Cadet Wine & Beer Bar

cadet outside

By Craig Smith

Colleen Fleming and Aubrey Bailey, co-owners of Cadet Beer and Wine Bar, are very happy with how well their business has been received in the year and a half they’ve been open. Theirs was a concept that didn’t exist, and people love it.

“We envisioned a place to drink funky wine and beer past 9 p.m. in a fun environment with cool music,” said Fleming, who first conceived of the idea of Cadet. Bailey added, “It also has to be whole heartedly for the community.” Cadet has indeed been embraced by locals, including the wine community. “We get lots of industry people here, from
cellar rats to wine makers,” added Fleming. “There is a lot of sharing, mingling and meeting other people.”

Fleming said she is like many people, in that she wants to be her own boss. She spent years cooking in Napa restaurants such as Roux and Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, then worked for her family’s winery, Kelly Fleming Wines, selling their cult estate-Cabernets. Bailey, her roommate at the time, had an equally impressive resume, having cooked in Napa
restaurants including Redd and Julia’s Kitchen. She was a sommelier at The French Laundry, and listened as Fleming fleshed out the idea for Cadet. “When Colleen said she

needed a partner, it was serendipitous, and I thought ‘Why not?” Fleming laughs, “I lured Aubrey away from the best restaurant in the country to open a bar in an alley.”

The name Cadet implies a trainee, beginner, someone excited to learn. “That’s how it should be for our guests and for us,” said Fleming. The two women initially thought they’d be a California wine bar, but tweaked the concept based on customer feedback. “Originally, we offered mostly California beers and wines,” said Bailey, “but a lot of guests wanted an international selection. It’s probably fifty-fifty now.”  Bailey said that helps industry folks. “If somebody is working on a new Syrah project, they can come here to drink wines from Rhone.” Beer has been a bigger hit than they expected.  “It’s crazy,” said Fleming. “People like to experiment and try something new. We constantly change the menu so that it’s never stale.”  Cadet always has six beers on tap and fifty different bottled beers, as well as sixteen wines by the glass. The wine and beer list is developed with the help of the customers and what they want to discover. “We’re lucky; they have good taste,” said Bailey, with a grin.

Wednesday nights feature a wine or beer maker as guest bartender. Hardly stuffy or pedantic affairs, the evenings are fun and casual. “We let them be bartenders for a night and pour and talk,” said Fleming. “Some even bring their own music.” Matthiasson Wines was recently featured. “They got to talk to a new generation of wine drinkers in a casual, fun atmosphere,” said Bailey.

The bar bites are a big part of Cadet. “We buy salumi from Oenotri and slice it here,” said Fleming. “We also have a proscuitto plate and grilled cheese, all served as bar bites.” The outdoor patio with its marketplace lights, tucked away as Cadet is in an alleyway, offers a cozy, neighborhood feel.

Cadet is open Monday through Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to Midnight, Fridays and Saturdays until 1:30 a.m. Stop in and enjoy a completely unpretentious evening.

930 Franklin Street, Napa  |  (707) 927-3623    |

Open Monday – Thursday 5PM – Midnight  |  Friday & Saturday 5PM – 1:30AM



By Dara Weyna

Do you remember the last time you sat down for a much-needed break and grabbed your coloring book?

Welcome to the newest craze in finding your center while losing yourself in the moment. Move over yoga, adult coloring books are here.

As an artist, I have always found creative fulfillment by letting my ideas flow through line and color onto a surface in the form of drawing. I know the personal, often hard to articulate benefits of releasing the creative impulse. It, therefore, excites me to see that others are finding ways to do the same, through the highly-popular medium of coloring.

Thanks in part to the wildly-successful book, Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book by illustrator, Johanna Basford, which has sold over 2 million copies worldwide, the coloring book market has skyrocketed. Dover Publisher’s “Creative Haven” line, launched in 2012 has sold over 3 million books and has helped to create a massive, new, industry category. Walk into any bookstore, box store, or even grocery store, these days and, sure enough, you will find a section devoted to coloring books.

Since we rely so heavily on technology in our fast-paced and stressful world, it is crucial to find non-digital ways to eliminate stress and maintain a calm mind and body. This is one reason why the “old-school” trend of coloring has become so enticing.

Group coloring sessions are sprouting up all over the country in libraries, recreation-centers and amongst friends in their homes. According to former Bay Area artist and popular coloring book author, Lisa Congdon, “It’s a fun way to socialize while ‘making art’ and it doesn’t require a lot of concentration, so you can chat or have a glass of wine while you’re doing it.” It allows for creative expression because coloring evokes the nostalgia of childhood.

When children create, they do so without fear or intimidation. They go forth in the freedom of pure expression because they haven’t yet been conditioned to “stay in the lines” or to only color things as they may be seen with their eyes. So, their pages are filled with blue cats, orange trees, pink trucks…and purple grass. It was the inspiration of my son’s own colorful interpretation of a nature scene that led me to choose the title, “The Grass Can Be Purple” for my first coloring book.

While creating line-drawn Valentine’s Day cards as a fundraiser for my son’s school, I began thinking about turning the images into actual, full-size, coloring pages. Many friends were sharing articles on the adult coloring-book craze with me on Facebook and when people saw my illustrations they began encouraging me to create a book of my own. The timing of this encouragement was perfect as it was a very stressful time for me personally, and I found that drawing and coloring were some of the best ways to calm my anxiousness and diffuse my frustration. Experiencing the benefits of this activity made me want to offer the same service of healing to others. In the future, I intend to organize group coloring sessions at our teen and senior centers in the hopes of bringing our communities together through this fun and rewarding creative activity.

