Boheme North Bay 2021

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Bohemian Rhapsody 6

Local makers moving up 30

The ‘Can Do’ Spirit of Wine 8 BEER IS BACK

Fieldwork Brewing Company 18


Napa’s Bouchaine Vineyards 40 BACKYARD GEM

Howarth Park 48


D’mitra Smith honored in mural 24 PUBLISHER



Rosemary Olson

Lisa Marie Santos

Kara Brown



Dan Pulcrano Jackie Mujica

Daedalus Howell CONTRIBUTORS

Offering Oysters & Professional Shuckers

Evan Davis Brooke Herron Daedalus Howell Casey O'Brien

Karen Klaber Danielle McCoy Sue Lamothe MercedesMcCoy Murolo Danielle Lynda Rael Mercedes Murolo



Dan Pulcrano

Lynda SENIORRael DESIGNER Jackie Mujica

Cover: Photo courtesy of Sonoma County Tourism


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La Vie Bohème Continuing a 170-year tradition


eople often ask me two questions—both of which are predicated on pronunciation. The first, as you might imagine is, “How do you pronounce your name?” to which, I cheekily reply, “‘Howl.’ Like a wolf.” If they haven’t already walked away from me, they sometimes follow with “Is it pronounced BO-Heem Magazine?”



If I think they should know, I’ll tell them, “No, it’s BO-Wem,” then I go into my stock explanation of the origins of La Vie Bohème. Yes, it’s the title of a song from the musical Rent, but before that it was an opera by Puccini, and before that still, it was Scènes de La Vie de Bohème. Yes, it sounds like a French New Wave film, but it was actually a novel—of a sort—by the once-destitute French author, Henri Murger, who wrote about his broke-ass Latin Quarter friends while starving in a Parisian garret. It spawned

not just a cottage industry of subsequent adaptations, it also inspired something of a genre of its own in the form of tales of aesthetic degradation—see Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London or Jack Kerouac slumming it in Satori in Paris. This year, however, marks VIE The original 1896 poster for Puccini’s opera. the 170th anniversary of La Vie Bohème, which is auspicious as we wade back into the new musical. If we’re not artists outright, we’re reality and adjusted value systems of our possessed by artistic temperaments and, as post-pandemic era. the Westminster Review published back Now why, you ask, would we ever in 1862, we embrace the maxim that “a name a magazine after the bathetic Bohemian is simply an artist or littérateur struggles of poor artists? Especially in such who, consciously or unconsciously, secedes an admittedly bourgeois market as the from conventionality in life and in art.” North Bay? Here’s my answer: For the very And by that very secession comes our reason many of us live here in the first success. That is the North Bay experience in place. We, in some way, still relate with a nutshell—one we hope to capture in some the aspirational characters of Murger’s small way within the pages of our very novel, Puccini’s opera and Larson’s rock own Bohème. —Daedalus Howell, Editor


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Welcome Home

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The North Bay’s best canned wines BY BROOKE HERRON



Can Do


anned wines? I wasn’t convinced, either. But last January, while staying at the Boonville Hotel on a trip to the Anderson Valley, I found a pretty little canned white wine—West and Wilder’s “White”—in my mini-fridge, and was shocked at how good it was. I was so impressed I made a mental note: ”quality wine in cans is going to be a thing ... keep an eye out for better wines in cans in 2020 and 2021!” Little did I know we’d face a global pandemic and a shut-down economy a few months later, which would fast-track the trend towards quality canned wine in response to ever-increasing consumer demand for environmentally friendly containers that allow for less over-consumption. »»


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And, while most of the really good stuff isn’t yet available at major supermarkets— with a couple of exceptions—we’ve got a handful of North Bay businesses offering top quality canned wines for purchase directly or at local markets and shops. Read on for my top 11 picks for the best North Bay canned wines. Side note on canned wine drinking etiquette: It’s not recommended to drink canned wines out of the actual can! Just


like with any other wine, a nice glass is the best vessel from which to drink. If you’re in a pinch or are enjoying your wine while camping, at the beach or hiking it’s still going to taste so much better if you pour it into a hard plastic glass and give it a little air than if you sip it out of the can. Also, remember that these cans contain the equivalent of ⅓ or ½ of a bottle of wine …

West and Wilder ‘White’ Aromatic, slightly floral and simply lovely. This is the prettiest aromatic canned white wine, in one of the prettiest cans, that I’ve ever had! Made from fruit sourced in Oregon and Washington, and crafted by Sonoma-based West and Wilder.

Alcohol 12.5%. 250 ml (⅓ of a wine bottle). Average retail price = $6/can Purchase Maker wines directly via their website ( or at the following North Bay businesses: Penngrove Market, Andy’s Produce (Sebastopol), Bottle Barn, Mill Valley Market, Oakville Market (Napa), Dahlia and Sage (Cloverdale), and a few more.

