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Monday, December 15, 2014

12/15/2014 - Somm Lives!

This week, we hear the stories of three sommeliers who have taken their careers in very different directions - sales, journalism and lecturing.  It's an eye-opener to see the many avenues of a career in wine beyond the restaurant floor.  All are presenting at Pebble Beach Food and Wine, and we'll firstly hear from David Bernahl about the event.

Kim Beto
VP of Key Accounts
Southern Wine and Spirits

Kim Beto is known by numerous industry folk for his dynamic and inspired work with Southern Wine & Spirits, but prior to working with Southern, he was the Director of Beverage for the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. Many also know him from his days as the Wine Director and GM at Postrio, and prior to that, he was at his restaurant, 231 Ellsworth.


Jordan Mackay
Author and Journalist
Jordan Mackay is the James-Beard-award winning wine and spirits writer for San Francisco magazine. His writing on food, wine, spirits, and beer has also appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Decanter, The Art of Eating, Wine and Spirits, Food & Wine, Gourmet and many others. Currently, he writes regularly for San Francisco, as well as a monthly pairing column in Cooking Light. His first book, Passion for Pinot, was published in 2009, and his second, Secrets of the Sommeliers (with Rajat Parr), was released in October 2010, winning the James Beard award in 2011. His latest book, Two in the Kitchen, with his wife Christie Dufault, was published in late 2012. Currently, he is working on a book about Texas barbecue and two more books on wine. He lives in San Francisco.


Christie Dufault,
Wine and Beverage Instuctor,
CIA Greystoneclose

Christie Dufault is a member of the wine faculty at the Culinary Institute of America in the Napa Valley. Previously, Christie worked as the wine director for Restaurant Gary Danko in San Francisco, where she was featured on the Food Network and earned the Grand Award from the Wine Spectator.  As the head sommelier at Quince, Christie was awarded “Best Wine Director 2007” by San Francisco Magazine.  In 2009, Christie helped open RN74 Restaurant where she remains a part-time sommelier. Christie is also a guest lecturer at the San Francisco Wine School and is a regular contributor to Sommelier Journal.   

Sunday, December 14, 2014

10/27/2014 - Coquerell Wines and the Bordeaux Link

Brenda Cockerell
Owner, Coquerel Wines

Brenda and Clay Cockerell
As high school sweethearts who have been married since 1977, we have enjoyed hundreds of memorable meals and great wines with family and friends. We have travelled extensively throughout the great appellations of Europe and sampled everything from simple, honest regional bottlings to some of the world’s most celebrated wines. We have trudged through vineyards and shivered in cold cellars as we barrel tasted with some of the world’s top vignerons.

Several years ago, while visiting the Napa Valley for our anniversary, we decided the time was right to make our own wines. Coquerel was born. (The name Coquerel is an archaic French derivation of our family name - Cockerell.)

In 2005, we purchased a vineyard in Calistoga planted to old-vine, dry-farmed Sauvignon Blanc. In 2008 we acquired the adjacent site that was planted to a handful of traditional varieties rarely found in modern-day Napa. Since then we have revamped, replanted and upgraded our property to luxury-class winegrowing standards.

Early on, we hired Christine Barbe, one of the world’s great Sauvignon Blanc specialists, to handle our winemaking duties. Each vintage, in addition to our two bottlings of SB, Christine produces small batches of Chardonnay, Verdelho, Petite Sirah, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon that capture the essence of the vintage, variety and site.
Christine Barbe

Winemaker Christine Barbe is a master of Sauvignon Blanc. Born and raised in Bordeaux, she studied biochemistry and received her doctorate degree in Enology and Viticulture from the Bordeaux Institute of Enology. Christine worked with the renowned Denis Dubourdieu and made Sauvignon Blanc at Chateau Carbonnieux and La Louviere in Pessac-Leognan. In California, she has worked with Robert Mondavi, Gallo and Trinchero. Although Christine is from Bordeaux, her “Le Petit” Sauvignon Blanc has a decidedly Loire Valley character, bearing a striking resemblance to a top Sancerre.

