Scientist-Artist Sondra Barrett illuminates life’s mysteries, from cells and molecules to wine.
My career started out in medical research after receiving a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Illinois Medical School and completing a post-doctoral fellowship in immunology-hematology at the University of California Medical School. All I knew was that I wanted to help people and prevent or cure disease.
My first research as a post-doc was figuring out what was wrong with little boys’ white blood cells that were dying of infections. Medical questions quickly moved beyond cells and molecules to people and kids. Then on the faculty I took on developing diagnostic tools for human leukemias and lymphomas. The microscope became my main measuring tool. I was taught to decipher patterns and inconsistencies in the development of human cells. My eyes were trained to explore the invisible seeking out clues for life and death.
The day I had to obtain blood from a young child with leukemia my life changed.
Pulled from the lab down to pediatric oncology I soon spent as much time there as I did in my lab. It was being with those children that I discovered that the microscopic images illuminating the art within life could quiet their scared hearts. I brought them entertainment in the form of slide shows (remember Kodak carousels?) to the kids waiting for their chemo. I showed them dancing cells and magical molecules. They were intrigued with the colors and the designs. They didn’t have to know the science underlying the pictures – some of the kids watching were only 3. They sat peacefully. And that brings us to wine…
Photographs of wine, just like our cells, show intrinsic beauty as well as clues to development. Though deemed as abstract, they may in fact have some use to the winery – for crafting wine, for marketing, for tasting.
Sondra is available for speaking engagements for your next event, conference, or wine club. She offers experiential presentations that encompass science and art, spirit and the senses. Whether it’s a class on health and stress management, tasting the inner beauty of wine, or the secret sacred messages of your cells, your perspective of life will be changed and uplifted.
With wisdom, intelligence and humor she brings heart and substance to her presentations and workshops. She offers hour talks to week long retreats. Using art and interactive experiences, Sondra engages the audience in learning something new.
A message from Sondra
When I returned to the world of wine after decades of being the traveling health educator, I ran into a very old friend, someone I knew from my days of being a UCSF medical scientist. Only she was now working in the world of wine, and so was I. We connected and soon Veronique Raskin was including me in tastings with her team – Joe and Ron. It was a foursome I more than willingly drove the 50 miles to participate with. This was deep hearted hospitality and I learned from all of them as we tasted wines to decide whether they should be included in their organic wine portfolio. I had no experience tasting French wines so meeting Ch. Bousquette and Ch. Veronique from the south of France was a new adventure.
V made me feel so included, she supported my work – purchased my new book for many of her customers. She saw something in the photography I have been so obsessive about; she saw the spirit of the work, just as making organic wines for her and her family wasn’t about marketing a good idea. It was about nurturing the earth, thinking of the future generations. A commitment.
It has been such an honor to be a friend of OWC and I look forward to our dancing with the grape and sharing insights with you about wine and well-being.
Sondra’s favorite organic wine?
The first organic biodynamic wine I really liked was Ceago cabernet sauvignon and the first French organic wine I really liked was the 2005 Ch. Bousquette at 5 years old as represented by the beautiful microscopic angel on the left…