry is tasting wines for his label, Juslyn Vineyards, in London, Milan, New York and Paris, Carolyn could meet with designers on the Left Bank or its equivalent. And so, Footcandy was born. The elegant shoe store now has three locations in Saint Helena, Sonoma, and Walnut Creek. Carolyn Butler's buying philosophy, "I am the consumer, I sell to myself."

Paige and Scott show off a few samples!
 These stores, brimming stylishly with all manner of shoes for every taste, are a “must do” for all visiting the Napa Valley or Sonoma - whether for your wife, girlfriend or pampering yourself.

Visit their blog for the latest and greatest in shoes, handbags and boots.

Florida Schilling — Owner
Thompson Creekside Travel, Napa
Stephen and Florida at V Wine Cellar

Raised in Tahiti, Florida’s favorite subject as a grade schooler was geography.  She was always intrigued and fascinated by the diversity and cultures of the world. In March 1974, Florida was offered a travel consultant position by Virginia Thompson of Creekside Travel in Napa, which she jumped at and, in 1979,  became the manager. In the summer  2009, she was offered the ownership of Thompson Creekside Travel and has not looked back.  
 Florida takes pleasure seeing a trip unfold and to be part of anyone’s travels, whether a honeymoon or family reunion or just for fun.
She believes travel cultivates  your mind and opens your horizons to the various cultures through its people, history and food.
 Some of her favorite destinations are Vietnam, Cambodia, Peru, Argentina, Turkey, and India.  She finds their history, people and food amazing and interesting. 
To contact Florida:

Some useful travel tips from Florida:
Before you go:
· Make sure passport is valid
· Make a copy of your passport - credit cards—medical card and other important documents. Keep the copies with you on the trip—separate from the
· Get travel insurance
· Cancel mail and newspaper deliveries

Handy items in your luggage:
· Electrical plugs and converter (check you electronic devises and cameras, some are dual voltage)
· Hand sanitizer
· Extra memory card for camera
· Sunscreen
· Small Umbrella

When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money. ~ Susan Heller


Monday, December 19, 2011

12/20/2011 - Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas from Slow Living Radio

Lost for a gift idea for a special person in your life?  Are they a "foodie", book addict, wine or pet lover?  Then we have the guests who may give you the inspiration you need! 

Join us as Slow Living Radio welcomes Stephanie Deigman, General Manager of Copperfield's Books, for book ideas for all manner of topics, and book accessories.  Michael Tuohy, a widely acclaimed chef, now Executive Chef at St. Helena's Dean & DeLuca, for food and food accessory items you may not think of, then our own Scott Lewis will inspire you with some novel ideas for your wine lover.  Finally we have the pleasure of Erin Morris, owner of Fideaux stores, with an array of dog, cat and human-pet-a-holic gifts.

So grab your notepads and listen. Be stimulated with your own twists on their suggestions and don't forget - relax, don't stress - nobody minds a late Christmas gift, it just prolongs the pleasure of the season for them! 

And we at Slow Living Radio wish you all a wonderful, peaceful and fun filled Holiday. Cheers to the season from the Yank, the Aussie and the Irishman!


Michael Tuohy, Executive Chef
Dean & DeLuca, St. Helena

Michael with a gift basket from Dean and Delucca
Michael’s Blog:

HISTORY of Dean and DeLuca
The corner grocery store grew up with the neighborhood, and occupies a busy corner in SoHo in what has become the most vibrant artists’ haven in the world. In the early days, Joel Dean and Giorgio DeLuca traipsed around the world to find artisan-produced foods that pleased their customers, not to mention themselves. They wanted products that fired their imaginations, challenged their tastes and turned dinner into a creative exercise.

Giorgio and Joel’s dream of a place that would offer customers a sumptuous celebration of food, a place to experience all of the pleasures that cooking and eating can bring, the original DEAN & DELUCA, opened for business in September 1977. Artist and founding partner Jack Ceglic designed the original store to evoke a turn of the century food department, with high ceiling fans spinning over a vast array of products that lined the high, white walls. Joel Dean and Giorgio DeLuca searched for handcrafted products and artisan foods and imported their discoveries into their enchanting emporium. On display was a staggering variety of produce and foodstuffs, including many never previously sold in this country.

In 1977, a need for more space began the expansion to the 10,000 square feet of an Army/Navy store, and to Jack Ceglic’s plan for a new outdoor marketplace concept.
The result? Massive exposed columns, Carrarra marble floors, white tile walls, stainless steel shelving and display cases, ample room for meat and fish, bakery and pastry, cheese, candy and coffee display counters.


The new DEAN & DELUCA opened in 1988 with four times the space. Soon, smaller retail outlets were to follow, in Manhattan’s Rockefeller Plaza and in the Paramount Hotel. Espresso Bars were opened in locations around New York and in Washington, D.C., and in 1993, a second store with 10,000 square feet opened on Market Street in Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown District. Since then, DEAN & DELUCA has opened stores in Charlotte, Kansas City, Napa Valley and Tokyo that have become epicenters of epicurean excellence in their locations.

