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Thursday, March 26, 2015

03/23/2015 - Artistic Inspiration and Wine made on Love

Slow Living Radio always loves stories of adventure and dreams, and stories of inspiration and our guests tonight bring us both. Phifer-Pavitt Winery was founded on a "date night" and continues to grow and be nurtured all around date nights of the founding couple.  And Nimbus Arts brings all forms of art to the public, giving therapy to abused teens and to veterans, and skills to schools and to anyone in the community who feels they may have an artist in them.  Some of their stories will bring tears to your eyes!

Suzanne Phifer-Pavitt
Phifer Pavitt Winery

Phifer Pavitt Winery is a dream of Suzanne Phifer and Shane Pavitt, who purchased twenty three acres on Silverado Trail in 1999. Over the course of several years of 'date nights,' the couple hatched the idea of their own Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon in 2005.  The winery opened in November 2010 and is housed in a historic “Napa Valley vernacular” barn, with a board-and-batten façade and metal roof, nestled into a scenic spot looking out over views of Napa Valley. The barn was found in nearby Franz Valley where it was situated for more than 100 years before being relocated to its current home. The barn was ‘repurposed’ into a winery; repurposing has become a dominant theme. Suzanne and Shane work to reduce the winery’s carbon footprint and preserve natural resources.  The décor includes numerous eco-chic elements, including reclaimed barbed wire ‘chandeliers,’ recycled blue jean insulation, recycled Wyoming snow-fencing paneling, a 1946 Farmall tractor and a walnut slab suspended from the ceiling in the upstairs tasting room. The latest addition to the tasting room consists of four salvaged large wood slab tables.

Shane grew up on the beach in Manhattan Beach, California and enjoyed a 20+ year career in the world of finance.  He loves the benefits and challenges presented by living in a small town like Calistoga.  He enjoys coaching youth football and baseball programs and the time it allows him to spend with his two sons.  His hobbies include snowboarding, running, mountain biking, hiking and not enough yoga.  

Born in Ringgold, Georgia, Suzanne has an MBA from the University of Southern California.  She transitioned from the corporate world to the wine world in 2004; she travels on behalf of the winery and in the summer of 2010 was named an honorary Kentucky Colonel for her efforts. Suzanne was also one of the founding participants in an annual exchange between women vintners in Bordeaux and Napa. She is actively involved in her sons’ schools and their sports teams. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Club of St. Helena and Calistoga and she is also on the Board of the Calistoga Community Pool. She loves the great outdoors, skiing, diving, yoga, gardening and sharing a great meal and wine with friends.


Jamie Graff, Executive Director,
Nimbus Arts.

Nimbus Arts is dedicated to nurturing curiosity, fostering creative expression, and building a sense of community. In addition to on-site classes and camps, open studios, and lectures, they offer free public events, community service programs, classes in public and private schools, and collaborative art projects throughout Napa County.
Jamie Graff
and fellow artists

Hundreds of Hands: Mariposa Program

Nimbus Arts’ Hundreds of Hands: Mariposa program is an 18-month-long free public art leadership project with Mariposa, Napa County Office of Education’s middle school empowerment and anti-abuse program for at-risk Latinas.

Student leaders become “mosaic expert” instructors and travel out into the community to create mosaic butterflies, becoming role models, mentors, and furthering their mission of empowerment and public awareness of their work.

Nimbus stands strongly behind creating this style of project which is both community building and collaborative.

The mural will be installed at the Cope Family Center in late summer 2015.

Hundreds of Hands mosaic to be installed at Cope


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

03/16/2015 - Horses and Wine to the Rescue!

This week Slow Living Radio celebrates horses. Our first guest established a winery on a converted Equestrian Center in Lake County, and still finds time to compete in rodeo and other equestrian events. The second tells us the story of Sunrise Horse Rescue which brings hope and home to less fortunate horses in the wine country.

Tracey Hawkins
Hawk and Horse Vineyards

Mitch and Tracey Hawkins along with Tracey’s step-dad, David Boies and the Boies family, partnered to create Hawk and Horse Vineyards. The winery takes its name from the plentiful Red-Tail Hawks on the property as well as the ranch’s history as an equestrian facility.  Known as El Roble Grande in the '60's and '70's, the ranch was formerly an Arabian breeding estate.  The Boies and Hawkins families maintain the original rustic elegance of the ranch and welcome visitors for tours and tastings.  The equestrian elements of the ranch are now for private use only. The primary focus of the ranch is viticulture.

Tracey was born in Fullerton, California on July 22nd, 1964. She grew up in Sonoma County, California, where, from a young age, she helped in the family's restaurant. Growing up in California's wine country, wine was a natural part of life.

When the family purchased the 1,300 acre Lower Lake property which is now home to Hawk and Horse Vineyards, Tracey immediately resonated with the land and its rugged beauty. Regular visits evolved and she and Mitch eventually began running the ranch and developing Hawk and Horse Vineyards with the support of their family. Tracey and Mitch work closely together in all aspects of wine production, from farming and harvest decisions to winemaking and cooperage.

Tracey serves as Executive Winemaker, liaising with the winery's Consulting Winemakers and is involved in all the substantive winemaking decisions. She has had the opportunity to work with and be mentored by some of the ‑nest winemakers in the industry. Before starting Hawk and Horse Vineyards, Tracey worked in the wine industry for six years in sales and marketing. Tracey holds a degree in Creative Writing, summa cum laude, from San Francisco State University. She has also studied wine making through U.C. Davis and wine marketing at Sonoma State University. In her spare time,
Tracey enjoys spending time with her children, cooking, and writing poetry. She also competes in amateur rodeo and gymkhana events. Mitch and Tracey have three children whom they raise in close relationship to the land and the business they so love.


Lisa Beth O’Connor
Sunrise Horse Rescue

 Every year, countless horses go without enough food, shelter or love. Sunrise Horse Rescue is the only non-profit organization in Napa County dedicated to saving such horses and providing them with forever homes. Children and adults in the community gain life-skills by assisting in the rehabilitation of these horses and provide them with the loving attention they so deserve.

Sunrise Horse Rescue is a non-profit horse rescue and sanctuary operation in Napa County, whose mission is to rescue and provide sanctuary for abused and neglected horses in Napa County as well as to provide community members of all ages with life-enhancing skills and experiences derived from horsemanship.  Since its inception in 2007, SHR has rescued and provided homes for more than 50 at-risk horses.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

03/09/2015 - A Naked Wine Perspective is a way for wine drinkers to get in touch with winemakers. You can buy wine from them like any other wine company, or you can get an even richer experience by becoming a Naked Angel and directly supporting independent winemakers. Angels deposit $40 a month in their accounts as a prepayment for wine, and those deposits allow to invest in talented winemakers. There are over 250,000 Angels around the world funding this completely new way to make and enjoy fine wine.


Benoit Vialle runs the US branch of, but he's more likely to describe himself as our most ardent Angel than as a chief executive of the company. His unending enthusiasm is only paralleled by his tech savvy which he honed in years of work at Microsoft and smaller startups like VentePrivee.


Ryan O'Connell started making wine in the south of France when he was just 19 and within a few years, his family turned to crowd-funding to save their vineyard and make the business sustainable. With some very flattering awards and accolades for winemaking and wine writing under his belt, Ryan now works at USA where he helps recruit new winemakers and wine drinkers by sharing stories about the wines with the whole community.