Once I committed to making the book, I began drawing images that appealed to me: abstract nature forms, floral and paisley patterns, underwater scenes and other designs inspired by my appreciation of global elements from India, Scandinavia and Mexico. Many of the pages in the book are a synthesis of drawings or paintings that I had already done in the past. Some of the work is very loose and organic…swirling curly-cues and vines, whimsical flowers and leaves. Other drawings are much more symmetrical or have a lot of repeated patterns. I love knowing that others will make these pages into their own unique piece of art, turning the final product into a creative collaboration.

When I was a young girl, I would sit for hours with my box of Crayolas and large sheets of paper that my dad would bring home from his office. I’ve always had an insatiable desire to make things and a deep appreciation and admiration for things that are made by hand. I work in printmaking, jewelry making, crochet, needlepoint, watercolor and acrylic painting, to name a few, but drawing and coloring have been my very first artistic love. Now, 40 years later, it is a rewarding,
full-circle joy to be liberating this childlike creativity again for myself and for others.

I invite you to join me in the fun and relaxing practice of coloring. Come, embrace an activity where you can let go of perfectionism and make your own rules. Mistakes are a part of the process and can become “happy accidents.” Let your hand take your mind and body to a relaxed and restorative place. Release your inner child and hush the voice that tells you it’s just about “staying in the lines.” Revisit your childhood and let your color choices be influenced by your mood or desire. After all, who says the grass can’t be purple?

Dara Weyna is a mom and artist from American Canyon. Her book, “The Grass Can Be Purple: 24 unique illustrations for creative coloring” is available at:

The Napa Bookmine

Online: (free shipping for locals)

In person (

Follow her @  to see more work and to join in future coloring events.

Napa Valley Arts in April

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by Kristin Ranuio

What do Andy Warhol, Rembrandt, and the Calistoga Camera Club student have in common? You can see work by all of them, and much, much, more, at the fifth annual, Napa Valley Arts in April, featuring works that span artistic disciplines, mediums, genres, and decades.

During the entire month of April, there are dozens of special shows, exhibits, openings, and events celebrating the arts and artists. Events are being held throughout the Valley, from American Canyon to Calistoga, with offerings in American Canyon, Napa, Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, and Calistoga. Many of the events are free to attend; less than thirty percent will be charging an entry fee, and most of those are under twenty dollars.

The month begins with the “Kick off Arts in April” reception at the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville on April 2, 2015. Events that follow include Art, Sip, and Stroll in Yountville, a behind- the-scenes tour of the 15,000 sq. ft. studio of renowned local artist, Gordon Huether, anonymous urban art at a preview tour of the Napa Valley Ruins & Gardens, and an Art, Antique & Collectible Appraisal Day at the Napa Valley Museum. Visitors may bring in their goods to get a verbal,      

auction, market value for a donation of ten dollars per item; up to five items per person may be evaluated.

Also included is the month–long, Inspiration Station, an exhibition showcasing the original works of Heidi Barrett at the Napa Valley Wine Train Station, The Art of Life presented by Festival del Sole and The Hess Collection, iPhonic Art: Astonishing iPhotography at Markham Vineyards in partnership with Knox Production of Pixels and long-time friend of the winery, Rolling Stone Magazine’s first chief photographer, Baron Wolman, a behind the scenes tour of internationally-renowned artist, Carlo Marchiori’s Villa Ca’Toga, and so many more. There are exhibits, interactive tours, private collections open to the public for the event, artist meet-and-greets, and dozens of other offerings to help quench your cultural thirst.

Participating wineries offer a wide range of events and exhibits, including tours of permanent, and rotating, collections. It offers the opportunity to see wineries you may have been to before in a new way, and to explore new ones, while viewing art and meeting artists. Rather than traveling to Italy or New York to see great works, we have the chance to see them right in our own backyard.

New to Napa Valley Arts in April is the Creative Change Program, launched in conjunction with Arts Council Napa Valley. Throughout the month, partnering businesses and wineries have committed to donate a percentage of their proceeds, or offering an easy way to guests to contribute to help the Arts Council Napa Valley reach their goal of $20,000 by the end of June. Funds collected stay in the community, including helping to keep arts and music alive and well in local schools. This means a chance to do something worthwhile, while having a good time. Creative Change Partners include Andaz Napa, Cairdean Estate, Gordon Huether Studio, Engage Art Fair, Humanitas (sister label to Jessup Cellars, part of Good Life Wine Collective), and the Napa Valley Wine Train.

Napa Valley Wine Train Proprietor and Director of Marketing, Kira Devitt, says,“We are delighted to give back to the local community and thank them for their ongoing support of the Napa Valley Wine Train. As the Wine Train is considered a rolling museum and a treasure in the valley, and the Arts Council Napa Valley strives to enrich the lives of the greater Napa community through arts and culture, we are honored to call the organization a partner.”

The month culminates in the final event of the celebration, Engage Art Festival, at the Napa County Fairgrounds, April 25 and 26.  This two-day, indoor, immersive-art exhibition offers the opportunity to experience the Napa Valley art culture in a dynamic environment, with gallery booths mixed in with active artists’ stations. Here you will have the opportunity to engage with the artists while sampling boutique wines, paired with the culinary artistry of local chefs. Arts in

April Producer, Danielle Smith, says this one is a must-do, with art ranging from classic to outrageous, and everything in between.

