Monday, February 4

Profile: Alexis Swanson Traina

I love a great glass of wine and I am partial to Napa Valley—it’s where we spent our honeymoon. During our trip to California over the Christmas holidays I had the occasion to try the magnificent House of Swanson’s Alexis Estate Red. A full-bodied wine produced from cabernet (65%) and Syrah (25%) with the balance made up of merlot and cab franc, it’s simply delicious.

Swanson Vineyards is a small, hands-on, family-owned winery. In 1969 proprietor Clark Swanson Jr. married Elizabeth Pipes and raised their three daughters, Alexis, Veronica and Claiborne in Naples, Florida. In 1985 the family moved to Napa Valley and began Swanson Vineyards. Today Clark Swanson is still very much involved in the running of the winery, as is Elizabeth—the heart and soul of Swanson Vineyards and daughter Alexis Swanson Traina the namesake of the Alexis wine.

In additional to their wonderful, award-winning wines, one unique feature that sets the Swanson vineyard apart from other California wineries is their tasting salon. Inspired by the literary and culinary salons of 18th-century Paris, the Swanson Salon gathers together individuals to sample, discuss and enjoy their wine in a beautiful and relaxed atmosphere. Rather than the typical winery experience where visitors stand, guests to the Salon are seated around a beautifully set table to enjoy Swanson wines paired with food. To keep the experience personal and intimate, tasting are limited to a maximum of eight people.

Recently I had the opportunity to catch up with the beautiful and charming Alexis Swanson Traina the creative director of Swanson Vineyards. I adore her answers to my questions.

What is your fondest wine memory?
The first time I realized red wine was NOT the body and blood of Christ.

What are your favorite varietals?
I have a very American palate and love BIG California reds. For everyday, I love merlot and for special occasions, I covet a cabernet sauvignon. I also am wildly charmed by sweet, dessert wines.

Why do you think California Merlots have received negative press in recently years?
It is all part of the cycle of life.... you watch, merlot will have its' day again soon. I am a BIG fan of merlot, especially when it is made well and correctly. In our house, it IS the house wine--perfect on a Tuesday night and perfect on a Saturday night.

What is the one thing in life you can't live without
Cuban coffee in the morning

What is your most prized possession
A box that houses the relics of my life: love letters, pictures, poems, buttons, ticket stubs--whatever....

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
To love and be loved in return

What books are on your bedside table?
Trashy magazines

What inspired the Swanson Vineyards Salon
Naivete and a desire to be relevant

Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day
My father's father-- and if he were anything like his son, we would drive up the coast of northern California stopping at every oyster shack, coffee shop and bakery along the way.

What in your opinion is the perfect food and wine pairing
That is a favorite topic of mine-- dreaminess for me is the naughty combination of dark chocolate and red table wine. I also love pizza and rose.

Profile by Ronda Carman


pve design said...

Again, an inspiring post and another tastemaker!
Great spot and wonderful interview. Leave it to you to find all the best.

Mary-Laure said...

Thank you for this profile, Alexis Swanson is so beautiful and fun!
(Ah, honeymoon in Napa Valley, how romantic, lucky you! I so LONG for California, you have no idea...)


Her beauty and charisma are powerful forces for her vineyard. Interesting post. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Really great profile Ronda. You do find the best of the best!

{this is glamorous} said...

Wonderful profile--I love the idea behind their tasting salon and Alexis' answers are completely charming.

The Peak of Chic said...

Great interview Ronda! The tasting salon sounds divine!!

Anonymous said...

I am wildly charmed by Alexis - great interview.

ALL THE BEST said...

Thank you Patricia!

It was a very romantic and fun honeymoon Mary-Laure!!

ALL THE BEST said...

I so agree with you LIBERTY POST EDITOR!!

Thank you Anne!

A visit to their tasting salon is on my list {this is glamorous}!

ALL THE BEST said...

Doesn't Jennifer, I can't wait to see it in person!

Thanks Jason.

ali said...

Wow, that salon is gorgeous. I like to think I could have a lot of fun there. :)

Laura in Paris said...

Hi Ronda, Thank you for this inviting wine tasting post! I have enrolled an Oenology course at the University of Angers, in the Loire Valley (wine production) in the west of France. I attend classes once a month. I love wine and wanted to learn about wine making, wine tasting, and more.
Next week I'll be in Sonoma valley and I will take with me the name of the wine you mention in your post. I'll keep you "posted".

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Charming, absolutely. And a grand idea for the wine tasting salon, too.

Thanks for the profiles; they are such good reads.

kari and kijsa said...

Fabulous post! we are blessed to have stopped by!
kari & kijsa

Anonymous said...

Love your blog.
What a fantastic interview!