You may have noticed the construction going on for the last two-and-a-half years in the Oxbow District. Perhaps you heard the sound of power tools while grabbing an English Muffin from Model Bakery or a glass of wine from Cru @ The Annex, both across the street. Finally, construction has ceased and The Studio by Feast it Forward is open for business—but what is it exactly?
First and foremost, it’s a TV studio for the Feast it Forward Network, but it’s also a wine collective, a place to collect inspiration for your next home renovation, and last — but as they say, certainly not least—a chance to give back.
“I think there’s something for everyone here, whether it’s design, art, music, wine, or inspiration from a lifestyle perspective,” said Katie Shaffer, Feast it Forward founder and president.
The Studio by Feast it Forward is a lot to digest, not just in person, but also on paper, so let’s break it all down.
The whole reason for building The Studio by Feast it Forward was to “bring our network to life,” said Shaffer. Sure, the construction took a few years, but it was nothing compared to the six spent on the road, filming Feast it Forward TV series in a tricked-out airstream named Sophia all across the country.
“We’ve been traveling in our airstream, we’ve filmed in a variety of kitchens and met some really fabulous people, but in order to bring this to life, there’s only so much we can do in the airstream,” said Shaffer.
Sophia remains on property at the new home, ready to be used for vintner tastings and other events, but the main production for the Feast it Forward Network now occurs in the second floor studio, featuring a demonstration kitchen that most chef’s dream about. One of its coolest elements is a wall of pages torn (allegedly) from an original cookbook of Betty Crocker’s, complete with handwritten notes in the margins.
Feast it Forward TV shows are all available online, like Riffs & Recipes, which brings musicians and artists together with chefs to explore the culinary culture in their city. Shaffer said they also just wrapped up 20 episodes with none other than the OG celebrity chef, Jacques Pépin.
The new studio also gives Feast it Forward the opportunity to sell tickets to select live tapings and events, which will include celebrities in town for community events like BottleRock or the Napa Valley Film Festival.
When you walk inside the ground floor of The Studio by Feast it Forward, you might notice the words “experiential showroom” painted on the center ceiling beam. That’s what Shaffer has coined her one-of-a-kind space; a Pinterest board come to life, the entire studio, both inside and out, is designed with the materials and products of more than 30 national sponsors. The only exception? The toilet paper.
“From the moment you walk inside these doors, everything is intentional, from the acid stained floors to the tables to the fixtures, every single thing has been donated,” said Shaffer.
It’s also all for sale, right down to the Sherwin Williams paint. Everything is catalogued and tagged on a high-tech, virtual showroom, displayed on a Microsoft platform screen. Visitors can purchase things in-store right off the screen, or text the virtual showroom to themselves to revisit later, once they’re ready to start redesigning their home.
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“Every single item in here will be tagged, which offers all of our sponsors in one big sandbox playing together, but without any competition in their category. We’re going to be able to track all the analytics, every time someone clicks on something or purchases it. There’s absolutely nothing like this, especially from a ‘you like it, you can get it,’ perspective,” explained Shaffer, whose vision is to open more experiential showrooms throughout the country, in cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, each with their own regional and cultural vibe.
“Charmin is not a sponsor for the toilet paper, but I bet you they’d be interested now, because we can tag them and create a conversation, as silly as it sounds.”
Although you can technically make a purchase every which way you look, the shopping experience doesn’t at all feel forced, though after just a few minutes of relaxation in one of the bed swings by Vintage Porch Swing, you may start crunching numbers. The space is made up of a myriad of cozy nooks and crannies, meant for simply hanging out and sipping wine.
Music lovers will enjoy the Gibson Guitar lounge, accompanied by a guitar, Crosley turntable, hundreds of vinyls and a drum set creatively made out of Anolon cookware. Outside, there’s a children’s play area, where dogs are also free to safely roam around (plus lap up water and nibble on treats). Upstairs and adjacent to the studio kitchen, you’ll find an outdoor patio with killer views of the Oxbow District and the Napa River.
The Studio by Feast it Forward has an in-house collective of 18 distinct vintners, including their three official wine sponsors: Gibbs Napa Valley, B Wise Vineyards and Oberon Wines. The wines aren’t limited to your typical Napa Valley lineup either, expanding to Sonoma and Paso Robles, and showcasing some varietals and blends that you don’t see every day—or even every year.
“Yes, we have some big Cabs, but we have the most eclectic, funky list, from GSM blends to a Pét-Nat, to a Carignan and Cinsault,” said Shaffer. “It is a really fun list for people to explore. We are a national brand and we want to support variety.”
The wines are available by the bottle, glass, or three different tasting flights. There’s a cheese and charcuterie tasting for $75, and the tasting bar also serves up fresh Molinari coffee and Health-Ade kombucha on tap.
Feast it Forward has created a Products with a Purpose line of goods, including spices, wine glasses, and jewelry, which are available for purchase online and in the showroom. Five percent of proceeds from these purchases, plus all wine purchases and tasting fees, go toward the Feast it Forward Foundation, which feeds 20 charities worldwide.
Sometimes, you’ll even happen upon a lemonade stand in front of the building. Run by local youth organizations like 4-H, Feast it Forward provides lemonade, coffee and kombucha, and all donations go toward a charity of the group’s choice. The hope is to “teach kids about social responsibility,” said Shaffer, who was a wannabe Martha Stewart growing up and used to run her own lemonade stand.
Many Feast it Forward winery partners also support the brand’s socially conscious mission, utilizing organic and sustainable practices. Senders Wines even donates 100 percent of their profits to cleft lip and palate repair around the world. On the last Tuesday of every month, Feast it Forward hosts a pop-up community gathering called Social Happy Hour, which will “raise a glass” to support local and national charities.
And the same goes for several other Feast it Forward sponsors; to name a few examples, the studio is solar-powered by Northern Pacific Power and the walls are decorated with a couple of maintenance-free “plant paintings” made from preserved moss by Artisan Moss.