Studio 707 Blog

December 1, 2010

Pamela Hunter - Life Story

Pamela Tompkins Hunter died Sunday, November 28, 2010, in the Napa Valley home she shared with her life partner Carl Doumani, who was at her side.

Born September 25, 1948, in San Louis Obispo, California, to Edgar Logan Tompkins and Hazel Herrington Tompkins, Pam’s life was driven by a deeply felt passion for education, compelling human stories, and the power of the written word. She wove these together as a teacher, journalist, publicist, and lifelong advocate of girls and women’s causes.

Pam spent her early girlhood in Taft, California, where her father was employed by Standard Oil and in charge of establishing land leases. He died suddenly from a heart attack at the age of 52, just days before Pam’s second birthday. Pam and her mother later moved to Bakersfield, California.

At Bakersfield High School, Pam earned national honors with the Quill and Scroll Society and held editing positions on the Blue and White Newspaper. She developed an early and lifelong commitment to community advocacy and volunteerism participating in the Inter-Racial Council; teaching English as a second language to migrant workers and Saturday school for Bakersfield underprivileged children; and working in a leadership capacity for the city’s Arts Council. After studying journalism at UC Berkeley, Pam taught at a San Francisco Peninsula school founded by Virginia Lehr and based on A.S. Neil’s Summerhill education theory.

Pam arrived in the Napa Valley in the 1970s and began her career there working with Napa College’s Deans, Paul Ash and John Mehrens, to establish the school’s first extended day program. They also collaborated to enrich the region’s esteemed writer’s conference with talented authors including M.F.K. Fisher and Herb Gold. Additionally, she advocated for and contributed to the development of the Women’s Awareness Program. Pam then returned to her passion for writing and joined the Scripps League-owned Napa Register journalist. She was proudest of her reporting on the topics of affordable housing and grassroots community planning.

Pam is perhaps best known as the founder of Hunter Public Relations and Marketing, which she established in 1978. The agency brought together two pursuits that gave Pam great joy and satisfaction: writing and advocacy. She led her firm with passion and discipline as it grew to become one of the largest in the region, ultimately serving a broad range of international clients and maintaining offices in San Francisco, New York, and Napa Valley. Pam and her colleagues pioneered an approach to public relations that is today’s standard. Her campaigns utilized an array of strategies and were designed for immediate and long-term effects. Hunter PR was respected nationally for its groundbreaking work introducing and promoting luxury wine and food and hospitality products and experiences. The agency was known among members of the national media for its integrity: a clear sign of the unique respect she earned is the number of esteemed, award-winning journalists who were among Pam’s closest friends during the last thirty years of her life.

Pam understood that the magic of a story was often hidden beneath the surface, and her inquisitive nature allowed her to reveal the salient kernel that brought her clients’ stories to life. She knew that the childhood food memories of a chef, the youthful travels of a winemaker, the origin of a rare spice, the weave of a beautiful fabric all held the makings of an authentic story that would grab the public’s attention. Pam relished her role as a voice for her clients, and found great satisfaction in bringing their stories to the world. She helped them build successful, sustainable businesses, and in many cases also helped protect their legacies for future generations.

Always one to engage on multiple levels, Pam, along with Jerry Ann DiVecchio, then Editor-In-Chief of Sunset Magazine, co-founded the Bay Area Chapter of the international organization Les Dames d’Escoffier. Today this organization enjoys a robust and active membership with ties to the international food and wine community.

Work that gave her particular satisfaction involved building special relationships, strategic innovation or a combination of both. Fond memories include the creation and promotion of Cakebread Cellars’ American Harvest Workshop, early national campaigns for the Napa Valley Vintners Association, and promotion of the seminal years of the Napa Valley Wine Auction (now Auction Napa Valley). As a devotee of sparkling wine, Pam was grateful for the opportunity to work with the Ferrer Family, of Spain’s international sparkling wine holdings, and the Davies Family of Napa Valley on their family-owned Schramsberg Vineyards.

After more than 25 years running the agency, Pam closed Hunter Public Relations and Marketing in order to focus on her true passions--storytelling and advocacy. Through Studio 707, the new agency she founded, Pam accepted just a handful of clients with whom she felt a very close affinity. The scaling back of her business allowed Pam to pursue another passion: travel. She traveled to new locales and revisited places that had been special sources of revelation and inspiration. Pam always considered her initial visit to Japan a pivotal point in her life. Subsequent visits reaffirmed her connection to the country and its people. She deeply admired the Japanese diet, aesthetic, and generosity of spirit, which all resonated with her own point of view. She went so far as to say that she might have happily spent the last few years of her life in Japan. Pam ran Studio 707, and travelled, until closing the business in 2010 to attend to her health.

While Pam lived her life as a dedicated, entrepreneurial career woman, she also enjoyed a wide array of interests with a particular passion for art. She credited James Turrell as the most influential artist in her life because, she said recently, of “his way of seeing.” She was also intrigued and inspired by a series of clothing designers she preferred to think of as “fashion artists” who, she said, “inform the way we live our lives and the way we feel about ourselves every day. They have affected my thinking, my imagination, and my way of seeing beauty because in a sense clothing becomes a second skin.”

