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Charlie Palmer: Chef and Hunter / Boutique Chocolates

The Heart of Wine Country

Romantic

Weekend Getaways Lose yourself on any of three road trips this winter p. 90

Farm to Spa p. 21 Winery Cottages p. 57

Jan/Feb 2014

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Homeless Youth p. 82 sonomamag.com

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Joe Cunningham wine country real estate Experience counts!

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Lush creek-side setting in Bennett Valley, this approx. 20 acre wine country estate has a small Syrah vineyard and approx. 10 acres of hazelnut trees with the potential for high-income truffle production. The 3 bedroom main house, designed by Paul Hamilton, is a feast of textures with adobe-like slump stone walls, radiant-heated floors and rough-hewn heart-wood beams. Horse stable, 2-bedroom guest house, workshop and two garages complete the picture. www.6480Jamison.com

Donald Van de Mark 707-337-2227 CalBRE Lic# 01357054

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Volume 8 / Issue 1

Jan/Feb 2014

features Range to Table

Dry Creek Kitchen chef and avid outdoorsman Charlie Palmer hunts for his dinner

74

Lost in Paradise

A rising number of young Sonoma County people are homeless, hungry and disconnected

82

Oh, the Places You Can Go!

Hit the Tahoe snow, Marin coast or cosmopolitan San Francisco for a rejuvenating getaway

90

photos (cover and this page) by Chris Hardy 1959 Jaguar XK150 DHC “Coventry� courtesy of db Autosportif

JAN/FEB 2014 sonomamag.com

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Volume 8 / Issue 1

departments Jan/Feb 2014

gateway

taste

the mix

play

place

Propose

Chocolate

Cottages

Getting Out

Chalk Hill

Romantic places to pop the question

Nipple of Venus and Ancho Chile truffles are red-hot for Valentine’s Day

Book a winery cottage for a cozy retreat among the vines

Barrel tastings have become popular rituals of late winter

Jack Warnecke’s children continue as stewards of his 245-acre ranch and artists’ retreat

These farm-to-spa treatments sound good enough to eat

Distillery

Shopping

Events

Sebastopol couple produce traditional-style sloe gin

Snazzy gear for the snow

Whale watching at Bodega Head is a migration sensation

Culture

Food

Sonoma Valley Museum of Art keeps things fresh

Hot website allows farmers and ranchers to expand sales in the Bay Area

18 Spas

21

27 Cider

Alcoholic apple juice slakes the thirst of a booming market

39 45

57

69

Spreckels Gene Abravaya recalls his life behind the camera

71

51

99

102 Eats

Adventurous diners turn up for pop-ups

129 Wool

West county sheep ranchers produce useful, beautiful fiber for our lives and homes

139

107

Winery Tasting Rooms Baby, it’s cold outside, so sip away the chill at a welcoming winery

29

114

Trail

Party Pix

Pathway from Cloverdale to Larkspur is a cool work in progress

39

32

LikeWine

Salute to the flappers at McDonald Mansion, the relaunch of Sonoma magazine and the Pinot for Paws party supporting Canine Companions

119

For every splurge bottle, there’s a less expensive option

34

the finish

By the Numbers

Meet Wade Hoefer

37 8

139

21

129

144

sonomamag.com JAN/FEB 2014

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sonomamag.com

Michael Zivyak

president

Editorial

WINTER

SALE

Agave Jeans • Babette • Bibelot Knits • DL1961 Denim

editor

Catherine Barnett

executive editor

Joanne Derbort

creAtive director

Mary Garnish Bauman

Art director

George Millener

MAnAging editor

Linda Murphy

photo editor

Chad Surmick

sociAl MediA MAnAger

Aman Judge

stAff Writers

Jeremy Hay, Crissi Langwell, Meg McConahey, Peg Melnik, Diane Peterson, Sean Scully, Chris Smith, Dan Taylor

contributing Writers

John Beck, Virginie Boone, Jeff Cox, Michele Anna Jordan

stAff photogrAphers

John Burgess, Christopher Chung, Conner Jay, Alvin Jornada, Kent Porter

contributing photogrAphers

Erik Castro, Charlie Gesell, Chris Hardy

copy editor

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design consultAnt

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co-founders

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Production/administration production director

Mark Flaviani

distribution director

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digitAl director

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online creAtive MAnAger

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digitAl developer

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neWsstAnd consultAnt

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huMAn resources director

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Accounting MAnAger

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production coordinAtor

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Ellington • Go Gilk • Isda • Jane Diaz • Kooba Label and Thread • Luna Luz • Lulu Designs Peace of Cloth • R & R surplus • Three Dot • Vintage

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Jan/Feb 2014. Sonoma magazine is published six times a year by Sonoma Media Investments LLC, 427 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95401. Subscriptions are $14.99 for one year (six issues). ©Copyright 2013 Sonoma Media Investments LLC. All rights reserved. Letters to the editor Send your comments and suggestions to editor@sonomamag.com and be sure to include your name, affiliation, and contact information. Letter may be edited for length and clarity prior to publication. All letters and attendant materials (e.g., photos) become property of Sonoma magazine and may be reproduced in whole or in part, by any means and in any manner or media, at the sole discretion of Sonoma magazine. Opinions expressed do not reflect those of Sonoma magazine or any other affiliated person or entity. subscriptions To subscribe, renew, or change address, call 707-575-7500 or go to sonomamag.com/subscribe. postmaster Send address corrections to 427 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95401. submissions Unsolicited photographs, illustrations or articles are submitted at the risk of the photographer/ artist/author. Sonoma magazine assumes no liability for the return of unsolicited materials and may use them at its discretion. AUDIT PENDING

Sonoma CA 95476 (707)-343-1228 Applied

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GINGER MARTIN & CO DISTINCTIVE NAPA & SONOMA VALLEY REAL ESTATE

Offering access to unique luxury estates, land, and vineyard properties combined with decades of sales and marketing expertise. For more information on featured listings, please visit: www.GingerMartin.com

GINGER MARTIN c: 415-516-3939 GINGER@GINGERMARTIN.COM

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sonomamag.com President

Michael Zivyak

Advertising/MArketing

Love, Sweet Love.

CHieF reVenUe OFFiCer

Patti Hannan

direCtOr OF sales

Mike Stalter

Marketing direCtOr

Cindy butner

adVertising sales Managers

Mark Dobbelmann, Linda Hann

MajOrs & natiOnal sales Manager

ernie Pricco

Client serViCes Manager

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natiOnal Marketing Manager

Manuel Merjil

PrOjeCt Manager

Jaime Foster

digital sales Manager

Deborah Ramirez

aCCOUnt exeCUtiVes

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aCCOUnt Managers

Constance Cavanaugh, Kristina Doyle, Ken Jaggie, Temisha Johnson, Georgiann Kennedy, erin O’brien, Lee ann Paul, Christine Schieberl, annette Wirick

PrOjeCt COOrdinatOrs

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lead Marketing sPeCialist

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digital Media sPeCialist

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Main/Mailing address

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Main PHOne

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Managing MeMber

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CHieF exeCUtiVe OFFiCer

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Sandy Weill

American-made. Always. Since 1921. 2360 Sonoma Ave, Santa Rosa • 707-525-8703 Montgomery Village • Complimentary Parking

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Letter from the Editor Catherine Barnett

S

onoma Valley, framed by its surrounding mountains, remains the backdrop for my earliest family memories. We are all there — the aunts, uncles, cousins — at laden tables under the walnut tree in my grandmother’s Kenwood yard. She was born in the old hotel on Highway 12 her parents ran after emigrating from Italy in the late 1880s, and never moved farther than down the road. Looking back, it is always Sunday in these memories. No one at our table has anything more urgent to do than to get together every week to talk to one another for hours. The wine is in jugs, refilled from the supply the neighbors make in their barn. As soon as the youngest of us can sit on our own at the table, we get a little glass of the red wine, cut liberally to pink with 7UP. Usually we plead for straight soda. And although none of us knows the word “palate,” we are not wrong about the wine. Since then, the wine, the pace and Sonoma itself have changed more than we could ever have imagined. Even the name Sonoma triggers recognition in far-flung places as meaning something larger and more elusive than a valley bound by mountains. It is still home to those of us who have left and returned, or those who always stayed. But it also attracts those who could live anywhere and choose this place, if in some cases only for a few days. Change has come to Sonoma magazine as well. With the new year and the new iteration of this magazine, we expand our focus to look more broadly across greater Sonoma and beyond — at the people, the ideas, the causes that both set us apart and bring

us together. Sometimes it is to confront the difficult questions we face as a community, in this issue our exploration of the homeless young people whose numbers are growing alarmingly in our midst. Other times it is to better understand what about Sonoma calls to those whose talents bring them fame in a wider world. One is visionary architect John Carl Warnecke, who took such sustenance from his ranch on the Russian River. We take you there to see how Warnecke’s heirs are continuing his legacy. And we go hunting with nationally acclaimed chef Charlie Palmer, long a citizen of Healdsburg, whose quest for sourcing local ingredients turns personal and follows the outdoorsman from shoot to table. A lot of what makes this Sonoma is the sheer physical beauty of the place. Our global identity is tied to the food and wine that come from the land, as so much here does. But we are defined as much by the ocean and redwoods unique to our edge of the continent. Even with that array of natural gifts, we want to tell you less about where we live than how we live. For that, we need your help. If you know stories we should be telling or issues we should be examining, please let us know. It’s the only way we can have a magazine that is written from the inside out.

