August 3

WineaPAWlooza 2017 – Eat Vegan, Drink Wine, Save Animals!

Food and wine go hand and hand here in Napa Valley. In fact, there are seven Michelin starred restaurants dotted along the 30 mile stretch that runs from Napa to Calistoga. Really an incredible number! Sadly, the philosophy of the Chefs in Napa Valley is that it is animal products that pair best with wine. Animals are viewed as nothing more than a commodity. This philosophy is reflected by most of the residents and visitors of Napa Valley who simply see animals as a menu item. And as much as I’ve enjoyed the beauty of the Valley and the extraordinary experiences I’ve had the privilege to enjoy, I’ve often felt conflicted with my decision to live here.

I’m never happier than when hugging animals!

So when I heard of Monica Stevens and her vision for Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch (JARR) three years ago, I was thrilled. Monica’s mission to provide Napa Valley with a no-kill rescue that will not only save the lives of companion animals like cats, dogs and bunny rabbits but farmed animals too. In the three years that Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch has been active, it has done incredible things for all animals. This includes finding forever homes for 500 animals in need that include dogs, cats, bunnies, chickens, ducks, horses, pigs, goats and sheep. JARR has provided 15,000 pounds of pet food for the local food bank and those in need; has provided over 1,000 spay/neuter surgeries; funded 50 life saving emergency surgeries and fields 120 calls per week from people who need help saving their animals! And this is just some of what they have accomplished! Early in 2017, JARR opened Ella’s Cathouse & Catnip Bar. This cage-free, no-kill cat adoption center is the first of its kind in Napa and has kept dozens of cats out of the county shelter system and found forever homes for them. It is also the first animal adoption center that has a no-meat policy for all staff and volunteers. Monica and her team have done all of this amazing work with the help of hundreds of dedicated volunteers and foster parents. JARR’s ultimate goal includes building a state-of-the-art, cage-free rescue and sanctuary that will serve the physical and emotional needs of the companion and farmed animals that call it home.

Saturday, July 29th was the fourth annual fundraising event. Ranked as one of Napa Valley’s top wine auctions,

Ottimo’s vegan Farro with Summer Beans

WineaPAWlooza has raised millions of dollars for the animals. Thanks to the generosity of the Napa Valley winemakers and wine lovers, this year alone, JARR raised $1.3M! Generously hosted again by the Gamble Family Vineyard, the who’s who of the Napa Valley wine industry shared the red carpet with dogs, goats, a pig and a donkey!

Vegan Japanese Curry served by Nuri!

Beginning with a Grand Tasting event that featured over 50 of the Valley’s premiere wineries and restaurants, we enjoyed mouth watering plant based bites that paired just perfectly with the wines! I was incredibly pleased by how well these decidedly unvegan restaurants did! Williams Sonoma Spanish Style Heirloom Gazpacho with Smoked Paprika was refreshing and delicious. La

Williams Sonoma’s vegan Heirloom Gazpacho!

Toque’s Chilled Snap Pea Jus with Salted Radish and Nori had a savory, seafood -like flavor. I scooped up Nuri’s delicious Japanese Curry with eggplant & tofu with a cracker as my spoon. I went back for seconds for Ottimo’s Farro with Summer Beans, peas & almond citrus. This salad is incredible and it is on their regular menu to enjoy any time! Bottega made an amazing Watermelon with Calabria chili vinaigrette salata. Ring of Fire included cheese on all of their offerings but after chatting with one of the servers about being vegan she took it upon herself to have the Chef bake up a vegan pizza for Steve and I. She even tracked me down and gave me the whole pizza to be sure we had enough to eat. That was a level of service I did not expect! I wish I could talk more about the wines but I had just finished a 5-day juice fast so my focus was 100% on the food offerings!

Bottega’s vegan Watermelon with Calabria chili vinaigrette!