Pam had a broad and unending appetite for literature and poetry ranging from Emily Dickenson to William Salter. Anais Nin captured Pam’s belief about the power of art when she wrote, “It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.”

Her story would not be complete without acknowledging Pam’s unique gifts as a raconteur, which through her inquisitive nature she came by honestly and which made her a wonderfully engaging and entertaining companion. Complementing her curiosity and sense of humor was her uncanny knack for retaining and recalling the details of almost everything she learned. She never forgot a name, a scent, a flavor, a texture, or a particular shade of blue. Among those who knew for her either a long or short time, none will forget this particularly rare and endearing quality.

Pam saw connections - between people, things, concepts. She could find the commonality between herself and the incredible variety of individuals who were lucky enough to come into contact with her. Pam brought intense focus to her conversations, and she was a superb listener. She had more than a circle of friends. She had several interconnecting circles from all walks of life that created a broad network. She will be keenly missed by a very great many.

Pam spent the last twenty years of her life with Carl Doumani as her steady companion. She is survived by her stepchildren, Brenda, Lisa, Brigitta and Sonya Hunter, daughters of Ralph Edward Hunter, her first husband who pre-deceased her, and by the children of Carl Doumani: Lissa, Leslie, Kayne and Jared Doumani, and granddaughter Imogen.

Pam’s service on the Board of Directors of the Oxbow School, which offers transformative experiences through creativity and the arts to middle school and high school students, brought together many of her primary interests: education, the arts, and advocacy. Pam established a scholarship fund in her name in order to make the opportunity available to those gifted young women who could not afford tuition. Those wishing to make donations in Pam's memory may send checks of any amount to: The Pam Hunter Scholarship Fund, c/o Phoebe Brookbank, Development Department, The Oxbow School for Visual Arts, 440 Third Street, Napa CA 94558.

A private memorial for family members will be hosted at the Hunter-Doumani home. A celebration of Pam’s life will be held in early June 2011.

Posted by Pamela at 10:56 AM | Share on Facebook |


December 1, 2009

Studio 707 on Sabbatical

At the 2004 TED Conference Heidi Swanson introduced me to the brilliant Austrian-born designer Stefan Sagmeister.  She was right to think that beginning with a shared interest in artist-environmentalist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Stefan and I would have a lot in common.

For me and apparently for himself, Stefan has proved a constant discovery process.   For example, two years ago when I called to ask him to direct the design of a hotel project I was involved in, Stefan expressed his regret explaining that he was closing his design studio for a sabbatical. It’s best if you hear how this works directly from Stefan:

Then, the coupe de gras arrived serendipitously last September as a birthday gift from Sally Schneider , the book Stefan wrote after his most recent sabbatical, Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far.”

Somewhere in the midst of random inspirations from Stefan, I gave my longtime friend Carl Doumani a birthday gift of three-weeks in Spain during which I shared the wondrous art, architecture and food world I’d discovered in my long, rich relationship with the Ferrer Family of the Freixenet wine empire.

At Carl’s insistence, the trip included a pilgrimage to Ferran Adria’s El Bulli. Standing in Adria’s kitchen with him at 1 a.m. after a 21-course culinary adventure, we listened to his passionate description of revitalizing his creative alchemy by working only half the year and experimenting the other half.

Possessed as I was by the approach of both Adria and Sagmeister, I couldn’t bring myself to take the leap off the treadmill.  That is, until late one afternoon in June 2009 when I received the telephone call that reframed everything instantly.  “You have cancer,” said the voice on the other end of the line.  By February I hope to be in remission and ready to begin my first sabbatical.

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Bocanova's dining room designed by Michael Guthrie and Company. Photo by Ashley Teplin

November 30, 2009

Bocanova: The Birth of a Restaurant

Bocanova, created by Michael Guthrie and Company Architects, inhabits a 6,500 sq. ft corner of an historical 1920’s ice warehouse in an ideal waterfront location; a space with tons of character as they say, which means both flaws and charm, an empty concrete shell with the beauty of the bygone industrial era it evoked. It became immediately clear that the rough grey texture and massive scale of the columns and ceiling would be something to highlight instead of hide. The columns became the divining rod and focus of the design.

Bocanova's Pan American kitchen provided a perfect palette for interior designer Andrea Wade of Michael Guthrie and Company. On her sojourn to South America the year before, Andrea was truly inspired by both the architecture and the food. The one thing that is quite prominent in South American arts and architecture is the embracing of simple forms in warm and vibrant palettes. Both new and old exist together in their interiors, combining indigenous with contemporary seamlessly. The conception of our core vision came to life quickly: a blend of old and new, traditional and innovative.