A complete listing of all exhibits, activities, special lodging packages and events can be found at

Brix Restaurant & Gardens

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By John & Dorothy Salmon

We recently had a lovely dinner with our pals, Ron and Teri Kuhn, at Brix to celebrate our good fortune, our children, grandchildren and the Kuhns’ incredible Pillar Rock Cabernet. We laughed through most of the dinner, while commenting on how lovely the setting is at Brix, with its warm interior and a rock-star garden, enjoyed from the outdoor dining area when the weather is good. Ron and Teri headquarter at their primary home in Chicago, but get to enjoy Napa, Florida and Arizona when they visit their other homes. Fortunately for us, they are planning to spend more time in Napa, especially in the winter when Chicago is freezing, windy and covered in snow. Their kids and grandkids live in Chicago, so that’s where their hearts are when they are not in Napa making sure their Pillar Rock wines are doing well across the United States.

Brix has been a staple on Highway 29 since 1996. The Kelleher Family has made Brix a top-notch restaurant and magical place for weddings, receptions, meetings, celebrations of any kind and a great place to be for romantic occasions or simply dining out with friends. Brix Restaurant and Gardens is a classic pairing of unique, contemporary cuisine with a French accent. With 16 perfect Napa Valley acres of beautiful gardens and vineyards, you will always find just-picked vegetables and a great wine selection from its list of more than 800 labels.

When we arrived, we were met by General Manager, Michael Cope, who has vast experience in the restaurant business with years at The Girl and the Fig in Sonoma. Since we were with Ron and Teri, we of course, enjoyed their Pillar Rock 2007 Stags Leap Cabernet ($170). Needless to say, it was a good thing we were with them! The wine is amazing as are Ron and Teri, who are consistently generous donors at Auction Napa Valley and the V Foundation, as well as spreading their philanthropy across the country. Teri was the V Foundation, 2010 Fund-A-Need Honoree as a Leukemia survivor, generously supporting Leukemia Research through the V Foundation.

After Notre Dame alum, John and USC alum, Ron dispensed with their usual banter recalling the rivalries of the two schools and which has the better football team, we started our evening with Roasted Pedrone Peppers, topped with aged balsamic ($10) and the Crispy Fried Green Beans, served with spicy mustard sauce ($10). We also indulged in the special flat–bread, with cherry tomatoes, arugula, crème fraiche, rib-eye caps, feta, fontina and a drizzle of balsamic ($15), which Teri said was the best flat bread she had ever eaten.  Our server, John Adams, was very attentive, lots of fun and made great suggestions all evening.

For our main course, Ron ordered the Roasted Colorado Lamb, served with black mission figs, fennel bulb, blue cheese, toasted pistachios and fig chocolate-sauce ($38). Teri ordered the Salad of Baby Field Greens and poached summer peaches, honey-whipped ricotta, spiced hazelnuts and peach vinaigrette ($10) and the Sicilian Casserole with grilled octopus, beef bone marrow, tomato-braised beef tripe and herbed Parmesan bread crumbs ($12). John enjoyed the Grilled Atlantic Salmon with broccoli rabe, Italian-seafood tomato sauce, green olives, speck ham with roasted eggplant puree and oregano bread crumbs ($27) and Dorothy was delighted with the Caramelized Sea Scallops served with a medley of toasted almonds, snap peas, mint, chili peppers and sweet corn, with a truffle vinaigrette ($33).

Since we knew that the meal would lead to this review, we HAD to order desserts! So, we shared the Grilled Summer Peach, served with an almond streusel, whipped brie, saffron honey and peach lavender sorbet ($10) and the Triple Chocolate Snicker Sundae with chocolate polenta cake, caramel sauce, curry-roasted peanuts, caramelized banana with chocolate ice cream ($10).

The dinner menu at Brix is extensive and interesting; the bar is lots of fun; the wine list is wonderful and Brix is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. Brix is a favorite partner and a featured restaurant at Hands Across the Valley, The V Foundation, Flavor Napa Valley and many more local events. The menu changes daily, drawing inspiration from the restaurant’s extensive gardens and traditions of the winemaking regions of Southern France and Northern Italy. The flower and vegetable gardens contain both raised-beds and in-ground beds in which crops grow year round. Tiny salad greens, fava beans and strawberries in the spring; French beans, eggplant, tomatoes, berries and melons in the summer; apples and pears, hard squash, potatoes, and fresh onions in the fall, and Meyer lemons and sweet limes, sweet peas, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower Romenesco and butter lettuce in the winter.

In the Lounge and Wine Bar, you can sit by the fire
and enjoy a glass of wine, with wine tastings by
appointment, featuring the Kelleher Family Vineyard wines grown in the Oakville Appellation.

A few weeks after our dinner we were back at Brix speaking with Matt Guyot, their talented Special Events Manager about a possible rehearsal dinner for our daughter. I guess that is the best recommendation
that we could make!

Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch

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By John & Dorothy Salmon

Dorothy and Peg Maddocks, the Executive Director of NapaLearns, stopped for a delightful lunch at Farmstead in St. Helena after an UpValley NapaLearns Board Meeting. Farmstead is one of the happiest places in the Napa Valley. For five years, Ted and Laddie Hall have passionately served fresh, certified-organic vegetables and grass-fed, farm-raised beef and lamb from their three acre ranch and their remarkable Rutherford gardens. Not only can you have a great lunch or dinner at Farmstead, you can taste their great wines in the historic, Logan-Ives House. Wouldn’t you love to serve those REALLY fresh eggs tomorrow morning for breakfast at your house? You can bring them home, along with fresh veggies and amazing olive oil by stopping at the Farmers Market at Long Meadow Ranch on Fridays from 9AM to 1PM, or Saturday and Sunday from 11AM to 4PM.

Ted, Laddie and Chris Hall raise grass-fed beef, heirloom fruits and vegetables and happy chickens who lay farm-fresh eggs at their historic 650 acre Mayacamas Estate, high in the Mayacamas Mountains. They also produce award-winning wines from their 16 acres of vineyards planted in the 1870’s. You can guess where the honey served at Farmstead comes from…no surprise; it is from the Hall’s honeybees kept at the Rutherford Estate.

Ted and Laddie Hall are wonderful people and Farmstead is one of Napa Valley’s best places to dine because they serve wonderful food in a warm, inviting environment with great ambiance, lots of light, cool furnishings and great staff who are friendly, well informed and quick to make all guests happy. Executive Chef, Stephen Barber, is an award-winning chef and a favorite in the Napa Valley. We have followed him from BarbersQ to Fish Story to Farmstead because his talent is unique and his food is delicious, fresh, and Farmstead is the perfect landing place for Stephen.

Farmstead, which was built as a nursery barn, seats 110 happy guests and is surrounded by an open kitchen with both booth and central seating and a great, community-dining area and, of course, a full bar. Peg and Dorothy stopped for lunch at Farmstead because they love Ted and Laddie and wanted to say thank you to Farmstead for choosing The Pathway Home as their designated “Corkage for Community.” The Hall’s donate the fees collected each month to a local nonprofit. Over the past five years, Farmstead has donated more than $90,000 to local, community-serving nonprofits. The Pathway Home is so grateful for this generosity.

Farmstead is also the place to stop Monday through Friday, from 4PM to 6PM for their Growers Happy Hour with specially-priced cocktails, beer and wine, and their special bar menu. On Fridays, Farmstead offers live entertainment and sitting outdoors is the best way to end your day by the cozy, wood–fired,
authentic forge.

We were greeted at ourour table by their server, Brenna, who made sure that the lunch was fun and healthy. Since there was lots of work still to do that afternoon, we both started with ice tea ($3.50).  If we had been able to have a glass of wine, we could have chosen from Farmstead’s long and legendary, large, double–sided, wine list and tempting cocktail selections, from the Farmstead Margarita ($11) to their Manhattan ($16), or maybe the North Bay, made with Sipsmith gin, dimmi liquor, lemon juice and bay simple-syrup ($11). We knew that we would be back for dinner soon,and we plan to order a glass or two, or a bottle of their terrific wines, many great ones by the glass for $12-$22. Or, wemi9ght order a bottle of Long Meadow Ranch Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese, Petite Sirah, all at reasonable prices. If you are in the mood and have the purchasing power for some great wines, you can share a bottle of the 2007 E.J. Church Cabernet Sauvignon ($296). Farmstead was full at lunch, and in talking to Adam Kim and Kipp Ramsey, their Farm to Table Manager, Farmstead has had a great start in 2015 and has been full in January and February.

For lunch, Peg ordered the Potato gnocchi with grass fed beef ragu, parmesan and herbs ($22), which was really amazing. Dorothy ordered the Dungeness crab and bay shrimp LouieLouie, with gem lettuces, avocado and cornichons ($23.50). It was the perfect lunch. When Adam Kim stopped by to greet us, he generously let us try the warm burrata cheese with LMR estate olive oil and whole roasted garlic ($16) and the Long Meadow Ranch grass- fed, steak tartare, with farm egg, capers, cornichons, Tabasco and toast ($17).  Wow!

Using our usual excuse that we were writing this review, we HAD to at least taste the Meyer Lemon Meringue pie made from the LMR Meyer lemons ($8). We both remarked that our mothers made great lemon meringue pies when we were kids but NOTHING like this Meyer Lemon pie, which was incredible.

If you want to experience an amazing ranch that and feel like you are immersed in Napa County’s history, you can take a tour of the Long Meadow Ranch 650 acre farm and see their one-of-a–kind, rammed-earth winery, caves, sample their wines and experience a view that is indescribable. ($60/person plus tax: 11AM, 1PM and 3:30PM). That’s just one of four tours and tastings you can experience at Long Meadow Ranch.

We think that even a long term resident of Napa County will benefit from the tours and tastings offered at Long Meadow Ranch. Ted and Laddie also offer a Fat Tuesday Celebration, with classic NOLA and Creole food, and live music and partying. If you want to experience the Napa Valley in the early morning on your bike ride, you can join the Tack and Tacksman Ride every Saturday.

Ted and Laddie Hall have created an all encompassing opportunity for visitors to dine on fabulous fresh food, shop next door at their General Store and go back in time in their restored 1874 Gothic revival farmstead. Farmstead is the best example of the family farm from centuries ago. Not only are the Hall’s a wonderful family working hand in hand with their son Chris and their experienced staff, they are giving, loving people who extend their generosity to so many others in the Napa Valley.

Visit Farmstead this month and bring your own wine. In doing so, you will get a great meal and also support The Pathway Home.

