Boheme Fall 2022

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Sarah Butler

415.265.5070 DRE# 01258888





Getting epicurious 4

Giaco’s Valley Roadhouse 20



Ram’s Gate Winery 6


The wines of Immortal Estate 28 Petaluma’s boulevard of wine 38



Rosemary Olson

Lisa Marie Santos



Daedalus Howell COPY EDITOR


Danielle McCoy Mercedes Murolo Lynda Rael Catherine Sant

There is only “One” SPUD POINT CRAB CO. We are open 7 days a week from 9–5 for takeout and dining at our outdoor tables


Phaedra Strecher SENIOR DESIGNER


Dan Pulcrano

Isabella Cook Christian Chensvold Michael Giotis Daedalus Howell Jane Vick

Come & pick up some of Carol’s World Famous Award Winning

Cover photograph courtesy of Immortal Estate.

Clam Chowder It’s made fresh daily. BEWARE! It is addicting!

445 Center Street, 4C Healdsburg, CA 95448 Phone: 707.527.1200

1020 B Street San Rafael, CA 94901 Phone: 415.485.6700



Napa de Oro Winery 14

1910 Westshore Road, Bodega Bay, CA Let us know if you have any questions! 707.875.9472 | BOHÈME 2022




The sensible way to live in the North Bay


he ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus was a man after my own heart. Not only did he create the epicurean ideals those of us blessed to live in Wine Country live by; he was an empiricist, meaning he believed that the only reliable source of knowledge about the world is the senses.



EPIC Greek philosopher Epicurus had a taste for the good life.

Also, despite my byline, I speak no Greek, which liberates me to recklessly mistranslate Greek names to my heart’s content. To wit, I’ve decided that my man “Epicurus” must be a portmanteau of “epic” and “curiosity.” Combining these two concepts is the best way to live in Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties. I heartily encourage you to indulge your own epic curiosity as you peruse these pages. Use them to inspire your own adventures in the North Bay, and may your good taste be your guide. —Daedalus Howell, Editor


As the aftershocks of “fake news,” “alternative facts” and the conspiracy theory du jour continue to reverberate through our culture, our own senses are perhaps the only thing we can truly trust. But what about “deep fakes,” you ask, referring to the astonishing video fakery achievable with little more than an offthe-shelf laptop and the will to deceive? Fair enough—so that obviates “seeing is believing,” ditto “hearing is believing” (thanks, Autotune). “Tasting is believing,” however, generally

holds up. Sure, there will be the occasional fraudster—look no further than Rudy Kurniawan, whose nefarious, if convincing, blending of knockoff Burgundys was captured in the documentary Sour Grapes—but generally speaking, the tongue is seldom fooled. It evolved so those things we shouldn’t eat taste bad to us. This is precisely why taste is the most reliable sense—it’s the only one people are least likely to lie about (unless, of course, they’re being polite, but politesse so often gives way to the vicissitudes of politics that something inevitably becomes distasteful). A glass or two of locally-produced wine, however, usually restores any lost bonhomie. A bottle or two, and those of even the most disparate dispositions can generally come to a consensus, which is usually to get more wine.


1850 Bay Flat Rd Bodega Bay, CA

707.377.4238 Mon–Sun, 11am–6pm

599 Hwy. 1, Bodega Bay, CA | 707.875.9092


Extraordinary Wines, Specialty Food Items & Gorgeous Views Join us for good vibes with LIVE MUSIC and fine, local wines!

• Four local wine-makers featuring over 30 different wines. • Specialty organic juice elixirs for our non-alcohol-drinking patrons.

• Wine by the glass, the bottle and the case. • A tasting room for our winemakers offering tastings of your choice for $3 per taste!

10439 Hwy 1, Jenner, CA | | 707.520.6060


Finding harmony at Ram’s Gate Winery BY DAEDALUS HOWELL



ine and music have long been happy bedfellows. Just ask Beethoven, who once opined, “Music is the wine which inspires one to new generative processes, and I am Bacchus who presses out this glorious wine for mankind and makes them spiritually drunken.” »»


Wine Song

COMPOSED Ram’s Gate Winery director of winemaking Joe Nielsen.

The Talk of the Town DOWNTOWN FAIRFAX

Enjoy Our Other Fine Establishments ts presen

HARMONY Since 2018, Nielsen has overseen the 28-acre estate vineyard’s wine program.