Today, DEAN & DELUCA still offers the very best in service, quality and of course, selection. Epicurean treats for cooking, eating and entertaining abound even as they did in the original DEAN & DELUCA back in the '70s. DEAN & DELUCA has a team of International food experts who search for the best and newest food products from around the globe. They also have launched a new wine division and can recommend the best food and wine pairings for any event or for that special dinner at home. Please stop in for a visit.

Erin Morris, Owner
Fideaux, St. Helena and Healdsburg

Fideaux was born of a simple concept, people LOVE their pets! We were one of the very first dog boutiques to open with the St. Helena store in 1996. Since then we have been having a blast finding the newest, coolest dog and cat products out there. From designer dog beds, Swarovski crystal collars and toys, to scoops of biscuits (just $4 for a heaping scoop!), we have the BEST there is to offer, and we LOVE what we do. I mean, really, what is better than helping people find just what they need for their best friend? Oh, and did we mention that the shopdog is pretty cute too?

Our loyal customers have been bugging us for years to do a website and we are finally on it! So have fun shopping for you and your canine and feline friends, and if you are ever in the area be sure to stop by and say hi.
Sometimes nothing beats touching, feeling, squeaking (and for your dog, sampling a cookie). We invite you to visit our two locations in the beautiful California Wine Country.  They are full of our favorite merchandise, and you are sure to have a wagging good time shopping. Be sure to bring along your furry friend for a cookie (or 10) and some fresh water.

Scott Lewis, Proprietor
V Wine Cellar, Yountville
We started out with the hopes of creating a place that we’d like to drop in to, have a great glass, see friends from the business and pickup an interesting bottle or two. Since then, we’ve grown to over 4,000 square feet of lounge, tasting space, private dining, outdoor cigar patio and wine retail. A good friend of ours, who also happens to be a great winemaker, likes to say “this is the place people in the know like to go”, and we’re proud to be that place we could only have imagined a few years back. We invite you to join us in the discovery of great wines, big and small, sound advice and great times. Our guests like to tell us that coming to V is like visiting your best friend’s house, but with better wines. So come in, put your feet up and enjoy Napa Valley’s very own living room.

The Wine Program at V Wine Cellar is born of passion and a desire to offer wines that follow only one theme: Integrity. Some of the wines are tried and true -they deliver time and time again. We know and love them. Many of our selections are from newly recognized and next to be discovered. We're lucky to see these folks in our shop daily. Some even work here occasionally. Although we're located in the heart of Napa Valley, we offer the most interesting wines from the world over. Our 3000 plus bottle inventory isn't listed in its entirety but we rotate our online offerings monthly so check back to see what we're highlighting. Feel free to drop us a line if there's something you're looking for but don't see here right now. After all, we're here to help.

Sometimes, you're faced with the difficulty of buying a gift for an avid wine collector and you're stumped. Here are some great ideas sure to please even the most dedicated cellar owner.
Artwork (Andy Berry Gallery)
Instant Cellar

Monday, December 12, 2011

12/13/11 - Simply Stunning Christmas - Auberge du Soleil Style

Christmas is just around the corner!  Are you planning your Christmas meal and wondering how to make it just that bit more special?  Auberge du Soleil Executive Chef, Robert Curry and Pastry Chef, Paul Lemieux, will share some simple, yet special ideas to give your meal that Auberge-touch.  Then Head Sommelier, Kris Margerum, will give us ideas on some great wines that won't break the budget and some more unexpected pairings from around the world.  Spa Director, Amy Wilson-Moghina, will leave us with some festive season refreshers and relaxation tips, and spa gift ideas - all in the comfort of your own home. 

About Auberge du Soleil:

Auberge du Soleil the California Wine Country’s most prestigious luxury inn is nestled in a 33-acre sunlit olive grove on the slopes of Rutherford Hill, on the eastern verge of the Napa Valley.  Auberge du Soleil is a distinctive property that captures the international atmosphere of today's Napa Valley.  Boasting extraordinary views, hillside walkways that wind through olive groves and sculpture gardens, elegant cottages, an intimate spa and unparalleled service, the Auberge sets the standard for gracious hospitality.  Its Michelin-starred restaurant, one of the first great Wine Country establishments, pays tribute to its legacy with an award-winning menu and wine list.  Luxurious accommodations, exceptional cuisine and service earn Auberge du Soleil recognition year after year as one of the world’s most renowned small luxury hotels.

The Michelin-starred Restaurant celebrates its 30h anniversary in 2011 and unveiled a refreshed décor as well as a new private dining deck featuring Auberge du Soleil’s famed panoramic views of the Napa Valley. Originally opened as a destination restaurant in 1981, the Auberge became the first luxury hotel in Napa Valley when it added 50 Provence-inspired maisons and two private cottages five years later.

Executive Chef,

As Executive Chef of Auberge du Soleil, Robert Curry oversees all culinary aspects of the renowned Napa Valley inn and Michelin-starred restaurant, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in April 2011.

Curry’s menu reflects his extensive experience in the traditions of both Napa Valley and France, which continue to inspire the cuisine at Auberge du Soleil.  His signature dishes include: White Corn Soup with Rock Shrimp and Chervil Oil; Seared Ono with Wakame, Tempura Maitake, Glazed Pork Belly, and Dashi; Bacon Wrapped Veal with Foie Gras Ravioli, Sugar Snap Peas and Wild Mushrooms; and Liberty Farm Duck with Figs, Hearts of Palm, Fennel, Arugula and Port Beet Sauce.

