Thursday, January 17, 2019

24 Hours in The Big Peach - A Quick Getaway to ATL

By Kat Thomas, Edible Skinny

A little over a month ago Edible Skinny headed to Atlanta for the Atlanta Comedy Film Festival (Kelly Grace Thomas and mine script MAGIC LITTLE PILLS was an official SELECTION at this year’s winter festival!!!)!  So naturally while hobnobbing it at the Atlanta film scene (there’s a reason the city is called Hollywood of the South) I decided Edible Skinny should experience all that the city of Atlanta had to offer for 24 hours! ;-)

Hot’ Lanta it wasn’t... With lots of winter rain happening this trip, there were copious amounts of coffee consumed just too keep warm.  But still I got my travel on, exploring the City Too Busy To Hate!  Which BTWs is another one of the city of Atlanta’s nicknames along with: The A, The ATL, City of Trees, The Empire City of the South, Dogwood City, The Big Peach.

So here’s life being delicious, all your moments being postcard worthy, and living it up in The Big Peach!

Coffee, coffee, and more coffee!!!  Keeping warm meant imbibing loads of caffeine (making it VERY similar to Edible Skinny’s trips to another film festival in Park City, Utah... the Sundance Film Festival...), thus my first stop after hopping off the MARTA (Atlanta’s version of a Metro) was The Dancing Goats Coffee Bar in Midtown. 
This cafe is actually owned by the coffee company Batdorf & Bronson, so (naturally) they use Batdorf & Bronson coffee beans (which are killer)!  The brand started in Olympia, WA (where there are 5 cafes) before emigrating to Atlanta (where there are 3 cafes).  With over thirty years, roasting exceptional coffee, their cup of Joe is exceptionally perky.  These cafe locations are named after Batdorf & Bronson’s signature coffee: The Dancing Goats, which flavoring is bold and toasty with hints of chocolate, spice.  And so I grabbed a Café Au Lait and headed on a walk around the city!  Basking in the glory of classic Tudor Revival mansions (the Margaret Mitchell House was around the corner) contrasted with the rainbow colors of the city’s gay district.

And then it was ready for my screenplay close up, at the screening and after party at the Atlanta Comedy Film Festival at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema!  As mentioned before Kelly Grace Thomas and mine script MAGIC LITTLE PILLS was an official SELECTION at this year’s winter festival!!!  Magic Little Pills: a comedy about life, love and vitamin pyramid schemes!!
Running for the last four years, the Atlanta Comedy Film Festival is a unique forum for comedy filmmakers and television producers to showcase their creative works in Atlanta, Georgia (aka Hollywood of the South).  The Atlanta Comedy Film Festival showcases short comedy films, web series, funny music videos, and commercials from all over the world.
Post screening, the awards ceremony took place at Apres Diem to recognize the best of the best filmmakers for their creative work.  The vibe was a relaxed yet sophisticated take on the European style of dining with kickass cocktails.  I sipped on a Midnight Kiss (Prosecco, Saint Germain & Splash of Cranberry) while cheering on my fellow comedians!

Most times when I write a travel article, I only mention the highlights; editing out the snafus that can occur through truly experiencing a city for the first time.  The missed last train of the night (which happened in Amsterdam last year...) to the time you arrive at a restaurant someone recommended only discover it has since closed.  Life isn’t perfect, and neither is travel. 
So on that Sunday in Atlanta, most of my evening was spent getting ready and traveling to Hot Jams Swing, one of the hottest weekly dance events in Atlanta.  The jamming event takes place on Monday Nights at Ambient+Studios.  There you’ll find people of all ages and abilities dancing to swing era jams played by local DJs or even a live band.  As the review said on Yelp, “Swing - the way grandma used to make it.  The location is a tad off of the beaten path, but all you have to do is follow the music to find this often packed but always inviting dance hall.  If you've never danced before worry not, there is always a free lesson before the start of the dance and there are plenty of friendly folks willing to show you a step or two.”
This event sounded like AN ABSOLUTE BLAST and thus I was raring to dance my booty off that night.  But it was only after I arrived at Ambient+Studios that I discovered that although this dance event is one of the hottest events on Monday nights, not a thing happens on Sunday when you get your days mixed up.  But as they say, “it’s the journey, not the destination.”
But just you bet, next time we’re in ATL (on a Monday) this will be my ABSOLUTE JAM!!!