Working somewhere between Beethoven and Bacchus is Joe Nielsen, the director of winemaking at Ram’s Gate Winery in Sonoma. Located where the San Francisco Bay meets the edges of Napa and Sonoma counties, Ram’s Gate Winery is the gateway to the area’s lauded Carneros region. There, since 2018, Nielsen conducted the 28-acre estate vineyard’s wine program, finding harmony through a balance of precision farming and sustainability. And plenty of music too.

“I'm a huge Paul Simon fan, and his ‘Graceland’ album is still one of my favorites,” says Nielsen of Simon’s seventh solo album, which came out in 1986—incidentally, the same year Nielsen was born. “I've listened to it my whole conscious life, and even probably before that,” he laughs. Besides priming his aesthetic tastes, Nielsen’s in utero introduction to music also provided him an apt metaphor for what became his life’s work. »»

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Joe Nielsen’s wines are notable for the way they harmonize vibrant acids and tannins with richness and full-bodied fruit.


“I like trying to pull analogies from different areas of life that people may resonate with more than wine making— like cooking and music,” Nielsen admits. “To me, the most amazing musicians are those whose albums you want to listen to from start to finish,” he says. “You probably go to the album because you had a favorite song, and then you realize that we're building towards something, and there's a resolution and things. It's almost like a movie; there's a plot, there's a development and then it finishes well. That's how I think about our program.” Nielsen wants the “voice” of his wines to carry throughout the entire portfolio, starting in the vineyard—which is planted



with chardonnay, pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, pinot blanc, grenache and syrah— through to the cellar and finally the glass. His wines are notable for the way they harmonize vibrant acids and tannins with richness and full-bodied fruit. “As we’re building out our portfolio, there’s a commonality year to year. There’s a unique sound to the year. There is a unique characteristic, but we're going to deconstruct that into our pinot blanc or our sauvignon blanc and then build from there,” Nielsen explains. “Along those lines, if we are trying to build an ‘album,’” he says, extending the metaphor, “we don't want redundancies. We want the plot and the theme to evolve…I want each one in that

lineup to be different and to have a purpose and something interesting about it.” And, for the record, Ram's Gate doesn’t do covers. “We want to do originals, so I have a strong desire to find vineyards that only Ram's Gate will be working with,” Nielsen says. “And yes, the sound is going to evolve. But I think that's part of being a creative. I know some people hated it when Bob Dylan went electric, but I think, but you have to, it's part of that process.” The Ram’s Gate Winery tasting room is open Thursday through Monday by appointment. (707) 721-8700.

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in the

Napa Valley Vineyards Filipino-owned Napa de Oro Winery is bringing ‘liquid gold’ to the Valley BY JANE VICK

UTTERLY DRINKABLE Napa de Oro’s wines are expanding the geography of the palate with approachable, singular wines.





he El Dorado of wineries, some might say. Nestled in the green and gold of St. Helena’s oak trees and hills, Napa de Oro Winery—the first Filipinoowned winery in the Napa Valley— has gold running through its veins and its vineyards. »»


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It started with Taojo and his wife, Caroline, who travel with their four children as often as they’re able to, and found over the course of their adventures a love of wine that deepened to passion and a vision of producing their own vintages.


Napa de Oro—oro is the Spanish word for gold—can attribute its name to multiple different influences. Yes, the wine, crafted by veteran and award-winning winemaker Rudy Zuidema, is illuminating to the palate, but it’s also an homage to owners Noe Taojo and Abe Marapao and their families. Marapao and Tajao hail from the Philippines, where Taojo runs a family gold mining business. It started with Taojo and his wife, Caroline, who travel with their four children as often as they’re able to, and found over the course of their adventures a love of wine that deepened to passion and a vision of producing their own vintages. So, along with Marapao—an attorney both here and in the Philippines— Taojo set out to secure a Napa Valley winery equal to the task of producing liquid gold. It was not a process to undertake without expert counsel. Enter one Rudy Zuidema. Considered one of the better winemakers in Napa Valley, Zuidema grew up in the small agricultural community of Davis, and after studying plant science and agriculture management focusing



