A bit of what to expect in this issue:
Harvest wrapped up a bit early this year. The last to arrive was Cabernet Sauvignon on October 5th. Our picks have fully fermented and are happily in barrels in the cellar.
On October 1st, we Eased on Down the Road with our float and many Wine Club Collective members for the Yountville Days Parade. We took “Best Representation of Theme” for the second year in a row with our Wizard of Oz extravaganza.
This month, Jeff and I are featured in San Francisco Magazine’s Men of Style layout. We have a two-page spread with photography. I guess my denim tuxedo now qualifies as high fashion.
I meet up with a tastemaker your should know. She is a drag icon who gives loads of love and MORE!
I give you my spin and my mother’s on Italian Sunday sauce that you can eat right out of the pot, no pasta required.
Finally, our 2021 Gentleman Farmer Napa Valley Rosé received 90 points from Wine Enthusiast. Stock Up for the Holidays.
I give you all the deets below.
Vintner, Cook, International Man of Style
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Our very large entry in our very small town parade was deemed “Best Representation of Theme,” the second year in a row. October 1st was Yountville Days.
There were approximately 30 entries represented by a menagerie of horses, high school bands, and baton-twirling eight-year-olds. We were smack in the middle of the pageantry with a contingent that spanned five car lengths with about 40 wine club members.
The theme was “No Place Like Home.” I believe the organizers’ intention was no place like Yountville; however, we went full Wizard of Oz, with the Gentleman Farmer house band on the float playing Ease on Down The Road.
Our team member, Jen Murphy, created a twelve-foot tornado for the back of the truck. The float was covered in red poppies, with Dorothy-blue gingham, an Emerald City, and an obligatory rainbow.
Wine club members and their guests showed up as scarecrows, wicked witches, tin folk, lions, and flying monkeys. Allison Sands went the extra step and put together choreography. We paused a few times to break out into a 45-second dance number.
The whole party ended up in our back garden with some strays we picked up along the way. The band set up to entertain with snacks and a good amount of wine.
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Mark your calendars for next year, October 7, 2023.
It came as a surprise, our short interview with Michael McCarthy of Modern Luxury’s San Francisco Magazine landed us on pages 76 and 77 in his feature Men of Style. Important to note, not much was said about the wine and much about Jeff’s blue nail polish. Check it out here.
Juanita MORE! is a San Francisco drag icon, philanthropist, activist, and hostess serving food, loads of love, and high glamour. This just scratches the surface of her 30-year career, and she continues contributing to the San Francisco community. She holds the title of Absolute Empress 56 of the Imperial Council of San Francisco, one of the oldest non-profit organizations globally.
She’s helped to raise over one million dollars for local charities. Sharing a quote from her website, “Her culinary expressions are an extension of what mothers have been doing in their kitchens for generations — which, simply states, is sharing loads of love.”
The City’s Arts Commission is celebrating 30 Years of MORE! with an exhibit of her work at the War Memorial Theater through November 12th. Gentleman Farmer was the featured wine on opening day. When I dropped off the wine, Miss MORE! graciously agreed to an interview.
Follow her at @missmore8 on Instagram. MORE! at juanitamore.com.
Joey Wolosz: There is an exhibit with the San Francisco Arts Commission at the War Memorial Theater through the end of November of your 30 years as a drag icon, philanthropist, both muse and mother to an underserved community (of which a community I grew up in, thank you!). Not sure if I have a straightforward question for you here; however, can you tell me more about this history?
Juanita MORE!: When I think about the past thirty years, it all plays like a movie rewinding at high speed — full of detail, stories, and characters, rich with visuals that are full of vivid colors and textures that blur together like a kaleidoscope. So likewise, this review of my life in drag involves a roller coaster of emotions. Yet, I’ve never claimed ownership of Juanita’s creation. Instead, I’ve been the vehicle that brought her to life through the work of many talented artists. And this exhibit is my loads of love letters to all of them.