 About Coquerel Wines
Coquerel Family Wine Estates is located just beyond the town of Calistoga at the north end of the Napa Valley. The heart and soul of our winery is our estate “Walnut Wash” vineyard, a gorgeous, oak-studded property that sits in the afternoon shadows of the Mayacamas Mountains. The combination of warm temperatures and deep, clay/stone soils makes this ideal terroir for Sauvignon Blanc, their flagship variety, made in a classic Bordeaux style. It also produces exceptional Verdelho, Tempranillo and Petite Sirah.





Tuesday, December 9, 2014

12/08/2014 - A Pebble Beach Food and Wine Teaser

Slow Living Radio this week brings you a taste of what is to come in next year's Pebble Beach Food and Wine Classic. We hear from the founder, David Bernhal, Wine director, Lara Sailer Long and three of the esteemed wine presenters.

The legendary Larry Stone, Master Sommelier, winemaker and more, enlightens us with his amazing story. Carlton McCoy, Wine Director for the Little Nell in Aspen and Seth Kunin, proprietor and winemaker for Kunin Wines also join us to share their own journeys and a sampling of what they will be sharing with guest at the Pebble Beach extravaganza.

Larry Stone, MS,

Larry Stone is the Estates Director of Quintessa in Rutherford and works with Huneeus Vintners on other projects such as Neyen in Chile and Flowers in Sonoma Coast.  He is also the Dean of Wine Studies for the International Culinary Center.  Prior to this appointment, Stone was President of Evening Land Vineyards and general manager of Rubicon Estate in Rutherford. He is a two-time recipient of the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service.  An English-certified Master Sommelier, Stone passed the examination on his first attempt.  He was elected to the board of directors of the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2004 and became a trustee of the James Beard Foundation in 2005. He is the only American to earn the title of Master Sommelier from the Union de la Sommelerie Francaise. His wine-buying and management expertise brought acclaim to the wine programs at the Four Seasons Olympic, Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons Chicago hotels, Charlie Trotter's restaurant, and finally Rubicon restaurant, which was an iconic destination in San Francisco for 15 years.

Seth Kunin,
Sommelier / Wine Maker, Kunin Winesclose


Seth Kunin (along with his wife, Magan and their daughter, Phoebe) is the owner of Kunin Wines, a boutique producer of Rhone and other varietals from California’s Central Coast. He started the venture in 1998, after a long stint in the restaurant business – most notably as the GM of Santa Barbara’s Wine Cask (the Central Coast’s only Wine Spectator Grand Award winner at the time, and one of fewer than 100 restaurants in the world with the award). In addition to producing award-winning wines under the Kunin label, Seth was the consulting winemaker for Westerly Vineyards in Santa Ynez’s Happy Canyon for ten vintages, and crafted what FOOD & WINE magazine called “America’s Best” Sauvignon Blanc in 2006. He has served as an associate faculty member in Alan Hancock College’s Viticulture and Enology program and currently sits on the board of the Santa Barbara County Vintner’s Association. He is on the steering committee for the Central Coast Wine Classic and has been working and consulting with the Masters of Food & Wine, Pebble Beach Food & Wine and now Los Angeles Food & Wine for over 15 years.


Carlton McCoy,
Wine Director
The Little Nell, Aspen

Wine Director Carlton McCoy discovered his love for the food and beverage world when he took a culinary arts course in high school. A scholarship to The Culinary Institute of America called Carlton to his true passion—wine and service. Before arriving at The Little Nell in 2011, he passed through several legendary institutions, including Thomas Keller’s Per Se, Marcus Samuellson’s Aquavit, Tom Colicchio’s Craft Steak in New York and Eric Zeibold’s CityZen at The Mandarin Oriental in Washington, DC. Carlton was drawn to The Little Nell by the hotel's Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning program and the property's exciting reputation. In May of 2013, Carlton became the 10th Master Sommelier to come through The Little Nell's  deservedly famed wine team.