Regardless of last night’s missed connections, the next day began with some more caffeine.  This time courtesy of Drip located in Hapeville (which is home to the very first Chick-fil-A and has a ton of AMAZING murals throughout the town),  This coffee spot has all the fixings for a Silverlake hipster hangout: cool colorings, sleek modern design, FREE WiFi, and reclaimed wood accents. 
I ordered a Clever Drip (similar to a pour over, but the coffee sits longer before being dumped all at once, resulting in a strong cup of Joe).  Hello New Discovery!!!  The method crafted a delicate flavor profile allowing the fruitiness of this light roast Ethiopian blend to shine.  It was the perfect start to my second day of exploring ATLA!

I swear I’m the only person who travels to Atlanta forgoes BBQ for coffee and ethnic food… but with all of the December rain Pho sounded like the perfect pick me up.  Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, Dua Vietnamese Noodle Soup has been pouring authentic Pho and other great Vietnamese dishes to GSU students and downtown businesses for years!  As I approached a line spilled into the sidewalk; you know a place is good if the queue goes past the door frame!  With four locations in the ATL area, these are the Vietnamese dishes that keep Atlanta locals always coming back.  A fast casual concept it still took 20 minutes for my meal after ordering.  But when it arrived: Heaven in a bowl!!!  Absolutely worth the wait!  Open everyday except Sunday (because this is the South…).

And what was this trip if not one more coffee shop!  Turns out I saved the best for last at the Land of Thousand Hills Coffee.  Located in the Flatiron Building aka FlatironCity, Atlanta's oldest skyscraper established in 1897.  The building was dubbed The Flatiron Building because of its narrow triangular iron like shape.  It has sister buildings in New York City and Toronto.  FlatironCity is now home to Microsoft Innovation Center, Women’s Entrepreneurship Institute, 20+ entrepreneurs and startups.  (It is also across the street from Woodruff Park which has the most AWESOME children’s playground shaped like the city’s airport code). 
With a motto of Drink Coffee. Do Good. Land of Thousand Hills Coffee embraces the concept of quality coffee, with a conscience.  Specialty coffee makes up only 10% of the industry, and Land of Thousand Hills Coffee is consistently placed above that in the top 5%.  I opted for the off menu Duane (suggested by a VERY HELPFUL barista): crafted of Brown sugar, Vanilla, and Cinnamon.  It was like my taste buds were swing dancing in Bob Ross’ fluffy little clouds!  Yummm (with 3 Ms!!!)!!!

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at
By Kat Thomas, Edible Skinny

Friday, January 11, 2019

Not-So-Dry January with Humphry Slocombe’s Hot Toddy Glenlivet Ice Cream Sundae

Not-So-Dry January with Humphry Slocombe’s Hot Toddy Glenlivet Ice Cream Sundae

By Kat Thomas, Edible Skinny

“Hot Toddies are the only good thing about winter.”

Say hello to a not-so-dry-frozen Californian January with Humphry Slocombe, the chef-driven, badass ice cream shop on Abbott Kinney.  This Friday, January 11th (aka National Hot Toddy Day) Humphry will be offering complimentary Hot Toddy Sundaes as well as artisan cocktails from The Glenlivet from 6pm-10pm at the Venice location.  It’s like biting into a boozey snowman (in the best way possible)!!!

Let’s get straight to the pint!!! Humphry Slocombe has partnered with renowned Scotch whiskey brand The Glenlivet to create a specialty flavor, The Glenlivet, made with 12-year malt scotch and the Hot Toddy Sundae, a specialty sundae featuring The Glenlivet flavor and clove caramel topped with candied lemon. Can we say Holey Super Foodie Batman?!?