Curry brings to the Auberge a passion for Wine Country cuisine cultivated at award-winning restaurants in the Valley, on both coasts and in Europe.  Prior to joining Auberge du Soleil in spring of 2005, he served as Executive Chef at the Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, Calif.  There, his menus showcased ingredients harvested daily from Greystone’s own organic garden and the bounty of local farmers and purveyors.  Prior to that, he launched the Flying Fish Café, the fine-dining seafood restaurant at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.  Curry made a name for himself early on among Northern California food lovers during his eight years at Domaine Chandon in Yountville, Calif., first serving as Executive Sous Chef under Philippe Jeanty and ultimately succeeding him as Executive Chef.

A native of Los Angeles, Curry began his culinary career there in 1986 at Ma Cuisine, Wolfgang Puck and Patrick Terrail’s cooking school, during which time he received his degree from the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y.  Following graduation, he was recruited by Michael Richard and Alain Giraud for Citrus Restaurant.  In the late ‘90s, he traveled the world to study cuisine, working with Alain Ducasse at his three-star Louis XV in the Hotel de Paris; with Joseph Thuet at the Moët & Chandon Résidence de Trianon in Epernay, France; and in Paris at the two-star Michel Rostang.

Executive Pastry Chef,

Chefs Rob and Paul
at the Napa Valley Wine Auction

Executive Pastry Chef at Auberge du Soleil, Paul Lemieux is the creative force behind the delectable desserts and confections produced in the kitchen at this renowned Napa Valley inn. 

At the 80-seat dining room at Michelin-starred Auberge du Soleil, Lemieux offers an outstanding seasonal dessert and cheese menu.  He created the Auberge Torte au Chocolat, the inn’s signature dessert. Lemieux handcrafts each torte with 11 layers of crisp hazelnut dacquoise, exquisitely smooth chocolate crémeux, fresh pureed organic hazelnuts and intensely rich dark chocolate ganache and ships them daily to fans nationwide. His sweet touch is evident throughout the resort, from the house-made confitures served at breakfast, to the chocolate-hazelnut truffles, pistachio caramels and amandes au chocolat he pairs with vintage Madeiras after dinner, and the pâte de fruits given to all dinner guests as a thoughtful parting gift.  

Lemieux’s passion and creativity in the art of pastry making are the result of nearly 20 years of experience honed at renowned restaurants throughout the United States. A native of Wisconsin, he spent time developing his skills at top restaurants on both coasts.  He began his career after graduating Magna cum Laude from Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts in Providence, R.I., in 1992.  After early stints as a chef and pastry chef on the East Coast, he made the move to San Francisco, where he worked with renowned chef Traci Des Jardins at Rubicon.

Recognizing his talent and passion for confections and chocolates, Des Jardins mentored Lemieux and, in 1996, appointed him pastry chef.  A year later, she asked him to join her as pastry chef at her new namesake restaurant, Jardinière.  An instant success, Lemieux continued to demonstrate his creativity in the world of desserts, adapting his own style of simple and pure flavors and focusing on fresh and seasonal ingredients in each dish. 

Lemieux quickly was recognized as a true culinary star, earning critical acclaim by Gourmet magazine, which referred to him as “San Francisco’s up-and-coming pastry star.”  His passion for chocolate was well known, and in 2002, he founded, with wife Michele, Paul Lemieux Chocolates, a Portland, Ore., small-production company creating artisan truffles with organic ingredients purveyed from local farmers. He was lured back into the restaurant world in 2002, when he was recruited to the position of pastry chef at Lucere Restaurant at Portland’s Riverplace Hotel.  In 2003, his culinary journey led Lemieux to the Napa Valley, where he has flourished, not only as the creative mastermind behind Auberge du Soleil’s unforgettable desserts, but also in his role as educator at the Culinary Institute of America, where, as Adjunct Baking and Pastry Instructor, he trains and mentors the next generation of pastry chefs.

Head Sommelier

As Head Sommelier at Napa Valley’s Auberge du Soleil, Kris Margerum follows a simple philosophy when selecting wine for the inn’s Michelin-starred restaurant: One plus one can equal three.  The right wine complements the food, and together, they create an unforgettable experience.  Margerum has been in pursuit of the perfect food and wine pairings at the iconic wine country inn for more than 25 years, during which time he has developed close relationships with the top wine makers of Napa Valley.  His wine list currently offers 1,500 selections from a 17,000-bottle cellar and has been awarded Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for the past five years.

Margerum works in partnership with Executive Chef Robert Curry to create exquisite food and wine pairings for the six-course Chef’s Menu and all of the other dishes Curry dreams up for the Restaurant and the more casual Bistro and Bar.  Margerum is also responsible for the restaurant staff’s wine education and conducts wine tastings and advanced-level winery tours for them on a regular basis. 

“A few years ago, I started conducting blind tastings,” recalls Margerum.  “This allows me to evaluate each wine on its own merits, without prejudice.  I taste more than 100 wines a week to find four or five that meet my ideals and make the wine list and hope our guests can benefit from knowing that each wine has been hand selected.”