Monday, December 1, 2014

12/01/2014 - Wineries in the Hills of the Napa Valley

This week, Slow Living Radio heads into the hills to discover two very different wineries - one housed in a bold and ambitious and authentically-styled, 13th century, Tuscan castle and winery, The Castello de Amorosa, which sits proudly in the hills between St Helena and Calistoga. The other a more rustic boutique winery, Smith Madrone, nestles in the heights of Spring Mountains.

Mary Davidek
Castello di Amorosa

Meet Mary

"When I first came to Castello in May 2008, I watched a video, as many of you may have, made by Dario Sattui. In this video Dario spoke of Castello di Amorosa’s Italian style wines hand-crafted specifically to pair with food. He referred to his trips to Italy, to a time and place when the simplicity of sharing an unhurried afternoon of delicious food and wine with family and friends outweighed the importance of anything else. I come from a large Italian family and Dario’s words evoked images and memories of Sunday afternoon’s at Nonna’s house and the heady aromatics of the food and always, the presence of wine. Ultimately, this inspired the food and wine program, Castello di Amorosa’s Royal Pairing. With Dario and Georg on-board, the food and wine pairing experience was created. It is a perfect way not only to showcase the castle, but to bring this amazing portfolio of award-winning wines to center-stage."

The Royal Food and Wine Pairing
An interactive and educational program designed to enhance visitor’s enjoyment of Castello's wine in a lively tour and tasting experience. After touring the castle and winery, guests are secreted away to the elegantly appointed Royal Apartment overlooking the picturesque northern end of Napa Valley. Then Mary Davideck, gives an educational tour of the property followed by a luxurious tasting in a private tasting salon, the Royal Apartment. Here guests will savor many of Castello di Amorosa’s award-winning wines including reserve selections, La Castellana and Il Barone, paired with delicious savory bites.



Stu Smith
Winemaker, Vineyard Manager
Smith Madrone Winery

Brothers Stuart and Charles Smith are the vineyard managers and winemakers of Smith-Madrone Winery.  Also in the family attic is the Fetherolf family, German farmers from the Palatinate region, who came to America on the Good Ship Thistle in 1730.  The name for the winery came as a tribute to the Smith brothers who pursued their dream and to the Madrone trees which distinguish the property.

In May 1971, with a partnership of family and friends, Stuart Smith bought the ‘terroir’ which today is Smith-Madrone Vineyards & winery. He was 22 years old and had just received his B.A. in Economics from UC Berkeley and was taking classes towards his Master’s in Viticulture at UC Davis. In trying to find land to plant vineyard in the Napa Valley, through a family friend he explored a forest on the remotest and highest part of Spring Mountain and discovered that the land had been a vineyard in the 1880s and in fact had been part of the wagon trail route between Napa and Santa Rosa. Today he is respected for his expertise and leadership as a mountain vineyardist.

Stuart was born and raised in Santa Monica.  While pursuing his master’s at UC Davis, Stuart was the first teaching assistant for wine industry pioneers Maynard Amerine and Vernon Singleton in 1970-1971. He taught enology at Santa Rosa Junior College and Napa Valley College; he has chaired the 1986 and 2006 Napa Valley Wine Auctions.  He is an active member of the G.O.N.A.D.S. (the Gastronomical Order for Nonsensical and Dissipatory Society), a group of Napa Valley vintners who started getting together for monthly lunches in the 1980s. He served on Napa County’s Watershed Task Force for several years, appointed by the Board of Supervisors; in 2006 he was appointed again by the Board of Supervisors to sit on Napa County General Plan Steering Committee, responsible for updating Napa’s General Plan, a three year project. Stu also serves as auctioneer for an Omaha (NB) charity auction every year.

Stuart served as Scout Master for St. Helena’s (Boy Scout) Troop One for many years. He is an avid canoeist, having canoed through the Quetico Wilderness in Canada many times and often canoes the Klamath and Trinity Rivers in California. He has five children and one grand-child; the family includes a photographer, beekeeper/artist, management information specialist, up-and-coming winemaker, distributor salesman and high school sophomore. 


Monday, November 24, 2014

11/24.2014 - To Our Health - Nuts and Chefs Walter Abrams Hero Bar!