Welcome to a bizarre, delicious, frozen universe… with flavors such as “Here’s Your Damn Strawberry,” “Elvis (the Fat Years),” and McEvoy Olive Oil, this is not your plain vanilla ice cream shop.  It began in December 2008 when Jake Godby & Sean Vahe opened the first shop of this San Francisco based ice cream company.  Servers Christopher and London informed me that the Abbot Kinney location is their fourth (and first non-Bay based) location.

Since then everyone loves to ask “Which partner is Humphry and which one is Slocombe?”  The answer is neither.  Inspired by their love of British comedy, Humphry Slocombe is named after the two lead characters (Mr. Humphries and Mrs. Slocombe) from the fabulous 1970’s sitcom “Are You Being Served?”  They even keep the official “Are You Being Served” book in their Mission Shop to show anyone who’s never heard of the show…just ask!

So looking for the perfect excuse for boozy winter ice cream,, head over to their Abbot Kinney haven for some FREE frozen Toddies from 6-10pm!!!

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at

Monday, January 7, 2019

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley with Yo el Rey Roasting Organic Coffee

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley with Yo el Rey Roasting Organic Coffee

By Kat Thomas, Edible Skinny
The next day we rose with the sun to experience all that Calistoga had to offer… but first our JAVA FIX at Yo el Rey Roasting Organic Coffee!!!  A SUPER COOL space right in the middle of Calistoga, Yo el Rey Roasting Organic Coffee is a small coffee spot filled with colorful art, kitschy vintage furniture, and handwritten poetry all over the walls.  This is perfect caffeine cove to clear your mind of all that Chardonnay, Cabernet, and Pinot Noir or to wind down after an afternoon of window shopping in Calistoga.

Kelly and I deemed it an extremely solid java spot!  Yo el Rey Roasting Organic Coffee was voted best cafe/coffeehouse in Napa County and best Wifi Hotspot in the Valley as a whole (a very important aspect after a day of places with no service...).  Their commitment to superior quality, organically farmed coffee has allowed them to become organic, California-Green Certified, and Napa County-Green Certified.

Focusing on espresso and pour over drinks, their coffee blend is a nice medium roast of beans chosen by and roasted by the owner personally right in the middle of the floor using a chromed out Diedrich Roaster.  Be sure to get the honey vanilla latte, it's the signature drink of the place: rich, satisfyingly and not too sweet! ;-)

So here’s to life being delicious, all your moments being postcard worthy, and follow your dreams…and drink up bitches!!!

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley with Veraison

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley with Veraison

By Kat Thomas, Edible Skinny 

Everything happens for a Riesling!  Kelly and I were both famished from our day of day drinking so we decided to was time for (another) nosh!  Thus we headed over to Veraison, the French-inspired, farm-to-table restaurant located within the Mount View Hotel!  There we celebrated Kelly’s weekend in style: dining on oysters, macaroni cheese, and one of the best by-the-glass wine lists in Napa Valley...

Veraison is named after the stage of berry when midway through its development it changes from hard to soft and its color goes from green to its harvesting colour.  It was the perfect place to savor a recap of our travels throughout the MAGICAL valley of Napa!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley with JACK Winery

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley with JACK Winery

By Kat Thomas, Edible Skinny

LOVE the wine you’re with…  After a scrumptious dinner at Veraison, we headed back to Mount View Hotel & Spa to drink some AWESOME wine in the natural mineral whirlpool (gotta get your healing waters in...).  So we opened a bottle of JACK Proprietary Red Wine and talked about the future of life underneath the stars of Calistoga!  Kelly and I were lucky enough that a few bottles of red were left for us at the hotel’s front desk by our friends at JACK Winery.  Accompanied by a handwritten note stating: “We invite you to enjoy JACK wines with good friends and family because we believe the simple joy of conversation is one of life’s greatest gifts.”

With a philosophy of, “Friends and family.  We’ll drink to that,” JACK Winery was created by former Major League teammates Chris Iannetta and Vernon Wells in 2012. 

