Raised alongside a brother who revered Ronald Regan and maintained membership in The Young Republican Federation until he could no longer claim the title of “young,” and reared by parents who were equally committed to the right side of the fence, I misspent my youth and adulthood being apolitical for nearly four decades. I went through a flag-raising phase during my days in Manhattan pre- and post- September 11 and continued to carry that torch to Napa where I served on the committee that helped erect our own 9/11 memorial. But in 2016 my apolitical stance took a detour.
Leading into the election I got hooked on the Amazon show “Good Girls Revolt,” based on a book of the same title. This story followed a monumental case in the 60s, where the women of Newsweek sued their bosses for equal rights to write, at a time when women were often relegated to the role of researcher, and rarely got the byline, despite doing much of the same work as their male counterparts. As a writer this story fascinated and floored me. It was hard to fathom how limited women’s roles were in the workplace. I felt fortunate to have never been limited as to what I could accomplish in my career. As I tore through the book while binge-watching the show, I felt proud of how far things had come.
Months later times have changed. On March 16, 1970, the women of Newsweek revolted. On January 21, 2017, the women of our country marched alongside male counterparts. On February 24, in small-town Calistoga we marched, an event expected to repeat here on the last Friday of the month for the foreseeable future. While the future of our country feels uncertain, some things remain unchanged: we live in a time and country where we can rally when we need to. As for our idyllic valley of dreams, we may be small in scale but are big on spirit. We wave our flags at the Fourth of July parade. We strut with our costumed clad pooches at the St Helena Pet Parade and we congregate in mass at the annual tractor parade. Life is good here. I have riffed more than occasionally about the Napa Valley growth epidemic, but it in no way changes how I feel about living here. Napa Valley is changing, right in line with our nation, neither of which can be stopped. So I will embrace our local changes and rally around the fact that I live in a town and nation where we have the right to stand on whatever side of the fence we choose. And celebrate our ability to impact change if we choose, (a point I’m more than prepared to drink to).
Wine is like gospel for me, but I have plans to open my mind in the drink department this year. Especially with the expected opening of a Stone Brewing Co. outpost in the140-year-old Borreo Building, at Soscol Avenue and Third Street in Napa. While extensive renovations are underway, elements of the original Italian Renaissance-style building and stone work will remain intact. Reminders of where we’ve been, yet embracing the future face of Napa Valley. Changes include an eyes wide open view with roll-up, overhead-opening glass doors and a patio along the Napa River’s bank, which sounds oh so appealing. As does the idea of a brew pub planted right in the thick of a major wine region. Would such a thing be embraced elsewhere? Hard to know. But for me, this change is a welcome one. I’m also reminded of an adage that winemakers have tossed around a time or two: “It takes a lot of good beer to make a good wine.”
Spinway, an Australian-based bicycle company, selected Napa Valley Bike Tours and Rentals as a partner to implement the first set of automated bicycle rental machines in Napa Valley. This concept of “borrow bikes” has long since been employed in other countries and has recently made its way stateside to major cities like Manhattan, Chicago and San Francisco. This is another shift, which sounds like a good one, especially given the influx of traffic that is sure to continue to soar at the hand of development.
In March I was fortunate enough to attended my first Women of the Vine and Spirits Symposium, who’s membership alliance is “dedicated to the support and advancement of women in the alcohol beverage industry.” I imagine those Good Girls that revolted in the ’60s can feel proud that such an organization not only exists, but thrives in the here and now. Regardless of what is going on in Washington, nobody can take these rights away from us, now that we’ve earned them.
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