At Michael Guthrie & Company, function is always the first consideration when embarking on a project. So after the initial inspiration, a floorplan was designed that was ideal for both chef and guest. One of the main components is an almost market-stall counter that allows the kitchen to have an open interface the entire length of the dining room. Visual and physical divisions divide and define smaller more intimate areas without sacrificing the over-all feeling of spaciousness. The intent was to create several dining experiences that allow the guests to experience Bocanova in different ways on different occasions. There is counter dining where guests can watch and talk to the chefs, intimate two person booths, long communal tables and shaded outdoor seating over-looking the Jack London Marina to the Oakland Estuary beyond.

The simple shapes and palette evoke South American monastic spaces, both clean and rustic, with earthy warmth. The furnishings were selected to be comfort able and imbue the ambiance with a familial and convivial quality.

Whenever possible, the fabricators used at Bocanova were local and the furniture and fixtures were created using sustainable methods. Our wall plaster is a custom formula created by the Santa Rosa husband and wife team at Tobias Stucco. Details International in Napa sourced our reclaimed wood from local barns. The tables came from Wooden Duck in Berkeley and their bases were custom fabricated by Pearce Schmidt Construction in Emeryville, with the exception of the tall communal table in the bar area. The wonderful crew at Eclipse Design in Petaluma fabricated that concrete top and recycled wood base was created by Artefact in Sonoma. All of the custom steel. The wall tiles are from Heath Tile in Sausalito with the exception of the warm golden tiles at the cookline, which are a recycled product from Fireclay Tiles in San Jose. Our custom concrete counters, footrails, and sinks are from Concreteworks in Oakland. B&L Seating in San Francisco expertly crafted the banquettes. Magnolia Lane in South San Francisco to give our space warmth and human scale fabricated the draped column sconce shades. The rugs, although imported from India, are fair trade and made with natural dyes and were purchased from Emmett Eiland Oriental Rug Company, which has been doing business in Berkeley since 1969. Terra Nova Industries General Contractors of Walnut Creek built the restaurant.

The high level of involvement of the entire Bocanova team; owner to landlord to architect to builder resulted in the creation of a well-built, cost-effective and stunning space for Bocanova.

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Nigel Kinsman, Winemaker Krupp Brothers (Photo by Seymour & McIntosh)

November 24, 2009

Krupp Brothers’ Winemaker Rises to New Heights

2009 marks Nigel Kinsman’s 15th vintage as a winemaker. For a 34 year-old who received his enology degree just six years ago, Kinsman’s logged more hours – with some of the most famous winemakers and wineries – than at first seems possible. He learned technical expertise alongside Peter Leske and got to the heart of organic and biodynamic farming at Cullen Winery.

Upon graduating, Kinsman hopped a plane to Chianti to work the 2003 harvest as a “poor struggling student winemaker.” Four planes and a train ride later, he was welcomed into Tolaini’s Tuscan cellars as the full-time winemaker. Because he didn’t speak a word of Italian, he learned to lead by example. And when Michel Rolland showed up as consulting winemaker, he learned the art of blending alongside the man he considers to possess one of the wine world’s most formidable palates.

No, Kinsman’s trajectory has been anything but traditional. It has, however, been 100% intentional, and it all began on the day he was almost fired from South Australia’s premier wine shop, Baily and Baily. At the time, Kinsman was studying classical music at the University of Adelaide, majoring in solo performance on the double bass.

The gig at Baily and Baily was meant to keep his wallet lightly padded, and he had little expectations of doing more than hauling cases of beer and stocking shelves, two things at which the six-foot two-inch Kinsman excelled. When the store manager told him they were going to have to let him go only six months into the position, the only question Nigel could ask was “How do I change your mind?”

The manager sent him home with three wines, three glasses and told him to turn in a report next shift. For twelve weeks, they repeated the exercise. “Suddenly I was fascinated with these unique regions, with new winemakers, with everything that went into the glass.” Nigel had fallen in love with wine, but he wasn’t initially convinced he could make a career out of it.
When he approached the head of the enology department about two years into his classical music degree, they weren’t convinced either. He had neither the sciences nor the science entry score to get into the department, which at the time was as competitive as the physiotherapy program.

Again, he asked, “What do I have to do to change your mind?” A faculty manager finally conceded that if he entered a straight science field and blitzed the class, he might have a chance. Nigel took a year off from his other classes, enrolled in Chemistry I and scored a 97 in the first year. The department allowed the transfer…”but it took a lot of pushing and shoving.”

When he wasn’t studying, Nigel spent his time at the wine shop honing his sensory skills and tasting every new wine he could get his hands on. “I will always maintain that people in wine retail get to taste a lot more wine than those who make it,” he says, and at his peak at Baily and Baily, Nigel was tasting some 300 wines a week.

After he transitioned into the enology program, Nigel left the wine shop and approached Nepenthe Winery winemaker Peter Leske. He told Leske he didn’t want to start his degree without any experience in the field. Leske brought him on for the 1997 harvest, and Nigel spent the hours of 6 pm to 4 am doing pump-overs and cleaning tanks and his daylight hours in the classroom. Hooked on the buzz of the physical labor, he stayed on at Nepenthe for five more harvests, all while studying. When he finished near top of his class every year, Kinsman credited the work with helping him see and engage in the entire winemaking process.