Maker 2020 Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc This sparkling sauvignon blanc from Novato-based Maker Wine and Chris Christensen of Bodkin Wines smacks you in the face with brightness, zip and deliciousness. No harsh, forced carbonation here—which is what I find in most sparkling canned wines. Just a softly sparkling sauvignon blanc, reminiscent of a touraine blanc, that will make you want to run out and get some fresh oysters or goat cheese, and a baguette. Alcohol: 10.6%. 250 ml. Average retail price = $8/can »»


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You can purchase Maker wines directly on their website ( or at the following North Bay businesses: Mill Valley Market, Palace Market, Farm Shop Marin, Golden Gate Market (Sausalito), Bacchus and Venus (Sausalito), and a few more.

stepfather, “so much nicer to sip on a hot day while playing bocce than a bottle of red wine; plus, then I don’t have to waste half of a $40 bottle.” I couldn’t agree more! Alcohol 13.3%. 250 ml. Average retail price = Just under $7/can Purchase Lucky Rock’s wines directly on their website ( or at the following North Bay businesses: Bottle Barn, Oliver’s Markets, Andy’s Produce and a few more.

Two Shepherds ‘Natty Pets’ Sparkling Picpoul (Organic) Two Shepherds really nailed this pét-nat style. Get the play on words ... Natty Pets … pet nat …? No harsh, forced carbonation in this canned bubbly. Just a very slight, soft almost-bubble, like that found in pétillant naturel-style wines. It’s also not stinky or sour—like I find some pét-nats to be. Just nice and refreshing, with slight canned peach notes and a clean finish. If you haven't tried this one, go get some. This wine is currently only available locally at the winery and online via the winery’s website, but will soon hit the shelf at Bottle Barn, so keep an eye out in


Brick and Mortar ‘Blanc’

their canned wine section!

Lucky Rock Wine Co. ‘County Cuvee’ Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc Light, bright and refreshing. This sauvignon blanc from Sonoma County–based Lucky Wine Rock Co. is, according to my

This chenin blanc–chardonnay blend from Brick and Mortar—Healdsburgbased, sourcing fruit from Napa, Sonoma and beyond—is what some would call a “porch pounder.” Light, simple, refreshing and affordable. It isn’t complicated, and at $6 per 375 ml can, it doesn’t have to be. This canned white is also one of the only wines on this list that can be found at a major supermarket. Most Sonoma County Safeway stores I’ve visited carry it. Alcohol 11.5%. 375 ml (½ a wine bottle). Average retail price = $6/can. In addition to being available at local »»


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watermelon and pomegranate on the nose. On the palate: a juicy watermelon Jolly Rancher with a slightly bitter watermelon rind note that leads to a strawberry fruit leather finish with a dash of salinity. Alcohol 13.4%. 250 ml. Average retail price = $8/can. Where to purchase this wine: Purchase Maker wines directly on their website ( or at the following North Bay businesses: Mill Valley Market, Palace Market, Farm Shop Marin, Golden Gate Market (Sausalito), Bacchus and Venus (Sausalito), and a few more.


Safeway and Andronicos stores, Brick and Mortar canned wines are available via their website or Good Eggs’ online organic grocery delivery.

Maker 2020 Rosé of Grenache This grenache rosé, from Maker and Nicole Walsh of Ser Winery, bursts with fresh


Sixteen 600 Primitivo Rosé Primitivo on the nose, party on the palate. This canned primitivo rosé, from Phil Coturri of Cannard Family Farms in Sonoma Valley, shows the darker side of rosé ... and it’s pretty delicious! Alcohol 13%. 250 ml. Price = $8/can

(Note: The winery only sells them in 24-pack cases) The only place you can currently purchase Sixteen 600’s Primitivo Rosé, other than their online wine shop, is Baker and Cook in Sonoma, when in stock.

Two Shepherds ‘Bucking Luna’ Sparkling CinsaultCarignane (Organic) Light, bright, fruity and refreshing. No funk, no oak, low alcohol and very low tannins. This organically made sparkling wine is what I would call the ultimate chillable, sippable red. I can’t wait to throw some of this wine in my bag for an upcoming camping trip, or in the fridge to enjoy at my next family barbecue—there’s just something about carignane and grilled meat … Just a reminder from owner/ winemaker William, “Yes, you can drink this wine from the can, but ... do you drink wine straight from the bottle?” Alcohol: 10.5%. 375 ml. Price = $11/can. This wine is currently only available locally at the winery and online via the winery’s website, but will soon hit the »»


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shelf at Bottle Barn, so keep an eye out in their canned wine section!

Maker 2018 Merlot Another winner from Maker, this 2018 single-vineyard Napa Valley merlot by winemaker Ian Devereux of SmithDevereux will convince even the most die-hard canned wine shade-thrower that great red wine really can come out of a can. Silky soft, with notes of dark chocolate, blackberry-plum, black pepper and a hint of lavender, this soft-yetstructured merlot is a damn fine glass of wine. And the wine judges and critics seem to agree, as they’ve awarded this wine 16 gold medals in just three vintages. Alcohol 13.8%. 250 ml. Price = $14/can (Note: Sold in 6 packs; 10 or 20% discounts for Can Club members) Purchase Maker wines directly on their website (, or at the following North Bay businesses: Mill Valley Market, Palace Market, Farm Shop Marin, Golden Gate Market (Sausalito), Bacchus and Venus (Sausalito), and a few more. *Please note that some of Maker’s canned wines—such as this one—are only available to their Can Club members, but this wine may be purchased in bottles


directly from Smith Devereux via their online wine shop.