Margerum has developed wine lists for a number of other Auberge Resorts’ properties, including the opening wine list for Esperanza in Los Cabos, Mexico and for Calistoga Ranch in Napa Valley.  More recently, he turned his attention to Auberge Spa, where he pairs wines by the glass with the floral or herbal notes in a selection of spa treatments to create the ultimate wine country spa experience.  His newest project, a collaboration with Auberge pastry chef Paul Lemieux, showcases Margerum’s passion for Madeira wines and Lemieux’s talent with confections in an after-dinner presentation of Madeiras and house-made chocolates.

Margerum’s career with Auberge du Soleil spans more than 25 years.  Prior to being appointed head sommelier in 1999, he acted as the restaurant’s assistant food and beverage director for six years, helping to oversee daily operations, planning, budgeting, forecasting, hiring and reviews, monthly inventories and guest satisfaction management.  Before that, he acted as assistant restaurant manager for the Auberge and was promoted to restaurant manager after a year.  He began his career at Auberge du Soleil in the dining room as a server.

Margerum is a graduate of the Sterling School of Service and created the Napa Valley Sommelier Society, which meets quarterly at various Napa Valley restaurants to discuss common issues and strategies – and, of course, to taste wine. 

Spa Director, Auberge Spa

In her position as Spa Director of Auberge Spa, Amy Wilson-Moghina oversees all aspects of operations, staff management and treatment protocol at the award-winning spa, open exclusively for hotel guests at Auberge du Soleil.

Wilson-Moghina joined Auberge du Soleil after tenures at well-recognized spas in the U.S, including the Boulders Resort in Carefree, Ariz., Alvadora Spa at the Royal Palms Resort in Phoeniz, Ariz., and most recently, at the first Heavenly Spa by Westin at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa in South Carolina.

Wilson-Moghina has a Bachelor of Science in Recreation and Leisure Services from Murray State University in Kentucky and is Comprehensive Aesthetics Certificate from the National Aesthetics Institute in Scottsdale, AZ.

Amy and Robert relax before the show.
Created for the exclusive use of the inn’s guests, Auberge Spa occupies a 7,000- square-foot building overlooking the Napa Valley.  Anchored by a central courtyard punctuated by fountains and 100-year old olive trees, the spa reflects the French country inn charm and elegant simplicity of Auberge du Soleil.  The eight treatment rooms – including three designed specifically for couples – surround the courtyard, each bathed in natural light streaming through French doors that lead to a private garden with outdoor shower or tub.  Spa treatment-wine pairings at Auberge Spa are offered daily and are complimentary.

Monday, December 5, 2011

12/06/11 - Grapeseed Oil and Grüner Veltliner - Two Napa Success Stories

Slow Living Radio explores... One story, an Austrian chef marries an American and starts an award-winning Grapeseed Oil Company - a first for Napa, using the seeds left over from the winemaking process.  The other, a gent of Austrian heritage who decides to bring a taste of his homeland to Napa and makes the Valley's first Grüner Veltliner, then wins a gold in Vienna!

Napa is a melting pot of cultures in wine and food, but one doesn't often think of Austria.  However, our guests this evening have made a significant impact to the valley in their own unique ways. Their stories are inspiring!  

Nanette and Valentin Humer
Nanette & Valentin Humer
Founders, Food & Vine™, Inc., and Salute Santé Grapeseed Oil 

Having introduced grapeseed oil to the American market in 1995, Food & Vine, Inc., makers of Salute Santé, has remained the leader in the industry and the primary innovator in the brand.

Five exquisitely flavored oils, including roasted garlic, basil, chili, rosemary and lemon, plus the original grapeseed oil and the newly introduced extra virgin cold pressed grapeseed oil make up the skus for the line.

Grapeseed oil’s inherent culinary qualities, such as high smoke point, neutral flavor profile, emulsification properties, and visual clarity, make it an invaluable addition to the kitchen and dining table of fine cooks gourmands alike

The company’s high quality products are matched only by its environmental responsibility. Co-op America Business Network has certified Salute Santé as a green company that seeks out environmentally friendly methods wherever possible, as evidenced by their production methods, recycling programs and the grapeseeds themselves.  Food & Vine is certified by the Non-GMO Project as a GMO-free company.

Food & Vine, Inc., is located at 68 Coombs Street, Suite I-2, in Napa, CA  94559. More information is available by calling (707) 251-3900 or visiting the website at

About Salut Grapeseed Oil

It’s Delicious!

Salute Santé! Grapeseed Oil has long been the secret of gourmet chefs who love its light and nutty, yet neutral flavor. It has the unique ability to enhance the flavors of ingredients instead of overpowering them and leaves no greasy aftertaste! It makes savory marinades and salad dressings that will not cloud when chilled, so you can use them right out of the refrigerator. The high smoke point (485 F) makes it ideal for hot food preparation which means you can sauté, fry or bake without any smoking, splattering or burning. The excellent emulsification properties make it ideal for whipping mayonnaise and creamy dressings that will not separate when chilled. The Salute Santé! Infused Grapeseed Oils shine with delicious fresh flavors, making them ideal as a liquid spice in all your cooking or as a simple and delicious dip for bread in place of butter or margarine.
It’s Ecological!