Continue reading "Krupp Brothers’ Winemaker Rises to New Heights"

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Bocanova's Sweet Potato & Chipotle Gratin from Executive Chef Rick Hackett.

November 18, 2009

Bocanova's Bounty

The celebration of Thanksgiving with roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie is uniquely American. However, the tradition of giving thanks and celebrating the bounty of harvest spans all cultures. In countries and cities around the globe, groups gather together in the form of festivals, family gatherings and celebrations to toast the fruits of their labors.

This week, Bocanova’s Pan American kitchen offered a dozen happy guests a delicious glimpse of winter holiday bounty specials. Featuring produce from All Star Organics, a few Bocanova harvest highlights were the Braised Shortribs with Argentine primitive pumpkin, Chicory Salad with pomegranate & cocoa nib vinaigrette, Sweet Potato & Chipotle Gratin and an organic Dickenson Pumpkin Pound Cake with Eggnog Ice Cream & Pecan Macaroons.  


Executive Pastry Chef Paul Conte’s Pumpkin Poundcake stole the evening limelight. Perfect for baking, the Dickenson pumpkin made for a powdered sugar-dusted cake that was all sweetness and light – more ounce than pound. Partnered with a carrot reduction sauce and an egg nog ice cream that carried pleasantly little weight, it was the perfect conclusion to an evening rich with fresh, new flavor combinations and equally fresh new friendships.

Click here to view the Flickr Link of all the Harvest Images:

Sweet Potato & Chipotle Gratin Recipe
Bocanova Restaurant                                                                                        
Executive Chef, Rick Hackett                                                      

Amount:                         Ingredients:                                           Prep Notes:
5 ea                                Sweet Potatoes                                        Slice 1/8"
1 ½ Cups                         Heavy Cream
2 T                                  Garlic                                                      Minced
2 T                                  Chipotle Peppers in Adobe Sauce              Puree
To taste                           Salt                                                         Salt      

1.) Preheat oven to 350 F
2.) Combine cream, garlic, chipotle and salt.  The mixture should be slightly on the salty side as the potatoes have not been seasoned.
3.) Peel and thinly slice potatoes (1/8 Inch) and add directly to cream mixture.
4.) Layer potatoes into a gratin dish and pour cream mixture over.  The cream should come slightly over the top of the potatoes
5.) Place gratin in a water bath. The water should come half way up the side of the gratin dish.  This will prevent burning on the bottom.
6.) Bake at 350 F for about an hour.  The potatoes should be tender and the top golden brown.
7.) Rest for 30 min allowing the gratin to set up.  This will prevent the gratin from falling apart when cut.

Yields: 6 portions


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Krupp Brothers Winemaker, Nigel Kinsman supervises the final picking at Stagecoach Vineyards the last week of October.

November 2, 2009

Krupp Choreographs Thousand-Acre Wine Grape Harvest, 95 Stagecoach Vineyard Designate Wines Will Benefit

It takes a small village to harvest Stagecoach Vineyard

“If you have ever seen that scene in ‘Apocalypse Now’ where they are trying to establish a beach head camp so that they can surf, that is what harvest is like at Stagecoach Vineyard,” consulting winemaker Aaron Pott says of picking fruit at Krupp Brothers’ legendary Atlas Peak and Pritchard Hill vineyard.

“The vineyard becomes a good size town replete with 50 or so 1970s era vans and an old Ken Kesey-esque school bus - all in various stages of decay – roaming the vineyard roads.”

While Pott jokes that Dr. Jan Krupp, former internist and founder of Stagecoach and Krupp Brothers, should just build a small village at Stagecoach with a company store, it is true that at harvest, the Krupp Brothers team is master of its own 1,000-plus acre domain. Jan moves across the vineyard radio in hand, shouting instructions to vineyard managers Esteban Llamas and viticulturist Jason Cole. The vineyard has its own trucking fleet to haul picks directly to their crush facility, and in any given season, Stagecoach has 120 full-time employees, with an additional 160 contracted on an as needed basis.


From a hawk’s eye view (of which there are several rare breeds on the mountain vineyard), harvest might appear to be chaos. After all, harvest workers are pulling in fruit for not one but 60 different wine producers in the valley. To put it another way, in 2008 there were over 95 wines with a Stagecoach Vineyard designate.

Krupp Brothers Winemaker Nigel Kinsman, however, says harvest may move at a frenzied pace but every step is controlled and choreographed. Up until the point where they deliver fruit to the wineries, Stagecoach Vineyard is self-sufficient. They may pick for more than 60 clients in a six week time period, but they handle all the picking. They schedule clients on a first come, first served basis. Sure, Paul Hobbs checks in frequently, but according to Nigel, even he confidently relinquishes control to the Stagecoach team.