on viticulture at UC Davis, came directly to Napa Valley to begin his career in winemaking and vineyard management. Since his arrival, Zuidema has made wines in 13 wineries—in Australia and the United States— including St. Clement Vineyards, where his professional winemaking career began, Cuvaison and Honig, to name a few. Zuidema prides himself on his sustainability-focused stewardship of the vineyards in which he makes wine, using respectful and non-invasive styles in vine cultivation to allow the grapes to speak for themselves. In a 2019 interview with California Wines and Wineries, Zuidema, a father of four, compared his winemaking methods to his parenting style; Zuidema’s goals as a winemaker and as a father are to shepherd his grapes—and children—into a manifestation of their true, best form, rather than forcing them into a particular iteration. When it comes to the grapes, Zuidema is an oracle, not a dictator. Some might call Zuidema the liquid gold of winemakers. Taojo and Marapao certainly do, and hired Zuidema on as a consultant in the search for the perfect Napa Valley winery.

But as the search continued, nothing fit the standard that Zudiema, Taojo and Marapao weren’t willing to compromise. Ingenuity and vision made it so they didn’t have to. At Zudiema’s suggestion, the mission changed from acquiring a winery first to launching the brand while continuing the search. Six acres in Coombsville were acquired—two of which are dedicated cabernet sauvignon grapes—and Zuidema’s role shifted from consultant to winemaker. In 2020—that endlessly fateful year—the first batch of liquid gold was born from those six acres in Coombsville: welcome to the world, Napa de Oro. In a reverse, “if you build it, they will come” style, just under two years after the first release, Napa de Oro has found their forever home. Almost a year ago to the month, Taojo and Marapao purchased what was formerly the Tudal Estate— located, miraculously enough, directly across from Robert Craig Winery Tasting Salon, where Zudiema held his first role as head winemaker. The winery produces seven varietals of wine, including the classic chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, and a signature blend called Caroline’s Red Blend, considered the “Grand Dame” of their selection. Made from cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc grapes, it’s crafted to honor the power and value of Caroline Taojo in the manifestation of Napa de Oro. On a call last week—while also making plans to visit the vineyard for a tasting—I asked Zudiema to tell me more about the wines and his processing working to manifest the de Oro vision in the unique soil of Napa Valley. “It’s to my benefit,” said Zuidema, “that I’ve had the privilege and challenge of being a winemaker for many different brands, on all sorts of different sites— different soil, different expressions. So I »»


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Zuidema prides himself on his sustainabilityfocused stewardship of the vineyards in which he makes wine, using respectful and non-invasive styles in vine cultivation to allow the grapes to speak for themselves.


came in with a lot to work with.” While each wine has a common denominator, Zuidema explained to me, they all have a tremendous amount of individuality. Zuidema says his job is to make sure he doesn’t get in the way of the wine, but instead ensures they hit their unique balance of acid, color, tannins, et cetera. His hands-on work takes place primarily in the vineyards—where he described to me an intricate viticultural dance involving critical steps like pulling shoulders and irrigating or not irrigating. Once the grapes are harvested and in the cellar, Zuidema’s process is much less assertive, and the listening portion of his winemaking really kicks in. “Before any real interacting or finetuning begins, we need to learn who this wine is. So we can stay within the boundaries of it and amplify it.” From one neutral barrel of grapes, Zuidema and his crew can pull up to three wines, varying in intensity, depending on how early or late in the fermentation process they’re pulled. From there, depending on the heaviness or delicacy of



the wine, they’ll experiment with aged oak barrels, pairing for flavor and exploring which wine handles what best, or if a batch is being overpowered by a young oak. “If the wine isn’t working in a one or two-year-old barrel because it’s too strong, we’ll pull it right out and place it in a three or four-year-old barrel,” said Zuidema. “The whole time, we’re listening to the character of the wine.” It’s an incredibly interactive process that Zuidema cherishes as much today as he did 34 years ago. “I still get as nervous and giddy as I did in my first year. It’s incredible—the anticipation of meeting this whole new family of wines…it’s like the second date, over and over again. The sparkle has never gone away.” We talked about Caroline’s Red Blend, a signature of the winery, and Zuidema told me it came about while searching for the ideal, Bordeaux-style blend. He and his wife, along with the Marapaos and the Taojos, sat together sampling potentials, most of which were cabernet-based, before

