Paul Franson's


The insider's guide for those who live in Napa Valley –

or wish they did.

Aug. 3, 2015

This is the web portal to NapaLife, which is emailed each Monday to subscribers. It's usually 12 to 18 pages or more of scoops, news and events happening in Napa Valley.

Go to TravelTastes for wine, food and travel writing outside Napa Valley by Paul Franson.

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 The inside guide to Napa Valley

Published each Monday in Napa Valley

Learn what's new in Napa Valley in NapaLife

NapaLife is the insider's guide to Napa Valley; this is only a taste of the whole newsletter. The weekly newsletter is published by insider Paul Franson.

This week in NapaLife

See for future events.

City Winery seeks Opera House exit

McCaulou’s won’t reopen

Vintage Estate for sale

Old Faithful Geyser adds attractions

Food news

Weekends on the CIA terrace

Charles Krug pizza on the lawn

Dabba starts serving Wednesday

Hudson Greens & Goods at Oxbow

Changes at Ca’ Momi Enoteca

The Thomas & Fagiani’s Bar are open

New chef at Cooking School

Classes at the CIA

Cornerstone Cellars

News of the performing arts

Lucky Penny’s upcoming season

Live in the Vineyard performers

Silverado names Vesper golf head

A note to event posters

News for the wine community

Wine Symposium in Havana

Crusher Wine District industry night

Grower and Farmworker Field Day:

This week in Napa Valley

Gascon dinner at Westin

This week at Cameo Cinema:

Hot Club of Cowtown at City Winery

Napa Tuesday Farmers’ Market

Opening of Napa River Dry Bypass

National Night Out

Dog Bar at Bardessono

Zongo Junction at City Winery

Gary Lightbody at City Winery

Music at Silo’s this week

Music at Uva Trattoria this week

Music at the Andaz hotel

Music at River Terrace Inn

Punch Cigars event

Great grape study Bordeaux- blends

Thursday Night Live at Priest Ranch

Maria Muldaur at City Winery

St. Helena Farmers’ Market

Lucky Penny Yesterday Again

New exhibition at Jessel Gallery

Hurley’s Friday night BBQ

Big, bad Burgundy tasting

The Iron Heart at City Winery

Napa City Nights

Cooking demonstration at the CIA

Free family fun day: Missing Piece

Napa Saturday Farmers’ Market

Off-vineyard urban wine expedition

Trinitas Lobster Feed

Napa Youth Chamber Strings

Indian music at Old Faithful Geyser

Dinner at Silver Trident

Ceja anniversary lobster feast

Awww shucks!!!

Hands Across the Valley

Dinner music with Mads Tolling

Heart Tribute at City Winery

Harvest party at Inglenook

Compadres summer music series

Napa Valley Wine Library tasting

Dinner Music in City Winery

Ottmar Liebert at Opera House

Kevin Costner at Lincoln

A Day in the Country at Vine Village

Future events

Denim and Dazzle for the Queen

James Beard dinner at the CIA

Main Street Car Show and Shine

Main Street Reunion car show

Webinar on South Napa Earthquake

Mont La Salle benefit wine

Bale Grist Mill dinner benefit

View a sample of NapaLife.

NapaLife runs 12 to 20 pages each week including a list of almost everything happening in Napa Valley in the next two weeks. It is e-mailed each Monday and an online version is also available. It costs only $1 per week, $50 per year.


Publisher and Editor: Paul Franson
(707) 258-0159

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Publisher and Editor: Paul Franson

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Future events

Denim and Dazzle benefit for the Queen

The 38th annual Day for the Queen, the annual fundraiser for Queen of the Valley Medical Center, will take on a casual yet elegant tone this year with the theme Denim and Dazzle.

Hosted by Queen of the Valley Foundation, this year’s event will be on Friday, Aug. 21 at Silverado Resort and Spa.

The luncheon and fashion show featuring clothing from The Mustard Seed Clothing Company and Williamson & Co. Menswear will follow an 11 a.m. reception.

Tickets are $100. For information and tickets, call 257-4044 or visit

James Beard dinner at the CIA

The James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour will stop at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone on Aug. 15 from 6:30 to 10 p.m.

Top chefs will come together to create a multi-course dinner on the Herb Terrace.