Maker 2019 Cabernet Pfeffer Another delicious wine, from Maker and Nicole Walsh of Ser Winery, this cabernet pfeffer—yes, this is a real grape—offers a serious wine at a pretty small price, though it is currently only available for purchase to Maker Can Club members. The winemakers’ tasting notes for this wine, which I completely concur with, include “cranberry, pomegranate, and white pepper.” Cabernet pfeffer is a rare grape, and this wine is made from fruit that comes from 100-year-old vines in the Cienega Valley. Purchase Maker wines directly on their website (, or at the following North Bay businesses: Mill Valley Market, Palace Market, Farm Shop Marin, Golden Gate Market (Sausalito), Bacchus and Venus (Sausalito), and a few more. *Please note that some of Maker’s canned wines, such as this one, are only available to their Can Club members, but this wine may be purchased, in bottle form, directly from Ser Winery.

Larkan Red Wine This Napa Valley merlot blend, from winemaker Sean Larkin and Larkin Wines, offers drinkers a premium wine, sourced from premium vineyards, at a not-sopremium price. If you like rich, full-bodied Napa reds, this one’s for you. Best of all? You don’t have to worry about opening an entire $50 bottle that you may or may not be able to finish. Larkan’s 250 ml format and reasonable price point mean that you can pour a glass of really good red wine for around $5–$7/glass. w


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CHEERS Fieldwork Brewing Company’s Barry Braden.

The Bay Area’s Fieldwork Brewing Company 18



HereBe Beer


egend has it that in ye olde days, people drank beer because it was safer than water. Albeit, this is a medievalera myth, from an age of plagues and egregious class disparity. My, have times—not!—changed. The good thing is, we had beer to get us through the past 18 months, and Fieldwork Brewing Company helped us make it to the pandemic finish line. »»


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‘It keeps us up at night—we always have to try to figure out how to be a better company and a good corporate citizen,’ says Fieldwork Brewing Company’s Barry Braden. ««

Established in 2015, Fieldwork Brewing Company is a craft brewery with a decidedly Bay Area footprint, with taprooms and beer gardens reaching from Corta Madera and Napa in the North Bay to Berkeley—where it’s brewed—and San Ramon in the East Bay to San Mateo in the South Bay, with Monterey and Sacramento thrown in for good measure. Fieldwork scored bonafides not just for its brews, but for its business: Fieldwork is the 10th fastest-growing private company on San Francisco Business Times’ “100 Fastest Growing Private Companies in the Bay Area” 2018 list, and Inc. Magazine ranked Fieldwork at No. 604 on its 2019 Inc. 5,000 list of “America's FastestGrowing Private Companies.” And then the pandemic hit. But the beer never stopped flowing. “When it hit, when the shelter-in-place hit, we all got together and we just said, ‘Well, what can we do? What under the health order are we able to do, and let’s go do it?’” says owner and co-founder Barry Braden. “I think that we probably mostly benefited from just the people who we count as guests—and friends—who just support us and enjoy the beer. We got by on home delivery, loading up people’s cars


and dropping beer on people’s porches.” Beer delivery—the ultimate pivot. “I think it helped us stay connected with our regular folks who we see all the time in the tap rooms, and managed to keep our sense of fellowship and community that we want to aspire to because honestly, what a year! It was just nothing like I’ve ever seen before in my life and I hope to never see again,” says Braden, who has an affable and easy demeanor—and not just because of his inherent, brewery-owner “cool,” but also because it’s clear he truly cares. Inasmuch as Fieldwork is ostensibly a beer company, it’s also a “people company.” Throughout the pandemic, Fieldwork retained more than 80% of its staff. It also retained its market share. What’s the secret ingredient? That Braden and his partners actually give a shit is readily apparent, even to a crusty, seen-it-all reporter. “We have an amazing team, and they executed at the highest level, and they did it with a lot of poise and professionalism in a really, really, really crappy time,” Braden says. “The pandemic certainly took its toll on many in our industry, and not only from our brewery colleagues, but also bar and restaurant folks who are still

feeling the effects and will probably be feeling the effects for the rest of the year,” he says. “We were fortunate that our seven locations did very well through the pandemic. We’re even, year over year, which I don’t think there’s a lot of businesses that could say that.” There are also not a lot of businesses that can say they’ve just launched a philanthropic venture. This June, the beer biz announced the establishment of the Fieldwork Community Fund Committee, led by Fieldwork staff members with the mandate that they donate funds to noteworthy local nonprofit organizations. “It keeps us up at night—we always have to try to figure out how to be a better company and a good corporate citizen,” says Braden, who convened a crew of more than 10 Fieldwork team members from various locations, each of whom nominates a nonprofit to the committee’s vote. Among the 11 nonprofits receiving donations locally is Corta Madera’s Ritter Center, which received a $2,500 donation to support its food pantry efforts—the largest in Marin—serving 3,000 households annually with the distribution of 22,000 bags of groceries. The Ritter Center also offers case management, medical and behavioral health services, as well as 2,000 laundry and 8,000 shower appointments each year. Another local beneficiary is the SF-Marin Foodbank—also in Corte Madera—which, during Covid, operated 29 pop-up pantries and provided weekly deliveries to 12,000+ seniors and groceries to 55,000 households. Fourteen percent of people served are homeless, with 60% of food offered being fresh produce. Fieldwork’s donation brought 4,000 meals to those in need. Napa’s VOICES Youth Programs, which supported Napa County foster youth during Covid, also received support from the brewery. »»


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T:10” S:9.5”




Don’t be fooled by how they look or smell. Secondhand vape, marijuana, cigarillos, and hookah contain toxic chemicals. © 2021 California Department of Public Health

D23998_1b_TCP6216-Nwsp-4C-10x10_AllSHS.indd 10.08.19 Epson


BREW with a view.