deciding to build their blend around a block of merlot in their vineyard that he describes as “delicate yet intense, giving and nothing short of badass.” The 25% cabernet sauvignon lengthens the profile, prolonging the pretty but shorter, more front-loaded merlot, and the result is a mouth-hugging, completely drinkable wine with a lasting, graceful flavor. “The aroma, my God.” said Zuidema. “The first whiff is nothing short of an invitation.” Who knew liquid gold had an aroma? I can honestly say I’ve never wanted a glass of wine more in my life. All that glitters is not gold—some of it is chardonnay grapes in the Napa de Oro vineyards. The magnetism of Taojo’s vision and the brilliance of Zudiema’s winemaking have brought a new sensibility to the Napa Valley wine sphere that makes this area more of a wine destination than ever. Napa de Oro is currently open by appointment only. Visit to schedule a tasting.

Open Tuesday through Saturday, 4-9pm for indoor, patio and takeaway Handmade Noodles

Best Restaurant and Best Ramen 6948 Sebastopol Ave, Sebastopol 707.827.3609 |

FLORAL NOTES Fine dining dinner set up for two with wine and a bouquet view.

Valley Roadhouse

Farm-to-table, fine dining and family BY ISABELLA COOK






ucked into the winding, forested hills of San Geronimo lies Giaco’s Valley Roadhouse, a local eatery where residents and transients alike can stop for a taste of Marin’s best bites. This restaurant has been a fixture of the community for almost half a century, and under the new, expert ownership of the Giacomini family, has flourished into a farm-to-table destination, well worth the scenic drive, horseback or bike ride to get there. »»









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ARTIST Chef Alejandro Cano offers mouthwatering dishes with a friendly smile.

«« Giaco’s opened earlier this year when Andrew and Susi Giacomini, along with their children, Dante, Nicolo and Andrea, put the family’s local and long-lived history in agriculture and environmental protection into creating a restaurant that supports local farmers and features highquality, accessible and ethical food. “I used to be in the restaurant business, and I worked my way through school in Italian restaurants,” explained Andrew Giacomini. “I always thought that I’d have a restaurant at some point in my life, but I didn’t think it would be right now. I’d told the previous owner, Tony, that if he ever wanted to sell the restaurant, to call me before putting it on the market. The pandemic put him to the end of his rope; he had to close for a year, and after that he was done.” In 2022, the Giacomini family bought the restaurant and attached inn from Tony Miceli, who operated it for over 40 years as Two Bird Café. The family plans to build on Tony’s foundation of excellent food and a welcoming atmosphere to take the important Valley institution forward for future generations. The Giacominis are third and fourth-generation Marindwellers who made their home just down the road from the Roadhouse. “The old train used to cross through here,” explained Giacomini. “It ran right by the restaurant, and there was a train station just a little down the road by the church.” The restaurant itself is a classical mix of elegant refinement and down-home comfort, which reflects the style of its menu and service. Upon entering »» 22


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GOOD MORNING Giaco’s Valley Roadhouse offers elevated eggs benedict, sure to sway any brunch-goer's heart.




through the beautifully-crafted front doors, guests are immediately greeted and seated, either in the spacious dining area or on the outdoor deck, overlooking the stunning surrounding nature. “The reception of Giaco’s was great,” said Alejandro Cano, chef and general manager at Giaco’s Valley Roadhouse. “Locals keep coming back, saying they love it here. They’ll come to the kitchen window just to say how much they enjoyed themselves. It feels more like a family—everyone is talking to the tables next to them because everyone knows everyone in the Valley.”

“Diane Phillips is Alejandro’s motherin-law and one of my oldest friends,” explained Giacomini. “Diane and I grew up together; she’s like a sister to me. When I met Alejandro, I knew he was the perfect person to be my chef and general manager. Now I just come to the restaurant to rub elbows with our guests and say hello.” Giaco’s has a full bar with craft cocktails coming soon, select beers on tap and a well-stocked wine cellar, including a selection of local wines. They are proud to support local »»