Chefs include Lars Kronmark (CIA), Almir da Fonseca (CIA), Sally Camacho Mueller (CIA), Ari Weiswasser (Glen Ellen Star), David Katz (Panevino and Sub Rosa), John McConnell (Clif Family Winery), and Jeff Jackson and Kelli Crosson (both from The Lodge at Torrey Pines).

Buy tickets at $225 at

Main Street Car Show and Shine

The Downtown Napa Association presents a prelude to the Main Street Reunion Car Show in the south Copia parking lot on Friday, Aug. 14 from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

It will feature 150 pre-1976 cars plus music from the Evan Thomas Blues Band and food and beverage plus tee shirts, hats and other gear.

Part of the proceeds benefit the Pathway Home.

It’s free and open to the public.

Register at to show your car.

Main Street Reunion car show

Downtown Napa Association and Napa Valley Cruisers present the 13th Annual Main Street Reunion Car Show on Saturday, Aug. 15 from 10 to 3 p.m.

It will feature 400 pre- 1976 cars, all in pristine, show condition. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Pathway Home.

It’s free and open to the public at First and Main in downtown Napa. To register a car or for more information, visit

Webinar on South Napa Earthquake

The California Preservation Foundation presents a webinar on Aug. 18 from noon to 1:30 p.m. on the South Napa Earthquake one year ago.

The cost is $60 at

Call (415) 495-0349 for more information.

Mont La Salle scholarship benefit wine

The Lasallian Christian Brothers Foundation will present a sociable afternoon in the courtyard at Mont La Salle featuring wine tastings of several vintages, and a barrel-tasting of the newly-released 2013 Brother Timothy Mont La Salle Vineyard Cabernet on Saturday, Sept. 12 from 1 to 2 p.m.

Guests will be able to taste and buy 2009, 2010 and 2012 vintages while enjoying appetizers created by the order’s CIA-trained chef.

Brother Timothy Diener (1910-2004) was a renowned winemaker who worked under the Christian Brothers brand to produce wines for the benefit of students attending Lasallian Christian Brothers schools.

Brother Timothy’s legacy lives on in the Cabernet Sauvignon vintages produced in his honor by Hess Collection Winery and donated to the Lasallian Christian Brothers Foundation.

These wines are only available there and all proceeds from wine sales fund scholarships for low-income students to attend Christian Brothers schools in the western region.

Buy the wine online from Sept. 12 to 26 only at

It's by invitation only. Call  252-3710 or email to receive an invitation.

Mont La Salle is at 4401 Redwood Road next to the Hess Collection.

Bale Grist Mill dinner benefit

The Napa Valley State Park Association will hold its annual candlelit dinner at the historic Bale Grist Mill on 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12.

It includes a reception featuring American whiskeys and a farm-to-table dinner prepared with locally grown and raised food paired with valley wines.

Tickets are $125 at event/1761420.

The mill is at 3369 St. Helena Highway north of St. Helena.

The Great Mexican-American Grape Stomp

Indulge yourself in the wines from 15 Mexican-American vintners at the Great Mexican-American Grape Stomp on Saturday, Aug. 15 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Mi Sueño Winery.

Treat yourself to wonderful wine, fabulous food pairings, live mariachi music, grape stomp and silent auction lots filled with limited production wines and winery experiences.

Proceeds benefit the Mexican-American Vintners Association scholarship fund.

Special advance tickets are $75. Advance tickets are $100. Tickets at the door will be $125. Visit or call 266-1296 to buy tickets.

Mi Sueño Winery is at 910 Enterprise Way, Napa.

Hospice gala

Napa Valley Hospice & Adult Day Services will hold their ninth annual gala and auction at Napa Valley Reserve on Sept. 11.

This year’s theme is “Reflect & Rejoice.”

It will be a memorable evening of wine, food, and entertainment, with auction items that create unique experiences and warm memories long after the event is over.

Get more information at or 258-9084.

reThink Food at the CIA

reThink Food at the CIA Nov. 6-8 will feature entrepreneurs, scientists, chefs and business and foodservice leaders for presentations, tastings and insights into the future of food.

The conference presented by The Culinary Institute of America and the MIT Media Lab calls on visionary chefs, growers, entrepreneurs and innovators to prepare for the future of food and the intersection of technology, behavior and design.