Can-Do Spirit

Besides being available on draft at their own locations and local craft beer-focused restaurants and bars, Fieldwork brews are also available in cans. “We were canning on a small basis before the pandemic, and the cans would come and go pretty quick,” Braden says. “We don’t want the brewing team to get bored, so our primary objective is to keep rotating beers through and bring back some old favorites and listen to the customers in terms of what they like, but also let the brewers brew what they want to brew. The pandemic certainly brought us into a place


where we were canning more than we imagined we would.” At the time of this interview, Fieldwork was selling about 80,000 cans a month, but as the Bay Area continues to open up, Braden anticipates more people returning to drafts at their local Fieldwork taproom or beer garden. “We ordered a canning line in November of 2019, and that literally showed up and was installed three weeks before the shelterin-place order,” Braden says. “We had no idea. It was just serendipity that we had ordered this thing.” Serendipity, or the result setting firm intentions?

“A lot of it, I think, comes from what you want to be,” Braden says. “What did you set out to do when you started the business? We set out to build an enduring company, one that we could get our employees involved in and help contribute to their retirement to make sure they’re taken care of health insurance-wise and wellness and all those things and build a company that we can be proud of.” Cheers to that. For Fieldwork Brewing Company locations, visit and instagram. com/fieldworkbrewingco.


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ART Rima Makaryan’s mural depicts local artist and activist D’mitra Smith.


newly completed mural now graces Sonoma residents with its vibrant colors. The canvas is Sonoma Originals, a skate shop in Boyes Hot Springs. The subject is D’mitra Smith, a local activist and artist in her own right, singing for bands across the Bay Area since the ’90s. Smith has, for the better part of eight years, been an integral part of the Sonoma County Commission on Human Rights, serving as chair until her recent departure in 2020. »»


Living in A in Color Mural feature artist and activist D’mitra Smith


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‘When I saw a notice about 1st District openings for the Commission, I decided to apply and educate myself about human rights issues in Sonoma County,’ says D’mitra Smith. ‘They were more complex and far reaching than I had realized, and that started a process of dismantling the “farm-to-table” and “progressive wine county lifestyle” narratives that I always felt were hiding the reality here for BIPOC folks.’


The timing of the mural’s completion is very well in sync with its subject. As the pandemic winds down and we as a community step bleary-eyed from our respective quarantine caves back into a reopened world, we’re forced to accept it’s a world that’s changed much. Or at least, that’s been a major narrative for many. For others like Smith, the chaos of recent years only highlighted what’s been a constant reality for the underrepresented. “I began doing human rights work locally in 2008 when a woman was sexually assaulted in my neighborhood,” Smith says. “I organized a bilingual Take Back the Night march and successfully


lobbied the county for adequate street lighting.” And seeing that success was possible, she furthered her efforts. “When I saw a notice about 1st District openings for the Commission, I decided to apply and educate myself about human rights issues in Sonoma County,” she says. “They were more complex and far reaching than I had realized, and that started a process of dismantling the ‘farm-to-table’ and ‘progressive wine county lifestyle’ narratives that I always felt were hiding the reality here for BIPOC folks.” The unceasing set of seemingly gigantic viral, political and socio-economic hurdles

that comprised the last 18 months brought out the worst in some people and the best in a great many others, with Smith standing tall as a paragon for the latter. As chair of the Commission, she brought forward numerous initiatives. She organized the group’s modest funding to secure PPE and guarantee that the PPE made it to those most impacted by, and vulnerable to, the virus. “That included the unsheltered, farm workers and undocumented, essential workers,” Smith says. She also ensured those facing language barriers wouldn’t remain unseen or unheard by founding the Sonoma County Human Rights Visibility Project, a human rights incident reporting tool in 18 languages, California’s first to be so thorough. “The site is anonymous, but allows the Commission to track the areas needing the most attention,” Smith says. “The bulk of the incidents in 2020 were related to racism and discrimination.” Some may remember the “Food for All—Comida Para Todos” project Smith cofounded. “[It] grew out of a grassroots effort in 2017 around the Tubbs fire,” Smith says, “where I mobilized—along with other Sonoma Valley organizers—to provide mutual aid, language justice and pop-up medical care for immigrant and undocumented folks that wasn’t being provided.” And then the virus arrived. “When Covid happened, we saw the same problems with drive-up-only food, lack of access and disproportionate infection rates. Families were terrified and had nowhere to turn. We knew that no amount of asking the powers-that-be was going to translate into action, because we had already done that—so we did it ourselves. We put on our masks and gloves, and went to work.” That dedication, integrity and proactive fire paid dividends. “Comida Para Todos is a special project,” Smith says, “in that it centers on »»


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‘I always felt like it was an uphill battle, and that people were either uninterested or annoyed by the human rights work I was doing,’ Smith says. ‘I left the Commission in 2020 at the end of my term because I could no longer sustain the level of free labor for the county with a lack of support and resources; but the work remains, and I hope I have helped shift the conversation.’


people’s dignity. It doesn’t engage in poverty porn, and it provides what they actually need, making sure it is culturally competent. This project has grown exponentially and functions on volunteer power. It’s an incredible example of how we can come together for our neighbors.” Smith’s example, as well as the impact of her efforts, echoes throughout the community and even the nation at large, as others follow the same path. Regarding the catalyzing moment of George Floyd’s murder, Smith says, “Locally, I saw new generations of folks with no organizing experience and no planning, going into the streets. That also happened nationally, and I don’t see there [being] another way around it, but I knew there would be huge challenges.”