Caring for our health is the topic of tonight's show, and our guests are both involved in helping us achieve that.  First, we welcome Maureen Ternus, of the Nutrition and Research Foundation of the Tree Nut council, NREF, to talk about the role of nuts for our health.

And ex-French Laundry chef, Walter Abrams, tells us his story and new creation, the Hero Bar and Apicius Nutrition, which is storming America!

The International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation (INC NREF), a nonprofit organization, represents nine tree nuts: almonds, Brazils, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts.  INC NREF supports nutrition research and education on the health benefits of nuts.

Maureen Ternus
Executive Director,
INC Nutrition Research & Education Foundation.

Maureen Ternus is a registered dietitian and the Executive Director of the INC Nutrition Research & Education Foundation. She is the author of “The Everything Vitamins Book” and has written for a number of magazines and nutrition publications.  She currently edits Networking News, a newsletter of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


Hero provides an all-natural wholefood bar like no other, it increases energy and provides necessary nutrients for your day to day routine. As chefs we have extraordinary relationships with small farmers throughout the country that have inspired us to create this one of a kind all-natural wholefood bar using kale as a main ingredient.

Our Mission is to bring awareness to our communities about additives and preservatives that consume most packaged foods today. While supporting charities and agriculture we aim to be an innovator in preservative and additive free packaged food products.
Walter with his fiancée Jen Smith (also a French Laundry Alum)

Chef Walter Abrams
Born in the USA and raised in Colombia, Chef Walter Abrams has been in the food industry for two decades. Chef Walter worked in some of Palm Beach’s finest restaurants, including renowned Chef Daniel Boulud’s Café Boulud. In 2004 he joined Thomas Keller at The French Laundry in Napa Valley, California, where he spent seven years. Annual scholarships recognizing Abrams’ dedication to his craft allowed him to work in some of Europe’s most prestigious kitchens, including Le Cinq at the Georges V Four Seasons Hotel and Gilles Verot in Paris; St. John in London; and England’s The Fat Duck. In honor of his accomplishments, Florida Culinary Institute awarded Abrams with the 2006 Alumni of the Year Award. In 2011, Abrams worked as Chef de Cuisine with Mark Sullivan at San Francisco’s Spruce Restaurant. A year later, Abrams moved to Philadelphia to join Le Bec Fin as the Executive Chef. Chef Walter has always strived for an active and nutritious lifestyle, and so, in the fall of 2013, he founded Apicius Nutrition and launched Hero. Chef Walter oversees Apicius Nutrition Headquarters in Napa Valley. This is where Hero all natural whole food bars are hand made using the highest possible standards in food manufacturing.

Monday, November 17, 2014

11/17/2014 - Slow Travels and Truffles with Chef Ken Frank

A chef of many talents, Chef Ken Frank of the acclaimed La Toque in Napa, will be our guest this evening to talk about his recent trip to the home of White Truffles, and cooking at the Fiera del Tartufo Bianco D’Alba. We'll hear about recent trips to Barcelona, Florence, Rome and future travels from London to Copenhagen with O’Shaugnessy winery in June.

We'll also hear what it takes to get the Grand Award from Wine Spectator, one of only 74 in the world.

Food trends are always on our mind ……and we'll talk with Ken about some of theses -  using the whole beast, more interesting use of vegetables - such as curing, fermenting, and pickling, and the grand quest for umami.
Tune in, pour a glass of wine and sit back for an entertaining hour of all things culinary!

Ken Frank
Executive Chef and Owner of La Toque

Acclaimed Chef Ken Frank is entirely self-taught and brings a distinctive, personalized touch to his contemporary French cuisine at La Toque restaurant.

Frank’s love of French cooking began when his father moved the family from California to Yvoire, France. Frank chose to remain in France and began his culinary career as a dishwasher. After returning to California and refining his skills, Frank first achieved national acclaim at age 21 at the Los Angeles restaurant La Guillotine. In 1979, he opened the first La Toque on the Sunset Strip.  After a 14-year run, Frank sold the restaurant and in 1995 to open the award-winning Fenix at the Argyle.