catherine.barnett@sonomamag.com

photo by John Burgess

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a modern approach to this contemporary real estate market with the experience of an old soul

SWANSON

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ESTATES • RANCHES • VINEYARDS E

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gateway propose 18 / spas 21 / culture 27 / cider 29 / trail

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/ likewine 34 / by the numbers 37

Beautiful Blooms Fresh From Wine Country After harvesting roses, Bernardo Negra of Neve Bros. nursery takes an armload to be packed in Petaluma. If you want to charm a loved one on Valentine’s Day with roses grown in Sonoma soil, several florists source at least some of their flowers locally. Check out Tesoro at Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma (tesoroflowers.com), Dragonfly Floral in Healdsburg (dragonflyhealdsburg.com) and Grohe Florists & Greenhouse in Santa Rosa (groheflorist.com). A number of stores, including Petaluma Market, Oliver’s Markets and Community Market in Santa Rosa and Sebastopol, also carry Sonomagrown flowers.

Kent Porter

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gateway

Y y e a s ! S s Iu

propose

Love blooms among the vineyards by Peg Melnik

A

rthur Liao was nervous. He was about to pop the question — a once-in-a-lifetime question, he hoped. Liao was 95 percent sure his girlfriend, Johanna Sung, would say yes to his marriage proposal, but there was that 5 percent to agonize over. In an attempt to make his proposal fail-proof, the 29-year-old Google engineer from San Francisco played Romeo and rigged up a trip to Wine Country to secure an irresistible backdrop. With help from locals, he picked a romantic perch: the hilltop terrace at Healdsburg’s Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery overlooking the Russian River Valley. Then all he had to do was wait until sunset and keep the ring a secret, hoping that Sung wouldn’t get suspicious about the box in the pocket of his navy blazer. A surprised Sung said the proposal was surreal, with the setting and sunset bewitching. Sung, 29, is the marketing manager for Lending Club, a startup lending company. She’s also from foggy San Francisco, and is a longtime fan of Wine Country because of its sun-drenched views. Nancy Bailey, general manager at Gary Farrell, said the property is well-suited to romance with its views of the valley, and everyone involved knows the element of surprise is vital when plotting proposals. While some prefer a well-orchestrated proposal with family and friends, others opt for something a little more low-key or intimate. An avid hiker, for instance, recently proposed at Glen Ellen’s Jack London State Park, concealing the ring in his backpack, along with wine and picnic treats. The couple hiked a mile to the lake surrounded by redwoods and then sat on the stone wall, known as a romantic spot for writer Jack London and his wife, Charmian. Bella Vineyards and Wine Caves in Healdsburg also offers a captivating view. Ross Clendenen, Bella’s marketing manager, said he has set up at least nine proposals. “We generally set it up as a tour,” he said. “However, that is usually a ruse to get them up on Lily Hill overlooking Dry Creek Valley. The view is incredible, with the whole north end of the valley below.” The tour guide often takes couples in his four-wheel drive to the secluded vineyard near a grove of redwoods, having stashed wine and glasses nearby. Clendenen said the modus operandi is to have the tour guide find a way to excuse himself, to give the couple time alone. Clendenen said he’s only had one “no,” and that it was a bit awkward. “The guy was pretty upset and asked me for my advice,” Clendenen said. “I told him maybe he should write a country music song.”

Places to Pop the Question Bella Vineyards and Wine Caves, 9711 West Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, 866-572-3552, bellawinery.com Chateau St. Jean, 8555 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, 707-833-4134,  chateaustjean.com Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant,  7871 River Road, Forestville, 707-887-3300, farmhouseinn.com Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery, 10701 Westside Road, Healdsburg, 707-473-2909, garyfarrellwinery.com Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards,  23555 Carneros Highway, Sonoma, 707-996-7256, gloriaferrer.com  Kenwood Inn & Spa, 10400 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, 707-833-1293, kenwoodinn.com River’s End Restaurant & Inn,  11048 Highway 1, Jenner, 707-865-2484, ilovesunsets.com

M

Charlie Gesell

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L LESS LABOR. MORE DELIVERY. HOT TUB HYDROTHERAPY H A Sutter Health, we partner with patients and OB/GYN physicians for soothing births At and peace of mind. Santa Rosa’s new hospital includes hydrotherapy to provide a comfort during labor, spacious all-private rooms, on-request meal service, large c HD flat screens for entertainment, wireless internet, sleeper/chair beds for visitors along with the region’s only level III NICU, in case your baby requires intensive care. Partnerships for those first nurturing moments; it’s how you plus us and we plus you.

NEW SANTA ROSA HOSPITAL OPENS 2014, TAKE A PEEK INSIDE suttersantarosa.org

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gateway

spas

Get Thee to a Spaaaaahhhh Sensational in every way by Meg Mcconahey photography by chris hardy illustrations by alison Kolesar

W

ine Country dwellers and visitors love their farm-fresh food. And they’re not just eating it. They’re rubbing, scrubbing, wrapping and immersing themselves in butters, creams and baths aromatically infused with everything from herbs and fruit to honey and wine: ingredients harvested from the same North Coast soil that produces some of the world’s best wine grapes.

Jan/Feb 2014 sonomamag.com

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spas

The Spa Hotel Healdsburg offers a Farm to Spa menu of treatments that sound downright delectable. It also features products from Michele’s Apothecary (far left), a farm in Bennett Valley where Michele Steinert mixes up more than 50 products, from calendula petals to lemon verbena, comfrey to catnip.

The craving for natural and organic that has fed the farm-to-table movement is spilling over to personal care, with many spas now offering “farm to spa” treatments that sound good enough to devour. And like discriminating chefs seeking new flavor combinations with hyperlocal ingredients, area apothecaries are experimenting with luscious mixtures of homegrown herbs, flowers and fruits to create natural, plant-based products that are incorporated into massages, facials, wraps and other treatments used in the region’s top spas. The Spa Hotel Healdsburg touts a Farm to Spa Collection

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Menu with seemingly delectable selections such as the Lavender and Peppermint Massage using Matanzas Creek Winery lavender, and Wine and Honey Wraps using Quivira Vineyards & Winery’s Sauvignon Blanc and honey from Beekind. It’s a natural extension of the hotel’s Dry Creek Kitchen, whose chefs forage the Healdsburg farmers market for produce. Spa manager Dawn Stephens also shops the market for mint, cucumber, lemons and other edibles to season the refreshing spa water. “We’re so lucky to be in this wonderful and

abundant area,” she said. “And it’s easy and fun to play with locally produced scents and ingredients.” Meyer lemons are among the spa’s signature ingredients. For winter, what could be more comforting than to be wrapped in a warm blanket like a baby, fresh from a massage with lemon oil and sage body milk? As with restaurants, spa menus can also change with the seasons. “When the apples are happening, we do an Apple of the Eye with every single treatment we have,” said Loma Alexander, who co-manages the spa at Forestville’s Farmhouse Inn. Apples from inn owner Catherine Bartolomei’s

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gateway

spas

Michele Steinert stands in the lavender field on her 17-acre Bennett Valley farm, just one source for the numerous herbal, floral and other products she blends for high-end spas under her Michele's Apothecary label. Steinert at work in her lab sorting through wildflowers she’ll use in one of her products.