Aureole Ranch Horse Rescue

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by Laird Durham

When Anne Houghton, CEO of Aureole Ranch Horse Rescue, was three years old, her mother bought her a pony. So began a 35-year love affair with horses. Today, Anne cares for 16 horses, a mule, a donkey, and two goats — all of them rescued while on their way to a slaughter house.

Anne told me that some 20,000 horses are sent from California each year to slaughter houses in Canada and Mexico where they are butchered and exported as food to countries in Asia and Europe. The horses come from thoroughbred breeders and racing stables, drug production operations, riding academies, trek outfitters, cattle ranches, and private owners. Most of those horses are purchased at livestock auctions where they are bid on by “kill buyers,” fattened up in feed lots, and illegally transported to Canada or Mexico.

Aureole Ranch is a “virtual” ranch. Anne doesn’t own any land. Her horses are scattered from Southern California to Washington, where they are maintained by fosterers, and by Anne and her husband, James, who personally care for most of them at three locations in Calistoga, Petaluma, and St. Helena. Volunteers lend a hand from time to time, to feed, groom, exercise, and clean up after them. Cleaning up is a big job. A

horse puts out an average of 30 pounds of manure a day.

Anne and James have full-time day jobs. She is the tasting-room manager for the Maldonado Family Winery in Calistoga, and he is a chef for the Trinchero Estate winery in St. Helena. Much of their income goes to pay for the horse-rescue operation – literally eating up about $30,000 a year at $3 for a bale of hay. It costs $200 per month or more to board some of their horses.

Aureole Ranch Horse Rescue achieved Federal, non-profit status last year, so Anne now can offer tax deductions for foster care. They are actively seeking people to foster horses, to adopt them, to volunteer to help care for them, to provide grazing and stable facilities and, of course, to donate money for

the operation.

A Horse For Kelly To Ride

Monique Beal of Santa Rosa is one of Anne’s horse fosterers, whose daughter, Kelly, 16, is the care giver. Kelly has been riding horses since she was 5. When the Beals moved here from San Diego about a year ago, they began looking for a horse for Kelly. They met Anne through her winery job, and became fosterers for a 15-year old Saddlebred gelding named Chance, rescued from an auction. The Beals pay to board Chance at Cloverleaf Ranch, and are responsible for veterinary care and bi-monthly shoeing done by a professional farrier.

Kelly provides the care: grooming, companionship, and bathing.

Whoa! Bathing? A horse gets baths?

“Oh, yes, Kelly,” says. “Horses get dirty just like dogs, and have to be bathed. Of course, right after I give Chance a bath he goes out and rolls in dirt.”

Kelly rides Chance 3-4 days a week, so fostering is a better alternative than a riding academy. Her preference is English riding, which makes Chance’s background as a show horse a good match. Kelly does both trail riding and ring work, and has bonded well with the horse. Chance usually is in pasture when Kelly arrives at the ranch. When the horse sees her he whinnies and runs up to her at the gate.

Monique believes fostering a horse and caring for it teaches young people patience, discipline,

and respect.

It has taught Kelly a love for animals that she expects to carry over into an adult occupation: she wants to become a veterinarian. If she goes away to college in another 2 years, the Beals will return Chance to Aureole Ranch.

“If we have to give up fostering Chance I think we would continue to pay for his care,” Monique says.

Horses Are Just Big Pets

When most people think about horses they think of them for riding, racing, or working cows, along with pick-up trucks and horse trailers. But for many horse fosterers and adopters, horses are pets and companions, rarely ridden. That’s how Stacey Windbigler, 44, thinks of them. She says she spends more time telling her troubles to her big Percheron, Samson, than she does riding him. At 6 feet 2 inches tall at the shoulder, Samson towers 14 inches over Stacey. Stacey says he is the biggest horse she could find.

“I’m not the only one who thinks of horses first as pets,” Stacey says. “I see a lot of women with hay bales on their SUVs.”

As many animal owners have found, Stacey thinks owning an animal develops a bond and mutual respect. “I have learned as much about myself as I have about my horses,” Stacey says.

Stacey became a fosterer for Aureole Ranch when she was looking for a companion for Samson. She began fostering a Thoroughbred mare, Megan, rescued from an auction in Washington. Stacey and Samson became so attached to Megan that Stacey adopted her.

What is the difference between fostering and adopting? According to Stacey it is the level of commitment.

“It would be a good idea to start by fostering a horse, and then adopting later if a bond develops, and the finances work out”, she explains. It costs about $700 a month to foster or adopt a horse, including boarding charges, feed, and care from vets and farriers. Stacey spends more than that by giving her horses a lot of herbs, both Chinese and domestic.

Stacey has a deep love for animals of all kinds, developed from the time she was young in the remote mountains of Northern California where there were few kids her age. When she was 7 years old she rode steers in a rodeo, and always had dogs and cats, but never a horse. Now, besides her two horses, she has two dogs, two cats, three mini-burros, and a pond full of turtles. Stacey has two grown daughters and a ten-year-old son. Stacey and her husband are looking for 4-5 acres of land where they can build their dream house and pasture their animals.

Anne Houghton is eager to find adopters for her horses as well as fosterers. “Every horse that is adopted gives us another spot for a rescue.” she says.

Happy 50th Anniversary Yountville!

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by Lisa Adams Walter

This year brought on a celebration in the Napa Valley that’s set to last throughout 2015: the Town of Yountville is celebrating its 50th Anniversary. Similar to the world-class hospitality for which the village is known, Yountville is set to celebrate in inimitable Napa Valley!

