Stephanie Rosenbaum Klassen is the author of 6 books, including The Art of Vintage Cocktails, World of Doughnuts, Honey from Flower to Table, The Astrology Cookbook, and the AntiBride Guide: Tying the Knot Outside the Box. She is a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto and has written about food, drink, travel, and the arts for numerous print and online publications, including Kinfolk, KQED, San Francisco magazine, Edible East Bay, Edible Brooklyn, Time Out NY, Chow, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. She lives in western Sonoma county.www.sjrosenbaum.com
What was the most enjoyable aspect of your retreat?
The peace and quiet of the rural wine-country setting. Waking up very early one morning and watching a full moon set between the dark lace of the surrounding trees. Morning coffee on the misty porch as the birds trilled. Outdoor showers in the wooden shower stall. The big comfy bed, like sleeping on a cloud. Foraging in the nearby vegetable beds (which were about to be tilled under and replanted) for fresh salad greens and fava beans. Walking through the winding paths around the property to see the vineyards. Since I did not have a car, I appreciated that it was only a mile or so to walk into Healdsburg for groceries, etc.
Did the vineyard setting inspire you and/or your writing?
Yes. It was a very beautiful and diversely planted place, with olive trees, vegetables, fruit trees, pigs and chickens along with the vineyards, plus a lot of old oak trees. I was writing about seasonal cooking and so being close to the earth, surrounded by growing things, was very inspiring. I was able to observe a lot of things—the exact shape of fava beans and spinach leaves growing, the color of new leaves unfurling on the vines and oak trees—that worked their way into my writing.
What did you work on?
A book of essays and recipes about seasonal cooking.
What other activities did you do during the retreat?
I read The Luminaries, a nice big fat book to keep my brain entertained between writing, walked around the property, cooked, walked to and from Healdsburg and enjoyed window-shopping around the town.
Did you participate in any events arranged by the winery?
I was invited to a wine-industry party hosted by Da Vero at their tasting room during my stay. There was wonderful food made and served by Colleen, and wine tastings poured by the staff. The guests were mostly owners/staff of other Sonoma wineries in the area. As identification, I wrote “Writer in Residence” on my name tag, which sparked some interesting conversations about the Writing Between the Vines program.