Salute Santé! Grapeseed Oil is an ecologically sound product that is made from the seeds of grapes after the wine is pressed. There is no need for hybrid or genetically engineered crops, nor does it require new farmland, crops or water to produce.

It’s Healthy!

Salute Santé! means “to your health” in Italian and French. Grapeseed oil is high in vitamin E and is 76% essential  fatty acid, linoleic acid (also known as Omega 6). It is low in saturated fat, contains natural chlorophyll and valuable antioxidants (known as  proanthocyninidins). Studies have shown a unique ability that may significantly raise HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol), lower LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) and triglycerides; the effect of which may lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and impotency, something that no other food product has been known to do! It contains no cholesterol, no sodium and no preservatives such as TBHQ or BHT. It is not hydrogenated and contains no solvents, no trans-fatty acids or free fatty acids.
It’s Guaranteed!

Salute Santé! Grapeseed Oil is 100% natural Italian grapeseed oil. We sign off with our quality logo on every new batch of grapeseed oil which assures you the freshest and best quality grapeseed oil available. We guarantee a two year shelf life in our special dark glass bottle which filters out ultra violet light, unlike commonly used clear glass or plastic bottles.
For more information on our guarantee, visit the About Our Guarantee page.
It’s Kosher!

Salute Santé! Grapeseed Oil is certified Kosher by Rabbi Abraham Hochwald, Regional Rabbi for the Northern Rhine. 

Rudy Von Strasser
Owner and Winemaker
Von Strasser Winery

The Von Strasser Story

Rudy Von Strasser
With a family connection to Eric de Rothschild, Rudy wrote a letter asking to do an internship at Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. Each year the Chateau had been hiring an intern from the French winemaking program at Montpellier. Thinking that two minds are better than one, Mr. Rothschild invited Rudy to work for the 1985 harvest as their first American intern. (The result was so successful, that each year since the Chateau has chosen a new Davis graduate to work as an intern at the winery.) Rudy returned to Napa Valley in the spring of 1986 and was hired as the enologist at Trefethen Winery and Vineyards. In 1988, he became the assistant winemaker in charge of production at Newton Vineyards in St. Helena.

Shortly after their marriage in 1989, Rudy and Rita von Strasser set out looking for a vineyard property to make their home. Having already developed a deep passion and talent for producing Cabernet Sauvignon, Rudy was committed that the property must be in a microclimate blessed with the ability to grow and produce the finest red wines in Napa Valley; wines worthy to carry the von Strasser family name. Serendipitously, the old Roddis Estate Winery on Diamond Mountain had just been put on the market, and in the spring of 1990, the von Strasser label was born.

The history of the property reads like a who’s who of early California Cabernet History. After being denied a permit to turn his estate into a golf course, William Bounsall decided to subdivide his property, and in 1968 sold 1/3 of his property to Albert Brounstein. Canadian born, Al pioneered the modern decade of winemaking in this AVA by planting Cabernet Sauvignon in three distinct vineyard sites and bottling each separately under the name Diamond Creek Vineyards. The next year, 1969, Bounsall himself decided to get into the grape business and planted 2 acres to Cabernet Sauvignon with bud-wood from the famous Martha’s Vineyard. In 1978, Bill Roddis bought the Bounsall ranch and started Roddis Cellars. The wines were made by Andre Tcheistcheff, and in their days where considered by many to be the biggest wines made in the Napa Valley. In 1985, the winery was sold to the Gilby family (British gin), who used it as a corporate retreat. The vineyards, now totaling about 7 acres, were leased to Pine Ridge Winery, who bottled the grapes separately as their “Diamond Mountain” Cabernet Sauvignon. 

In 1990, Rudy and Rita von Strasser bought the property and began the fulfilling task of renovating and modernizing the estate and the vineyards to make the property one of the gems of Diamond Mountain.

The building that houses the winery is an historic barn that was built in the late 1880’s. Through careful planning it has been remodeled into a modern winemaking facility while retaining its working-ranch charm. To take full advantage of the hillside location and to better control the variables of winemaking, the von Strassers added caves to their property. Dug into the virgin hills, these caves retain an ideal climate for barrel aging, and average temperature of 55 degrees and an average humidity of 80%.

The Judgement of Vienna

California’s First Grüner Veltliner Producer Wins Gold Medal In Vienna, Austria

Rudy and his team celebrate!

In 2005, Rudy von Strasser, owner/winemaker of Napa Valley’s von Strasser Winery took an enological leap-of-faith and pioneered the planting of the famous Austrian white-wine grape called Grüner Veltliner in California. Although his customers immediately raved about the quality of this new wine, Rudy wanted to see how it ranked against the top wines of Austria. So last year, he sent a sample to the prestigious AWC Vienna wine tasting (which bills itself as the largest official wine competition in the world), and won a silver medal. Not content with merely good, this year Rudy sent his newest 2010 vintage to this Austrian blind tasting: the result was a GOLD MEDAL. Rudy von Strasser is a first generation American citizen; his mother is from Hungary and his father is an Austria.