In this exhibit, I share my gratitude and appreciation to everyone who contributed to the formation of all things Juanita MORE! Over the years, brilliant collaborators have paved the way for many iconic moments in our artistic community that have continued shaping my creativity.
JW: You grew up in an agricultural family with roots in the East Bay and Central Valley; how did that influence your relationship with wine and food?
JM!: I was that little kid that didn’t want to “go outside and play” growing up. Instead, I wanted to be in the kitchen and tried to do just that. I was fascinated by what my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles did to prepare food for the family.
My mother’s side of the family worked on farms in the East Bay and Central Valley. While in high school, I spent a day picking cucumbers, and I have never forgotten how much work it was.
JW: OK, gotta ask, Naked Dinners? Maybe not a question, but hey, Naked Dinners?
JM!: In 2012, I was approached by the zine Das Einhorn about photographing a dinner party in my apartment. I thought it would be more fun if the guests were naked. It was a lot more fun than we imagined and so successful that I decided to continue the dinner series with different food themes. I’ve worked on menus with fantastic guest chefs who cooked beautiful food in my kitchen. Some of my favorite San Francisco photographers have documented the events. Someday I hope to share them along with recipes in a cookbook.
JW: DJ Rolo told me about some Williams-Sonoma Drag Queen cook-offs. Please tell me MORE!
JM!: The Williams Sonoma Drag Queen Cook-Off is an annual event benefiting The Trevor Project. Each year queens come together and go head-to-head (or wig-to-wig) as they cook, plate, and present their absolute favorite dish. I’ve been lucky enough to have won two titles! My favorite was my breakfast pizza – hand-chopped bacon, sauteed spinach, mushrooms, and topped with an egg.
JW: Friends and family excluded, who are two people you’d like to share a long and lingering meal with?
JM!: I would love to have cooked a meal for Divine, whom I met in High School –– I was so starstruck. I wanted to say, “take me with you,” but I couldn’t get the words out. And José Julio Sarria, also known as The Grand Mere, Absolute Empress I de San Francisco, and the Widow Norton. Who, in 1961, became the first openly gay candidate for public office in the United States. He also performed as a drag queen and was the Imperial Court System founder.
JW: What would you serve?
JM!: I would serve something simple and seasonal, leaving plenty of room for conversation. And I would pair everything with Gentleman Farmer’s wine, of course.
JW: What is your spirit animal?
JM!: My spirit animal would probably be the Hummingbird Anna, with their stunning bright iridescent gorget –– flitting around, ensuring everything is pollinated.
JW: What is your motto?
JM!: “Do it like you don’t need the money.”
I love a good sauce. At restaurants, I usually order extra sauce on the side. For some, food is an accessory to the condiment: you order fries for the ketchup, the wedge salad for the blue cheese dressing, the ribs for the barbecue sauce. I fall into this camp.
I could eat a bowl of good red pasta sauce on its own, spoon or no spoon.
This recipe is a spin on the Italian amatriciana sauce.
Traditional sugo all’amatriciana is made with guanciale, a cured pork jowl. If you’ve seen my kitchen, you know that I cure and roll pancetta and usually have about 10 pounds in the refrigerator or hanging over the sink by a string and a C-clamp. It is the belly and still has fat content and flavor.
Typically this Italian sauce does not have herbs. If it did, people would probably use basil. I use rosemary because that is what my mother did, and childhood flavors are always a strong pull. I also add a little balsamic vinegar, which gives an amazing amount of depth, and red chili flakes to give a comforting warmth. To keep with tradition, you can add a bit of Pecorino Romano or not.
You can use a large 12” skillet; however, I use a stockpot with high walls to avoid splattering all over my range.
Pour over a pasta of your choice. Bucatini is a classic, but spaghetti, ravioli, or malfatti would be welcome at your table. I make hand-cut egg noodles. You can also eat with a spoon; it’s that good, no shame.
I like to pair this with any of our red wines or for something fun, our 2021 Gentleman Farmer Napa Valley Rosé that just scored 90 points with Wine Enthusiast in their October issue.