In 1998, the second incarnation of La Toque made its debut in Rutherford, California at The Rancho Caymus Inn. La Toque was awarded a Michelin Star in 2007, the first year the organization published a San Francisco Bay Area guide.

In 2008, Frank moved the restaurant to The Westin Verasa Napa.  La Toque has continued to be well-received by the nation’s top critics and reviewers.  In 2008, La Toque earned a three-star review from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Bauer and in October 2009 was honored again with a Michelin Star, which it still retains today.

For more information on Ken's truffle menu go to, and for the Truffle Festival he hosts each year at


Monday, October 20, 2014

10/20/2014 - Partners in Wine

Few industries see as many husband and wife teams, or family members, working side by side or in unison, as the wine industry.  Our guests this evening, are one such example. Both consultants, one as a winemaker, the other an educator and writer, are wine zealots and share a common passion for the juice of the grape.

Hear their story of finding their soul mates, and their own personal expressions of the beverage we love to love.

Kari Auringer

After a successful career as a graphic designer and entrepreneur, Kari’s desire to begin a career as a winemaker lured her from Chicago to the Bay area and eventually to Napa Valley. She was determined to make the transition from designing wine labels and drinking great wine to her ultimate goal of making wine.

With the purchase of half a ton of grapes and a book on winemaking, she embarked on a whole new adventure.  While experimenting with winemaking at home, she began working with some of California’s great winemakers and also managed to put herself through enology school. She spent six years working with vintner-consultant, Celia Welch, who is responsible for some of Napa Valley’s most impressive wines: Scarecrow, Lindstrom, Hollywood & Vine, Keever, Kelly Fleming, Jim Barbour and Celia’s brand, Corra. 

Kari describes herself as a hands-on winemaker and has expertise in all aspects of the process from vineyard to bottle. Her style is all about rolling up her sleeves and staying intimately involved with every step of the intricate process, from vineyard sourcing and hands-on berry sorting to the myriad details of winemaking, sensory analysis and the infinitely nuanced art and science of blending. If you don’t find her tasting barrel samples in the winery, she is probably out kicking the dirt in a vineyard.

As a consulting winemaker for boutique estate programs, she has spent the last decade crafting ultra-premium wines from some of the best vineyards in Napa Valley and Sonoma. Along with Pedras Wines, Kari also is the consulting winemaker for Napa-based Silver Trident Winery, Bryter Estates, Madrone Estates Pinot Noir program in Sonoma, and Plume Napa Valley.

Kari is a rising star and believes her success is a combination of dedication, hard work, talent and working with great people. Kari puts it best when she says, “As I look back on a career that has included several highly regarded cult wines, making really good wine is definitely a team sport, and I’ve been on some fantastic teams.”  


Jeff Prather
"Certified Master of the Obvious"
Wine Consultant and Educator

With decades of experience in the food and wine business, Jeff Prather shares his wealth of knowledge through engaging, and often amusing, wine content for the website and wine shop. Having been an actor in his earlier years, Jeff is a natural as one of our entertaining tasting class instructors.
After opening the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley in 1995 as the Restaurant Director and Cellar Master, Jeff served as Director of Wine Education at Shafer Vineyards, Flora Springs Winery, as well as the historic Beaulieu Vineyard. After serving as Senior Wine Merchant for the original with Peter Granoff and Bo Thompson, Jeff was the managing Director of Azalea Springs Winery.

Jeff became known for his decade of work as Wine Director for Ray’s Boathouse in Seattle which merited him several awards, including four James Beard Award nominations, Restaurant Hospitality Magazine’s Best American Wine List, Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence, and Restaurant Wine Magazine’s Wine Marketer of the Year nominee.
Jeff judges at wine competitions and is a frequent speaker and guest sommelier at national wine events. As a writer, he has been published in several magazines, was a correspondent for the Microsoft Online Network (MSN), a contributor to Oz Clark’s Microsoft Wine Guide CD-ROM and is co-author of the book “Northwest Wines.”