Nigel believes that’s in large part due to Dr. Jan Krupp, the vineyard’s most passionate advocate. “Jan knows every clone and where every clone is planted. How many vineyard owners do you know who could literally know every inch of their 700-acre vineyard?” Nigel says.

Vineyard Manager, Esteban Llamas, worked alongside Jan to plant every single row. Viticulturist, Jason Cole, possesses incredible farming acumen and with both of their expertise come picking time, the vineyard is in prime form. For the past two months, Jason and Nigel have been setting the stage with aggressive crop thinning. Because last year’s crop load was so light, Nigel was ready for the vines’ 2009 balancing act. “We were expecting the vines to respond by producing more fruit, so our guys have worked hard all year to maintain the appropriate levels.”

They’ve also taken pains to thin fruit and position the shoots to ensure clusters are evenly spaced and receiving equal shares of light. Nigel says you have to be an active advocate to grow such premium fruit. By the time harvest rolls around, Nigel is intimate with every single block going into Krupp Brothers’ wines; he sources fruit from every part of the vineyard, he knows every soil subset, and once crush is upon them, Nigel walks the vineyard every single day.


As for the pick dates? Nigel says they’re not here to be raisin farmers. He looks at resolution and tannin profile in order to judge harvest times. Once he sees ripe tannins with moderate sugar levels, the Krupps’ own grapes get top picking priority. Nigel doesn’t see this as a conflict; he feels the crews give the entire vineyard impeccable attention. Every client gets top quality fruit, but this is first come, first served after all. And Jan Krupp was here first.

Enjoy a few photos from this years harvest:
Krupp Brothers winemaking 2009
Krupp Brothers winemaker Nigel Kinsman and consulting winemaker Aaron Pott test out the fermenting wine.
October 2009- Photos by Ashley Teplin

Stagecoach Vineyard Harvest 2009
Krupp Brothers winemaker Nigel Kinsman in the vineyards for the last pick of harvest.
October 2009- Photos by Ashley Teplin

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No tasting room, just the wildly beautiful rusticity of this place is here to welcome you for your visit with concierge Amber Lanier and owner Dr. Jan Krupp at Stagecoach Vineyards.

October 1, 2009

Krupp Brothers & Stagecoach Vineyard
Cut Legendary Path Across the Napa Valley

When Jan and Bart Krupp began the search for a name for their Stagecoach Vineyard label of wine, they sought a moniker that reflected the wild yet elegant structure profile of the Rhone-varietal wines coming from Stagecoach Vineyard’s 560 planted acres on Atlas Peak. That Black Bart also captured the unique history of their frontier mountain vineyard, only served to add another poetic layer to a vineyard and winery property already rich with Napa Valley lore.

The infamous Black Bart of the late 1800s robbed dozens of Wells Fargo stagecoaches crossing over mountain roads, including the stagecoach passes that once stretched across the Krupp Brothers’ present-day Stagecoach Vineyard. Born Charles Boles, the San Francisco businessman became known as a gentleman bandit, a sophisticated gray-haired outlaw with impeccable posture, fine manners, tailored dress and a partiality for leaving poetry at the scene of his crimes.

While the Black Bart label brandishes this inimitable spirit of the sophisticated rogue, Jan and Bart Krupp determined early on that the Black Bart portfolio of wines would cut its own legendary path across the California frontier and the globe. And since the day Jan Krupp purchased his first 41 acres up in the mountain desert known as Atlas Peak, the brothers have overcome some rather fantastic obstacles to become the protagonists in their own almost epic story. The Stagecoach Vineyard and Krupp Brothers tale – of carving a road into a mountain desert, of hiring a water witch to find the water geologists could not, of removing 1 billion tons of SUV-sized boulders before planting could begin – has become as compelling as the wines’ namesake, as visitors to the Krupp brothers’ beautiful 700-plus acre vineyard properties can attest.

From the beginning, Jan Krupp saw beyond the looming hardships to the potential beneath the rock and chaparral. And he saw the stunning beauty of the mountain, of the fragrant purple blossoms of rare native plants, and the views of the Napa Valley floor below and the San Francisco Bay beyond. Rising 900 feet above sea level and climbing to nearly 1,700, Jan quickly realized these eastern hills were ideally suited for rarely planted Rhone grapes like syrah, viognier and marsanne.

In fact, the diverse meso-climates and soil conditions found at Stagecoach Vineyard are distinctively suited for over 13 different grape varieties. Currently, the Black Bart portfolio consists of the Black Bart Syrah, which is co-fermented with a touch of Viognier to add floral aromas and silky texture; Black Bart Marsanne; and Black Bart’s Bride, a blend of marsanne, viognier and chardonnay named after the bandit’s mysterious amour. In select years, winemaker Nigel Kinsman also makes a Black Bart Syrah Rose and Syrah Port.

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Bocanova’s Wine Buyer David Fetcho, pouring a perfect wine pairing for the Shimp Ceviche—a wine from the Basque region called Txakolina (CHA-ko-lee-na) whose main varietal is Hondarribi Zuri.