Despite both of their careers overlapping for a very short time while playing for the Los Angeles Angels they became friends through a mutual interest in wine and rehabbing together from injuries suffered during the 2011/2012 baseball season.  For three months of the season both were on the disabled list. 

Chris and Vernon would often visit fine dining restaurants with teammates.  When it came to choosing the wines for the meal, their teammates would often defer to Chris or Vernon to make the choices.  During one such meal they both talked about their passion for wines, interest in the Napa Valley and pondered starting their own wine label.  For Chris and Vernon, the thrill of creating something from the ground up and being able to share it with friends, family, and wine lovers near and far is the satisfying result of a fruitful collaboration.

Taking the initials of Jayce, Ashlyn, Christian and Kylie, JACK Winery was born.  The name stands as a tribute  to their shared passion for family

Some wine favorites that we sampled under the stars from JACK Winery included:     

  • Proprietary Red Wine (2015) - This wine is a flavor bomb!  A blend of Merlot and Cabernet blend, its aged for 22 months in French Oak before bottling.   Crimson in color with flavors of wild berries, currants, and cherries, it’s the perfect complement to a discussion under a star filled sky.  Oh, and it got a 92 from Robert Parker Wine Advocate.
  • Pinot Noir (2016) - A ruby red painted lady!  With a limited production of only 32 cases, this was the inaugural vintage of the JACK Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley.  Berries, plum, and hints of rose petals make you want to discover what this lady of the night has to offer.  And let’s just say it’s a long decadent finish…  ;-)

Friday, January 4, 2019

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley with Mount View Hotel & Spa

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley with Mount View Hotel & Spa

By Kat Thomas, Edible Skinny
Time to wine down…  Kelly and I checked in at the iconic Mount View Hotel & Spa, which sits centrally on Calistoga’s Lincoln Avenue and has been a beacon for enthusiastic travelers searching out the region’s abundant amenities and mineral-rich waters for over a century.  Designed with relaxation in mind, Mount View Hotel & Spa has been a favorite since 1919.  It’s the detailing that sets this place apart, upon our arrival Matthew, one of the hotel’s managers, gave us a bottle of One Hope Sparkling to celebrate Kelly’s impending nuptials!

At the Mount View Hotel each of the 33 guest rooms, suites and private cottages have been furnished with it's original art deco architect in mind, mixed with contemporary accents to give a relaxed and trendy vibe.  Mount View Hotel & Spa was recognized in 1981 on the National Register of Historic Places, and with due reason.  The Mount View Hotel & Spa has had a handful of colorful proprietors who have left a lasting impact on the grandeur seen and felt today.  While staying there Kelly and I stayed in the “Twin Bedroom” (something right out of a 1940s screwball comedy..), the tub and sink were classic clawfoot (perfect for rogue champagne bottles) something the in-room Illy Coffee counterbalanced the next day! ;-)

Mount View's beautiful backyard includes an outdoor heated pool, natural mineral whirlpool (gotta get your healing waters in...), cabanas, private grounds patio that allows you to relax in comfort and style with a glass of wine. The hotel has dining on the property, with two on-site restaurants: boasting contemporary American eats at Johnny’s Calistoga and French-inspired fare at Veraison, as well as the newly opened Indie Blue Lounge, where guests can enjoy an artisanal coffee experience and wine tasting.

Inspired by One Hope Wines and the first of its kind in Calistoga, the Mount View Hotel has adopted “cause integration” hospitality in the Napa Valley.  Mount View Hotel donates 50 percent of its profits to charity from environmental causes to children’s needs (that’s right you read that correct: 50 percent!!!).  Oh, and the hotel is also a certified Green Hotel.  The Mount View Hotel’s vision is to create exceptional experiences that inspires people to indulge while doing good.  Talk about the perfect reason to take an overnight to Calistoga! ;-)

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Winter is Coming, Winter is Here: Hot Beauty Products for the Coldest of Times!

Winter is Coming, Winter is Here: Hot Beauty Products for the Coldest of Times!