When pioneer George C. Yount settled in what is now Napa County nearly 185 years ago, it is doubtful that he realized what his legacy would be. One of the first white settlers in the area, he was the first U.S. citizen to obtain a Spanish land grant in Northern California, and what is now Napa County, from the Mexican government. Respectful of the Native Americans who originally inhabited his land, Yount named his parcel Caymus Rancho after the tribe.

Among other firsts, Yount was the first to plant grapevines in the Napa Valley. He also built a large, water-powered flour mill that was called the “Star of the Pacific Premium Mill.” Originally, Yount named the tiny settlement within his grant “Sebastopol.” However, because there was another town with that name not too far away, soon after he passed away in 1865, the townspeople renamed the place he founded “Yountville” in 1867. Later in the 1860s, when a railroad was built in the Napa Valley, an increasing number of people became aware of Yountville. The site was very attractive to Gottleib Groezinger who bought a 20-acre parcel from the Yount estate and built a large complex that included a winery and distillery. The buildings remain as V-Marketplace (locals refer to it as Vintage 1870) which is still the bustling centerpiece of the town.

In 1884, right around the time of the peace agreement that ended the Civil War, the Veterans Home of California (now the largest in the state) was founded in Yountville on land adjacent to what was originally Yount’s grant.

A full century passed after Yount’s death, before the town was officially incorporated on February 4, 1965, fifty years ago. I spent many days of my childhood exploring Yountville with one of my best friends, who lived on Yount Street. There were more local bars than restaurants, we’d peruse Vintage 1870 and sample tastes from The Chutney Kitchen, I don’t recall a winery tasting room within the limits of the town.

“Yountville was a just a roadside collection of taverns supporting the Veterans Home until the locals decided to incorporate. That decision and subsequent improvements marked the beginning of the lovely town we, and thousands of tourists, enjoy each year,” said John Holt, an Anniversary Celebration Committee Member.

Still, with the rapid changes of the last twenty to thirty years, Yountville has maintained a sense of authenticity, and definitely its own charm. Today, less than 3,000 residents, many of whom live at the Veterans Home, inhabit the town which is quite likely one of the friendliest and happiest places on the planet. As the Napa Valley has evolved into a world-class destination, Yountville has been on the forefront of that evolution creating a peaceful, and elegant place to live, work and explore.

Yountville Town Council Member Margie Mohler and Anniversary Celebration Committee Member who moved to the town in 1999 said, “What is special to me about Yountville is the community spirit and the common feelings that we all live in a special place where neighbors are more like family and care for each other.”

Another celebration committee member, Napa Valley Museum Executive Director Kristie Sheppard added, “The 50th anniversary is a huge milestone for the town and a reminder that our rich history isn’t that old. It’s amazing to see how Yountville has changed over the past 50 years, more than 150 years since the town was first settled by Americans.”

The Yountville 50th Anniversary Celebration kicks off on February 4 at 5:00 p.m. with a free event at the intersection of Washington and Yount Streets that will feature an aerial photograph of locals that live and work in the town, as well as a celebratory toast and treats.

Other festivities planned for the year include a theatrical presentation of Yountville’s history by students of Yountville Elementary School during Yountville Days, a summertime White August Night, the installation of a pair of one-ton, quartz grindstones from George Yount’s mill near the Yountville Community Center and a historical film series.

“The significance of our 50th anniversary is that a group of people came together fifty years ago and wanted a better place to live – a place safe for the children and a place of which everyone could be proud,” Mohler added, “I think somehow we all continue to be part of Yount’s spirit – he was referred to as the ‘kindly host of Caymus Rancho’ – and we kindly welcome friends, new neighbors, and guests who come to visit our town.”

As a resident of Yountville, I agree. Indeed, George Yount would be proud.

Weddings in Napa Valley – Locking in the Love

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by Lisa Adams Walter

With Valentine’s Day on the calendar later in the month, February has traditionally become associated with romance and love. The three hundred sixty degree outdoor beauty, pleasant weather for the majority of the year, countless picturesque vistas, many traditional churches, several vineyard settings, and the fame for generous hospitality and romantic escapes…have naturally made the Napa Valley a prime location for the most “love-filled” days of all time: weddings.

Those with a unique perspective of the wedding experience include officiants who marry couples. Current trends reveal that wedding officiants vary widely. Many are religious or spiritual, while many are not. Close friends and relatives are increasingly popular to serve as an officiant for brides and grooms.

Wedding officiants in Napa typically marry people from outside the region, as destination weddings represent another trend that has long been on the rise. Those that have married locals usually know
the couple in some other capacity outside of the wedding.

Pastor Todd Bertani, a Lutheran pastor who performs anywhere from five to ten weddings a year, enjoys the experience of officiating. “I have done a few for local couples, but the majority are from out of state. I have done some for couples from San Francisco, but they are in the minority and usually are transplants from somewhere else. The local couples I have married in the Napa Valley have for the most part been done in the backyard of someone’s home.”

Napa City Councilmember, and former Napa City Firefighter, Scott Sedgley is a lifelong Napan who has officiated at several weddings at the request of several local brides, all of whom were friends of his grown children. “I believe firefighters have earned a position of trust in their communities, and as such are often asked do things and help friends,” said Sedgley.

Isn’t It Romantic?