In 2017, Smith authored a comprehensive report outlining and giving a historical context to racism and discrimination in local Sonoma County schools. She also directed a one-minute PSA celebrating diversity and designed to uplift the topic of human rights. It was intended for theaters, but like the report— which was largely ignored by county superintendents—proper funding and support for the film proved elusive. “I always felt like it was an uphill battle, and that people were either uninterested or annoyed by the human rights work I was doing,” she said. “I left the Commission in 2020 at the end of my term because I could no longer sustain the level of free labor for the county with a lack of support and resources; but the work remains, and I

hope I have helped shift the conversation.” Evidence shows that D’mitra Smith most certainly has. The mural now honoring her in Sonoma was completed by Rima Makaryan, a co-founder of Sonoma County Artists Propelling Equity and one of more than 100 former high school students Smith mentored during her time at the Commission. “Rima is a powerhouse,” Smith says, “and I could see that from the second she walked into the interview for the Junior Commission. I’ve watched her create various murals, build up the Monarch Project and then reach a new level with SCAPE.” The mural itself is some 20 feet tall, and features Smith wielding a microphone and a welcoming smile. Incorporated into it are elements integral to her tenure as chair of the Commission: scales of justice, a mirrored bilingual “PARA LA GENTE” banner with its “FOR THE PEOPLE” reflection and important tributes to leaders past. “My first thought was that there were other BIPOC women before me that should be honored, as they laid the groundwork for me to even exist,” Smith says, citing Maya Angelou, Mary Ellen Pleasant and Shirley Chisholm. “Rima asked me about important elements to include, and I chose folding chairs in the design, as an homage to the great Shirley Chisholm’s quote about bringing one to the table when you aren’t given a seat.” The mural puts into perspective the importance of honoring a local civil rights champion. “I want this system to change,” Smith says. “We still have a long way to go, but as Marian Wright Edelman said, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’ Visibility matters, and I’m truly honored to be seen.” w


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MAKER Berkeley’s Sabine Herrmann is the owner of the Etsy shop Plantillo.






Moves Local creators thrive despite pandemic

uring the pandemic, we all developed new hobbies: baking bread, making cocktails and gardening were some of the more common ones. But for the Bay Area’s Etsy sellers, “making” is more than entertainment; it’s a livelihood. During the course of the pandemic, the Bay Area’s makers devoted themselves to creating products inspired by their homes, from wine barrels to succulents, and the results paid off—for some makers, it was the most successful year of their business. »»


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‘I grabbed some fabric and my sewing machine, and I went home,’ says artist Sabine Herrmann about the hours before Berkeley’s lockdown. ‘I had no idea what was going to happen. For a little while, I made masks. I donated them, and I put them on my Etsy shop. That got me back into being creative.’ ««

Beth Albers and Claire Whitehead developed their Etsy Shop, Emma Claire Shop ( EmmaClaireShop), after meeting at their daughters’ competitive cheer competitions. The two women share an interest in design, and wanted to open a business together. Succulent globes hung up in Disneyland—where they went for a cheer competition for their daughters—inspired them to create air plant products. “We wanted to create something different than what we were seeing everywhere,” Whitehead says. “We wanted something unique, unique to the aesthetic of the Bay Area and California.” That was in 2016, and the two women have sold their products on the online platform ever since. California remains their muse—and the place where all their products are sourced. “Our air plants are all grown by a family farm in San Diego, and our wood is from local hardware stores,” Albers says. Originally, Albers and Whitehead went with Etsy, rather than a brick-and-mortar shop, because Claire had run an Etsy shop before; but the choice served them well


during the pandemic. “For the last year, we have just kept thinking, ‘Thank God we didn’t do brick and mortar. We would be in so much trouble,’” Whitehead says. “We were in shock for a few weeks, but after a few months, things began to pick up. People can’t go shopping, so they come to our shop.” “We have actually done better than ever this year, despite Covid,” Albers says. Albers and Whitehead aren’t alone. In fact, gross merchandise sales were up 118% in 2020 on the site compared to 2019. As ecommerce exploded when brick-and-mortar stores closed down, independent shop owners who utilized the Etsy platform benefited. Other makers, including Sabine Herrmann, owner of the Etsy shop Plantillo, also reported record growth this year. Herrmann first developed her Etsy shop, Plantillo ( Plantillo), when she was struck by the diversity of the plants around her while walking through her Berkeley neighborhood. “The idea came to me while hiking in the beautiful Berkeley hills, Tilden Park and even in my neighborhood,” she says. “It was in the

springtime, when everything was blooming and so beautiful. I took a lot of photos on my walks, and I wanted to do something with them. I have a small house without a lot of wall space, so I thought I should try some fabric. I got it printed on fabric digitally, and then I made my first pillow.” Herrmann liked her first pillow, but wanted a more realistic look, so she cut the fabric to fit the exact shape of the photo, creating a realistic—and comfy—indoor garden. “It looked really nice, but it didn’t look realistic, so I followed the outlines of the plant, and the Plantillo was born,” she says. “It was really realistic, and it didn’t take long for me to post the first product on Etsy. I got my first order just a couple of days later, which was fantastic.” Herrmann now runs the Plantillo shop full-time from a studio space in Berkeley. When the pandemic struck, Herrmann had just a few hours to grab her materials from her studio in Berkeley before lockdown. “I grabbed some fabric and my sewing machine, and I went home,” she says. “I had no idea what was going to happen. For a little while, I made masks. I donated them, and I put them on my »»


