Alexis Swanson Traina
“Napa Valley is so abundant with richness, texture, vibrancy, and coolness,” said Alexis.
For Alexis Swanson Traina, Creative Director of Swanson Vineyards in Napa, successfully working with her father for almost 20 years is an opportunity and an experience for which she is grateful and proud of accomplishing. “I started working for Swanson Vineyards right out of college,” she said, “I had zero formal wine/Oenology training, but felt like I understood the psychology of the consumer.” And, after having the opportunity to visit Swanson Vineyards this past fall to test the Swirl it! app with my fabulous friend and tour guide, Brittany Hawkins, it was clear that we were surrounded by creativity and incentives to increase the approachability of wine in fun, new, and exciting ways (the same motives of Swirl it!). The grounds are breathtaking, with rose gardens and views of the sun that certainly provide a serene and even ethereal escape from reality. “My home is wherever my husband and children are,” said Alexis, “I am super grateful to be able to live between both San Francisco and Napa — it’s a 70 minute journey to an entire different world.”
As Creative Director of Swanson Vineyards, what makes her family’s own vineyard unique? How does it stand apart from others? “We have an authentic point of view and through our wines focus on one concept: glorifying the everyday through the ceremonies and rituals of wine,” she said, “Education is the backbone of what we do, illuminating the endless pleasures and delights of wine.” In fact, for Alexis, a purpose is the very core of what personally signifies great design. “In branding: the use of color, type and original point of view,” she said.
Swanson Vineyards learned early on that guests to their property searched for and enjoyed having tasting options during their visits. “Some prefer a formal and comprehensive tasting experience with their favorite wines, rooted in education,” said Alexis, “While others prefer to taste informally and specifically.” Because of this, Alexis noted the vineyard offers two different tasting experiences: the highly coveted Salon tasting – an intimate tasting experience limited to 8 guests exploring Swanson’s most celebrated wines and the Sip Shoppe – a candy store for adults standing as a decadent wine emporium reinventing the rituals of fine wine, reviving the night cap, and offering some of the family’s favorite wines along with clever and clandestine delights and gifts.
In fact, as for her own favorite experience at Swanson Vineyards, Alexis notes the Salon tasting to be at the top of her list. “Yes, I always suggest the Salon tasting, as it is such a memorable experience,” she said. For her, the most treasured aspect of working at Swanson Vineyards is the experiences she creates and is able share with her family on a daily basis. In fact, she notes the sources of her personal inspiration to be her husband, Trevor Traina, and her parents and sisters. “My business life and personal life intersect all day long– and entertaining is always a part of it,” said Alexis. And, what are some of the wines she enjoys and brings to parties? “On a weeknight, its Swanson ’08 Merlot or 2010 Rose,” she said, “And, for a party, its always Modern House Wines.”
The Modern House Wines are extremely well done. Not only are they a blast to taste in the Sip Shoppe, but the labels are eye-catching, quirky, unique, and certainly couldn’t be more perfect as your next host or hostess gift for your next soiree. How did they come to be? “The Modern House Wines have been a super interesting experiment that we stumbled upon and are eager to grow,” said Alexis, “The labels themselves were inspired by the subjects of my emails: With Love, Please Forgive Me, Thrilled For You, Lucky Night, Mazel Tov. From there we started the JUST MARRIED wedding line. These wines instantly found a niche as your HOUSE WINE/ PARTY WINE/ GIFT WINE, and took off.” I’d say they’ve definitely taken off- they were recently listed in O magazine in Oprah’s “O List!”
“In February, we are launching a new section providing 24-hour Napa itineraries for: the bon vivant, the foodie, the high roller, the oenophile, the bohemian,” said Alexis, “Each itinerary offers a curated snapshot of Napa. They’re a lot of fun and we are very excited!”
And, aside from the Modern House Wines, working full time as a mother, wife, and the Creative Director at the vineyards, Alexis operates her own blog – Alexis’ Napa “for the curious and eccentric.” The blog is bright, quirky, and full of amazing information on the area and lifestyle tips. Aside from asking how in the world she has time to update it so frequently, what gave her the incentive to start a blog with such a busy schedule? Did she feel there was a void somewhere? “I wanted to represent one of many points of views about WHAT IS NAPA VALLEY…. I felt so strongly that Napa deserved to be represented in a modern/ intriguing way, that it was not,” said Alexis, “Napa Valley is so abundant with richness, texture, vibrancy, and coolness. The blog itself seems to evolve daily exploring the many ceremonies and rituals of good living with wine.”
And, her most exciting news yet? What’s to come from Swanson Vineyards and Alexis’ blog! “In February, we are launching a new section providing 24-hour Napa itineraries for: the bon vivant, the foodie, the high roller, the oenophile, the bohemian,” she said, “Each itinerary offers a curated snapshot of Napa. They’re a lot of fun and we are very excited!” With her experience, great taste, and exquisite eye for design, I can’t wait to read Alexis’ itineraries and visit Napa from her perspective – through the eyes of a bohemian, a foodie, etc. I think it certainly provides yet another excuse to visit Napa this year- with a visit to Swanson Vineyards on the top of my list!
IT’S YOUR LUCKY DAY: VALENTINE’S GIVEAWAY! Win a bottle of wine from Swanson Vineyards – simply comment and win!
THE SWANSON VINEYARDS + NONSENSE AND SENSIBILITY GIVEAWAY:
And, even better? Win a bottle of wine shipped to you from Napa this Valentine’s Day! Enter the It’s Your Lucky Day: Valentine’s Giveaway from Swanson Vineyards exclusively for Nonsense & Sensibility readers! Win one of two bottles of wine that will be shipped to two lucky winners right before the holiday! Comment on this post (below) by February 8th and share why you absolutely must have LUCKY NIGHT or WITH LOVE delivered to your doorstep to make this your loveliest Valentine’s Day yet! Feel free to share the giveaway on Twitter too :)
Visit Swanson Vineyards on Facebook! and of course, TASTE + TEST your favorite wines from Swanson Vineyards using Swirl it!
- The contest has ended! Congratulations to winners: Vanessa Soper Fuquay and Jennifer Cole!
So grateful to Alexis Traina and the Swanson Vineyards team for the interview and the images for this post- many thanks to them. It was a pleasure to interview Alexis for Nonsense & Sensibility (I love her blog!!) and share this fantastic giveaway!
Contest Rules: by entering the contest you agree to the following: one entry per person, comment must be published by 2/8/2012. Must be 21 years of age as of contest start date 2/3/2012 to enter and to be eligible to win. All those entering agree to submit a copy of their government issued ID upon request and the shipment may only be sent to the address appearing on the government issued ID. The giveaway items may only be shipped to addresses and winners in the US at this time. The winner will be chosen by Swanson Vineyards & Nonsense and Sensibility on 2/8/2012. Winners will be announced.