September 24, 2009

Wines to Match the Bocanova Spirit


Look for the best from South America, the Iberian Peninsula, and the West Coast on the list at this exciting new Oakland establishment

Oakland, Calif., September 24, 2009-- Wine buyer David Fetcho employed a deceptively simple philosophy in constructing the wine program for Bocanova, the "Pan-American kitchen" just opened by Rick Hackett and Meredith Melville on the newly revivified Jack London Square in Oakland: present wines that will delight the diner by offering an exciting range of accompaniments to the meal.

"There will be no generic-tasting wines on the Bocanova wine list!" promises Fetcho. Focusing on Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, California, Oregon, and Washington, he has chosen as many wines as possible from small, passionate producers, many of whom use sustainable, organic, or biodynamic practices.  “These are wines that are true to their varietal sources, to their terroir, and to the committed vision of the winemakers,” Fetcho says.

Though such noble grape varieties as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Syrah make their appearance on the Bocanova roster, along with classics like Spain's Tempranillo and Garnacha and Argentina's Malbec and Torrontes, Fetcho is also eager to introduce restaurant customers to the finest vintages made from such lesser-known but superb cultivars as Verdejo, Godello, Mencia, Manto Negro, Tannat, Baga, and Touriga Nacional.

Among the unusual treasures on Bocanova's opening wine list are Andrew Rich Rousanne from Oregon's Columbia Valley, Los Bermejos Rosé from the Canary Islands, a deeply structured red version of Txakolina (the Basque specialty almost always seen in white form), several hard-to-find reds produced in Portugal's Alentejo region, and Bodegas El Porvenir de los Andes Tannat from the mile-high Cafayate Valley in Argentina.

David Fetcho, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has spent the past three decades here in California and abroad “tasting, studying, consulting with winemakers and importers, and just paying very close attention,” in order to develop a palate that Bocanova creator Rick Hackett calls one of the best he's ever encountered. “The wines I select are ones that teach me things,” says Fetcho. “They're like good poetry, touching you in ways that are beyond mere description. Even the Bible says that wine is a gift given ‘to gladden the people’s hearts.’ My primary duty as Bocanova’s sommelier is to make sure that every wine I present—from the least expensive wine by the glass to the rare gems at the top of the list—lives up to that standard." # # #

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Stagecoach Vineyard, a desert mountain vineyard with potential buried beneath boulders and chaparral.

September 9, 2009

From Desert Mountainscape to Iconic Vineyard

Krupp Brothers Transform a Desert Mountainscape into a Napa Valley Vineyard Icon

When Dr. Jan Krupp purchased a 41-acre property high in the eastern hills of Napa Valley, he had no idea how many odds were stacked against him. A Bay Area internist with a green thumb and a hunger for the joy he once felt working his uncle’s Virginia farm, Krupp ignored the warning signs “presenting” on his barren acreage and paid attention instead to the property’s unplumbed potential.

Stagecoachtourboulders.jpg It was 1991, six years before the breakout vintage of Napa Valley Cabernet on Atlas Peak and Pritchard Hill’s eastern mountain slopes – the year that launched Maya and David Arthur into the cult wine world.  Jan had a desert mountain landscape on Atlas Peak and Pritchard Hill with no power, no known water sources and no legal right of access, yet all he could see was the potential buried beneath boulders and chaparral.  It was more than just a feeling; Krupp had been immersed in garage winemaking long enough to know the shallow red volcanic soils of these south-facing slopes rising into and over the fogline were ideal for growing intense berries rich with mineral and mountain flavors.

Continue reading "

From Desert Mountainscape to Iconic Vineyard


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Lama Thogme, a highly revered mandala artist who will be in attendance at the San Francisco Grace Cathedral, is shown here working with a Tools For Peace camper to create a sand mandala.

August 31, 2009

Tibetan Lamas Create Mandalas in Grace Cathedral

Bay Area Unites to Raise Awareness and Funds for Tools for Peace™

Mandala represents the complete qualities of enlightened mind. Mandalas can be two-dimensional, such as a painting or a sand mandala, or they can be more intricately represented in three-dimensions. The Tools For Peace curriculum uses the blueprint of the Tibetan Shi-tro Mandala, a symbolic representation of peaceful existence that can help us conceptualize harmony within our world and ourselves.

San Francisco, Aug.31, 2009—For one week in September (Sept. 21–25) four Tibetan lamas and selected students will work daily in the quiet and peace of the north transept of Grace Cathedral creating traditional and community sand mandalas, side by side. In this extraordinary setting and by this unique artistic and spiritual endeavor, participants hope to build awareness for Tools for Peace, a program founded by the venerable Lama Chodak Gyasto Nubpa.

Tools for Peace programs provide participants with the support they need to actively incorporate compassion, peace, and well-being into their daily lives, communities, and our world. Tools for Schools empowers students by teaching them how to cultivate compassion through motivation, mindfulness, meditation.