By Kat Thomas, Edible Skinny

Winter is Coming, Winter is Here. (Along with the final season of Game of Thrones in April 2019!)  And with Winter comes pale dry skin, static cling hair, and foundation that is too dark for your vampire colored body! ;-)

Yes Baby it’s cold outside!  We know that you need some Beauty 911 to combat the impending doom of frostbitten lips and dragon like skin. 

So here’s the skinny on all things beauty reviving as the darkest of beauty times is here! ;-)

Better Skin Mirakle Cream - $34
We all need a bit (okay a lot) of reparation in the skin area this time of year, well Better Skin Mirakle Cream is genius in a jar with it’s one-stop, skin-loving, problem-solving, all-purpose cream!  Mirakle Cream’s ingredient rich recipe, imported from the Republic of Uzbekistan, is handcrafted in the USA with love and FAB FAB ingredients such as coconut oil, sea buckthorn, shea butter, cocoa butter, aloe, and soothing algae to help moisturize the skin.  Peptides and hyaluronic acid help skin appear smoother, more youthful and radiant.  It’s the perfect weapon to slay scaly dragon skin!!!

Qyksonic ZOE 3-in-1 Sonic Beauty Device - $199
Cue the song Good Vibrations by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch (yeah that’s right we’re bringing it back…)  Less than a year ago I had never used a sonic beauty device, and now I absolutely SWEAR by them!!!  Of the multitude of ones I’ve explored, Qyksonic ZOE 3-in-1 Sonic Beauty Device is the only skincare device that cleanses, massages, and applies skincare products (most competitors don’t don’t do the last one).  Bam!  Zoe’s advanced Silicone Brushes work at over 6000 pulsations per minute to gently cleanse and exfoliate the makeup, dirt, and oil that clog your pores and cause acne, while eliminating blemishes and minimizing the signs of aging.   Bam!  Benefits include: provides complete facial and body sonic cleansing, delivers next-level micro-firming circulation massage, minimizes the size of pore and wrinkles, exfoliates without irritating your skin.  Bam Bam Bam!  “Feel those good vibrations.  Come on Come on!”
Pur Cosmetics 4-in-1 Lip Duo Single 4 Tonight - $20.00
The best way to combat Twilight colored skin is with a kickass red lipstick!  (With the AMAZING name of Sing 4 Tonight)   Bright coloring to pop that skin and plus never having to choose between matte and gloss again!  Pur Cosmetics creamy 4-in-1 Lip Duo with a high-impact matte liquid lip stain and nourishing oil treatment.  The highly pigmented lip stain contains creamy shea butter and coconut oil that helps it glide on smoothly for a transfer-resistance finish that lasts all day long without fading.  Plus, the matte lip stain gently plumps lips for a more defined pout and the lip oil is enriched with agave, sunflower, jojoba and cranberry oils to ensure that lips maintain moisture and a high shine.  So don some lipstick and get ready for Team Edward and Team Jacob to fight you off!!!

Vitals Protein Collagen Cream - $29
Beauty is an inside job.  In winter (really all the seasons) your skin texture depends not only on external treatments, but also on your food intake.  Collagen is the protein that your body relies on to ensure the health and vitality of your skin, hair, tendon, cartilage, bones, and joints; pretty much everything that connects our body, keeping skin tone and joints strong, needs collagen.  But our modern diets lack the collagen that was once abundant in foods effecting our hair, skin and nails, and joints, ligaments and tendons as we age.  Enter Vital Proteins Mocha Collagen Creamer featuring healthy ingredients served alongside 10 grams of collagen peptides sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine.  Rich in healthy fats from organic coconut milk, their Whole30-approved Coconut Creamer is completely free of dairy, soy, carrageenan, gluten, artificial sweeteners, and added sugars.  Virtually flavorless and odorless, mix it into your smoothies, coffee, or other beverage.  Viva the collagen revolution!!!