Of the most romantic weddings in which Bertani participated, he notes was at Napa’s Andretti Winery, “It was a very private wedding of about six people not including the couple. They had been together for about five years, had gone through many ups and downs, and in fact right before they traveled from Florida to come to Napa for the wedding, the groom was in a serious car accident. He somehow decided rather than canceling the trip, to go ahead and follow through with the plans.” Bertani recalls that the beautiful location and the fact that the entire wedding guest list included only their mothers and few others made it a very romantic and meaningful wedding.

Local wine industry veteran, Tim McDonald, has been officiating weddings, mostly for people that he knew prior, for years. With more than twenty weddings on his roster, McDonald has officiated in the Napa Valley, as well as other locations such as Mexico, Laguna Beach, Milwaukee and Salzburg, Austria.

The most romantic wedding that McDonald immediately references was his experience marrying Tony and LeighAnn Torres at Trinchero, the groom’s family winery in St. Helena. “It was the most romantic and special ceremony I’ve performed.”

“I believe it is who is present, genuine love and the appreciation of being part of something that has so much potential that makes a wedding romantic,” added Sedgley.

Location, Location, Location

Bertani credits the local aesthetics for heightening an already glorious occasion, “There are so many amazing places to get married in Napa. Whether a winery, an inn or in a hot air balloon over Calistoga, the setting is breathtaking. Whether it’s in a vineyard or in a forest heading toward the hills…it’s just God’s country.”

McDonald cites the gardens at Beaulieu Vineyards as one of his favorite wedding spots, yet the natural features of the setting stand out, “Napa for me is simply perfect. With its stunning beauty, especially the sunsets, and then moon later if you’re lucky.”

For the local brides, Sedgley states that, “Growing up in Napa, the brides appreciate the natural beauty and small town atmosphere of their home town.”

Why Lock In the Love

February and weddings, are all about the love. McDonald serves as an officiant for very personal reasons. For him it’s not religious, it is a meaningful role that is fun for the couple and fun for him too.

For Bertani, as a member of the clergy, there are larger reasons for ministering to a couple uniting their life, “I have done a handful of weddings for same sex couples. Those have been especially poignant due to the pain and struggle that goes along with fighting against the current of homophobia, still so prevalent in our society, and believing so strongly in their love for one another that they go forward with their love. That to them is a blessing.”

BurgerFi – Great Burgers & Fries…


By John & Dorothy Salmon

We took our very-sophisticated 10 and 13 year old granddaughters to BurgerFi for dinner to check out where their “burger palates” would take them and to help us review Napa’s newest burger joint. Our foray into BurgerFi was the “Kid Test” for burgers and, most of all, the fries, since that’s how they typically judge greatness in a restaurant.

Gracie and Arden were as excited as we were to dine inside the huge, metal two story box on the Napa River Walk. Finding parking in downtown Napa is always an adventure, but we were lucky enough to find a friendly soul who was just leaving as we arrived and happily gave us his parking place right in front of BurgerFi.  We couldn’t wait to check out the view as we climbed to the upstairs deck. You can’t miss BurgerFi, since it shines like a giant, square box of aluminum foil next to the Napa River on First Street between Soscol and Main Streets. Both girls said they liked the open feel of the building with the very cool deck to look out at the River. They were also impressed with the gigantic, eco-friendly fan, the light fixtures, the cool Coke machine, the burgers with BurgerFi stamped on the bun and the Rolling Stones music playing nonstop. Of course, they are always impressed when their grandparents can sing along without missing a word! Although, we must report that the Stones are even older than we are! BurgerFi does have a kind of 50’s and 60’s burger-joint feel, housed inside a 60’s, Lost in Space, George Jetson building.

For those of you who travel up and down the east coast, Florida, the Midwest and, more recently, Denver, and Mesa, Arizona, you might be long-standing fans of BurgerFi, which is a franchise operation headquartered in south Florida. They believe in being eco-friendly and they follow their philosophy by creating chairs from recycled Coke bottles and indoor tables made from recycled milk jugs. Instead of relying exclusively on air conditioning, much of their cooling comes from special, oversize ceiling fans that use 66% less electricity. Gracie really loved the big fan. Fitting right into the California scene, BurgerFi maintains a low carbon footprint and follows strict recycling programs for oil, cardboard, bottles and cans. They get to be on the “Good list” in Napa since we pride ourselves on being sustainable and as green as possible.

Napa’s BurgerFi is their 64th location, so all your east coast or south Florida relatives can feel right at home when they visit you this summer. Everything will be the same as home, except for the humidity. BurgerFi wants to create the “Burgerfication of the Nation” with all-natural Angus beef from cattle that are raised in the most stringent, free-range standards and burgers that are never frozen, never cooked in a microwave, have no hormones, no antibiotics and are guaranteed fresh, juicy and delicious!

The Napa BurgerFi menu offers burgers from $5.87, to their Brisket Burger for $9.97. You can build your own burger with a single, double or triple burger patty, add a fried egg, Blue Cheese, white cheese, Peter Luger Steak Sauce, grilled diced onions, Jalapeno Peppers, A-1 Sauce, BBQ sauce, hot sauce, or their special BurgerFi sauce! You might need to study the menu online at and make your choices before you get there! The servers are well trained, friendly and patient, as first time customers stand in awe and try to figure out what they want to order. We did it the easy way, with four cheeseburgers and the large bucket of fries. If you are not a burger fan, you can order all-natural hot dogs, chicken-apple hot dogs, Wagyu Kobe Beef hot dogs and lots of toppings, such as cheese and kraut, BurgerFi Chili and Hickory Bacon. We saw our pal, Cathy Holmes, that night and she told us that the hot dogs are really good too.  So, next time we will give those a try.