Continue reading "

Tibetan Lamas Create Mandalas in Grace Cathedral


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Jack London Square, the new location of Pan-American restaurant Bocanova. Photos by Ashley Teplin

August 24, 2009

Jack London Revival Starts with Bocanova

Jack London Square's Exciting New Dining Scene
Kicks Off with the Pan-American Restaurant, Bocanova

The Oakland waterfront has been a bustling commercial hub for more than a 150 years—the Transcontinental Railroad ended at the city's Long Wharf terminal, and Oakland later grew into one of the largest shipping ports on the West Coast—it still is, but today there is a growing vibrant life, focused around historic Jack London Square.

The Square, named for the celebrated author ("The Call of the Wild", "The Sea-Wolf") who spent much of his boyhood here in the late 19th century, is in the midst of a $350 million renovation by Ellis Partners. They will bring 100,000 square feet of new Class A office and retail space, a 72,000-square-foot public market modeled after San Francisco's Ferry Plaza, and a community of exciting new restaurants.

The first of these to open will be Bocanova, with its unique "Pan-American kitchen" created by Rick Hackett, executive chef at San Francisco's popular MarketBar, and his wife and front-of-the-house partner, Meredith Melville. Bringing new life to in a 1926-vintage ice warehouse, Bocanova is opening on September 1 and will feature dishes inspired by the cuisines of South, Central, and North America, showcasing their Mediterranean roots and featuring great Northern California raw ingredients, many of them sourced from small sustainable farms. Specialties might include fried Petrale Sole tacos, Yucatan seafood stew, slow-roasted heirloom beans with chorizo, Sea of Cortez scallops with Brazilian curry sauce, organic rotisserie chicken with guajillo chile & banana salsa, and Argentinean-style steaks from the grill. Ceviches and crudos will come from the extensive raw bar, and a one-of-a-kind selection of unusual but menu-appropriate wines from the Americas and beyond will be featured.

Noted Bay Area architect Michael Guthrie (Bix, Myth, Zinnia) has employed recycled and sustainably harvested materials, including wood, stone, glass, tile & textiles to bring warmth and verve to the stunning Bocanova space, with its soaring ceilings, magnificent concrete columns, and floor-to-ceiling south- and west-facing windows providing unparalleled views.

Other participants in what will soon become Jack London Square's flourishing culinary scene include Daniel Patterson (Coi) and Lauren Kiino (Delfina), whose Bracina will highlight "rustic-refined California cuisine". Richard Corbo, formerly of Ducca in San Francisco, will start his own pizzeria project called Pizzeria Zanna Bianca, and it will follow in the footsteps of the Bay Area's ubiquitous rustic Italian pizzerias/eateries. Meg Ray of the acclaimed Miette Patisserie plans to open a retail shop and baking school.

“Having lived all over the Bay Area, Meredith and I bought a house in Oakland five years ago," says Hackett, "Oakland is to San Francisco what Brooklyn was to Manhattan— we're proud to be a part of this exciting and diverse city.”

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Pulled Pork, Coleslaw and the St. Louis Cut Ribs from Bounty Hunter Smokin’ BBQ in Napa. Photo by Ashley Teplin

August 17, 2009

Rib-Roaring Competition with Napa Winemakers

A Napa Valley Winemaker’s Rib Eatin’ Competition tops the bill at Blues, Brews & BBQ

Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin’ BBQ is hosting a Winemaker’s Rib Eatin’ Contest at the Blues, Brews & BBQ event on Saturday, August 29, 2009 in downtown Napa. Ten highly regarded Napa Valley winemakers will compete for the title of ‘Bounty Hunter Top Rib Eater’ by devouring as many of the Bounty Hunter’s St. Louis Cut Ribs as they can. The friendly contest will begin at 3PM. The winemakers will have 10 minutes to compete for the rib championship honors. Learn more about the event at

The wine world’s star-studded rib eatin’ contestants are: Andy Beckstoffer, Owner, Beckstoffer Vineyards; Brian Brown, Winemaker, Round Pond / Emmerson Brown; Marco DiGiulio, Winemaker, Girard; Mike Drash, Winemaker, Luna Vineyards; Glenn Hugo, Winemaker, Hugo Family Cellars; Marbue Marke, Winemaker, Caldwell Vineyard; Kevin Mills, Winemaker, Trinitas Cellars; Tim Milos, Winemaker, Bounty Hunter Rare Wine & Provisions; Zeke Neeley, Winemaker, Trefethen Vineyards; and Matthew Rorick, Winemaker, Elizabeth Spencer / Forlorn Hope.

Bounty Hunter is the exclusive wine sponsor of the Blues, Brews & BBQ event and will be pouring many of their own wines. Streamside and Broken Spur, two of the nine Bounty Hunter brands, will be available by the glass all day long.  The contest’s St. Louis Cut Ribs are slow-smoked for five hours in the Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin’ BBQ’s own Southern Pride smoker.