Find Your Natural Bliss Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant, 7871 River Road, Forestville, 707-887-3300, farmhouseinn.com MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa, 29 E. MacArthur St., Sonoma, 707-933-3193, macarthurplace.com Raindance, The Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort & Spa, 1325 Broadway, Sonoma, 707-931-2034 The Spa Hotel Healdsburg, 25 Matheson St., Healdsburg, 707-433-4747, hotelhealdsburg.com Michele’s Apothecary, 877-686-6461, michelesapothecary.com

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nearby farm are grated and steeped with chamomile teabags for soothing the eyes. Honey from the farm is incorporated into the Warming Ginger Honey Massage, along with locally gathered flowers and fruit, to make velvety creams and “farm to spa table” skin masks. “It gives people a sense of place when they come to visit,” Alexander said, “and allows them to learn a little bit about our locale.” Local can mean Bay Area, Wine Country, Sonoma County or even a spa’s own garden. The Farmhouse spa harvests geranium leaves from the garden for use as a natural exfoliant in some treatments. The grounds at MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa in Sonoma provide bounty for the inn’s Garden Spa. The Peppermint Reflexology begins with a foot soak in bath salts with rosemary and

peppermint from the garden. Rose petals are sprinkled in tubs and dusted on tables. “All our treatments,” said Garden Spa director Tiffany Delayly, “are based around plants, flowers or herbs.” Many spas source from local makers, among them Sequoia Beauty in Petaluma and Michele’s Apothecary. At her 17-acre farm in Bennett Valley in eastern Santa Rosa, Michele Steinert mixes up more than 50 products, from calendula petals to lemon verbena, comfrey to catnip. Using a small copper still, she distills her own hydrosols, which are perfumed waters. Organic shea butter and sunflower oil are key ingredients, as well as sugar, a natural exfoliant. Steinert makes custom products for the Hotel Healdsburg spa and for Raindance, the spa at The Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort & Spa.

Many of her ingredients come from the Sonoma County Herb Exchange and local farms. She also regularly sniffs her way among the 800 rose bushes at The Lodge, plucking the best for bath salts and body polishes. “I choose the most fragrant and the most colorful,” she said. But the whole vast and varied Sonoma landscape, from Sebastopol to Sonoma Valley, she explained, is “rich with inspiration.” Hotel Healdsburg’s Stephens said guests peruse the spa menu with the same hunger they might approach a restaurant menu. “What chefs are doing is gathering and featuring the best elements in our surroundings,” she said. “I feel like we could be on par with the best of them, not in the kitchen but in the spa.”

sonomamag.com Jan/Feb 2014

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gateway

culture

Rethinking the Art Museum by Dan Taylor

A

s executive director of the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Kate Eilertsen aims to change the way people think about museums. “The word ‘museum’ makes people yawn,” she said. Now, downtown Sonoma’s museum is trying new things to add a little kick. For four years, the museum offered “Mix” cocktail nights in a successful effort to attract singles and younger adults. “A lot of them joined the museum as members,” Eilertsen said. To keep the program fresh, Eilertsen, her staff and board of directors hit the pause button until they could find something new that would re-energize it. The museum also ran its own coffee shop for a while. Eiltersen converted office and storage space into two classrooms for talks, workshops and hands-on, artistic fun. “We have the ‘Wet Room’ now, where you can spill paint on the floor and not worry about it,” she said. The museum regularly invites art lovers to meet and tour local artists’ studios. The museum’s choice of exhibits also reflects the search for something new. Showings in the recent past have featured creative puzzles by local artists, and art work (as well as words) by San Francisco poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti. During an exhibit of vintage kitchen implements collected by local food writer Kathleen Thompson Hill, the museum screened films with food themes, including “Julie & Julia” and “Big Night.” “We have tried to do a wide variety of shows,” Eilertsen said. “I believe that art is not just a pretty picture hanging on a wall. It’s about creativity.” Since it opened its doors in 1999, the museum has staged more than 70 exhibitions attracting more than 130,000 visitors. The current exhibit, “Site and Senses,” runs through March 2 and spotlights the designs of San Francisco

John Burgess

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architects Joshua Aidlin and David Darling. The exhibit emphasizes smell, touch and sound, as well as sight, Eilertsen explained, and includes a wall of charred wood and a gravel path. “Museums everywhere are looking for ways to become more interactive,” she said. This spring, the museum will present its annual salute to relatively unknown local artists in the “Discovered: Exceptional Artists of Sonoma County” exhibit, running from mid-March to late April. This year, the program also will include appearances by young local performers mentored by the Transcendence Theatre Company, a troupe of actors and singers with Broadway and national touring company experience, based at Jack London State Historic Park. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and free to those 18 and under; Wednesdays are free to all.

“Memories: The Kathleen Thompson Hill Culinary Collection” exhibit at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art includes a display of vintage sifters and other kitchen implements.

Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, 551 Broadway, Sonoma, 707-939-7862, svma.org

Jan/Feb 2014 sonomamag.com

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Ă•ĂƒĂŒĂŠÂˆÂ“>}ˆ˜iĂŠÂ…>Ă›ÂˆÂ˜}ĂŠĂžÂœĂ•Ă€ĂŠÂœĂœÂ˜ĂŠÂ?ÂˆĂŒĂŒÂ?iĂŠ ÂŤÂˆiViĂŠÂœvĂŠi>Ă›iÂ˜ĂŠÂˆÂ˜ĂŠ-œ˜œ“>ĂŠ ÂœĂ•Â˜ĂŒĂžÂ°ĂŠ iĂŒĂŠ, /",ÂŽĂŠ >Ă›Âˆ`ĂŠ ÂœÂ?iĂŠĂƒÂ…ÂœĂœĂŠĂžÂœĂ•ĂŠÂ…ÂœĂœÂ° David experienced it himself. He visited Sonoma on vacation and fell in love with the lifestyle so much he decided to move here. As a leading real estate professional with more than 30 years of experience under his belt, he is focused on helping others make the most of the good life here. If you are thinking of getting away from the urban side of Bay Area life, David will help you make a smooth transition. Whether you’re looking for a permanent residence, vacation home or investment property, he’ll guide you to the property of your dreams and show you how to maximize your investment in the unique Sonoma County market. You can start your Sonoma home search on DavidECole.com, where        be your expert real estate guide throughout the buying process.

David Cole Guiding You Home

A LAIN P INEL REALTORS

-œ˜œ“>ĂŠ ÂœĂ•Â˜ĂŒĂžĂŠ …œ“iĂŠLĂ•ĂžiĂ€Ăƒ\ĂŠÂ…ÂœĂœĂŠĂŒÂœ >Ă›ÂœÂˆ`ĂŠÂŤ>ĂžÂˆÂ˜}ĂŠĂŒÂœÂœĂŠÂ“Ă•VÂ… If you are considering buying a home in Sonoma County, contact David for your free copy of this special report. It is full of helpful tips that will help you make the right buying decisions.

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Devoto Orchards Cider

cider

Hard Cider Soars

This apple juice doesn’t come in a sippy box by Virginie Boone

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he country is going mad for hard cider, traditionally made from apples that have been fermented and aged, sometimes in oak, much like a wine. An American mainstay since Colonial times, cider lost much of its fan base during and after Prohibition. But now it’s roaring back, with consumption up 50 percent in the last decade, according to the Beverage Trade Network (statistics show cider drinkers to be overwhelmingly young and female). In Sonoma, the charge is being led by artisans eager to replant and rediscover the heirloom apple varieties once grown in abundance for cider — apples that tend to be tarter than the ones we like to eat. Versatile and relatively low in alcohol and price, ciders make for a fun new way to test theories on pairing drinks with food. Here are two local cider producers to know.

Jolie Devoto-Wade and her husband, Hunter Wade, gather fallen apples from their Devoto Gardens west of Sebastopol. Freshly squeezed apple juice at Tilted Shed Ciderworks.

photos by John Burgess (top), Kent Porter (bottom)

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Jolie Devoto-Wade of Devoto Gardens & Orchards is a second-generation farmer whose family has grown more than 55 varieties of organic, dry-farmed apples just west of Sebastopol for close to 40 years. With her husband, Hunter Wade, she oversees 15 acres of apples among a few other crops, including flowers and Pinot Noir grapes. A few years ago, the couple decided to return to the family farm after studying cider-making in the north of Spain. They soon launched a line of hard ciders made from organic Gravensteins. The first, Save the Gravenstein, was produced from 15 tons of organic apples with the goal of ramping up production substantially year to year, all in an effort to, as the name says, save more Gravenstein trees from being replaced by other crops, including vineyards. At 6.9-percent alcohol, Save the Gravenstein ($12.99 a bottle) is a food-friendly cider that’s also enjoyable on its own. The most recently released vintage, from apples harvested in August 2013, has 5 percent Akane, Burgundy, Hubbardston Nonesuch, Pink Blush and Pink Pearl apples added to the Gravensteins. It’s a fine partner for sharp cheeses and seafood. Devoto Orchards’ Backyard ($12.99 a bottle), released in October 2013, is made from Gravensteins grown in neighbors’ backyards, a project in partnership with Slow Food Russian River. Sales proceeds benefit the nonprofit group.

JAN/FeB 2014 sonomamag.com

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cider

Tilted Shed Ciderworks

Scott Heath and Ellen Cavalli with the old shed on their property near Forestville that inspired the name of Tilted Shed Ciderworks. A bottle of Barbecue Smoked Cider; the 2013 bottling is due for release in mid-January. Cavalli sorts and washes Rome apples to be squeezed for cider.