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Alongside offering locals a place to meet, catch up and rejoice in their community, Giaco’s plans to revamp the attached inn to create an opportunity for out-of-town visitors to kick back and appreciate San Geronimo in style. ««

farmers by featuring ingredients from the local foodshed. “One of the big changes we made is we pivoted the menu and the ingredients to farm-to-table,” said Giacomini. “We also have a liquor license and a full bar, and we want to become a destination spot.” Alongside offering locals a place to meet, catch up and rejoice in their community, Giaco’s plans to revamp the attached inn to create an opportunity for out-of-town visitors to kick back and appreciate San Geronimo in style. Future plans also include an outdoor bar and fire pit, live music and the possibility of a garden out back to supplement the kitchen. “Using local ingredients is very important to us,” explained Cano. “It’s a little harder because you’re getting eggs from one person and steak from another, but it’s worth it.” “It’s all about quality when it comes to our ingredients,” said Giacomini. “You can get a lot of organic products that are



really good that aren’t local, but local ingredients are the first criteria. There are a lot of local products that we use, such as Straus milk for our lattes. And Alejandro goes to the Farmers’ Market on Thursdays to supplement ingredients, and through that we met a couple of farmers there who have started supplying us. We even buy the eggs from a man my son used to play Little League baseball with. The ingredients make up the food. Of course, the recipes are important, but the use of local ingredients feeds back into the local economy, and that’s the vibe we want.” Speaking of vibes, Giaco’s excellently toes the line between a comfortable and chic atmosphere. The seasonal menu offers classic breakfast, lunch and dinner items alongside exciting edible experiences that are bound to titillate the palate. “The menu at dinner is a collaboration between a bunch of different people,” explained Giacomini. “Our other chef, Miguel Silverio, was trained at The French

Laundry. He’s from Mexico, but his grandmother was Italian, and our chicken marsala is an example of one of those dishes. We put the menu together with different people’s best ideas.” Whether craving comfort food or a fine dining feast, Giaco’s Valley Roadhouse offers the best of both experiences. They also welcome friendly family dogs to attend outdoor dining and will provide picnic baskets by advance order for customers to take on the go. “Come to the restaurant and you’ll have a great time!” exclaimed Giacomini. “We don’t take ourselves too seriously out here, but we do take our food seriously.” Giaco’s Valley Roadhouse is located at 625 San Geronimo Valley Drive in San Geronimo. They open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Friday, from 8am to 2:30pm, and on Saturday and Sunday, from 8am to 3pm. Breakfast service ends at 11:30am on weekdays, while the weekend service offers all-day brunch. Dinner hours are Thursday through Saturday, from 5pm to 9pm. For more information, go to their website at or call 415-488-0105.

Signature Blue Cheese Wedge Salad Combine in a food processor, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, 1 cup mayonnaise, 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, 2 ounces Point Reyes blue cheese, 1 cup buttermilk, 1 cup sour cream and white pepper to taste, for the dressing. Drizzle dressing on top of an iceberg wedge, then garnish with crispy pancetta, red pear slices, candied walnuts and additional Point Reyes blue cheese.

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What does it take to make a hundred-point Sonoma cab? Start with some help from the gods




ow does a wine achieve immortality? Become an elixir that would please the gods on Mount Olympus? A wine so fine it’s capable of inducing oenophilic ecstasy? Simple: to achieve wine immortality— which means 100 points from a top critic— the stars have to align in just the right way. First you need the will to make a »»


Quest for Immortality

VINES The rolling vineyards of Immortal Estate.

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In the question of what comes first—the price or the review—Tim Martin, co-owner of Immortal Estates, actually set his sights on the price, which he felt was justified by the quality, and left the critics to come up with whatever numbers they saw fit.


world-class wine, and then you need a vineyard capable of rising to the challenge. Next, don’t underestimate the power of packaging and presentation to tantalize even the most persnickety wine snobs. And finally—and this is key—you need the Socrates and Aristotles of the wine press to give you golden reviews. It also helps if you give your winery a name like Immortal Estate, which entered the market in 2014 with a cabernet priced in the elysian realm of $300 per bottle. That’s rare for anything from Sonoma County, but especially a cabernet. “When wine sells in that range,” says wine writer Christopher Sawyer, “it’s almost 100% because of reviews from critics. The reason Immortal Estates can charge that is because they got 100 points from Robert Parker. A wine becomes culty when it gets a hundred points, and we just don’t have



that many of them in Sonoma County.” In the question of what comes first—the price or the review—Tim Martin, co-owner of Immortal Estates, actually set his sights on the price, which he felt was justified by the quality, and left the critics to come up with whatever numbers they saw fit. Located near Spring Mountain, the vineyard previously sold wine under the name Hidden Ridge. “When we first took over the winery, people kept calling it Hidden Valley—which is the name of a salad dressing,” says Martin. “I looked into it, and there were just too many hiddens and too many ridges out there, so we sat around and talked about what a great name would be. “A wine writer had said our vineyard produces a cab that is ‘perfection, nearly immortal,’” he continues. “Then my partners and I were at a restaurant and