In 2005 Rudy identified a small one-acre section of his Estate vineyard which he felt would be ideal for experimenting with the Austrian white grape. His total yield is extremely small; roughly 250 cases per year. Other than a few selected restaurants and retail locations, the wine is sold only at the winery.

For further information, call 707-942-0930 or visit


Monday, November 28, 2011

11/29/11- Garen Staglin of Staglin Family Vineyard - Great Wine for Great Causes

Join us on Slow Living Radio as we visit with Garen Staglin of Staglin Family Vineyard in Rutherford.  A successful businessman, vintner and devoted family man whose recent honor by the New York Academy of Sciences illustrates the portrait of individual committed to a life of passion for philanthropic endeavors.

Shari & Garen Staglin at Staglin Family Vineyard in Rutherford
Shari and Garen Staglin represent a true family approach to their involvement in the wine industry and their dedication to the Staglin Family Vineyard.  Actively involved for 26 years in the wine industry, the Staglins' motto is "great wine for great causes" and through their operation of their winery, business interests, and support of various charitable causes, they have indeed lived up to that philosophy.  In the last ten years, causes they have chaired or donations from their wines have generated more than $750 million.
Shari and Garen purchased their 64-acre ranch in heart of the Rutherford Bench, in Napa Valley, California in December 1985 with their children, Brandon and Shannon. Their property has recently been proclaimed by wine critic Robert Parker as the elite vineyard in Rutherford, Napa Valley.  It is farmed under a certified organic approach (CCOF) administered by Vineyard Manager David Abreu. The Staglins have continuously upgraded their estate vineyard with narrow spacing, clonal and rootstock diversity, and viticulture practices influenced by winemaker Fredrik Johansson, and consultant Michel Rolland.  They have also installed a 184 KW solar array to power their vineyard, home and winery, further extending their commitment to the environment.  Shannon is the General Manager of the business, and Brandon is Director of Marketing and Website Development.
The Staglin Family Vineyard's 24,000 sq. ft. underground winemaking and barrel storage facility is further evidence of Shari and Garen's total commitment to producing the finest wines possible from their estate with environmental sensitivity.  As one indicator of their wines' reputation for quality, their charitable wine auction lots in the last four years have generated over $9.0 Million in proceeds, more for charity than any other wine lots from any vineyard in the world.  Recent releases have been rated as high as 98 points. Their wines have been served to heads of state:  Queen Elizabeth, President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Barack Obama, Chinese President Hu Jin Tao and Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda, as well as at the Bi-Partisan dinner honoring Collin Powell as a part the Inauguration celebration for President Barack Obama.
Shari and Garen are founders of the International Mental Health Research Organization - (, a 501c(3) non-profit organization. During the last sixteen years, the Staglin’s Music Festival for Mental Health ( has raised over $135 million for mental health charities and research. This annual event, held at their vineyard, includes an afternoon concert for 450 (past year's performers have included Dwight Yoakum, Pat Benatar, Brian Wilson, Gladys Knight, the Pointer Sisters , and Roberta Flack), and an evening gourmet dinner for 250 by a celebrity chef, with wines donated and poured by many of the nation's and world’s best wineries.  They recently founded Bring Change 2 Mind (“BC2M”) with Actress Glenn Close (  A PSA directed by Ron Howard was produced by BC2M and has been seen by millions.  Most recently they, together with Congressman Patrick Kennedy, have founded the One Mind for Brain Research Campaign ( and have a goal of raising $15 Billion over the next 10 years from public and private sources to dramatically reduce the burden of these illnesses to all Americans.
Garen has been an active venture capital and private equity investor for the last 30 years and currently serves on several public and private company boards.  He currently also serves as a Senior Advisor to two private equity firms.  Garen was honored November 14 at the New York Academy of Sciences 8th Annual Science and the City Gala in New York City. More than 450 global leaders in science, medicine, government, industry and academia attended to honor those who have made significant contributions to Science and the Academy’s initiatives.

His photo appeared in Sunday’s New York Times in the popular “Evening Hours” section photographed by the iconic and indefatigable Bill Cunningham.

A Navy veteran who served during the Vietnam War, Staglin earned an MBA from Stanford University and went on to a life-long career in venture capital and investments.
Now he balances his time between winemaking, investing and philanthropy.
Shari Staglin was a leader in health care management and recruiting for many years before becoming CEO of Staglin Family Vineyard.  She holds a BA from UCLA and an MPA from NYU. 
Shari and Garen met on a blind date at UCLA and recently celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary.  ###

Saturday, November 19, 2011

11/22/11 - Save Our Surf - Santa Monica Style!

This week, Slow Living Radio heads to Santa Monica, California to discover vital work being done by a dedicated group of celebrities, surfers, businesspeople and citizens who've banded together to support and preserve the waters of our precious California coastline. This past October, Save Our Surf founder, actress Tanna Frederick, spearheaded Project SOS: SURF 24, a celebrity surfathon to benefit Santa Monica Baykeeper, Waves for Water, Inside the Outdoors and Tumelo Home.  So join us as we broadcast live from the iconic Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel to celebrate Santa Monica and learn about how you can help Save Our Surf.  And be sure to visit Save Our Surf at to find out how to get involved today!