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Another husband-and-wife operation, Tilted Shed gets many of its specialty apple varieties from Devoto and is planting its own trees on a 5-acre property near Forestville. Scott Heath and Ellen Cavalli first experimented with making cider in New Mexico, but their journey eventually led them here, where they knew they could “elevate the apple to greatness,� as Cavalli said. They have approximately 2 acres planted to heirloom cider varieties, including the traditional Muscat de Bernay, a bittersweet variety native to Normandy, France, and the slightly sweeter Roxbury Russet, bred in America as far back as the 1700s. Cavalli and Heath ferment their ciders to dryness, aiming for a savory, full-bodied style. They offer a handful of ciders, from Lost Orchard Dry at $10 a bottle (quite tannic and dry) to January Barbecue Smoked at $8.50 a bottle (the apples are wood-smoked before fermentation, meant to accompany smoked meats, seafood and aged cheeses). The 2013 Barbecue Smoked bottling will be released in mid-January. Tilted Shed also just released a new cider from the 2012 harvest, Barred Rock Barrel-Aged Cider, a plush, dry, savory winter warmer made from lateseason heirloom apples ($9 for 375 ml). Aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels, Barred Rock offers notes of amaretto, vanilla and toasted marshmallow. Neither Tilted Shed (tiltedshed.com) nor Devoto Orchards (devotocider.com) have tasting rooms; visit their websites to learn where to try and buy their ciders.

photos by Christopher Chung (top and left), Kent Porter (far left)

12/16/13 1:03 PM


Snuggle up this winter with big discounts on the purest organic matresses.

707-762-6233 3820 Bodega Avenue, Petaluma • www.praetzelsfinefurniture.com *Some exclusions and restrictions apply. Cannot be combined with any other offer. See retailer for details. Offer ends 2/28/14. OrganicPedic and OMI are registered trademarks of Organic Mattresses, Inc. All rights reserved. OMI2824

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12/18/13 9:59 AM


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trail

The Train is Coming

T R A M S

Rail Trail

A multiple-use trail of our dreams Cloverdale er

by Dan Taylor illustration by Dennis BolT

S

Healdsburg

Sonoma County

Windsor

When will it be done? Hit the trail now

Santa Rosa Guerneville Rd.

Coming soon In your dreams

Santa Rosa Railroad Square

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Rohnert Park Cotati

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Petaluma

Marin County Novato San Marin

Marin Civic Center

Novato Hamilton

San Rafael 101

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Larkspur

San Pablo Bay

omeday you’ll be able to travel from Cloverdale to Larkspur and back without driving your car. Thinking of the train on the new Sonoma Marin Rapid Transit (SMART) rail system? Well yes, that too. After years of debate, its first phase is expected to connect Santa Rosa and San Rafael by early 2016. But just as significant — some might say more so — is the 71-mile pathway being created parallel to the train tracks that will allow walkers and cyclists to move from Cloverdale all the way down to Larkspur, where they can find the San Francisco ferry. The trail, 54 miles of off-road path and 17 miles on city streets, may be part of the larger rail project but it is on a separate construction track. Already there are parts of it you can enjoy. Ultimately the trail will connect 10 cities, 14 SMART stations and thousands of people in Sonoma and Marin counties. Of course, it’s not as simple as it might sound. With two counties, 10 cities and Caltrans involved, you knew it wouldn’t be. Of the 64 segments along the length of the trail, a whopping 21 of them may only be the stuff of dreams. The latest government analysis pushes them off into a vague future, kept on the drawing board by cost, technical complexity or right-of-way issues. Sections of the trail already exist in stretches previously built by counties or cities, and will be folded into the larger pathway from Cloverdale to Larkspur. That includes a stretch of the Joe Rodota Trail in Sonoma County and several segments in southern Marin County. Just last fall, a short section opened in Santa Rosa, running from Eighth Street to West College Avenue, just north of Railroad Square. It’s already popular with cyclists and walkers. The rest won’t exactly be built in order, from one end of the line to the other. Each of the cities and counties will create their pieces of the trail in a kind of patchwork as staffing, weather and funding allow. In the meantime, follow our map, at least with your eyes. Covering that ground on foot will come later. Seven new sections are ready to be assigned to contractors, and should be finished in late 2014 or early 2015. As for a date when the very last stretch of pathway will be finished? We wouldn’t even venture a guess.

sonomamag.com JAn/FEB 2014

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Your Destination For Fine Jewelry 139 North Main Street • Sebastopol (707) 861-9119 • davidallendesigns.com

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LIKEWINE by Virginie Boone

Sometimes the occasion calls for something fancy; other times, all that’s needed is a good, honest wine. Here are some recommendations to suit a range of wintertime moods and events, from a romantic, fireside Valentine’s Day to a Super Bowl party.

IF yOu LIKE THIS WINE Merry Edwards 2012 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($32) Edwards has built her substantial reputation on producing silky, voluptuous Pinot Noirs from the Russian River Valley, but she’s also a master of this white varietal, expertly crafting a wine that’s equally textural and hedonistic. Hearty in fig and lychee fruit, it also has a floral component. It’s an ideal wine for spicy Chinese noodles and salads, and rich and creamy enough to stand up to fish dishes and stirfried garlic scallops.

Inman Family 2009 Russian River Valley Brut Rosé Nature Sparkling “Endless Crush” ($68) Disgorged in September 2012, Kathleen Inman’s sparkling brut rosé is made from her estate OGV Pinot Noir grapes. It makes for a romantic sharing à deux, inspired by Inman’s own 25th wedding anniversary. A wine of great depth, brightness and personality, it tastes of fresh-picked strawberries and cherries, with a streak of citrus and brioche right out of the oven.

Sheldon 2012 Sonoma Coast Vinolocity Blanc ($30) Grenache Blanc with smaller percentages of Viognier and Roussanne, Vinolocity is flinty with lime and green apple, a streak of spice and ripe peach and pear notes peeking through. Fermented in stainless steel, it’s dry, layered and made in very small quantities; get yours now.

Beltane Ranch 2012 Sonoma Valley Estate Zinfandel ($44) The family behind the Glen Ellen bed-and-breakfast broke into the wine business a few years ago with an estategrown Sauvignon Blanc, using grapes it once sold to the likes of Cakebread Cellars in Napa Valley. In late 2013, Beltane released its first Zinfandel, with spicy blackberry and leathery tannins. It’s still a baby, showing tremendous potential to age.

Failla 2011 Estate Vineyard Fort Ross-Seaview Syrah ($62) A classic, cool-climate Northern Rhone-style Syrah, this wine is a savory study in pepper and tobacco personality, with the notion of fruit a mere suggestion. Smelling and tasting much like roasted meat itself, it will happily accompany more, whether it’s slow-braised or roasted beef, pork, venison, lamb or duck. No matter the meal, what you’ll remember most is this bottle.

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THEN TRy THIS WINE Sauvignon Blanc for Chinese New Year

Brut Rosé for Valentine’s Day

Rhone White Blends for Groundhog Day

Zinfandel for Cozy Meals, Super Bowl Parties

Syrah for Slow-Braised Meats

Casey Flat Ranch 2012 Open Range California Sauvignon Blanc ($15) Made by up-and-coming Napa-based winemaker Laura Barrett, the wine is a steal for its high quality. Grapes were sourced from throughout the North Coast, including the Casey Flat Ranch in Capay Valley, as well as Lake and Mendocino counties. Slightly herbal with balanced layers of grapefruit, tropical fruit and lemon, it has acidity and structure to spare. Pair it with fresh oysters, or long noodles and leafy greens, two good-luck foods.

J Vineyards & Winery Russian River Valley Brut Rosé ($38) A salmon-hued bubbly resplendent in strawberry and brioche flavors, this is another wonderful wine for Valentine’s Day: soft and dry, with Meyer lemon and lime tones from the small amount of Chardonnay blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Crisp acidity provides a steady backbone and superb refreshment.

Bump 2011 Fortune Sonoma Valley White Wine ($20) Bump’s first bottling of a white Rhone-inspired blend is comprised of Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier, Grenache Blanc and Picpoul Blanc, grown in a vineyard near the town of Sonoma. The wine is very floral in aroma; in the glass, there are hints of Meyer lemon and honey.

Quivira 2011 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel ($22) Quivira’s “starter” Zinfandel tastes deliciously of its appellation, accessible in its soft layers of spice and brambly plum and blackberry fruit. With plenty of balancing acidity, especially from a cool vintage, it’s ready to be paired with a wide range of dishes, including pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, and Super Bowl barbecue.