Monday, October 6, 2014

10/06/2014 - A Focus on Brain Health

Brandon Staglin
Staglin Family Vineyard
One Mind

Brandon Staglin is Director of Marketing Communications for both Staglin Family Vineyard and the InternationalMental Health Research Organization (IMHRO). Having overcome many challenges in his life, including the diagnosis of schizophrenia in 1990, Brandon's strength, intelligence and passion add a tremendous value to both organizations. Graduating from Dartmouth College in 1993 with degrees in Engineering Sciences and Anthropology, he began to pursue his childhood dream in aerospace engineering. Later, he made a career change and began working in website development.

Today, Brandon oversees the web design, content and development for both websites. A highlight of his work is his video feature and open Q&A session to connect the public with mental health scientists, posted monthly on the IMHRO website. Several years ago Brandon married Nancy Abreu and the two live happily in Napa with their dog Cooper.

Jennifer Brusstar,
President and CEO,
Tug McGraw Foundation (TMF)

Jennifer Brusstar co-founded TMF with the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets relief pitcher, Tug McGraw, before his death in 2004. In her role, Jennifer has defined the foundation’s mission of raising funds to enhance the quality of life of children and adults with brain tumors and their families.

In 2009, Jennifer expanded the foundation’s programs to include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD), and Trauma Brain Injury, (TBI). This unique collaboration encourages the best minds in military and civilian medicine to accelerate new treatments and cures to improve quality of life in areas of physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual impact of those debilitating conditions. Her goal is to help educate policy makers and the American public about the pace at which scientific advancements-especially in the neurosciences-and improvements in quality of life for all would accelerate through increased civilian/military partnerships.

She is a board member of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke, and a Special Advisor to Soldiers to the Summit. In 2012, Jennifer and her team TMF team received the Statesmanship Award from the United States Former Members of Congress for the foundations work on it’s efforts to improve quality of life for those affected by brain-related trauma and tumors. In 2013 Jennifer Brusstar was the recipient of the Invisible Disabilities Association's Invisible Hero Honors Award. In 2014, Jennifer was a panelist at the Milken Global Conference for the series, Unlocking the Mysteries of the Brain.

In 2001, her youngest son Jack was diagnosed with Autism and today Jennifer volunteer’s time in helping support families who have children with special needs. Jennifer began her career as a flight attendant for American Airlines and has also worked as a translator for several major corporations.



Vikaas Sohal, M.D., Ph.D.,
IMHRO Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UCSF,
Dr Sohal has found that stimulating healthy patterns of electrical activity in the brains of mouse models of schizophrenia can normalize their cognitive behavior. Now, he will use this knowledge in a new government-funded project to research patterns of electrical stimulation which might someday be used to retrain the brain toward health.



Monday, September 29, 2014

9/22 - Entering Fall with Bouchon Bistro

Slow Living Radio welcomes Justin Williams, General Manager of Thomas Keller's Yountville Bouchon Bistro.  We discover what delights are to unfold for Autumn on the menu, some interesting history with the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, and a sampling of exciting upcoming events. 

Accueil, Jouir........Welcome, enjoy!

The first of three Bouchon properties within the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, Bouchon opened in 1998, just four years after The French Laundry. The restaurant offers French bistro fare and has received numerous accolades from both the culinary community and national press, including a one-star rating from Michelin Guide San Francisco and being included in the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants” since 2000.

Bouchon’s bistro fare changes with the seasons, and though their presentation may change, some of Chef Keller’s favorite dishes remain as fixtures on the menu: roast chicken, steak frites, croque madame, pot de crème and lemon tart. The restaurant also features an extensive raw bar, a seasonal Vin de Carafe program highlighting local winemakers and an extensive, international wine list complements the restaurant’s cuisine.

Justin Williams
General Manager

With more than 10 years of culinary experience, Justin’s comprehensive understanding of the kitchen and the dining room bring a unique point of view to Bouchon Bistro.  He has been working  in restaurants since 1995, notably cooking at Rocco DiSpirito’s Union Pacific and Rocco’s 22nd Street in New York City, and joined Bouchon Yountville as a Chef de Partie in 2002.

