My name is Alexis Swanson Traina, I am a wife, mother of 2 young children and also creative director at Swanson Vineyards, where I have worked with my dad since graduating college. As a child, my family lived in a small town in southwest Florida, where my after-school friends were the elderly ladies of the neighborhood who taught me everything I know about dark chocolate, cards, port wine cheese, housecoats and men. I could often be found “doing business” at my roll-top desk, shuffling papers and stamping voided checks; flipping through Harper’s Hideaway Reports researching my parents’ travels; or at my mother’s knee in dusty antique shops, that always played quiet AM radio. Being curious and eccentric was normal.
In my awkward teenage years, I became obsessed with Lady Diana Spencer and insisted on having her same hairdo, eagerly spritzed with several bottles of Sun-In… Not a good look in tropical climates, with braces. By boarding school, things had started to come around: I’d found a new hairdo, zip code, Benetton, whole new set of friends, and pool of suitors. And then one day, the pay phone rang in the hallway of my dormitory—it was my Dad calling, with news: “We’re moving. We’ve just bought a vineyard in the Napa Valley.” As we hung up the phone, I wondered just how far Falcon Crest was from this new vineyard????
And the rest was history.


Footnote: I did marry the boy next door, save for the highway that passes between us.

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36 Responses to About Alexis

  1. michelle edmunds says:

    Just wondering who did the watercolors on your website- I like them!
    Michelle E.

  2. Douglas Schumann says:

    Really nice photo of you and your dad. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Ingrid C. says:

    What a lovely site. And your email… It’s intimate for a winery. Like a personal invitation to Napa, Swanson Vineyards, and your offerings inspired by your youth and life experiences. I love it.

  4. lindsey says:

    i LOVE your blog Alexis!

  5. Alexis,

    I just spoke to Claudia Schwartz, and am so looking forward to seeing more of your incredibly (already I know it is; and the Delhomme portrait is a rare and fantastic treat) beautiful site. Will add you to bloglist. Prost!


  6. Joseph Basile says:

    About 3+ years ago i sponsored wine testing event in Naples @ tonys off 3rd
    Your Dad was a Gracious host presenting the wines, it was so much fun ! Debbie D. Cindy and Megan T were asking .
    If Clark would interested in doing it again when he is back in town?


  7. Alexis – I knew your parents in Naples….. we were old old friends of the marvelous Jim and Ellie Newton – do you remember them? Johnathan and I are from Jamaica and moved here to San Francisco. Anyway I was in touch with your parents a while ago but have lost contact. Would love to see them again do give them our love. Tessa, my eldest daughter who is 26 has just moved to Napa and is working with John Anthony wines… she was running a company marketing a new line of rum in Jamaica….. she loves the whole Napa experience. I love your blog.

  8. Jane says:

    I just read about your web site in SF Magazine and took a look. It’s clever, stylish and well written. Congratulations! I met you parents (one each on two separate occasions) a few years ago in the waiting area of our joint reflexologist during pre-dawn appointments in SF. They were each charming, eccentric and interesting to talk to – even at that hour of the morning! Good luck with the web site. I’ll come back to visit again.

  9. Kim B says:

    I have just discovered your blog and am so impressed. I love the way you have combined a wine blog for your family’s winery with a lifestyle perspective. The watercolors are great and your posts have great photos and subject matter. Nicely done!

  10. Anne E. Kerr says:

    Love your blog! Great picture of you and your dad!

  11. Michelle scatina says:

    Alexis super cute story love the art work as well , thanks for emails hope your family is doing great ! I’ve moved my practice I’m around the conner at 3925 scarmento st & cherry drop me a line some time& happy holidays to all of your family . My cares Michelle

  12. Lee the Flea says:

    My dearest and long lost suite mate Alexis,

    Love reading your story.
    The website is lovely.
    I hope to one day visit your vineyard.
    Wishing you and yours Healty & Happy Holidays!

    Warmest regards,
    Lee Fantasia Burns

    • alexis traina says:

      lee fantastia, your note made my night..
      it was an amazing treat to hear from you–
      i remember you soo fondly and often think of you
      and all the hilarious times we had that year.

      how are you?
      where do you live?
      what are you doing?????

      with love, a

    • katherine oconnor fay says:

      I hope I am reaching Lee Anne Fantasia and that you are doing well. I would love to catch up and hear how you are.

  13. Alexis, you wouldn’t happen to be in an Avon Old Farms phone booth would you?!!! :)
    How are you beautiful lady? The blog looks wonderful. Congrats on motherhood and running the vineyard. It’s a balancing act, but it appears you are doing both and enjoying it too. So happy for you. Love seeing you in this premier issue of Semigloss-looking forward to seeing moreof you and all that you do-love, Tanya
    p.s-I see Aimee quite a bit, as I have been work on projects for her for years.

  14. Alexis:

    Thanks your being such a great impromptu guest this afternoon on my radio show Money Matters! on KSFO, What Great Fun it was and I hope that you are getting as much positive feedback about being on my show as i am getting about having you on the show :)

    The “INSTANT BON VIVANT” was amazing and I am looking forward to “FORGIVE ME” later this evening….