People’s Wine Revolution 2011 Moon & Sun Massa Ranch Yountville Syrah ($18) Made from organically grown grapes by Matt Reid, the former custom-crush winemaker at Failla, this Syrah generously imparts a grind of black pepper and briary black and blue fruit, making it a good wine to pair with hearty wintertime meats slathered in mushrooms and bacon, or midweek slow-cooker pork tenderloin.

sonomamag.com Jan/Feb 2014

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12/16/13 1:14 PM


a new year, a new look, a new you

now you don’t have to go to san francisco for the best selection in fashion eyewear!

534 larkfield shopping center, santa rosa 707.578.2020 •

store hours mon-sat 9–6:30

www.sonomaeyeworks.com

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12/17/13 12:49 PM


New Event Series

Presents

Ripped from the pages of the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Sonoma magazine! Join us for an exciting event showcasing the many talents of chef Charlie Palmer. We’ll be sampling from his menu from Dry Creek Kitchen, wine tasting from four local wineries and then watching and participating in a live interview with Sonoma magazine editor, Catherine Barnett.

Friday, February 22, 2014 Dry Creek Kitchen | Healdsburg

Tickets: $50 Limited tickets available. For reservations, visit

sonomamag.com/story

Net proceeds to benefit: Sonoma County Farm Bureau

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12/18/13 3:39 PM


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1941

Year Jack Warnecke’s Stanford team won the Rose Bowl

50% Increase in U.S. hard cider consumption in the last decade

12 2013 120 1,128

Opening of the Valley Ford Mercantile & Wool Mill

By the Numbers Price for one Ancho Chile truffle

$2

600 Attendees at the first Pop-Up Dinner Wine Country

Age at which chef Charlie Palmer was given his first shotgun

Alcohol in 54-proof Spirit Works sloe gin

Homeless under age 24 in Sonoma County

15

Years Gene Abravaya worked behind a tV camera

1869

27%

Wineries pouring at 36th annual Wine Road Barrel Tasting

$650 Cost of SMith i/O ReCOn snow goggles

Original Soda Rock Winery building was constructed

Bay Area purveyors selling via the Good Eggs online service

4:30 p.m.

$110 Per-person cost for a sled-dog tour in tahoe

300

time to get in line for tartine Bakery bread

Miles of proposed walk/bike path from Cloverdale to Larkspur

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Jan/Feb 2014 sonomamag.com

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taste chocolate 40 / distillery 45 / food 51

Sweets Heaven Chocaholics rejoice! Boutique chocolatiers are sure to satisfy the most demanding palates

Truffles from Gandolf’s Fine Chocolate in Santa Rosa look good enough to eat — and definitely are.

Conner Jay

Jan/Feb 2014 sonomamag.com

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taste

chocolate

Boutique Bonbons for All Delectable confections are works of art by Michele AnnA JordAn photography by conner JAy

F Chelsea Bloom decorates a batch of truffles at Recherche du Plaisir in Santa Rosa.

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irst, there’s the bright snap as a thin cloak of tempered chocolate gives way to rich chocolate ganache (simply, chocolate and cream) that spreads over the palate in dark, delicious glory. The confections from Gandolf’s Fine Chocolate in Santa Rosa are among the best and most satisfying you’ll find this side of Paris. Guy Daniels, who founded the company (named after his beloved cat) in 1999, explained that tempering, the biggest challenge a chocolatier faces, is what sets his chocolate apart. To temper it, couverture chocolate (a very high-quality chocolate

that contains extra cocoa butter, made specifically for this process) is first heated to 114 degrees, then cooled to 82 to 83 degrees, and then heated again to 89 degrees. “When this is done correctly,” said Daniels, a full-time chocolatier, “the molecules realign themselves. This is essential for enrobing a truffle with snap.” Tempering gives chocolates their texture and sheen, increasing their visual appeal and improving the way they feel in the mouth. (Untempered, chocolate may taste good but have a spongy texture, look dull or blotchy, or show streaks of fats.) Not all chocolate behaves the same, and procuring

sonomamag.com JAN/FeB 2014

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THE WAY YOUR WINE IS MEANT TO BE STORED. www.OenoVaults.com | 888.906.0787 | 707.595.3612

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taste

chocolate

TASTE THE MAGIC At Recherche du Plaisir in Santa Rosa, chocolatier Lucy Gustafson builds on a strong foundation of classic French technique, adding her own inspired and even daring touches.

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Raw cocoa beans and a cocoa pod are on display at Gustafson’s shop, a reminder of where it all begins.

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Cocoa powders are also on display.

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Gustafson blends multiple dark and light chocolates to achieve the flavor profile she wants.

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Gustafson prepares tempered dark chocolate for a day of crafting truffles and other bonbons.

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Gustafson scoops molten tempered chocolate into a mold to create the truffles’ outer shells.

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Excess chocolate drips from the inverted mold onto parchment paper. The drippings go back into the pot to reach proper temperature and then can be poured again.

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Glistening freshly unmolded dark chocolate truffles are set out to cool before being decorated.

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Gustafson’s most popular truffle, the Ancho Chile, is topped with three fiery red dots. “I can’t make them fast enough,” she says.

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The Snowheart truffle — white chocolate peppermint ganache inside a dark chocolate heart — is a Valentine’s Day favorite.

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Guy Daniels of Gandolf’s Fine Chocolate cleans excess chocolate off a mold prepared with the slashes of dark chocolate that will decorate the truffles’ outer shell.

couverture chocolate that is consistent is an equally important task. “I use Guittard,” Daniels explained. “I am very careful, very cautious about this. I cannot afford inconsistency.” For the ganache, Daniels has more options. He’s a fan of Hawaiian chocolate, in part because of its quality and in part because it is easy to verify claims made about it — for example, that it is organic. When he can get Hawaiian chocolate (very little is produced), he features it in a classic truffle. He also uses other chocolates that pique his interest. When it comes to flavorings, Daniels is a traditionalist. A delicate restraint is part of his artistic signature. “From my perspective,” he said, “nothing is better than pure cream and the finest chocolate.” The best flavorings are, he believes, the tried-and-true classic combinations that have endured for decades. Hazelnuts, mac-

When More Is More

by Michele Anna Jordan

A

adamia nuts, dried fruit, espresso, Kahlua and amaretto have long been praised for their affinity with chocolate. Yet Gandolf’s biggest seller is a salted caramel truffle, a simple combination of caramel-chocolate ganache topped with a bit of flaky salt.  “People who buy this one buy a lot, not one or two truffles, but boxes of truffles, and they don’t typically buy other flavors,” Daniels said. Come Valentine’s Day, Nipple of Venus, popular year-round, garners even more attention, thanks to both its name and its suggestive slash of tempered white chocolate atop a classic dark chocolate truffle. Fans of the 2000 movie “Chocolat,” starring Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche, will recognize the name. Gandolf’s chocolates are available at gandolfsfinechocolate.com. Contact Guy Daniels at 707-861-0489. Prices range from $2 per truffle to $48 for a box of 24.

“Nothing is better than pure cream and the finest chocolate,” says Daniels, and his philosophy shows in his creations.

chocolate purist might be satisfied with a single Gandolf’s truffle. But for many, more is always more when it comes to chocolate, and truer than ever on Valentine’s Day. And it’s not just in quantity, but also in flavor combinations that push the boundaries of tradition. For such delicacies, look no further than Recherche du Plaisir, a sweet little sweet shop in Santa Rosa where

chocolatier Lucy Gustafson crafts truffles and other bonbons, French macarons and more. Flavors range from classic dark chocolate and salted caramel to red-hot ganache; dark chocolate spiked with ancho chile and other spices; strawberry preserves with white chocolate; dark chocolate hearts filled with white chocolate and peppermint; and the Violet Beauregard, made of white chocolate and blueberry preserves.

The shop has beautiful containers, too, including a gorgeous heart-shaped box crowned with circular swirls of thin red ribbons that holds nearly three dozen morsels. Recherche du Plaisir is at 3401 Cleveland Ave., Suite 9, in Santa Rosa. For more information, call 707-8433551 or visit rdpsweets.com Prices range from $2 for a single bonbon to $74 for a heart-shaped box of 33.