The Pet Parade included a stoic donkey, a happy-go-lucky pig, two adorable goats and a stream of fortunate dogs all rescued and rehomed with the help of JARR! The live auction is where the real magic happens and thanks to the generous bidding $1.3 Million was raised to build the sanctuary. JARR announced the addition of a Sundowner Sportman 3H Bumper Pull trailer dedicated to the Roth family of New York for their dedication to animal welfare. This trailer will be housed in Napa Valley and, in collaboration with the County of Napa Emergency Services, will be made available to assist with the large animal emergency rescue during wildfires, accidents and other natural disasters. And even more wonderful news was announced that JARR is currently in escrow on property in the Carneros region. JARR is now one huge step closer to realizing their dream. When completed, this sanctuary and educational haven will be open to the community and will welcome all visitors. According to Monica, it will serve as a destination and best-practices example for animal advocacy. And to finish off this celebration, Co-founder David Stevens and his band Wristrocket, provided the music for the late night party and SONS Bier Garden.


Love at first sight for me and the donkey!

Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch is well on its way to achieving their goal to offer sanctuary for farmed animals, education for the public and rumor has it, that once completed, they may even offer a vegan cafe which will be the first all-vegan offering in Napa Valley! So if you are looking to volunteer your time or would like to donate to an organization that is in line with your vegan principles visit their website HERE to learn more! I hope to see you at next year’s WineaPAWlooza but until then remember to Drink Wine, Save Animals. And as always…eat, drink and be vegan!

August 12

Napa Valley Vegan Dusts Herself Off & Gets Back to Work!

I want to apologize to you for going silent for the last couple of weeks. I have completely ignored you, my writing and updating my blog. As many of you may have noticed, I have been planning the Eat, Drink and Be Vegan! Benefit for Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch over the last 2 months or so. Chef Joseph Panarello, Executive Chef for City Winery – Napa, came up with the amazing idea to host an all vegan four course dinner. He and his General Manager, Scott generously offered to do this all for the cost of labor and food and to allow me to donate any remaining proceeds to one of my favorite local charities. Of course, that was a tough decision to make since I volunteer for three different local animal welfare groups – The Napa County Animal Shelter, Napa Humane and the Wildlife Rescue Center of Napa County. And I am friends with Monica Stevens, the Founder of Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch. I have to admit that the fact that Monica is a fellow vegan did absolutely sway my decision to make this Benefit all about JARR! I have thrown a pretty awesome party or two in my day but I am no professional event planner. However, after living in Napa for over three and a half years and often being met with lukewarm reception from some of the chefs and winemakers, this offer was something that I could not pass up. I was just excited beyond belief! I felt that this is what Napa needed to bring change to its gastronomic attitudes. If a local Chef, who is by no means a vegan Chef, can offer an amazing meal that everyone can enjoy, my hope was that this would open their minds and menus to more compassionate, plant based options. Chef Panarello was in charge of the menu and I was tasked with the rest. I came up with the title and quickly wrote up a description of the event so City Winery could add it to their website. Then I began contacting everyone I knew, and many that I didn’t, asking for wine and silent auction donations. This was wonderful but had a bit of a challenging twist since all items – food, wine, jewelry…had to be vegan-friendly. I wasn’t daunted though and got to work.