Get more information at

Melissa Etheridge stars at Music Festival for Brain Health

The 21st Annual Music Festival for Brain Health will be held on Saturday, Sept. 19 at Staglin Family Vineyard.

This year’s festival features two-time Grammy and Oscar winner Melissa Etheridge.

Celebrating over two decades of research funding, the Music Festival for Brain Health is one of America’s most important fund-raising events focusing on brain disorders, with an historical total raised surpassing $220 million including leveraged grants from U.S. government agencies and private organizations,.

The Music Festival for Brain Health benefits One Mind Institute and One Mind, each partnering to support research, education, treatment, and to fight the stigma surrounding brain disorders.

The Festival kicks off with the scientific symposium featuring keynote speaker Geoffrey T. Manley, MD, PhD, Chief of Neurosurgery at San Francisco General Hospital and Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Manley will speak on Healing the Injured Brain: A Team Science Approach to an Old Problem.

Eric J. Nestler, M.D., Ph.D., the Nash Family Professor of Neuroscience, Chairman of the Department of Neuroscience and Director of the Friedman Brain Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York will moderate the symposium, which will also feature the 2015 Rising Star scientists, along with Dr. Carrie Bearden, Ph.D., Professor in the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, who will speak on Conquering Psychiatric Disease through Collaborative Science and provide an update on her research on understanding neurobiological risk factors for the development of psychosis.

The symposium is followed by a cult wine tasting paired with hors d’oeuvres prepared by Chef Sean O’Toole of Torc Restaurant in Napa.

The day continues with an intimate concert performance Melissa Etheridge.

Immediately following the concert, enjoy an exclusive Napa Valley feast under the stars at the VIP post-concert dinner created by Top Chef Chef Hubert Keller of Fleur Las Vegas paired with Staglin Family Vineyard wines.

Early bird festival passes prior to Aug. 1 begin at $750. Festival passes will be $1,000 beginning Aug. 1.

Buy passes at

Admission to the symposium only is free with prior registration. Proceeds benefit mental health research projects throughout the nation.

For more information, telephone Cindy Dyar at 963-4038, email or visit

Dinner at Connolly Ranch

Dine under the stars at Connolly Ranch on Saturday, Sept. 19, at 5 p.m. Enjoy an evening of farm-to-table food, live music and live and silent auctions during Dinner at the Ranch.

Tickets are $150 at with proceeds benefitting free and subsidized farm experiences for more than 5,000 schoolchildren each year at Connolly Ranch.

Connolly Ranch is at 3141 Browns Valley Rd., Napa.

Molly’s Angels Golf

Molly’s Angels 11th annual golf outing will be Wednesday, Sept. 30 at Chardonnay Golf Club.

It is presented by Compadres and Ca’Momi Winery and hosted by Giants alumni Vida Blue and Rich Murray.

For more information, call 224-8971 or visit

You can also pick up registration materials at Compadres Rio Grille.

Music in Napa Valley

See for details on future events

City Winery at the Napa Valley Opera House

  • Aug. 6 Maria Muldaur's Way Past Midnight
  • Aug 10 Leo Kaapana and Mike Kaawa
  • Aug 12 Creed Bratton of The Office, Dirty Cello
  • Aug. 14 Marc Cohn plus Phil Cody
  • Aug 19 Richie Furay, Empty Pockets
  • Aug 20 Gregory Alan Isakov
  • Aug 22 Eric Hutchinson, Tess Henley
  • Aug. 25 NVOH Present's Tuesday Night Flicks: Hitchcock's To Catch A Thief
  • Aug 29 Lydia Pense & Cold Blood with special guest Rick Stevens
  • Aug 30 Rockapella
  • Aug 31 KT Tunstall
  • Sep 1 KT Tunstall
  • Sep 5 Super Diamond
  • Sept 12 Marcia Ball
  • Sep 15 The Doors' legendary Guitarist Robby Krieger and his band Jam Kitchen
  • Sep 16 Graham Parker
  • Sept. 17 Donavan Frankenreiter, Peter Harper
  • Sep 18 John McCauley of Deer Tick
  • Sept. 20 NVOH and Lucky Penny presents: “I’m the Greatest future Star Musical Theatre Competition for Kids
  • Sept 22 Marc Broussard
  • Sept 23 Justin Hayward, Mike Dawes
  • Sep 26 Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin with The Guilty Ones
  • Sep 27 Little Hurricane
  • Oct 4 NVOH Presents: Mark Hummel, Anson Funderburgh and Little Charlie Baty with Golden State-Lone Star Revue
  • Oct. 18 A Special Solo Evening with Joan Armatrading, Matt Bednarsk
  • Oct 19 Dick Dale
  • Oct 24 Heartless Bastards, Slothrust
  • Oct. 25 NVOH and Terry Bradford present Terry Bradford's Voice Studio Concert
  • Nov 18 and 9 Squeeze (acoustic set)-An Evening with Difford & Tilbrook
  • Nov 21 Janeanne Garofalo