Jan/Feb 2014 sonomamag.com

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taste

distillery

Serious about the Gin Game Sebastopol couple aim to distill the very finest by Sean Scully photography by John BurgeSS

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fter timo marshall proposed to his girlfriend, ashby, he wanted a meaningful gesture to break the news to her parents. So he gave them a bottle of his family’s traditional, homemade sloe gin. “That was the biggest thing I could think of doing,” the U.K. native recalled nearly a decade later. now the Sebastopol couple want to bring sloe gin to the rest of america, producing what they say is the first traditional english version made in the U.S. The Marshalls founded Spirit Works Distillery in 2013 with a specific eye toward creating the unjustly obscure liquor. They started out thinking they would buy a farm and grow sloe berries and other products to help some local distillery make a traditional gin. but two things quickly became clear. First, the Marshalls didn’t have the time or money to create such a high-risk, smallaudience farm. and second, there wasn’t a small distiller that makes the base liquors — vodka and gin — in the exacting manner that the couple had in mind. So the Marshalls decided to do it themselves, learning from scratch how to make liquor. Their distillery, in Sebastopol’s new barlow district, is a gleaming showpiece, with three separate stills enabling head distiller ashby to make liquors of all sorts, starting with their vodka and gin. What distinguishes Spirit Works from many distillers, however, is that the Marshalls control every aspect of the process, starting with buying the wheat they grind and brew into the base mash that becomes the liquor. Many distillers purchase premade mash, or even buy premade liquor to infuse with other flavors. The Marshalls grind California winter red wheat to a fine flourlike consistency, mix it with hot water to make a mash (similar to the process used by beer brewers), then distill that mash into vodka. To that vodka, they add various herbs and spices and redistill it to create gin. That in turn becomes sloe gin when the sloe berries are steeped in the gin to extract the fruit flavor. “The important thing always to come back to with us is we are a grain-to-glass facility,” Timo said. Since there are hardly any sloe berries grown in the U.S., Spirit Works turned to a source in eastern europe. but the rest of the ingredients are sourced as locally as possible. The process of making sloe gin is straightforward: soak some of the small sloe berries (a relative of the plum) in liquor to extract the purple color and bitter fruity flavor, then add some sugar and let it age.

Timo Marshall adds juniper berry to gin in the handmade copper hybrid pot still at Spirit Works Distillery in Sebastopol.

Jan/Feb 2014 sonomamag.com

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taste

distillery

The result is a silky, fruity concoction that is similar to a rich Port or a French cassis, the liqueur often mixed with Champagne to create a kir royale. Like many englishmen, Timo grew up in a family that foraged for sloe berries in the fall; the fruit is freely available on the blackthorn bushes used by many farmers to create hedgerows around their fields. Collecting the berries, painstakingly preparing them to soak in the liquor, and bottling the sugared juice are part of nostalgia in the english countryside, he said. Families bond over the process, often sharing glasses of the previous year’s product while making the new batch. “no one farms sloes. … In the autumn we would take these walks: In the U.K., you can walk anywhere, there are public footpaths over everyone’s farms, and you can just forage in the hedgerows for whatever is there at the time,” Timo said. “Most families out there will make a couple bottles or six bottles of sloe gin every autumn.” Unfortunately, commercial sloe gin has gotten a bad name in recent decades, made with cheap liquor and low-grade flavorings. Only a handful of distillers around the world make sloe gin the proper way. In its more traditional, professionally produced form, Timo and ashby said, sloe gin is more bitter and less sweet than the homemade stuff; this allows bartenders to more finely control the flavor profile of cocktails. but even with the differences in homemade sloe gin, the Spirit Works version has gotten a thumbs-up from an important critic: Timo’s father. “He told me, ‘Your great-grandmother would definitely have approved,’” Timo said. Michael Cecconi, bartender at San Francisco’s Two Sisters bar and books and consul-

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At Spirit Works Distillery, Timo and Ashby Marshall use whole grains for the mash then add locally sourced botanicals such as coriander, citrus, cardamom and angelica for their gin recipe. A porthole-like opening in the side of a copper distilling column gives a view of alcohol being distilled into gin.

sonomamag.com Jan/Feb 2014

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12/16/13 1:57 PM


A 2012 Winery of the Year Wine & Spirits Magazine

Winery

of the 2012 American Wine Enthusiast Magazine

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taste

distillery

Spirit Works Sloe 75

Serves 1

tant to Sebastopol’s Zazu restaurant, said that Spirit Works’ sloe gin, which sells for around $40 a bottle, revives a “wonderful tradition with a local product.” The intense fruit flavor and modest alcohol (54 proof) make it an excellent ingredient for bartenders looking to make relatively low-alcohol cocktails. The distillery’s great story, combining family history with the farm-to-glass, do-it-yourself ethos, appeals to customers, particularly in the bay area, who are interested in artisan production. but it’s not just customers who are happy. One of the side benefits of finally debuting their dream drink, Timo said, is that they now have enough sloe gin on hand to actually indulge in a few glasses once in a while, rather than hoarding the annual harvest for special occasions. “It’s so hard to come by … it’s so luxurious for us to be able to go to our pantry and have a couple of glasses of sloe gin,” he said.

1 ounce Spirit Works Sloe Gin 1 ounce fresh lime juice 3/4 ounce simpl e syrup (a solu tion of sugar and water) 1 dash Fee Br others Old Fash ion Aromatic Bitters Dr y sparkling w ine Fill a cocktail sh aker with ice an d add the sloe gin, lime juice, simple syrup an d bitters. Shake and strain into a sparkling-win e flu te then top with bubbly. Recipe courtesy

of Michael Ceccon i and Zazu restaur ant

Bottles await filling next to one of sloe gin at Spirit Works. Timo Marshall and his dog, Bandit, sit in front of a mural of a sound wave that captures the noise made when the Marshalls opened and poured the first bottle of gin produced at the distillery.

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TOAST YOUR VALENTINE WITH SONOMA’S ONLY SPARKLING PINOT NOIR! Spend a romantic Valentine’s day in the privacy of the barrel aging caves with the one you love at your very own private wine tasting.

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For the L❤ve of it! Private tours and tastings with cheese pairings available by appointment lter & Gerttrud Walt

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SCHUG CARNEROS ESTATE WINERY 602 BONNEAU ROAD, SONOMA • 800.966.9365 WWW.SCHUGWINERY.COM TASTING ROOM OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK 10AM�5PM’

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Pop the cork and celebrate! It’s time to plan the party. Let our team of beverage experts help you plan the wine, beer and cocktails. We offer complimentary local delivery on all orders over $500. Register today and receive a private wine tasting.

Delivery service is subject to specific delivery zones. Must be scheduled in advance and requires a two-hour window. An adult of legal drinking age must provide valid ID and signature to receive order. Ask a BevMo associate for details. Please drink responsibly.

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food

From Farm to Fridge Online grocery service delivers best Sonoma producers have to offer to rest of the Bay Area by Virginie Boone photography by eriK CASTro

I

magine an online grocery store where the best of local meats, cheeses, vegetables, breads, fruits and gluten-free goodies could be ordered for next-day delivery or pickup, potentials of deliciousness ready from your screen. A service called Good Eggs is bringing locally grown and made food items to customers throughout the Bay Area via its new website, with orders assembled for home delivery or pickup from a range of locations, with a strong lineup of Sonoma County purveyors in the mix. “We want to make a market for the good guys,” said Clint Schmidt, who oversees marketing for Good Eggs. Launched last February, Good Eggs finds and partners with farmers and food makers who aim for that elusive combination of ethical and worth eating. “We’re pretty stringent,” Schmidt said. “(Products) need to be local and good quality.” Good Eggs’ producers are expected to run their operations with integrity and serve their local communities, paying their employees fair wages, treating animals humanely and avoiding synthetic inputs as much as possible. There are other criteria, starting with transparency about their practices and ingredients. Word is starting to spread among purveyors with quality goods to sell. The company works with approximately 300 food suppliers in the Bay Area, and has a total of 500 across the United States. Co-founder Rob Spiro told SF Weekly that Good Eggs filled an estimated 200 to 300 orders a day last summer, and has plans to scale up to 2,000 orders a day in the Bay Area alone. Its first phase has been so successful that Brooklyn, New Orleans and Los Angeles have emerged as additional pilot market-

places for the service. Jon Bowne of Gypsy Cheese Co. in Valley Ford said it’s difficult to make a profit as a small food producer, especially when having to rely on traditional distribution networks that demand low prices to make room for their own markup. “Good Eggs provides a venue for direct-to-consumer sales but doesn’t require as much of the labor, fees, permits and equipment that farmers markets demand,” he explained. “This allows us to realize a much higher margin on sales.” It also provides a cutting-edge, enjoyable buying experience for customers, who Bowne said are high-quality clientele for a craft-food producer — and that’s important. “These high-value customers help create a buzz for the product,” he said. “And it appears that Good Eggs is growing rapidly. I can’t think of another sales venue that could match its likely growth trajectory.”

Jason Gooch holds freshly laid eggs at Wyland Orchards, his family-owned Petaluma farm that sells eggs, pork, lamb, beef and more through the Good Eggs online grocery.