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Etsy shop. That got me back into being creative.” After several months of working out of her small house, Herrmann returned to her studio to make pillows again, although strict protocols kept artists from interacting with one another. Herrmann did quite well during the pandemic, as new home decorators searched Etsy for products to make their homes feel pleasant instead of suffocating. “My product has done well because it’s a home product,” she says. “It’s a happy product, an outdoorsy product. And when people are stuck in their houses, they want to be looking at happy things that remind them of nature.” From her first plantillo to her full product line in 2021, what hasn’t changed is Herrmann’s inspiration: long walks through her East Bay neighborhood. Herrmann takes all her own photos of the diverse plants that surround her. “You don’t need to go far,” she says. “Even going around the block, you can see some amazing plants … . It’s so inspiring. We are so lucky, living here, that we have redwoods growing next to cacti. The diversity of flora and fauna we have here is amazing.”

Backyard Inspiration

WARES Sabine Herrmann’s offerings at her Berkeley studio.


Quarantine kept us tethered to our homes, but for local makers, inspiration is often found in their own backyard. Like Herrmann, Armando Santiago developed and sells a product uniquely sourced from his home. Santiago moved to the Napa Valley from the East Coast after a 40-year career in the Air Force— and found a new calling. “I came to live out here in the Napa Valley with my wife,” Santiago says. “She was a wine »»


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‘I came to live out here in the Napa Valley with my wife,’ says artist Armando Santiago. ‘She was a wine club manager here in the Valley. She took me to the Napa home show, and I saw things made from barrels. And I said, “Wow. I could do this.” I was bored at home, being retired. You can only play golf so many days of the week.’ ««

club manager here in the Valley. She took me to the Napa home show, and I saw things made from barrels. And I said, ‘Wow. I could do this.’ I was bored at home, being retired. You can only play golf so many days of the week.” Santiago began experimenting with woodworking using barrel wood, with no plan to turn it into a career. “I was just playing, using barrels I got from my wife. I just gave products away to friends and family,” he says. Eventually, a friend with an Etsy shop suggested Santiago build an online storefront on the platform. “She told me to put my pieces up on this website, Etsy,” he says. “I had never heard of it! But I thought, ‘Ok, I’ll give it a try.’ And lo and behold, stuff started selling. Etsy becomes your personal salesman. You’re selling to like-minded people, who want to buy


something handmade and local. Etsy gives you that exposure to people who are looking for custom items.” Santiago now runs his shop from a home workshop in his garage, which he equipped with professional tools. “This became more than ‘keeping busy.’ It became a job,” he says. Santiago took a hit when the pandemic began, because many of his handmade barrel platters and other art were purchased by people wanting to mark special occasions—weddings, anniversaries, birthdays. Santiago can have any piece laser-engraved with a personal message or a date. When events were canceled, Santiago’s customers couldn’t use their pieces. He offered them credits, however, and many ordered pieces later. He maintained his usual number of orders, about 225 a year.

“Everything I make is handmade, and I am a one-man operation,” he says. “I buy the barrels, I make them, I pack them, I ship them. Everything I sell is an item that I would include in my own home. I want people to feel that. And I get the sense that people do.” BarrelArtNapaValley

Freed Enterprise Etsy wasn’t just a boon for veteran sellers during the pandemic. New business owners relied on the platform as well, especially those whose original business plans were put aside due to Covid. “Initially, I was planning to do farmers’ markets to introduce my product,” says Debra DeMartini, the owner of DEBZ Sonoma (, a gourmet food shop with hand-mixed salts, sugars and »»


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‘Everything I make is handmade, and I am a one-man operation,’ Santiago says. ‘I buy the barrels, I make them, I pack them, I ship them. Everything I sell is an item that I would include in my own home. I want people to feel that. And I get the sense that people do.’ ««

cocktail glass rimmers. “I was looking at schedules and gearing up for the farmers’ market season, but with the pandemic that just wasn’t possible.” DeMartini, who has worked in the restaurant industry for her entire career— and maintains a full-time job—planned on using Sonoma’s popular farmers’ markets to launch her products locally, but turned to e-commerce out of necessity, opening her shop in May 2020. She was surprised by how much she enjoyed it. “I’ve always been a restaurant person, so this is really different, but it’s given me the opportunity to learn something new and learn as I go,” she says. DeMartini’s 27 different products—from tomato basil salt to vanilla bourbon sugar— made their way across the U.S. and beyond, where they were used in unusual ways in pandemic kitchen experiments. “A child was using the lavender lemon sugar on her yogurt,” she says. “She was maybe 7, 8 years old. And I never would have thought of that, but it’s her favorite thing. That’s