Managing Director
Loews Santa Monica

Paul Leclerc, managing director of Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, oversees the day-to-day operations and marketing for the 342-room AAA Four Diamond hotel. His position marks an exciting homecoming as Leclerc served as Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel’s executive assistant manager from 2000 to 2003.

Before returning to the West Coast, Leclerc served as general manager of Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando where he was responsible for all operational aspects of the 750-room hotel, which Loews Hotels and Universal Parks & Resorts developed at the Universal Orlando Resort theme park destination. Under his leadership, the hotel was named one of the “Top 100 Resorts in U.S.” by Conde Nast Traveler and “Top 500 Hotels in the World” by Travel + Leisure.

Active in the community, Leclerc served on the Board of Directors for the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association, as well as steering committees for the Orlando Convention & Visitors Bureau. He has received a Certified Hotel Administrator designation from both the American Hotel and Motel Association and the Hotel Association of Canada. 

A native of Winnipeg, Canada, Leclerc’s previous experience includes a diverse number of managerial positions. Prior to joining Loews, he served as director of rooms at the five-diamond Sutton Place Hotel in Vancouver, B.C. He attended Red River College in Winnipeg, and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in business.

About Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel:

Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel is located steps from the famous fitness paths and outdoor parks that run along the Santa Monica shoreline. Hotel features include 342 spacious guestrooms and suites, two restaurants and lounges, immediate proximity to Santa Monica’s premier attractions and front row views of the Pacific Ocean and world-famous Santa Monica Pier. For reservations or more information, please call 800-23-LOEWS or visit

Save Our Surf

The plot of this movie might be familiar - a struggling young actress from middle America who can't seem to get a break happens to meet a well-connected industry vet who envisions her as a future sensation, and a movie star is born.  While that was the story told anew in Henry Jaglom's feature, the acclaimed “Hollywood Dreams,” it also happens to be pretty close to the real-life story of the film's dynamic and engaging leading lady.  But actress Tanna Frederick, who drew raves for her tour-de-force as aspiring starlet Margie Chisek, is quick to point out that although they have similar stories, she's far from the chaotic and sometimes naive Margie. 

Audiences who have seen “Hollywood Dreams” might be forgiven for making that mistake, as Frederick's uncanny rendering of an ambitious and charming starlet who can barely restrain her fragile emotional state, is a compelling portrait of an actress in the tradition of Bette Davis' performances in “All About Eve”,  “Dangerous” and Gloria Swanson's painfully deluded Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard.” 

Indeed, many critics have harkened back to an earlier era of screen star, noting that Frederick's screen presence recalls a "young Bette Davis on crack" and compares  favorably to legends like Lucille Ball, Judy Garland and Fanny Brice. "Hollywood Dreams is driven by Ms. Frederick's no-boundaries commitment to her broken character," wrote the New York Times, "a performance that is startling as it is touching."  In addition to the critical raves, Frederick also earned Best Actress at WorldFest Houston, Montana International Film Festival, Fargo Film Festival and the Wild Rose Film Festival. The film took Best Picture honors at the San Luis Obispo Film Festival and to Best Comedy at WorldFest Houston. She was named Method Fest’s “Performer to Watch” and has also received the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival’s “Maverick” Award. 

Frederick’s latest film was Jaglom’s romantic comedy “Queen of the Lot.” An electronic ankle bracelet and being under house arrest isn't about to stop actress Maggie Chase (Frederick) from the two things she craves the most: real fame and true love. With more "Google points" than her Iowa hometown, but far less than Angelina Jolie, Maggie is desperate to claw her way off the B-list of action/adventure pictures and into major movie stardom. With a team of handlers (Ron Vignone, Diane Salinger, David Proval and Zack Norman) to spin her recent drunk driving arrests into tabloid gold and bad-boy movie star boyfriend Dov (Christopher Rydell) on her arm, Maggie's star is on the rise. Things get complicated when a trip home to meet Dov's legendary family introduces Maggie to the world of Hollywood Royalty (Kathryn Crosby, Mary Crosby, Peter Bogdanovich, Dennis Christopher and Jack Heller) and to her boyfriend's brother Aaron (Noah Wyle), the black sheep of the family, a failed writer who can actually see who Maggie really is behind her ingénue facade.

Frederick is overwhelmed by the comparisons and praise.  "Bette Davis is my inspiration right now," confesses the actress, who, like Margie, is a devoted cinephile.  "I don't feel that I can possibly compare to her, but I admire the way she was always in the moment, and the way that theatre and her life and her art were inseparable."  That kind of self-awareness as an actress-personality was crucial in developing Margie's character. 

"Comedy is based on pain; most great comic performers have great pain and live in a huge amount of denial." says Frederick.  "There's an early tragedy that translates into a masking, and there's a strange truthfulness to that.  I wanted people to have sympathy for Margie, but be a little confused as to whether they loved her or hated her."

There was no such early tragedy for Frederick, a proud Iowan who has known she wanted to be a performer since childhood.  "Iowa is really an amazing place for theatre," she enthuses.  "Maybe because people don't have as much to do, they spend a lot of time expressing themselves.  I started doing local and children's theatre in fourth grade, and was basically doing five shows a year for most of my life." 