Justin holds a degree in Culinary Arts from The Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park.  He developed valuable management and service skills working at Il Fornaio in Sacramento, Roseville and Burlingame, Calif.  Justin rejoined Bouchon in 2010, gaining invaluable insights into every level of the service team, which he currently oversees, along with daily operations and staffing for both the Bistro and sibling Bouchon Bakery. 

 Some Autumn Samplings.....Fondue and Frites de Panisse






Monday, August 18, 2014

08/18/2014 - Chinese Wine Escapades

China has become an important and emerging region for wine consumption and is spending big on fine wines from around the world.  This episode of Slow Living's our guests share their experiences working with the Chinese, in particular Dr Joe Chuang of Firefly Vineyards, to help demystify wine for the general population.


Our introduction includes a performance by Panda Ye Peng, a Chinese singer living in Australia, bringing a taste of Reggae to her Chinese Audience.  See the performance here.

Tim and Dr Chuang with their awards in China

Tim Hanni MW
Sasha Paulson ,
Features Editor, Napa Register, and Author

Sasha and Tim have recently co-written, “The Master’s Secrets to Enjoying Wine”, which is being translated to be published later this year. The focus of the book is to engage Chinese consumers to “love wine from the heart” – meaning for the enjoyment of flavors, rather than just for the fashion or prestige.

Their Chinese mission began working with Dr. Joe Chuang, who has Firefly Vineyards in Napa. All of the wine he makes is shipped to China, where it is sold and the profits support a foundation he has established to help poor, rural children continue their education past 9th grade. Joe, a native of Taiwan, is an engineer by training, who has a green energy research company based in Napa that works world-wide. He also has a winery in China,  is hoping to establish a Global Wine Expo to help California winemakers sell wines more easily in China.  Joe is also establishing a Friendship association between his wine region, and California.

Sasha and Tim have fun with some local Chinese delicacies, scurrying sea cucumber,
and ........ a foot of some kind!
 Read more about their stories in the following articles written by Sasha.


Monday, August 11, 2014

08/11/14 - Mixing for Summer

Summer is in full swing and no better time for a nice cool "spirited" beverage infused with the flavors of the season.

Our two guests bring us their own personal "flavor", one through the written word and artifacts, and the other through some good pure mixed drink ideas.  We'll also get the low down on the world of bitters and food pairing.

culinary art and antiques maven. sommelier. hunter gatherer. fisherman. cook. writer. traveler and wanderer.

Lisa Minucci
Heritage Artifacts

As a sommelier for many years on both the east coast and west, Lisa Minucci travels the world’s great wine-producing regions and knows that where there is good wine, there is good food.  And where there is good food and wine, there are beautiful arts and antiques devoted to the noble pursuit of gastronomy; these artisanal pieces oftentimes created entirely for their exaltation and celebration. Heritage Culinary Artifacts is the ultimate repository for her treasures and finds. It’s also a wonderful excuse for Lisa to continue to travel, eat, fish, hunt, gather, and forage, returning to her home in California’s Napa Valley with interesting booty and tales from both the trails and the table. 

Paul Martin
Tasting Room Manager/Brand Ambassador

Paul had been enjoying “mixed” beverages since 2001, but it wasn’t until 2008 that he learned the difference between good and bad “booze” and became “intoxicated” with the industry.  Working his way through all aspects, from tour guide, to production, bottling, tasting room management, and of course, mixing, Paul has an acute sense of  the defining levels of many spirits including vodka, gin, brandy, tequila, rum, whiskey, absinthe, liquor, and the accompanying world of bitters.
Leading the tasting room of Napa Valley Distillery, Paul is often seen guiding large groups through a more extensive selection of beverages than one would ever see in a wine tasting room.  One could wonder whether his goal was to educate or inebriate?
Here's Paul's Drink of the Day:
Blood and Scandal.
Build in a rocks or tasting glass
1/4 ounce of Simple syrup
3 dashes of Meyer Lemon Sage Napa Valley bitters
1 1/2 ounce of the Napa Valley Distillery Gin
Add ice and top off with Blood Orange soda, stir and garnish with a cucumber wheel.
Try not to drink more that 5! :)