Treat Yourself Energizing Sugar Coat - $35
One of the hottest beauty products on the market are hemp based beauty products.  Hemp and cannabis (aka medical marijuana) both derive from the plant species Cannabis sativa.  In case you’re unfamiliar, hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant that contains less than .3% THC.  The CBD based beauty company Treat Yourself has created a transformative Sugar Coat that sugar-y scrubs with all the benefits of Manuka honey (UMF16+) mask infused with full-spectrum hemp oil and a 5 spice anti-inflammatory blend to provide softer, clearer looking skin.

Tailored Union Socks  - $16
You lose most of your body heat through your head and feet so you should tailor the latter in absolute style!!!  Tailored Union is a curated luxe brand focused primarily around exclusive artist based sock collections.  Yes this article of clothing may be covering up your footsies, but they are also a bespoke piece of clothing; the ultimate in refinement.  Along with your classic socks, Tailored Union is making head weaves for their sheer socks with sandals.  Perfect for those chilly SoCal winter nights! ;-)

A Girl's Gotta Spa! Energizing Citrus Salt Scrub - $32
Remember those old school cartoons where there was a Saint Bernard with a bottle of medicine running around the arctic?!?  Well that is what A Girl's Gotta Spa! Energizing Citrus Salt Scrub does with the impending doom of alligator skin!  There's a reason this female owned indie beauty brand is always selling out on Amazon!  This scrub does a hat trick by exfoliating with purifying Dead Sea Salt, clarifying with green tea extract, and hydrating with avocado oil.  The Energizing Citrus Salt Scrub is: 100% natural Vegan featuring citrus essential oils of pink grapefruit, orange, lemon and lime.  It’s the ULTIMATE Rescue 911 for your skin!

So Fresh So Clean Green Tea Wash-Off Mask - $8
So Fresh So Clean Green Tea Wash-Off Mask is like have a super hydrating whipped frosting on your face (in the best way possible!!!)  A mud based mask that releases a warm sensation (‘cause we can all use warm in the wintertime!) that reaches into pores dissolve and dislodge the build-up of impurities.  And then there’s the Aloe Vera and Vitamin E to help moisturize, moisturize, and moisturizer!  So frost your face away as it’s sooooooo fresh and sooooooo clean! ;-)
Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy.  She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures.  You can find more about both brands at

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley with Calistoga

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley with Calistoga

By Kat Thomas, Edible Skinny

After all our imbibing (and there was A LOT of imbibing), Titus of Beau Wine Tours & Limousine Service chauffeured us to Calistoga, depositing us at the Mount View Hotel to start embracing the art of relaxation! 
Calistoga is located on the north end of Napa Valley (75 miles north of San Francisco).  This small town is famous for its hot springs, hotel and spas, world-class restaurants, and whimsical wineries, including Castello di Amorosa, a 13th century Tuscan castle.  Earlier this year, Amy Poehler shot a portion of her new Netflix film comedy, Wine Country, in this picture perfect hamlet.
Calistoga has a population of just 5,330 people while maintaining 46 lodging properties, 23 restaurants/cafés/bars, and 18 spas.  The latter’s most famous is Indian Springs. which dates back to 1860 when California’s first millionaire Sam Brannon envisioned a world-class resort based on the area’s steamy mineral waters.  3 million years ago a volcano erupted and created a petrified forest and these watery healing grounds used by the Wappo Indians from the 1700s on. 

Brannon coined the name “Calistoga,” a combination of California and Saratoga, a resort in Upstate New York he admired.  From then on Calistoga becomes noted for its natural mineral water and elegant hot springs resort.  Two ingredients that make Calistoga’s spas so unique are the volcanic ash and the geothermal mineral water.  And the results are more than popular as more than half of the spas in Calistoga offer hot springs or mineral pools.  Another famous natural landmark of the town is Old Faithful Geyser of California, a small geyser set against the backdrop of palm trees and mountains that historically erupts every 45 minutes. 