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Sea of Cortez Scallops—Brazilian curry sauce - Photo By Ashley Teplin, Studio-707

August 3, 2009

Mouths Have Changed

At His Vibrant New Restaurant in Oakland's Revitalized Jack London Square, Chef Rick Hackett Pays Tribute to a Vivid and Diverse World of Cuisine

Oakland, Calif., August 3, 2009--Is this a great hemisphere or what? Mexico and Central and South America gave the world a wealth of wonderful foodstuffs, including such essentials as potatoes, tomatoes, corn, chocolate and vanilla, sweet peppers and spicy chiles, and a whole hill of beans, from black to lima to pinto to white. The great melting pot of North America, in return, added its own indigenous products and an encyclopedia of imported ingredients to the mix, and turned the culinary traditions and abilities of scores of vibrant immigrant cultures loose on the resulting cornucopia.

Bocanova, the vibrant new Pan-American restaurant opening September 1 on Oakland's revitalized Jack London Square, draws on all these culinary riches, celebrating the ingredients and cuisines of Latin America and their intimate connection with their Old World counterparts, expressed through the culinary bounty of Northern California.

Rick Hackett, Bocanova's classically trained executive chef and co-owner, combines a long commitment to sustainably grown organic raw materials with impeccable California–Mediterranean credentials as a veteran of Chez Panisse, Postrio, Bay Wolf, Oliveto, and MarketBar, among other places. The idea behind Pan-American cuisine, he says, is to blend the complimentary culinary currents of Europe and the Americas in a delicious new way.

"The introduction of New World foods helped shape what we think of today as traditional Mediterranean cuisine," he points out. "At the same time, cooking in the Americas was obviously changed tremendously by Old World ingredients—foods as basic as beef and lamb, wheat, olives, and wine grapes—and by the techniques and cooking culture that went along with them. Pan-American cooking brings a whole lot of exciting regional flavors and nuances to the table, but many of the dishes are still rooted in the Mediterranean profile."

He christened his new place Bocanova, which means "new mouth", Hackett adds, because "In the gastronomically rich Bay Area, mouths have changed. We're open to new flavors and experiences. I'm not trying to duplicate traditional dishes or experiences. What we choose to call Pan-American cuisine has evolved from a conversation between ingredients and cultures, with the old meeting the new, the familiar meeting the unfamiliar.

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Posted by Pamela at 12:25 PM | Comments (0) | Share on Facebook | Bocanova, Organic


July 24, 2009

Krupp Brothers at Stagecoach Vineyard Fires up the Grill With Inaugural Atlas Peak Excursion and Barbecue

When the winemaker's an Aussie musician who's honed his cellar skills with Michel Rolland (among others), the vintner is a doctor with a serious green thumb and the chef is a hunter/angler/gardener/former line cook who cures his own wild boar and has a James Beard Award nomination under his belt, well, everything just tastes better.

The unparalleled vineyard views surrounding Stagecoach Vineyard’s uncovered pavilion don’t hurt either. 

July 19, 2009 ushered in Krupp Brothers Winery's inaugural summer barbecue. It was an intimate yet casual gathering of Krupp Brothers wine club members and some of the valley's most esteemed wine and food professionals. While Honest-Food blogger and chef Hank Shaw added thick vine cuttings from Krupp Brothers' own Stagecoach Vineyard to the grill, guests from as far away as Austin, Texas nibbled on smoked shad rillettes topped with herring caviar (a pun only the true angler could appreciate, as shad also belongs to the herring family) and sipped on a beautifully chilled Rhone-inspired wine from the Krupp Brothers Black Bart label, called "The Bride." An aromatic blend of marsanne and viognier, winemaker Nigel Kinsman added a hit of vhardonnay to increase acidity and lighten the texture in this straw-colored white wine. One of Krupp Brothers' many unsung gems, “The Bride” is a honeysuckle and orange zest scented wine little understood outside the wine geek crowd - that is, until it's tasted, as was evidenced by the day’s thirsty crowd. Every bottle cracked was instantly, and happily, drained.

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Krupp Brothers at Stagecoach Vineyard Fires up the Grill With Inaugural Atlas Peak Excursion and Barbecue


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Cajun Shrimp with Arugula Salad, Pickled Red Onions, Grilled Watermelon.

July 10, 2009

Get Fresh and Fishy at Bounty Hunter

There's a fish special every day for lunch and dinner at Bounty Hunter fresh from Oxbow Market's Kanaloa Seafood Market. We recommend the 07 Streamside Sauvignon Blanc as an accompaniment.

Located at 975 First Street, near Main, in downtown Napa, Bounty Hunter serves lunch and dinner 7 days a week. The Wine Bar opens every day at 11 a.m., serving food all day through 10 p.m. The restaurant, wine bar and retail shop stocks 400 carefully selected wines of the world for consumption on premise or to be purchased and taken away. Some 40 wines are offered in flights and by the glass from the restaurant wine list. To see more of the Daily Specials and other menu and wine details, visit:

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