Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
PATRIOTISM

Calistoga's Claire Weinkauf of Picayne Cellars takes U.S. Citizenship

  • Updated
Claire Weinkauf

Originally from France, Claire Weinkauf, owner of Picayune Cellars in Calistoga became a U.S. Citizen Jan. 26. She will retain dual-citizenship, she said.

It’s official. Calistoga’s Claire Weinkauf is a U.S. citizen.

The Picayune Cellars owner took the oath of citizenship in San Francisco Jan. 26, and said she’s proud to have gone through the process.

People congratulate her on becoming an American, but she said the transition isn’t automatic.

“I will be honest, I don’t quite yet think I’m an American. There’s a lot more to it than (taking the oath) to feeling completely American. (I say) I’m a citizen of America.”

Weinkauf has been in the U.S. since 2006. She’s originally from the Auvergne region in the center of France. It resembles Vermont in its environment, she said.

“It’s very green, a lot of cows, fabulous cheeses,” she said.

Weinkauf, who is keeping her French citizenship as well, said she applied for U.S. citizenship 18 months ago and was hoping to be able to vote in the national election last November.

Studying for the citizenship test wasn’t that difficult, she said

“More than anything it’s quite interesting, and essential as well. If I want to vote then I should know about U.S. history and civics as much as Americans who studied it when they were at school.”

The emotional aspect of actually taking the oath was more impactful.

“When you say the pledge of allegiance, you basically give up any allegiance to any other country. It’s very meaningful,” she said. “They ask you if you’re willing to bear arms for the U.S.A. in troubled times. It’s very real.”

There is also a bit of a sense of loss. Giving her green card back was a little hard, she said, “when it’s been the only document keeping you in the country and allowing you to travel back and forth.”

After taking the oath, Weinkauf said she celebrated with friends and family. They gifted her a basket filled with American products like (what else?) a loaf of Wonder Bread, jars of peanut butter and jelly, a bottle of California’s André Champagne, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, and Campbell’s soup.

WATCH NOW: LADY GAGA SINGS U.S. NATIONAL ANTHEM AS JOE BIDEN IS SWORN IN AS U.S. PRESIDENT

Joe Biden is set to be sworn in today as the 46th President of the United States, as Kamala Harris is becoming Vice-President, taking the reins of a country divided after four years of Donald Trump. Lady Gaga took part in the scaled-down ceremony, singing the National Anthem.

SEE PHOTOS: NAPA VALLEY WINE TRAIN WOMEN

You can reach Cynthia Sweeney at 942-4035 or csweeney@weeklycalistogan.com.

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News