    Looking forward those Informational Events in Napa soon…


    Greg O’Donnell

  15. Eileen Ginos Merriman says:

    Alexis, what a lovely, beautiful young woman you are! I remember the time your parents told us they were moving to Napa. A wonderful new opportunity for your family but a tremendous loss to my Mom (Marylin) & everyone at St. George & the Dragon. I have followed Swanson Vineyards progress all these years..please remember your family has fans back in Naples!! We LOVE your Mom and Dad so much. Hope we can come visit sometime soon. Love your blog… Best wishes for a wonderful, prosperous year once again at SV!! Love to your parents <3

  16. Miranda says:

    thank you for a perfectly delightful escape today! it felt suspiciously like hooky….and I liked it.
    see you around the way!

  17. alexis t says:

    eileen! how do i find you? was at the restaurant last night and would love to pop in and take some photos! lemme know!

  18. John Johnson says:


    I’m sure all in Naples miss you and your family. However we still have the 2010 Rosato and Sauvignon Blanc to drink as it warms up here. Just got our case and had some shipped to Rocky River for the summer. Enjoyed meeting you at the family homestead in Napa. Give our best to Trevor.

    Jinny and John

  19. Susan Hughes says:

    Luv the zigzag fabric on your dining room chairs! Details please?

  20. kayce hughes says:

    Just found your blog this morning. I had forgotten all about the pay phones at boarding school!

  21. Jan Vrana says:

    Hi Alexis: We visited Swanson Vineyards a few years ago with our friends the Landen’s and had the most memorable tasting with your Dad! Such a charming afternoon… and the inspiration for the very first post on my blog, The French Tangerine!
    I am loving your artistic contributions to the website, and especially enjoy your blog.
    Also, Lisa von Weise (Shaw) is a friend (from middle school!) We’ve recently reconnected through Facebook and I gather you are a close friend of hers… (loved her honeymoon post on Napa!)
    Just wanted to let you know what an inspiration Swanson Vineyards is for me, and how much I enjoy your artistic talent via the website and your blog.
    The French Tangerine

  22. Jan Vrana says:

    OH, I just read some of your comments and see that you are originally from Naples, FL… We have a place in Naples across from Venetian Village… Do you get there often? It has really grown up hasn’t it?
    Naples to Napa… from one beautiful place to another!

    The French Tangerine

  23. Milan C. says:


    Where did you find that port cheese you show on your “dream picnic” I’m so needing to try that!!

    Love your blog,


  24. Patricia McCormick Farrell says:

    Alexis, love your blog!! Very creative..always look forward to it!! Love the photo of you and Dad!!! Happy Autumn!!!!

  25. Vicki Winston Maloney says:

    Love your Blog! I just discovered it after wanting to make an appointment at your Winery. Love the Diner pictures and review! John and I have always wanted to stop there and now we definitely will! Looking forward to tasting some wine with you at the Winery soon! Vicki

  26. susan says:

    Hi. I love your blog. I spent hours on it last night. I know this is an unusual request, but I love your aesthetic and recommendations. I am looking for a funky, quirky off the beaten path place to tie the knot- a la Scibe. Nothing wedding factory-ish.

    Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!!


  27. Alexis says:

    Just got this… Are you still looking???? Pls let me know!

  28. TJ says:

    Hello Alexis,

    My daughter and you share the same name and for her first birthday party I bought a 1999 Alexis. She is about to turn 13 and I would like to purchase another bottle, but do not see it anywhere on the web site. Can you help?

  29. wayne weis says:

    so glad i found this site. I have been telling folks about this wonderful lttle vinyard for years, but never able to find the wines available in stores. I met your father when he was visiting Naples many years ago. He was bringing our restaurant the first cases of your namesake wines. We fell instantly in love with that wine and have dreamt of finding it again. Thank you and congratulations on all your family’s health and success. When payday rolls around I will be ordering my 1st case. wayne

  30. ann koerner says:

    Your blog is delightful–
    And thank you for mentioning my shop, Ann Koerner Antiques. I met your friend Melanie Behrens today, as she was visiting New Orleans–it was delightful to talk with her, her sister, and the various children.
    We talked about New Orleans–she had seen a sign that said “wherever you are, be a New Orleanian”–love that idea!
    Hope to see you one day.
    All best,

  31. Pingback: Wine Tasting at Swanson Vineyards in Napa Valley [Swirling Spotlight] - Swirl it!Swirl it!

  32. Sally Hughes Johnson says:

    Alexis, Did you live in New Orleans at some point? I went to Trinity and had a friend there, Alexis Swanson, for a very short time. If it is you, then congratulations on the wonderful life that you have made for yourself!! Sally (Hughes) Johnson

  33. John Hotchkiss says:

    We almost missed Swanson on our recent Napa visit due to my ineptitude at putting the correct dates on the calendar (and due to a fair amount of wine-induced exhaustion). I am so glad we experienced the Salon. What a priceless treat. Rosemary was a terrific hostess, enabling us to feel like family as we took in the incredible atmosphere of a room I would love to create on some land here in Tampa. Everything about our experience was perfect and the little taste of Angelica port at the end made it very special indeed – not to mention the three Angelicas we ordered to go! One thing I wish: a Swanson cask cap turned Lazy Susan for my everyday table. My wife and I speak of the experience often and this piece would sweeten the experience even more.

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