the sommelier had us try a sherry from 1905 that was just incredible. It hit me that everyone who made that wine was gone, yet their work remained in that bottle. And so we settled on the name Immortal.” The quest for eternity is expressed in Immortal Estate’s logo, which depicts something entirely outside the world of viticulture. The so-called immortal jellyfish is the only creature known to man capable of reproducing its cells in order to “live forever.” So far, the strategy certainly seems to have earned the favor of the gods. When Immortal Estate was in development, people told Martin he was crazy to price a Sonoma cab in the hundreds of dollars, but early blind taste tests confirmed the quality of what the choicest vines in the choicest part of the vineyard could produce. Immortal makes about »»

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“We always say, ‘Go create your own immortal moments,’” says Martin. “We all have those times with good friends, good food and good wine, that create moments you remember forever.”

PARTNER Tim Martin, co-founder of Immortal Estate.





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FOR THE AGES Immortal Estate’s impressive packaging reflects its ambition.




300 cases of its Impassable Mountain cabernet at $300, and 3,000 cases of its Slope cabernet, priced at $80. Over the past four years, Immortal has scored two 100s, a 99 and a 97—Olympic gold by any standard. On the secondary market, among collectors and auctions, Immortal Estate’s cab goes for as much as $1,000. As a former wine buyer and as a collector himself, Martin says he honestly doesn’t know how wineries arrive at their

prices, which can often seem arbitrary. He only knows that he wanted to make something epic, and yet still feel that what’s inside the bottle is worth even more. “As a wine owner, you can put any price on a wine you want, but that doesn’t mean the market will agree with you. I never want someone to feel like they overpaid. These buyers are very astute, and if your wine can’t stand up, I don’t care how pretty the elements are around it, »»


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Santa Rosa • Windsor • Cotati • Stony Point • Bennett Valley • Petaluma This ad is funded in part by Sonoma County Board of Supervisors

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The quest for eternity is expressed in Immortal Estate’s logo, which depicts something entirely outside the world of viticulture.


it’s just not going to be good enough. If the juice isn’t there, you’re only good for a year or two before everybody starts to talk and says it’s not a good wine, it just looks pretty. And there are a lot of brands like that.” “Looking pretty” has to do with the entire experience of acquiring a cult wine unavailable at even the most high-end wine shop. Oenophiles must get on an individual winery’s customer list, and every aspect of the winery’s communication, packaging and website is on par with any other ultra-luxe item, be it Ferrari in automobiles or Cartier in jewelry. Martin measures his career in “harvests” instead of years (he’s up to 26),



and a Napa winery he also owns, Tusk Estate, has a 10-year waiting list. Immortal, he says, is on a trajectory to get there soon. Ferrari makes a lot of cars that end up being “garage queens,” shining spotlessly in their place of presentation and rarely getting out onto an open road and doing what they were engineered to do. And how tragic to be a diamond necklace that sits in a jewelry box, rather than adorning the neck of a beautiful woman at an elegant event. Trophy wines often suffer a similar fate, sitting in cellars collecting a layer of noble dust, occasionally brushed off to impress a fellow connoisseur. But in the end, wine is made to be drunk. “We always say, ‘Go create your own

immortal moments,’” says Martin. “We all have those times with good friends, good food and good wine, that create moments you remember forever. And you could take the same wine the next night, and it wouldn’t be the same, because it’s everything coming together that creates immortal moments. “In life, people raise us, build vineyards and teach us winemaking, and their spirits live on in us,” he continues. “This vineyard was here before me and will be here after me, and my job is to be a good steward. Years from now, someone will pull out a 25-year-old bottle of Immortal, and even though I won’t be around, the work of my hands will remain.” w

“Excellent, friendly and welcoming staff, fresh oysters were wonderful, we ordered the fish for 2 which was cooked to perfection and the salads and sides that came with it were delicious and generous. The owners did a great job of creating outdoor space in the adjacent hotel courtyard with heaters to accommodate guests. Highly recommend.” —diner

New for Summer!