Most events start at 8 p.m. 

Buy concert tickets or get information on a becoming a member at 260-1600 or

Uptown Theatre

  • Aug 15 Jerry Jeff Walker   
  • Aug 22 Casey Abrams 
  • Aug 29 Comedian Rodney Carrington
  • Sept 18 - G. Love & Special Sauce
  • Sept 19 Comedian Steven Wright   
  • Sept 27 Mavis Staples with Joan Osborne   
  • Oct 1 Boz Scaggs
  • Oct 12 Boz Scaggs
  • Oct 3 Get The LED Out, The American Led Zeppelin
  • Oct 9 Colin Mochri & Brad Sherwood, Improv Comedy 
  • Oct 10 Chris Botti 
  • Oct 16 Tommy Castro & The Painkillers 
  • Oct 30 Dave Davies of the KINKS
  • Nov 1 - George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic
  • Nov 4 - Jonny Lang
  • Nov 11-15 Napa Valley Film Festival
  • Nov 14 Comedian Kathleen Madigan 
  • Nov 25 An Irish Christmas   
  • Dec 2 Milk Carton Kids
  • May 5, 2016 - Author David Sedaris

Most shows are at 8 p.m. The Uptown Theatre is at 1350 Third St. in Napa. The box office phone is 259-0123 x 6 and website is  

Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater

  • Villalobos Brothers Aug. 15
  • Dan Goodman presents Nonsense and Verse Aug. 20
  • California Symphony Presents: Traditions New and Old December 21, 5pm
  • California Symphony Presents: A Grand Finale May 6, 2016

Get information and tickets at or 944-9900.

Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center

Visit, or or call 256-7500.

Lucky Penny Community Arts Center

Lucky Penny productions also appear at other venues includinghave its ongoing Sunday series at  the Napa Valley Opera House once a month.

  • Aug. 7-16 Yesterday Again 
  • Sept. 18 - Oct. 4 The Secret Garden 
  • Oct. 16 - 25 Gruesome Playground Injuries
  • Nov. 6 - 22 Beyond Therapy
  • Dec. 4 - 20 The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical
  • Jan. 29 – Feb. 14 In Love With the 8 X 10: Ten Minute Play Festival
  • April 15 - May 1 Andrews Brothers By Roger Bean
  • May 13 - 29 I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change
  • Revenge Of The Space Pandas (or Binky Rudich and the Two Speed Clock ) Youth Academy Summer 2016 Production


Summer converts at Jamieson Ranch Winery

Jamieson Ranch Winery’s summer concert series returns this year with an interesting variety of acts. Most  are free, but some require tickets.

  • Aug. 15 – Stu Tails, 1-4 p.m.
  • Sept. 5 – Charlie Wade, 1-4 p.m.
  • Sept. 15 – Big Blu Soul, 1-4 p.m.
  • Sept. 19 – Loose Blues, 1-4 p.m.

Get details at

Long Meadow Ranch summer concert series 

  • Aug. 16 Hot Buttered Rum, San Francisco’s own postmodern string band
  • Aug. 30 West Coast favorites and high-energy string band The Brothers Comatose along with North Lake Tahoe’s Dead Winter Carpenters
  • Sept. 20 bluegrass The Infamous Stringdusters
  • Oct. 4 LMR All-Star Big Band, a 20-player big band drawn from an internationally accomplished group of musicians that has played jazz across the world benefiting the Timothy Hall Foundation.

Tickets are mostly $35 in advance. For tickets and more information, visit or call 963-4555.

Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch is at 738 Main St. in St. Helena.