been the most wonderful part for me, to see how people use these products. I always say, ‘Don’t overthink it, just try things.’” DeMartini feels Etsy has helped her as a new business owner. “What’s cool about Etsy is that people don’t have to be looking for you,” she says. “They might be looking for something else entirely, and just find me. I am really grateful for that.” While Etsy has helped customers find her shop, DeMartini’s unique products are all her own. She sources salts from international salt mines all around the globe, and develops organic spice blends to match the region she is sourcing from. She buys herbs and alliums from vendors all over California, determined to include only certified organic products in her blends. “Eventually, I would like to have a lot where I can grow all my own herbs and alliums. That’s my goal,” she says. The shop is international, but DeMartini keeps strong local connections by offering free delivery to anyone who lives in the Sonoma Valley and gifting

free products and samples to local families curious about her products. “My goal is to help people and their families make great food at home,” she says. “Salt is the base for food. You’re going to be using it anyway, so you might as well have fun with it. My tagline is that I sell the sous chef in a bottle, for people who might not have cooked much before.” Quarantine provided an opportunity for people to engage with homemade goods in a new way, and some tried making their own. Social distancing and the rise of e-commerce may have relegated shopping to our computers, but it didn’t stop the Bay Area’s makers from working with their hands. Whether they are making succulent pillows or wine-barrel platters, the artisans who call the Bay Area their home didn’t slow down during the pandemic—they adapted. “We can’t work together at the kitchen table anymore, but we do a lot of front-porch chats, we go for long walks,” Albers says. “We have had to find a new routine.” w


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‘The overarching goal is to make sure that you’re leaving that land in a better way than you found it, and certainly so that it’s protected and thriving for generations,’ says Winemaker and General Manager Chris Kajani. ««

It’s more than that, though—Bouchaine is now a leading regional producer of sustainably-farmed chardonnay and pinot noir. But that’s not how it started. In the late 1880s, Missouri-born settler Boon Fly—they sure don’t make names like that anymore—planted the property with fruit trees and, more presciently, grapes. Through the late ’20s and early ’60s, Italian Winemaker Johnny Garetto took on stewardship of the land before selling it to wine juggernaut Beringer, which acquired and ran the property as a storage location up until 1981. Then, finally, Bouchaine proprietors Tatiana and Gerret Copeland purchased the property, infused it with their love of Burgundian wines and, 40 years hence, now own one of the oldest, continuously family-owned estates in the area. The Copelands can pride themselves as being among the first to recognize the potential of Carneros, a cool-climate region that officially received its American Viticultural Area (AVA) status in 1983. It’s important to specify that Bouchaine is on the Napa side of Carneros—the AVA is split between both Napa and Sonoma Counties,


making it one of the few appellations in the world wherein the arbitrary division of a county line eschewed natural geographical contours. More to the point, the area’s shallow, clay loam soils are well-suited for growing pinot noir and chardonnay. Want wines with depth and concentrated flavors? Make the vines work for their water by helping them grow deep into the obsidian, quartz, clay and volcanic deposits that define the local soil. What’s also germane is that the Carneros region is noticeably cooler than the rest of the Napa Valley, which makes raising a broader range of varietals— beyond, say, Napa’s usual cabernet sauvignons—possible. Of Bouchaine’s 87 planted acres, 31 are dedicated to chardonnay and 46 to pinot noir, with the remaining 10 devoted to pinot meunier, pinot gris, gewurztraminer, riesling and syrah. The eclectic lineup leverages the vineyards’ diverse topography and the cooling influence from nearby San Pablo Bay, which is visible from many of the vineyards’ hillsides. An abandoned World War II-era Office of Strategic Services listening station is also visible, sinking into

the Bay’s marshy wetlands. “We’re right on this water; you look right across the bay to San Francisco, and so everything we do on this vineyard affects the watershed and everything around,” says Winemaker and General Manager Chris Kajani, who reminds me that Bouchaine was the first Fish Friendly Certified vineyard in Napa Valley, and that it also holds a Napa Green Vineyard and Winery Certification. “The overarching goal is to make sure that you’re leaving that land in a better way than you found it, and certainly so that it’s protected and thriving for generations.” Kanjani and Associate Winemaker Erik Goodmanson joined Bouchaine in 2015 as part of the Copelands’ vision to galvanize their burgeoning enterprise with new talent and techniques. Though based in Delaware, the Copelands remain active in the day-to-day operations and strategic plans of their winery. To wit, Kajani has introduced composting, chicken manure and fish emulsion as integral parts of the vineyards’ farm plan. Likewise, Bouchaine’s integrated pest management program consists of bird boxes and raptor perches positioned throughout the vineyards, attracting bluebirds and owls which feed on pest populations, and hawks which mitigate gopher damage. Moreover, pheromone traps confuse bugs that otherwise would be mating. The winemaking team at Bouchaine believes great wines are grown, not made. Fine wine starts in the vineyard—so Kajani emphasizes a high-touch approach to viticulture, paired with a winemaking style that promotes the expression of the terroir. Kajani prefers wild yeast fermentation, minimal extraction and non-intervention winemaking practices throughout. “All those small decisions and all those extra passes, you know, and all the time »»