Calistoga is designated as its own distinct AVA with an area of seven square miles and over 60 different wineries.  Other than the Madrigal Family Winery, landmark wineries in the area include include Frank Family Winery (the third oldest winery in Napa Valley), Twomey, Sterling Vineyards, Dutch Henry Winery and Chateau Montelena Winery, which is housed in a jaw-dropping, ivy-covered castle with landscaped gardens.  In 2019, Napa Valley’s first Four Seasons will open in Calistoga with 85 guest rooms, 20 villas, and its own vineyard and winery. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley with Madrigal Family Winery

Life is Sweet in Napa Valley with Madrigal Family Wine

By Kat Thomas, Edible Skinny

Our last planned sipping experience of the day (there was still more to come courtesy of JACK Winery) was the third generation run Madrigal Family Winery.  Located on Highway 29, between Calistoga and St. Helena, this winery is situated on 40 acres of estate vineyards, from the highway to the treeline.  Madrigal Family Winery is boutique, producing about 6,000 cases of wine a year.  Cabernet Sauvignon is the primary varietal you'll find at the winery, but Madrigal also ventures out into Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc, focusing on small lots of a single vineyard.

The Madrigals first started farming some of Napa Valley’s finest vineyards in the 1930's.  The family left Mexico in the late 1930's and arrived in the Napa Valley where they began farming apples, pears, walnuts and grapes.  They were one of the first, if not the first, Mexican family in upper Napa Valley.   Early on Jess, who fathered 12 children, chose to focus on wine agriculture and started the family's vineyard management business.  After working for Napa icons like Duckhorn, in the 1990's they decided to get in on the fun of making wine.  In 1995, Madrigal Family Winery produced its first vintage of 500 cases of Petite Sirah.  Today, that company manages over 800 acres.  Looks like grape juice suits them! ;-)

The Madrigal family history is a constant source of inspiration, and guides them in their winemaking now. They value the long relationship they've had with the land and the people of the upper Valley, believing that the combined wisdom of the folks who’ve been here for generations and a deep appreciation of these vineyards can be tasted in their wine.  Today, the company is run by Chris Madrigal, the founder's grandson, and vintner of Madrigal Family Winery. 

Chris, who has 3 kids of his own, ultimately attributes the family’s success to a strong work ethic and luck.  “I always say sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.  I like being good and a lot of the things that have happened in our life has been a result of working hard, but if there wasn't luck involved with it, or if we weren't at the right place at the right time, our story could be drastically different.  Be it luck or hard work, the Madrigal dream is alive and well.” 

Not that it makes it easy.  “There is not a lot of family vineyards left in Napa Valley, but this is our life.”  Madrigal Family Winery is a portfolio company of Bacchus Capital Management, an investment firm providing strategic capital and making equity investments in United States family owned wineries and wine businesses.  And Chris is not afraid to talk numbers with the guests.  He explained the cost per acre to create a wine is $44,000.  Any wine selling for under $30 in Napa is not making any money for the winery.  So Madrigal Family Winery combats the daunting numbers with a constant dedication to their supporters.   “We do 6 parties a year for our wine club, most wineries do one or two.  We do a crab boil with no utensils, everything you eat is with your hands.  And the results are astounding: the average retention rate of a wine club is 18 months.  Madrigal’s is 6 years!”

Madrigal Family Winery also has a tasting room in Sausalito, but the best way to experience their wines is by visiting where their roots lie in Napa surrounded by the grapes. 

Some wine favorites from our time at Madrigal Family Wine include:     

  • Gewurztraminer Mendocino (2016) - Storytelling white wine!!!  Pales straw in color with peach and rose petal aromas.  The stone fruit flavorings and crisp finish allow for even the tallest of tales to have a great ending!
  • Petite Sirah Estate (2014) - This sophisticated wine is also the biggest varietal made in Calistoga.  With notes of vanilla, blue fruits, and plums, this would be perfectly paired with a really nice BLT on sourdough with thick sliced bacon.  It screams: JUICY.
  • Las Vinas del Senor Cabernet Sauvignon (2014) - This wine was first crafted when Dad Jess turned 80.  It’s a showstopper with elegance, sophistication, and a velvet finish to celebrate a nuanced lifetime!  Vanilla, cherry, and cedar showcase the richness of the wine, and eighty years of experience!