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Shelley Mainzer is one of those customers. She works and lives in San Francisco and joined the service in February 2013. “You know how you think food is supposed to taste but then you buy something at the grocery store and it maybe smells good but has no flavor or tastes like water?” she asked. “Good eggs is the complete opposite. It’s like being on the farm, picking things fresh every time I get a delivery. everything tastes amazing, too.” She loves knowing which farm grew her food and having direct contact with many of the farmers. “It’s made cooking more exciting for me,” Mainzer added. “I try new things and eat so much more healthy and it’s easy; they deliver to my office. everything about them gets me excited about farm-fresh, healthy, delicious food.” In the bay area, Good eggs includes products from as far north as Sonoma County, to Pescadero in the south and Yolo County in the east. It’s a crucial distribution outlet for Sonoma purveyors wanting to reach a large area. “One of our challenges as a new company with a new product was to get our product to the right marketplace,” said Kristine beck of Twisted Horn Ranch in bloomfield. “Farmers markets are good but time-consuming, and

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we had full-time day jobs and weekend ranch work. Selling from the ranch works, but it’s a narrow group we could reach that would be driving almost to bodega bay to pick up beef. Grocery stores would work but we were too small to supply what was needed. Good eggs solved all that for us.” Twisted Horn and other vendors who qualify for Good eggs are not required to pay upfront nor create any additional advertising or marketing. The model also works for many vendors because inventory can fluctuate. “For us that was important, as we have varying amounts of inventory and we didn’t know how fast things would move,” beck explained. “We have a very long lead time to get new inventory, so that works well for us to have flexibility. but one of the best things about Good eggs is home delivery. We’re excited to be able to have our beef delivered right to the customer.” Delivery areas and pickup locations are, for the moment, concentrated where larger populations exist. They include a handful of San Francisco neighborhoods, Oakland, berkeley, Marin and parts of the Peninsula. Purveyors can also create their own pickup points; Twisted Horn is considering one in Petaluma.

David and Kristine Beck (top) at their Twisted Horn Ranch in Bloomfield. David spent his childhood on the ranch where he now raises 100 percent freerange, grass-fed Longhorn beef cattle. Jason and Beth Gooch with their three sons (from left), Kolby, 1, Wylie, 7, and Orion, 9, at Wyland Orchards, their family farm in Petaluma.

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Sonoma County is well represented on Good Eggs. Here’s who is involved: Bloomfield Farms, Petaluma Bloomfield grows certified-organic and heirloom produce, offering seasonal salad mixes, red little gem lettuce, small CSA share boxes and more through the Good Eggs site. The farm consists of 45 acres in the Estero Americano Watershed roughly between Bloomfield and Valley Ford and specializes in cool-weather crops like spinach, broccoli and strawberries. Large groups are invited to tour the farm by appointment with the option to include lunch, made either by chef Brandon Guenther of nearby Rocker Oysterfellers or chef Gerard Nebesky of Gerard’s Paella. But the best experience of all might be the Sunday UPicks, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., when visitors are invited to harvest their own organic produce, buy farm fresh eggs and the like, then stay for brunch, all for $30. bloomfieldfarmsorganics.com

Chalk Hill Cookery, Healdsburg Founded by chef Matteo Silverman, previously of San Francisco-based vegetarian restaurants Green’s and Millennium, Chalk Hill makes vegan baked goods, some also raw and/or gluten-free, including chocolate macaroons, lavender shortbread, toffees and granola. Product packaging is made from biodegradable cellophane. Silverman also sells caramel corn, raw golden flax seeds and even palm sugar, a low-glycemic sweetener that’s also organic. Chalk Hill Cookery is also a caterer able to create fourcourse vegan dinners. chalkhillcookery.com

Gypsy Cheese Co., Valley Ford Gypsy Cheese is a small, husband-and-wife-led operation making small-batch cheeses from raw goat’s and cow’s milk, sourcing the milk from other nearby family farms. Its Caravan Gold is a feta-style cheese marinated in local olive oil and herbs. Gypsy Rose is a semi-hard cheese aged for several months. Former lawyers, Jon and Lauren Bowne started production just last year. gypsycheese.com

Happy Hens Farm, Petaluma From Sonoma Mountain, Happy Hens raises chickens and ducks (and their eggs), heritage pork and grass-fed beef, lamb and goat. Herding dog Jack and resident llama Hans look over the flocks, which are given free rein to roam around together. Jack has inspired the launch of ranch-made dog treats, too, made from fresh meats. Happy Hens will soon be organically certified. In the summer Farm Camps go for two-week stretches, bringing in children to take care of the animals and the farm, around carefree days of farm-related arts and crafts, storytelling, gardening and fun. happyhensfarmgirl.blogspot.com

Jellicles Farm Jellicles is a “tiny patch” of farmland in Santa Rosa, making honey, ghee, salts (with rosemary, lavender or fennel) and herbal teas. For Good Eggs, Jellicles also sells plant starts, dried flowers, seasonal decorations and Thai chiles and LabLab beans. facebook.com/jelliclesfarm

Twisted Horn Ranch, Bloomfield Twisted Horn raises Longhorn cattle without the use of hormones or antibiotics, a breed whose meat ends up being lower in fat and cholesterol than chicken, especially since these bovines graze freely and feed on wild grasses. Cuts available include prime rib, steaks, tri-tip, filet mignon, beef heart and ground beef, as well as a line of stocks and sauces. Owners David and Kristine Beck additionally offer visits to enjoy the sunset from the ranch, made all the more comfortable from the sun-filled, 600-square-foot, well-appointed guesthouse, available for overnights. Sometimes they even do a cooking class in the ranch kitchen for up to 10 guests at a time. twistedhornranch.net

Wyland Orchards, Petaluma Wyland is a family-run farm with chicken eggs, duck eggs, Berkshire pork, lamb and grass-fed Angus beef, including sausage and bacon. Started as an olive orchard in 1999, the owners, Jason and Beth Gooch, soon added a flock of sheep to their land, then chickens, which roam freely and graze beneath the trees. Today, cattle and pigs are also in the mix. No antibiotics or hormones are used. Via Good Eggs, customers can also buy beef heart, tongue, oxtail and offal. wylandorchards.wordpress.com Piglets at Wyland Orchards in Petaluma. Kristine Beck feeds Rocky, an 8-year-old Longhorn at Twisted Horn Ranch in Bloomfield.

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Sip, Savor Celebrate! Please e join us thiss Janu uaryy an nd Feb bru uary fo or special oliive-seaasoned lodging and d spa packaages, shop ppiing experiencess, olive tastings and speciaal eventts as we toast all things olive e! Take e an ol olivve curing ng workshop,, enj njoy oy a w win ine e co coun untr tryy ma masssag age, e or ea at a de delici c ou o s dish s pre repa p re pa red d by Win ne Country ch chef efss wi with th lloc ocal al o olilive ve oilis. Cho hoos o e fr from m a vvar arie ety off olilive ve-r -rel elat ated ed act ctiv ivities and evven ents ts ssuc uch h as olilive ve cur urin ing demo mons nstr trat atio ions ns,, Ma Mart rtin inii Madn Ma dnes esss an and d ol olivve oi o l tastingss. Ta T ke aadv dvan anta tage ge of se seasson nal a sav avin ings gs aatt lo lodg dgin ing, g, sp pass, an a d re restaurants – th here is som omet ethi et h ng hi g for eve very ryon one e. S I G N ATU URE EVENTS

THE BLESSING OF THE OLIVES AT THE SONOMA MISSION JANUARY 4, 2014, 11AM, FREE

A beautiful, traditional ceremomy at the historic Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma. Harvested olives are blessed. Live music, tradition, and refreshments. (707) 996-1090

THE FEAST OF THE OLIVE AT RAMEKINS CULINARY SCHOOL JANUARY 25, 2014. 6PM-10PM. $150 PER PERSON.

Eat, drink and exalt the enchantments of Sonoma’s famed green fruit at this year’s Feast of the Olive. The best local chefs, winemakers and olive oil producers pair up to prepare unique feast.

MARTINI MADNESS AT SADDLES RESTAURANT JANUARY 25, 2014. 5PM-7PM. $40, $85 DINNER PACKAGE

Ten local restaurants compete for the best olive inspired martini. Includes appetizers and martini tastes. Dinner Package includes Martini Madness followed by a 3 course dinner at Saddles. Sponsored by Prohibition Spirits and Solano Vodka. TO PURCHASE TICKETS CALL 707-938-2929. MACARTHURPLACE.COM

FINALE WEEKEND FEBRUARY 14-16, 2014

Celebrate “olive” President’s Day weekend with special olive themed events like VinOlivo Grand Tasting at The Lodge at Sonoma, VinOlivo Ticket to Sonoma Valley, and An Olive Odyssey at Jacuzzi Family Vineyards. VISIT OLIVEFESTIVAL.COM FOR TICKETS AND MORE INFORMATION

FOR TICKETS CALL 707-996-1090 X108

13TH ANNUAL SONOMA VALLEY OLIVE SEASON ARTIST MANETTE FAIRMONT

1-8 6 6-9 9 6-10 9 0

O LI V E F E ST I VAL. C O M

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Smile Sonoma • We continue to meet your total cosmetic and restorative dental needs. • We are here to answer questions regarding your dental health. • Our friendly dental team wants to keep SONOMA smiling! • New patients are always welcome.

