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Kathleen Hill: Vintners’ winter gathering, Salt and Stone and more

Hansson has all of her permits and is waiting for parking lot approval, while craftsmen, who are in great demand following the fires, try to work in finishing her remodel.

Hansson lured B.J. Blanchard and me out to see “something new,” which turned out to be a large Tagliavini electric steam oven, parked off site, to bake bread, making the crust crisp and the inside soft. Sean Perry will be the bread baker. Hansson already has Wi-Fi and charging capabilities.

Hansson admits she is “getting antsy,” while her architect lost his house in the fires, and she can “certainly understand” his hardship, a situation many workers and customers are learning to swallow. Can’t wait to hang out at Hansson’s patisserie.

Morgan Twain-Peterson awarded Master of Wine

Morgan Twain-Peterson recently was awarded the coveted Master of Wine by the London-based Institute of Masters of Wine. Congratulations! This is the ultimate. The rigorous program consists of three stages ranging from early papers to tastings to dissertation-like papers in the third stage.

Twain-Peterson’s third stage topic was a review of late 19th century planting practices in California vineyards and their relevance to today’s viticulture, a research paper based upon Bedrock Vineyard, planted in 1888. As many of us know here in Sonoma Valley, Twain-Peterson is known for finding ancient vineyards and making them even better. Father Joel Peterson of Ravenswood Zinfandel fame proudly attended the ceremony and is following up with well-spent time in Paris.

Beltane Ranch fundraiser earns $50,000

Lauren Benward Krause and the Beltane Family held their postponed Zinfandel Release Party and Barn Dance Saturday evening, honoring Glen Ellen and Kenwood firefighters, about 20 of whom attended the dinner. Lassoing lessons and appetizers preceded dinner, followed by French onion soup with Mezzo Secco potato crostini; grilled Porterhouse steak with warm kale and spinach salad with roasted wild mushrooms and seared scallops; chocolate Bundt cake with chocolate ganache and zinfandel-chocolate ice cream, and Tommy Thomsen keeping the barn rocking.

Hilarious auctioneers Taylor and John Serres sold the three auction lots, raising a total of $50,000 to help the Glen Ellen and Kenwood Fire Departments and locals who lost their homes in the October fires.

Krause told terrifying stories and showed me how they just had to quickly build new wooden fences around the horse barn where the annual party takes place because they had all burned, saying that they only got water back that Friday and phone service last weekend. It was easy to see how they were surrounded by fire, 360 degrees, and how miraculous was the saving of the Beltane house and inn.

Caterer Jacoby loses everything in fire

Isa Jacoby, a well-known caterer in Sonoma Valley, lost her house in our October fires. All the buildings on her land were completely consumed by the fire, and she had lived in her “cabin in the sky” on Cavedale Road for more than 26 years. Isa also lost all of her catering equipment and supplies, but somehow she cooked for a scheduled catering event four days after her house burned.

As some of you might remember, Isa has often created and donated huge cauldrons of soups and beans for special community events in Sonoma Plaza, at Sonoma Valley Grange, and at Westerbeke Ranch. And now she has nothing, like so many others displaced by the fires. According to two of her friends, “Isa unfortunately did not have fire insurance and she has sufficiently beaten herself up over that. So as it turns out Isa does have coverage, it is called Love Insurance!”

In the meantime she intends to purchase a small RV to park on the land and to travel about while the long re-building process plays out. Isa also will be restocking some equipment to help her continue her culinary artistry.