When she went to college at the University of Iowa, she double majored in theatre  and political science/international relations.  Despite the daunting academic challenges of two disparate courses of study, Frederick thrived, particularly enjoying working with younger playwrights on new works.  "With the playwriting program and the Writer's Workshop, I did a lot of new work.  I'm so grateful for that, because when I came to California, I had a very open mind about strange, independent and unusual projects." Frederick was recently named the recipient of the University of Iowa’s Distinguished Alumni Award for 2012.

There were plenty of independent projects for Frederick to work in after her graduation as class valedictorian and the move to Hollywood, but like many young performers, regular paying work and success seemed far away.  That's when Frederick learned from a friend that independent director Henry Jaglom had a history of responding to fan letters.  Even though she'd never seen his films, Frederick wrote to Jaglom asking for an audition.  The director responded by casting her in his play, “A Safe Place.”  Her work so impressed him, that soon she was starring in “Always - But Not Forever,” Jaglom's theatrical revision of his earlier screen work, and preparing her to star in “Hollywood Dreams.”  "We created a really wonderful balance," says Frederick of Jaglom, who  as made a career out of casual but pointed observations about the intricacies of human relationships against the backdrop of show business.  "He has this objectivity about Hollywood, having been there so long, and the film played on my subjectivity of that experience.  He provided the framework in which Margie could live - he's known all of these characters as people, and I just put myself in the reality of the moment."

That relationship was extended to Jaglom's “Irene in Time” in which Frederick was reunited with “Hollywood Dreams” co-stars David Proval, Zack Norman and Karen Black.  Frederick most recently starred with Noah Wyle in Jaglom’s “Queen of the Lot” which picks up Margie’s story three years later. Next, she will be seen starring in “The ‘M’ Word,” “Just Beautiful,” and “Just 45 Minutes From Broadway.”

Meanwhile, Frederick recently hosted the fifth annual Iowa Film Festival - an event she founded five years ago to great success.  "People were so thrilled to have that festival in their community," she says.  "All kinds of people - lawyers, students, regular people - were inspired to try their hand at filmmaking, and this year the event has increased threefold." 
A devoted fitness advocate whose impressive Tae Kwon Do skills can also briefly
be seen in “Hollywood Dreams,” Frederick is also spending as much time as she can at the beach where she admits to having a "serious mistress" - the surf.  "I never expected to become addicted to surfing," she admits.  "I guess when you grow up landlocked, you never think about things like that.  I've been doing it for a few years now, and it's provided a great balance in my life.  I like the aspect of constantly facing a new challenge, and the danger - I broke my nose surfing and have gotten pretty banged up.  It's a humbling experience - you're up against this creature, and if you don't respect it, you drown."  As a sign of her passion for the art of riding the wild surf, Frederick started "Project Save Our Surf," an annual event she co-hosts with legendary surfer Shaun Tomson which has raised thousands of dollars for various ocean charities.
Tanna Frederick’s website is located at

Santa Monica Baykeeper
Like no other organization in Los Angeles, Santa Monica Baykeeper is dedicated to the enforcement, protection, and restoration of Santa Monica Bay, San Pedro Bay, and the rivers and streams that run through and underneath L.A. County. Since 1993, Santa Monica Baykeeper has enforced environmental laws and worked with the public to monitor sources of pollution. And where possible, we've worked to restore ocean and river environments to ensure they can rebuild and sustain the complex web of life we all need to survive.
Santa Monica Baykeeper works relentlessly for cleaner water — which means more open beaches, stronger and more resilient habitats, and an aquatic environment that can sustain life for generations to come. 
Like no other organization in Los Angeles, Santa Monica Baykeeper is dedicated to the enforcement, protection, and restoration of Santa Monica Bay, San Pedro Bay, and the rivers and streams that run through and underneath L.A. County.

Since 1993, Santa Monica Baykeeper has enforced environmental laws and worked with the public to monitor sources of pollution. And where possible, we've worked to restore ocean and river environments to ensure they can rebuild and sustain the complex web of life we all need to survive.
Santa Monica Baykeeper works relentlessly for cleaner water — which means more open beaches, stronger and more resilient habitats, and an aquatic environment that can sustain life for generations to come.

We hope you'll read more about our programs and consider becoming a member of Santa Monica Baykeeper
Executive Director
Santa Monica BayKeeper
Liz joins Baykeeper after being intimately involved in Baykeeper’s litigation and enforcement program as an associate attorney with Lawyers for Clean Water, Inc. She gained environmental advocacy experience working for several non-profits in Oregon and California. She’s been involved in community outreach and organizing, organizational development, and environmental litigation striving to protect water quality, endangered species, and coastal and forest ecosystems.
 Liz has an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley where she studied Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. She also has an M.S. in Biology/Environmental Education and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School with an emphasis in environmental law.
During law school, she was a member of the National Environmental Moot Court First Place team at Pace Law School and received several honors for her dedication to public interest law. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center and the Advisory Board of the Rogue Riverkeeper, both based in Ashland, Oregon. Liz’s current work is focused on eliminating pollution and preventing the degradation of Southern California's aquatic and coastal ecosystems.
Tanna and Liz on location at Loews Santa Monica