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Lauren Feldman's eco-friendly culinary odyssey

Meet Lauren Feldman, a Sonoma County, California native deeply knowledgeable in wine and culinary arts. After college, Lauren honed her skills in the bustling restaurant scene of New York City, working with the Italian-focused Neighborhood Dining Group. Lauren returned to Sonoma to help grow the start-up winery, Scribe, while completing the prestigious WSET Diploma Program. In 2020, Lauren, her husband Tanner Walle and business partners Emma Lipp and Stephanie Reagor, co-founded Valley Bar + Bottle, a sustainable venture at the intersection of wine, hospitality, and eco-friendliness. In 2023, they opened their second restaurant, Valley Swim Club, and welcomed their first daughter, Isla Rosemary Walle. Throughout her career, Lauren has remained a committed advocate for wine and culinary projects that prioritise environmental responsibility, leaving a lasting positive impact on the planet. Discover Lauren’s favourite natural scents and her quick nature pick-me-ups in our latest journal.

Describe your connection to nature: what positives does it bring to your life? 

For me nature creates space. It allows for breathing room amongst the hustle and stress of multiple restaurants and constant interactions. Being in nature is something you can do that allows you to do nothing. Incredibly important, imperative nothing. 

What’s your favourite thing to do in nature? 

We're so blessed by proximity to variety in California. I grew up going to Tahoe on a regular basis, but as I've gotten older and time is more precious, I find quick jaunts out to the coast to be such a luxury. Dillon Beach is my happy place. It's less than an hour from Sonoma and it's always more moderate in temperature - that is, to say, significantly cooler than Sonoma is in the heat of summer and alternatively warmer than Sonoma in the middle of winter. My dog Roman can run off-leash - his joy translates directly to my joy. 

Many of us are time-poor and might not get out into nature as much as we’d like. Any suggestions for a quick nature-based pick-me-up? Something sensory, experiential…? 

An outdoor tub. My husband put one in for me in our tiny yard and there is something about doing something outdoors that you would normally do alone, in private that makes you feel more in nature than you might actually be. The juxtaposition is a nice salve for the system. 

 What is your favourite natural scent, and why? 

As someone who works in wine that is an incredibly complicated question. Scents are, as you know, intimately tied to memory, and the transportive scents are the ones I'm most drawn to. But they're combinations of aromas, often so hard to put your finger on but just take you straight back to a place and time. So, oddly, my favorite natural aroma scents are often unexpected - dust and hay which take me back to my parents' horses in my youth. I love citrus and citrus blossoms - the freshness and sweetness combined. I love Corsican maquis, similar to garigue in southern france - I've never actually been to Corsica, so it's a funny thing to note, but you can smell it in Corsican wines and it is absolutely one of my favourite aromas because, once you know, it is so specific and you'll never mistake it. 

Koala Eco Journal


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