We launched a cocktail program with our bar manager Alfie Turnshek-Goins last July and haven’t looked back. The Lobby bar in Hotel Petaluma is now open to the public coinciding with The Shuckery Hours of operation. Wednesday–Monday 3PM–9PM

We were voted Best Restaurant for Oysters! Experience oyster heaven with us soon.

100 Washington St, Petaluma 707.981.7891 • For off site catering, — a traveling oyster bar

Voted Wine Country’s BEST ANTIQUE STORE 25 years +

WHISTLESTOP ANTIQUES Open Daily 11am–5pm Every Day 130 4th Street • Historic Railroad Square • Santa Rosa

707.542.9474 •

UNCORK Brooks Note Winery offers an array of wines made on the premises in Petaluma.

Local wines along ‘the Boulevard’ BY MICHAEL GIOTIS



fine harvest of wine experiences for every taste can be found along “the Boulevard,” that is Petaluma Boulevard, running roughly north and south through downtown Petaluma. »»


On a Petaluma A Wine Walk


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Introducing a familiar place to shop, dine and unwind.

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More than a waypoint along the highway, Petaluma is a recognized winegrowing region in its own right, with the official American Viticultural Area known as the Petaluma Gap.


Wine has long been a part of the Petaluma weekend life. The town is the perfect distance up from San Francisco for a stop along the routes to other wine locales up the road or further along the bay. “Yeah, I'm recording now,” I say at the bar of Black Knight Vineyards’ downtown Petaluma tasting room. Sonic Youth plays on the house speakers. “Can you say some of the geeky stuff you said about geology, because I love hearing that?” “Yes!” says proprietor Lexine Black as she pours out a flight for my wife. She was a geologist before making wine professionally with her father. “So [Black Knight Vineyards is] on Taylor Mountain, which is an extinct volcano that last erupted three and a half million years ago,” she says, speaking about the vineyard property in Bennett Valley. “So, the Taylor Mountain property … is



pumice, volcanic, ash, lots of petrified woods and loamy clays, which are all soils that vines respond really well to.” She adds, “They have a good porosity to permeability [ratio]. So they retain water without giving wet feet and vines, which makes them rot.” “You wanted ‘nerd,’” she laughs. I'm like, “Yes, geo-physics!” More than a waypoint along the highway, Petaluma is a recognized winegrowing region in its own right, with the official AVA appellation of “Petaluma Gap.” Brooks Note Winery, which produces its wine along the Boulevard just north of downtown, specializes in wines from these vineyards. “I'm good here,” I say, waving my hand over the tasting glass. “I'm not really a drinker at all, but they're very lovely.” Recognizing my wife’s support, I say, “I'll sit; she's gonna be my official stunt double.” Taking one for the team, wifey enjoyed

the flight of hyperlocal wines at Brooks Note, with a special emphasis on Petaluma Gap. “The wind is really what was the defining factor when they drew the wines of the [Petaluma Gap appellation]. AVAs are basically drawn by soil maps,” Reed Kinnek, assistant winemaker and naturally gifted host, tells us. “[Here the wind blows] always the same direction.” The wind, it turns out, is what has the greatest impact on grapes from the Petaluma Gap. Describing the unique way the appellation was defined, Kinnek tells us that surveyors “put up little devices to measure the wind speed you know, and all these different locations.” Really this whole Boulevard thing is about the vibe. And the vibe-iest wine place in town is still La Dolce Vita. “At La Dolce Vita, we endeavor to create a place for people to experience ‘the »»





Marin Beauty Company, Ulta, LaserAway, and over 50 other stores, restaurants and services


Rowland Blvd Exit, Highway 101



THINK PINK Rosé is the way during Petaluma's summer months.




Where to Wine The majority of tasting rooms are open most days from afternoon to evening. Call for hours and reservations.

BLACK KNIGHT VINEYARDS TASTING ROOM 155 Petaluma Blvd N, 707-278-6877 Chess and kid friendly. Central location. Great music.

LA DOLCE VITA WINE BAR 151 Petaluma Blvd S, 707-763-6363 Cozy, conversation inducing atmosphere.

AVINAGE WINE SHOP 15 Petaluma Blvd N, 707-774-6080 Friendly bottle shop, soon to be open for tastings.

BROOKS NOTE WINERY 426 Petaluma Blvd N, 707-981-8470 Unique, hyperlocal wines.