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and attention throughout the growing season, we believe brings you the grapes that just allow you to kind of shepherd that wine into the bottle,” Kajani says. “That’s always our goal.” Fundamental to Kajani’s method is the abiding belief that from harvest to barrel and bottle, it’s best to stay out of the wine’s way. “I’ve told people that you do the exact same thing every single year, but you do it completely differently based on whatever mother nature gives you, so you’re kind of like different,” Kajani says with a laugh. “It’s not our job to chop mother nature at the knees, and make everything taste the same. But it is our job to shepherd the best into the bottle every year.” Kajani and Goodmanson consult each


other daily, walking the vines together and tasting the grapes and wine throughout each season. The winery produces two wines that are distributed nationally, the 2018 Estate Chardonnay ($35) and 2018 Estate Pinot Noir ($35). Additionally, the Vin Gris of Pinot Noir ($29), Estate Pinot Meunier ($68), Pommard Clone Estate Pinot Noir ($65), Dijon Clone Estate Pinot Noir ($65), Swan Clone Estate Pinot Noir ($65) and Las Brisas Vineyard Riesling ($30) can be found in select markets nationwide. The winery also produces a series of direct-to-consumer bottlings that are available at the tasting room and on the Bouchaine website. Throughout the past four decades, the

Copelands grew the venture beyond its original 30 acres to 100 acres—their estate vineyard alone encompasses almost 20 distinct microclimates—while making systematic improvements to their processes and infrastructure. What a difference 40 years makes. A winery that was once a pair of ramshackle buildings jokingly referred to as defining “slaughterhouse chic,” is now a leading regional producer of sustainablyfarmed chardonnay and pinot noir. The cellar recently underwent a technological upgrade, including new presses and an optical sorter. The crowning jewel of the recent changes, however, is the new 5,000-square-foot, decidedly modern-looking visitor center that sits high atop a hill overlooking the historical winery building. Completed in the fall of 2019—just in time for the pandemic to put launch plans on pause—the visitor center opens its doors to the public this summer as Covid restrictions are lifted. The building boasts reclaimed wood siding and floor-to-ceiling windows, which are optimized for views of the vineyards, surrounding hills and San Pablo Bay. Inside, guests will enjoy the new hospitality center and presentations at the winery’s demonstration kitchen. The words embossed into the floor of the entrance to the visitor center say it all: “Wine Makes you Happy.” And Bouchaine’s wines make us all even happier. w Bouchaine Vineyards, 1075 Buchli Station Rd., Napa. 800.654.WINE.


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The ‘jewel’ of Santa Rosa



Summer’s here, the world’s opening up and we have a surplus of stored-up “dancey” energy to wiggle out of our systems. Appropriately referred to as the “jewel of Santa Rosa” on the city’s website, Howarth Park is exactly the kind of place to get to wiggling.





s actor Orlando Jones exclaimed in the classic 2001 comedy Evolution: “Great googa mooga!”


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Nowadays, that same rockclimbing wall that inspired us to such great heights as kids is the landmark we use for directions and for locating ourselves within the park.



Looking for a place to let the kids loose and have a picnic? Boom—there’s a big, open park with play structures just off the Summerfield entrance. Looking to take a peaceful stroll? Any of the numerous paved and unpaved paths that circuit around Spring Lake offer tranquil, Zen-like walks. But Howarth Park is more than just play structures and paths … I like to think of it as The Giving Tree of recreational spaces, offering us what we didn’t know we needed at every stage of life. It serves as the backdrop for our early childhood memories of riding train-cars or ponies through the woods—yes, those dreams started there. It’s the place where we picnicked and had outdoor birthday parties under the trees as kids. It’s the place our parents took us to climb on the rock wall and to feed geese, ducks and squirrels, and to run around at one of the playgrounds. It’s the baseball diamond our Little League team met at on Saturdays for practice or games before getting pizza across the street at Mary’s Pizza Shack. Then, as growing, awkward adolescents, it was the place we dazzled our high school crushes by very impressively tasking them out on the lake in twin kayaks, or in a cool little rental boat we pedaled with our feet. Adorable! But adulthood is filled with different challenges than those of young love— maybe not entirely different, but alas, c’est la vie—and we changed with them.

Nowadays, that same rock-climbing wall that inspired us to such great heights as kids is the landmark we use for directions and for locating ourselves within the park. Those paved loops around the lake that used to make for great fun walking or bicycling with our parents are now an excellent proving ground for that half-marathon everyone at the office got suckered into training for. Or perhaps now the park’s simply the little patch of paradise we each bring our own kids to, cultivating their childhoods into happy, healthy little wellsprings of good memories so the cycle continues. And later in life, when our skin has wrinkled and our knees won’t bend properly, when our hips get stuck every now and then, and we don't hear so well— Spring Lake is still there. Those benches in the shade we used to run past now happily accommodate us for some time in the shade. That pier or embankment we once raced past, showing off our mad kayaking skills, is now a great spot for serenely fishing with the grandkids. The point at the end of the day is how appropriately titled the park is—the “jewel” of Santa Rosa. This local treasure really makes this town feel like home. It’s the first place I bring new friends who move to the area, and it’s the first thing I think about whenever I consider moving elsewhere. We have something great here, so get out there and enjoy it! For more information, visit 1271/Howarth-Park.


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