Interview

Meet Alexis Swanson Traina Author and Authority on Wine, Style and Entertaining

Author and authority on wine, style, and entertainment

Alexis Swanson Traina, the San Francisco-based author and renowned authority on wine, style, and entertaining, celebrates the launch of her new book, From Napa With Love.

It is a perfect gift for this holiday season. The book offers a glimpse into the world of Napa through the eyes of a true native who has a passion for this magnificent valley. Like Napa, Alexis’ latest travel and lifestyle guide is enchanting, full of hidden treasures and favorite spots not to be missed!

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Your inspiration for writing this book…

I wanted to tell a new story about Napa Valley, one that illuminated the talent, spirit, and creativity that enriches our kitchen tables, wine cellars, homes, closets, book shelves, and celebrations. In the blink of an eye, Napa was no longer just a destination for wine lovers— but a haven for conviviality, hospitality, peacockery, tastemaking and soul-seeking. I felt that story needed to be told.


Collaborating with your sister Claiborne, an amazing photographer…

I had originally hoped to collaborate with my sister on the entire book, but she was 8 months pregnant when I was offered the opportunity, so we just worked on the cover and specific portraits together. This fall, Claiborne and I shared an amazing story, inspired by my book for  Town & Country’s November issue, where she shot all the portraits and that was super special for us both.

Pictured from left to right: Alexis Swanson Traina, Clairborne Swanson Frank, Veronica Swanson Beard; photo by Trevor Traina

One of your favorite memories while writing the book…

I wrote and produced the book in five months. I worked late at night, on plane rides, or whenever I could find the time, and designed the book with my long time graphic designer, Alyssa. Alyssa and I have worked together successfully on many projects and this book was going to either make or break our friendship/ creative partnership. In the end, it enriched our friendship deeply.



A special family Christmas tradition…

One of our favorite family traditions is bringing out our collection of Bavarian nutcrackers, candelabras, smokers and pyramids.  Every year, the day after Thanksgiving, we assemble our entire collection on a table in our front foyer, and each night of the holiday season we light the colored candles and marvel at the magic illuminating the room.

A favorite holiday memory…

The holidays are defined by so many charming rituals and ceremonies that become a part of the fabric of our senses, memories and associations — an endless stream of magical moments sprinkled over five weeks. One of my very favorite parts of the holiday season is the revolving door of sweet tokens, gestures, and gifts delivered by friends and family.

Some of my annual favorites include the spectacular homemade fudge from our favorite nun; the sweet, seedless Satsuma oranges from our neighbors; the addictive salted Virginia HUBS peanuts from good friends; and lastly, the Enstrom’s world-famous dark chocolate almond toffee from my aunt.


Your favorite winter hotel…

Palmilla Resort in Mexico!


Your favorite spa in Napa area…

Meadowood just opened their new spa, and it is pretty incredible and special.

A choice fragrance for the holiday season…

I am obsessed with a pine scented candle called Frasier Fir by Thymes.


On your nightstand…

Gardenias, all year long.

Feature photography by Clairborne Swanson Frank

Katie von Strasser

Katie von Strasser is a former ballerina with a background in fashion and art. She is a devoted advocate for people with disabilities. Katie has a passion for travel and all things beautiful.
She resides in San Francisco with her family. (Photo by Darryl Nitke)

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