Over the course of the next six weeks, I was absolutely blown away by the generosity of Napa Valley. I received cases of wine from Tin Barn Vineyards, 750 Wines, Luna Vineyards and Topaz to pair with each course. Luna Vineyards even threw in a VIP tasting for 4 on top of the wine donation. I received passes to the 2015 Napa Valley Film Festival generously donated by Marc and Brenda Lhormer. Sweetie Pies Bakery offered a gift certificate for their delicious vegan cupcakes, cookies and muffins while Melodi with Obsessive Confection Disorder provided a sampler of her AMAZING vegan sweet treats. Karen MacNeil, the Director of the Wine Program at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley, gave a signed copy of her book “The Wine Bible”. And the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone donated a Weekend Wine Enthusiast Class for two. Mercedes-Benz of Fairfield gave a Mercedes-Benz for the weekend so the auction winner could enjoy their wine tasting weekend in style! Or for those who wanted to be chauffeured around the Valley instead, Wine Country Limousine offered their services. Kim Beller donated a gorgeous Silpada cuff bracelet and her kind words of encouragement. Stacey with Napa Valley Poop Patrol volunteered to pick up the family’s dog poop for 12 weeks while Taryn’s Traveling Pet Spa threw in a spa day for the family pooch! Not only was Miyoko’s artisan cheese featured on the menu but she also donated a sampler of her delicious nut cheeses. Brenda, with Simple Bliss, provided a spa package to help melt the stress away! And Doug, with Napa Valley Coffee Roasting, gave a gift box of fresh, roasted coffee and mugs. And to top it all off, City Winery not only was providing the entire event at cost but also threw in 2 tickets to one of their many concerts! Frankly, I am consumed by gratitude while I type!

With the help of Monica and her marketing crew and City Winery, we got the word out. You have probably seen it listed on every calendar and online events page in the Bay Area. However, even with all of this generosity and support we were not able to sell enough tickets. City Winery had to make a business decision and cancel the Event. So, after picking up all those generous donations, I have to turn around and take them all back! Needless to say my level of disappointment is high. But I’m going to do what any vegan does when they need to replenish and recharge. I’m heading out of Napa and heading into San Francisco to an all vegan restaurant to eat my cares away. And then, I’ll come home, dust myself off and start over again!

Thanks for being with me through the highs and lows of living in a non-vegan city and as always…eat, drink and be vegan!

June 30

Napa Valley Vegan and City Winery Host Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch Benefit!

City Winery - Napa Showing Their Compassionate Side Yet Again!
City Winery – Napa Showing Their Compassionate Side!

Eat, Drink and Be Vegan! Benefit for Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch

Join Napa Valley Vegan and City Winery’s Executive Chef Joseph Panarello for a four course vegan dinner and wine pairing. This compassionate event is a celebration of animals and will benefit Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch. The first of its kind in Napa Valley, Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch is a no-kill rescue and sanctuary for homeless companion and farm animals. JARR provides both transitional and permanent shelter, adoption and rescue services, humane education, animal advocacy and is committed to ending animal cruelty and overpopulation.

JARR Founders - David and Monica Stevens & their family!
JARR Founders – David and Monica Stevens & their family!

Come ready to enjoy an amazing plant-based meal featuring locally grown produce and Miyoko’s vegan cheese.

Vegan Cheese Bliss!
                    Vegan Cheese Bliss!

Our wine sponsors include Sonoma Valley’s Tin Barn Vineyards and Napa Valley’s Luna Vineyards – with more sponsors soon to be added! The event will also feature a silent auction that includes VIP Tastings, an autographed copy of The Wine Bible, “lots” of wine, tickets to a City Winery event and much, much more! 100% of the silent auction proceeds will help to fulfill Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch’s mission.

One of the events generous wine sponsors!

 Chef Panarello’s mouth-watering menu will begin with Amuse of Fresh Watermelon, Cucumber and Mojito Dressing. The first course includes Napa Grown Heirloom Tomato Carpaccio, Miyoko’s Double Cream Garlic Herb Cheese and Toasted Focaccia Croton. Followed by pan seared Arepa Cake; Portabella stuffed Green Chili, Chayote Squash, Charred Corn Salsa and Pickled Red Onion. The sweet ending is Peaches and Mango with Pineapple Ginger Sauce and frozen White Chocolate Mousse Parfait! Oh Joy!!

A generous wine sponsor AND donated a VIP Tasting for 4 to the silent auction!
A generous wine sponsor AND donated a VIP Tasting for 4 to the silent auction!

Whether you are vegan, vegan-curious or a supporter of Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch, please join us on Saturday, August 15th and be a part of this extraordinary celebration of great food, good wine and the love of animals! Tickets will soon be available on City Winery’s website!