Honorable Mention: ADOBE ROAD WINERY 6 Petaluma Blvd N-Suite A1, 707-774-6699 For those unable to walk the Boulevard, consider the all-together decent Adobe Road Winery, with a tasting room tucked into the Great Petaluma Mill. Someday this winery hopes to provide food and wine from its own terrace, overlooking the turning basin of Petaluma River. For now, appreciate the ample nearby parking and riverfront access.


sweet life,’ whether that's touring the world via our selection of international wines, or as simple as enjoying prosciutto and melon paired with a locally-made rosé [on the patio] in the warm summer breeze— we hope you find your 'sweet life' here,” says Sahar Garhai, owner of La Dolce Vita Wine Lounge, in the Theatre Square just along the Boulevard. This is a delightful nook of a wine bar, where one can chat with refinement to the background hum of Felinni’s 8 1/2 on

the discrete movie screens placed about. Garhai and staff are intuitively either friendly or reserved as the customer requires. It’s a great place to close a deal or just sit with a partner and say nothing, sipping. The fact that any number of classic movies are playing in the background is a perfect example of the unique atmosphere of each of these locations. Black Knight takes its name from the game of chess, much loved by the family who runs the winery. The tasting room doubles as a chess space; each coffee table has a lovely chess set ready to play. A magnetic set hangs mounted on a wall. Black promises they love to see two kids sitting down to a game, “just not at the bar.” Brooks Note is very suitable to host events of a hundred or so revelers. Call and ask Kinnek how to book. In the future, expect Brooks Note to offer live music appropriate to a tasting room as invitingly posh as this gem. Also along the Boulevard, Avinage offers a chance for one to quickly grab a favorite bottle in a shop run by friendly faces. “Avinage focuses on European-style wine from around the world, featuring small producers that farm organically and use low intervention techniques in the cellar,” says Damien Carney of Avinage Wine Shop, just next to the Mystic Theater. “We don't yet have a tasting license, but we should have in-store tastings by mid-summer.” So there you have it, a four tasting stroll through the heart of Petaluma, the city right at the very start of wine country, welcoming eclectic tastes along the river that was once the main travel hub of the North Bay. Now a tourist hub, let this be the constant: fabulous wine to drink. w

Need More Space?

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“Store with Confidence”

We feel fortunate for all the positive response on our services, staff and building. Yes, we feel our building is alive with the positive energy from our tenants and customers and that enables us to concentrate on service. We thank you! “The facilities are safe and clean. I never worry about my belongings.” —E.McC.

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(Visit our website for more testimonials.)

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e would like to thank the community for their support and loyalty... the people who come to Zinz are what make this Wine Bar so fun. Zinz is a warm inviting space where people can relax, enjoy great and fun new wines, hang with friends and meet new ones! Friday evening winemaker series tastings... Saturday night music... Corporate tastings and functions... Great food with an excellent wine selection and a parklet seating area... | 207 Corte Madera Ave | Corte Madera | 415.927.9466

Art is alive and well at The Studio Santa Rosa made local

First Saturdays First Saturday

Nov. 6/21 11am to 4pm With West side Artists

3840 Finley Ave., Bldg 32, Santa Rosa Lourdes Medina Daniel Howard 707.695.1929 Anna Rybat Gale McKee

The Studio Santa Rosa 3840 Finley Ave.Santa Rosa, Ca

2421 Magowan Drive, Santa Rosa in Montgomery Village 707.583.7667 |

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Thank You Marin! Best Full Service Beauty Salon

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151 Petaluma Blvd South Discover Diego Rivera’s vision for the Americas through more than 150 works of art. Buy your tickets at

Diego Rivera, Woman with Calla Lilies, 1945; private collection, U.S.A.; courtesy Galeria Interart; © 2022 Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Scott Cramer

All Staff are Vaccinated Medical Grade Hepa13 Air Filters in Each Room Medical Grade pH Neutral Disinfectant Thorough Cleaning Before Every Appointment

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Mon-Sun: 11:30am to 9:00pm 711 E Blithedale Ave, Mill Valley, CA 415.388.4444

e use fresh ingredients and make our own pizza dough from scratch everyday! We also offer generous portions at affordable prices. We take always look into quality, and consistency of delicious, homemade Italian cuisine. So enjoy the flavors of Italy without packing your suitcase… and experience some of the classic tastes of Rocco’s Marin.