Compadres' Sunday Summer Music Series  

4-7 p.m. each Sunday.

  • Aug. 9 - Johnny Fittipaldi & Friends: Napa Valley's home grown soul man!  Motown to Memphis
  • Aug. 16 - Revolver: spot-on covers of late 60's and early 70's favorites!
  • Aug. 23 - Davies-Dukes: local favorites...these guys need no introduction!
  • Aug. 30 - Double Shot: more local favorites - old school classic and country rock!

Compadres Rio Grille is at 505 Lincoln Ave. in Napa, Call 253-1111.

Priest Ranch Winery in Yountville

Thursday Night Live 6 to 9 p.m.

  • Aug. 6, Charles Wheal
  • Aug. 20, Five A.M.
  • Sept. 3, Sean Carscadden Trio
  • Sept. 17, The J Silverheels Band
Summer concerts at Jamieson Ranch Winery

Napa City Nights

Napa City Nights, a free summer concert series each Friday night at Veterans Memorial Park,  includes three local bands, with music running from 6:30 to 10 p.m.

Bring a blanket and a picnic, and enjoy the shows.

This summer's lineup:

  • Aug. 7: BeaufunK, Amber Snider Band, Trevor Lyon
  • Aug. 14: Harvey & the Wallbangers, Skunk Funk, Kristen Van Dyke
  • Aug. 21: The Soul Section, Graveyard Boots, Vincent Costanza
  • Aug. 28: The Used Blues Band, Girls & Boys, Dawn Rose
  • Sept. 4: Brad Wilson, Funk Pickles, Doug Houser

Sebastiani summer music series

Sebastiani Vineyards features music from 6 to 9 p.m. every Friday through Sept. 25.

They’ll also have food and wine for sale and the last Friday of the month is Food Truck Friday in the parking lot with Pagan Pizza, Tips Trips & Tri-Tip, Caribbean Spices, Got Ball Meatball Factory, Marks the Spot and Seed on the Go.

Here’s the schedule (subject to change):

  • Aug. 7: Big Iron – Classic dancing, drinking, sing-along Bakersfield-style honky-tonk.
  • Aug. 14: Rhett Hammer Blues Band – Playing Classic Rock with soulful R&B.
  • Aug. 21: The Incognito Band
  • Aug. 28: Ten Foot Tone – Food Truck Friday.
  • Sept. 4: Poyntlyss Sistars – Playing Rock, R&B, Motown, and Pop through the decades.
  • Sept. 11: Sugar Foot – High-caliber R&B, Rock, Funk, Dance, & Groove music.
  • Sept. 18: BackTrax – Dance the night away to all your favorite covers from the 60’s to the 90’s.
  • Sept. 25: The Rolling Blackouts – One of Sebastopol’s finest bands playing Classic R&B. Food Truck Friday

Reservations are not required for these events and there’s no cost to attend.

Sebastiani Vineyards is at 389 Fourth St. East in Sonoma.

Books by Paul Franson

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The NapaLife Insider's Guide to Napa Valley – 2015 Edition

By Paul Franson

The NapaLife Insider's Guide to Napa Valley tells the stories behind the valley and its people, and learn everything from the best views in Napa Valley to why Napa Valley is the unique place it is.

Print copy $19.99

Kindle version $9.99

Spinning the Bottle Again

By Paul Franson and Harvey Posert

Spinning the Bottle Again contains strategies, tactics and case studies of wine public relations. It’s a heavily updated and revised version of the seminal book on wine public relations Spinning the Bottle.

Spinning the Bottle Again is a collection of theory, practical information and case studies about promoting wine, wineries and wine-related issues.

Print version is $19.95 from Createspace, part of Amazon, at

Kindle version from $9.99.

Escapes to Paradise: Adventures and Misadventures in the Romantic   Caribbean Sea

by Paul Franson

You may dream of buying a boat in the tropics, but you’d do well to read this book before you do.

Author and sailor Paul Franson has had some of the best times in his life on the varied islands of the West Indies, but he’s also had some experiences that he can be philosophical about only decades later.

The book also includes tales of other sailing adventures, a guide to sailing some popular islands, and a cookbook of Caribbean recipes.

Print version $9.99

Kindle version $4.99 from

You can also contact Paul Franson to find out how to buy copies locally or pdf versions for use on computers and tablets.