BurgerFi fries range from $3.27 for a pretty good size regular to their big bucket for $5.97 that can feed an army of people. You can get onions rings from $4.27 to $5.57 or do the very-hip cry & fries; an order of half fries and half onion rings for $5.57.  Add salt and vinegar, Parmesan cheese, hot Cajun sauce, cheese sauce, chili or chili and cheese sauce for a nominal fee. Now you can understand why we suggested that you consider your order before you get there!

The milk shakes are terrific, the floats and cows are really good and they serve ice cream in cups, cones or Sundays from $3.47 to $5.47 with a choice of toppings…if you have room to eat ice cream after ordering their burgers and fries. They have take-home ice cream in their Pints on The Run for $6.97.

They even have a “Secret Menu.” If you don’t want a meat burger, you can order a Hippie Veggie made with two, grilled, quinoa burgers served on a potato bun with a side of neon relish.  They also serve their fries well done and extra crispy or limp. We are not sure who might want limp fries, but if you do, this is the place for you. They serve cool craft beers and a moderate selection of wines, along with standard soft drinks, lemonade and Evian bottled water.

Business during the traditional off- peak hours is supplemented by custard sales as well as being a great place to meet for a craft beer or wine. Hey, we are in Napa, so they have to have wine and craft beer!  Custards, however, are pretty east coast.

The girls’ comments included: “Great views, nice ambiance, nice photos, the logos stamped on the burgers are VERY cool” and they loved the very hip, hard- plastic order trackers that light up when your order is about to be brought to you at your table. THAT is definitely something that rarely happens at burger joints. Gracie loved the Mexican coke bottle and ordered that right away. Arden and Dorothy ordered root beer floats and Papa John had a beer.

We had a great time. If you are a boater, kayaker or stand-up paddler, you can tie up at the downtown dock and walk to BurgerFi on the Napa River Walk. BurgerFi will be the go-to place with a great view for the 4th of July fireworks.

There are no salads, no chicken dishes, no sweet-potato fries, but its lot’s of fun and a throw- back experience for all of us who remember the 60’s.  BurgerFi has free Wi-Fi, which was especially important for 13 year-old Gracie. Dogs are also allowed. They cater meals if you want to buy burgers for your party and, best of all, there is no TV to distract you while you enjoy the view.

We will be there again for sure.  Now that Napa is the foodie place to go, there are many options for great burgers up and down the streets of downtown Napa and up and down the Valley…none in a structure like this however!

967 First Street | Napa, CA | (707) 927-5373 |

Open Sun. – Thurs. 11a.m. – 11p.m. | Fri. & Sat. 11a.m. to midnight


Fun things to Do Downtown for the Holidays

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By Craig Smith

While it is hard to believe that another year has gone by, the good news is that it’s almost Christmas.  Who doesn’t love the return of Santa Claus?

There are lots of ways to enjoy time with the family during the month of December.  This year, include checking out all the decorated windows in Downtown Napa.  In fact, cast your vote for what you think is the best of the best.  Most stores will have ballots on-hand for you to fill out.  It’s simple – write down the store name of the window you like the most, and put it in the ballot box.  Winners will be selected on December 15th and will be posted on by the 20th.  Even if you don’t make it down in time to vote, you can still stroll the streets and enjoy the sites.

Here are some other Holiday activities
to enjoy. Merry Christmas!

Carriage Rides

Bring the family for  free horse drawn carriage rides through downtown Napa. It’s one of the best ways to enjoy the Holiday lights on all the buildings, see what the Christmas windows look like in the stores, and just snuggle with the family.  One carriage leaves the Historic Napa Mill on each of the scheduled nights, a second one departs from Coombs Plaza at First and Coombs Street during the same time.  Ride either or both – there are two separate routes, with each route lasting about twenty minutes.  Spend the time between rides shopping and dining in beautiful downtown Napa.  If you enjoy it, come back the following week with your neighbors.  Thursdays, December 4th, 11th and 18th, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Holiday Trolley

Thanks in part to Beau Tours, who helped make the Holiday Wine Trolley available, everyone will be able to enjoy a free Trolley ride downtown.  Bring the family, friends or anybody else you’d like. The Christmas decorated trolley will be playing music of the season as it travels between five regular stops – at the Oxbow Public Market, Historic Napa Mill, Coombs Street at Second, First near Randolph, and at Main & Pearl Streets.  Signage will show you exactly where to get off and on.  Enjoy the whole loop at one time, or get on and off as you wish.  The trolley runs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from December 5th through the 21st, from 3 to 6 p.m.

Ice Skating

Now through  January 11th, children of all ages and those young at heart will be able to ice skate in
downtown Napa. The 6300 sq ft outdoor rink has
stainless steel railings, a quality ice surface, a real Zamboni, hot chocolate, and your favorite Christmas music. Situated in the parking lot at the north east
corner of Coombs and Second streets, the rink will be open until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and until 8 p.m. on Sundays. It opens at 12 noon when school is out, 2 p.m. when students are in class. Skating is
only $12 per person, which includes skate rentals.
More information is available at

Christmas is
a magic time of year.  Join your family and friends in Downtown Napa to shop, dine and enjoy the season.