(Photo/Pixabay CC0)
(Photo/Pixabay CC0)

Napa Jewish wine event L’Chaim is back at a bigger venue

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Food coverage is supported by a generous donation from Susan and Moses Libitzky.

Napa Valley’s Jewish vintner event, “L’Chaim,” is back this year, but in a whole new way. The event at Congregation Beth Shalom in previous years celebrated regional wineries that have Jewish owners or winemakers. This time, the fundraiser for the shul’s educational program is being billed as a family-friendly Jewish food and wine festival and being held off-site, with J. as a media sponsor.

Event chair Ellyn Elson joked that she had two whole years to plan it because of the pandemic.

L’Chaim will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Aug. 7  at CIA at Copia, using both the indoor and outdoor spaces at the Culinary Institute of America. Unlike in prior years, in which a much higher ticket price included dinner and the wine tasting, $45 gets you in the door, $90 includes wine tasting, and anyone can buy food from the vendors.

“We didn’t have enough room at the synagogue anymore, and we wanted to be more inclusive and invite the whole community to be able to enjoy Jewish food, wine and culture,” said Elson.

Many of the vendors are from the North Bay, including Loveski Deli in Napa and Ethel’s Bagels in Petaluma, plus others from around the Bay Area. Four craft breweries and at least 15 wineries will participate.

In addition to live Jewish music and Israeli folk dancing, the festivities will feature arts and crafts, a clown and face-painting for kids, and a separate fundraiser for Ukraine. The organizers are also working to make the event as green as possible.

Elson believes there’s a lot of excitement about being able to gather again and says tickets are going fast.

“I’ve worked on this for two years,” Elson said, “and the fact that it’s only weeks away gives my heart palpitations.”


Square Pie Guys, which has consistently made critics’ lists for its Detroit-style square pizza,  just opened its largest restaurant to date, in Ghirardelli Square. Owners Marc Schechter and Danny Stoller have been profiled in this column.


And the café at the Peninsula JCC in Foster City is reopening on July 5 at 8 a.m., serving breakfast and lunch items including smoothies, sandwiches, bagels and salads. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekends.

Alix Wall
Alix Wall

Alix Wall is a contributing editor to J. She is also the founder of the Illuminoshi: The Not-So-Secret Society of Bay Area Jewish Food Professionals and is writer/producer of a documentary-in-progress called "The Lonely Child."