390 West Napa Street | Sonoma, CA 95476

707.938.5322 1-800-DENTISTS® member since 1991 For information or questions, please visit www.smilesonomadds.com

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Cozy Quarters Wine club members and guests are treated to a 360-degree view from the Water Tower Suite at Soda Rock Winery in Alexander Valley.

John Burgess

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The Vine Life Winery lodgings show off the wonders of winter by John Beck photography by John Burgess

S

pending the night in the middle of a vineyard is a magical experience at any time, but in the dormant winter months, there’s a feeling of bedding down while the land is lying low. Imagine waking up, lifting your head from the pillow and looking through French doors opening only feet from a row of wet vines. At first light, heavy fog reveals only vine trunks and the jackrabbits that scurry between them. A hawk’s cry breaks the silence. As the fog recedes, it holds on with long fingers down each row before letting go. It’s not the cheery bud break of spring with its electric-yellow mustard bloom. Or the bustle of busy summer tastings and the visitors’ parade. Or the urgency of harvest and its heavy machinery. Winter is for catching your breath at the winery. For ducking out of the rain for private cave tours and strapping on boots for a muddy hike through the vines. In an image, it’s the warm light of a fireplace through a half-empty bottle of wine. Or the skeleton of a leafless vineyard, revealing the vines’ stark linear architecture in blocks and rows. All across Sonoma, dozens of wineries moonlight as hotelier and concierge. This time of year, in the offseason, you can take your pick and experience, if only for a weekend, what it feels like to live among the vines.

Soda Rock Winery This restored 1869 old-stone winery, which once housed the “It’s so still you can hear the coyotes at night.”

Alexander Valley general store and post office, offers four unique getaways. The most unusual is the Water Tower Suite, a converted wooden water tower perched high above the property. Step inside and look up to see a massive staircase system that recalls an Escher painting. The upper floor is all bedroom, with just enough space for the king-size mattress, but perfect for stunning panoramic views of surrounding vineyards and Alexander Valley. “It’s so still you can hear the coyotes at night,” said Sydney Wilson, daughter of owners Ken and Diane Wilson, who rents out the lodgings. The Artist Den is the most minimally decorated, accented by artist Wade Hoefer’s dreamy landscape paintings. (That’s his studio behind the winery). The best outdoor entertainment spot is the long wooden table and barbecue alongside the Barn Suite. And by far the best wakeup call is the vineyard that beckons only feet from the foot of your bed in the Vineyard Suite. 8015 Highway 128, Healdsburg, 707-433-3303, sodarockwinery.com. Winter prices $185-$285 for wine club members, $285-$400 for nonmembers.

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“It’s not hard to get that ‘I forget where I live’ feeling.”

Thomas George Estates Taking over what was once Davis Bynum Winery, the father-son team of Thomas and Jeremy Baker has made the most of the four 1920sera guest houses that line the entrance to the Westside Road winery southwest of Healdsburg. The crown jewel is the three-bedroom Pinot Noir House and its veranda pool overlooking the vineyards. Throw in a hot tub, barbecue and full kitchen and it’s a hidden Wine Country home away from home. “I like to call it a rustic elegance,” said Nancy Castro, who fell in love with the guest houses while vacationing as a wine club member before becoming the hospitality manager. “It’s not hard to get that ‘I forget where I live’ feeling.” Depending upon your mood, take a private cave tour or hit the hiking trail that starts just feet from the crush pad and winds up to Baker Ridge Vineyard overlooking the Russian River Valley. Take a picnic lunch or a helicopter tour ($600 for one hour) that flies to the winery’s Cresta Ridge Vineyards in Green Valley. 8075 Westside Road, Healdsburg, 707-431-8031, thomasgeorgeestates.com. $150-$400 for wine club members, $300-$800 for nonmembers.

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Landmark Vineyards It’s not uncommon to hear the clink of wine glasses while staying at the Guest Suite just off the tasting room at this cozy Kenwood winery. Or the soft thud of bocce balls on the nearby clay court. Under the gaze of towering Hood Mountain, this inviting room (which doubles as a honeymoon suite during the wedding season) comes with a private patio and, for those wintry downpours, a fireplace and DVD player stocked with winery-based films such as “Sideways,” “A Walk in the Clouds” and “Bottle Shock.” “During the winter down time, it’s like you have the whole winery to yourself,” said tasting room manager Donna Carroll, “especially when everybody goes home around 5 in the evening.” Charming with dormer windows, the larger Guest Cottage overlooks the vineyards and offers a wide front porch and full kitchen. 101 Adobe Canyon Road, Kenwood, 707-833-0053, landmarkwine.com. Winter special $215-$250, with 20 percent discount for club members.

“... it’s like you have the whole winery to yourself.”

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Larson Family Winery Maybe it’s the “Three Labs Crossing” sign that warns visitors or the pothole-dotted Millerick Road leading in, but this Civil Warera farmhouse, known as A Captain’s House, is by far the most remote-feeling of the winery getaways. Only a stone’s throw from the overgrown Sonoma Creek, the four-bedroom, two-story 1860s house was built by a steamboat ferry captain who needed a place to stay after his long hauls from San Francisco. Make sure to spend time in the converted Carneros barn that doubles as a rodeo museum, spotlighting archival photos and medals that demonstrate what was once Millerick Ranch and the popular Sonoma Rodeo. “And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can hike or bike down to Wingo. It’s a ghost town about three miles down the dirt road,” said Erin Bush, Larson’s marketing manager. Just be ready to introduce yourself, “because there’s a guy who still lives there.” And a word of warning — the tempestuous Sonoma Creek has been known to flood during the winter, washing out the road and access to the winery. So be flexible and ready for an adventure.

“... bike down to Wingo. It’s a ghost town about three miles down the dirt road.”

23355 Millerick Road, Sonoma, 707-938-3031, larsonfamilywinery.com. $350 for up to four people, $450 for up to nine people.

Winter, especially January, is the time when most winery employees take a vacation. While they’re gone, you get the place to yourself. here are a few more winery getaways where you can stay with a view of the vineyards.

Benovia Winery The three-bedroom Vineyard Hideaway cottage features a hot tub overlooking Martaella Vineyards in the Russian River Valley. Winter rates (through Feb. 28) $265 per couple per night, $345 for three or more people.

inman FamiLy Winery Kathleen Inman likes to call her threebedroom farmhouse the “bed-and get-your-own-breakfast.” Every window boasts a view of the winery’s Olivet Grange Vineyard. $695 for two nights, $895 for three nights.

3339 Hartman Road, Santa Rosa, 707-526-4441, benoviawinery.com

3900 Piner Road, Santa Rosa, 707- 293-9576, inmanfamilywines.com

deLorimier Winery “Spend time in a working vineyard” is the motto at deLorimier’s two-bedroom Vineyard Guest House and single-room Mosaic and Artisan suites in the heart of Alexander Valley. $285-$500 for non-club members, $185$300 for members.

Kachina vineyards The one-bedroom Winery Cottage offers use of the winery patio, full kitchen and hiking across the 55-acre Dry Creek Valley property. $250 per night. 4551 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, 707-332-7917, kachinavineyards.com.

2001 Highway 128, Geyserville, 800-546-7718, delorimierwinery.com

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dinner tuesday through saturday beginning at 5:30

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4556 Keiser Ranch Road Gorgeous estate with views of vineyards and hills. Hardwood floors, recently updated master bath, vaulted ceilings, new stainless steel appliances in the kitchen. Fantastic screened in porch with panoramic views. Large guest house with kitchenette. Temperature controlled Wine Cellar. In ground pool and hot tub. Hiking trails up in the hills. Beautiful gardens & hobby vineyard. New septic and new roof. Being sold fully furnished with just a few exclusions.

Offered at $2,575,000

9 Cloud Lane Cloud Nine is a spectacular +/-44 acre private estate with sweeping views. Approached through a gated entry and rolling pastures. Main residence of nearly 6,000 sq ft has an open floorplan, generously proportioned rooms, and sweeping views from every room. A true estate property with in-ground pool, detached second unit, and even a golf course with 4 tees and 2 putting greens. Absolute privacy while just minutes to downtown Petaluma & Novato. www.9cloudlane.com

Offered at $3,200,000

Daniel Casabonne 707-939-2222 www.danielcasabonne.com vendu2000@yahoo.com

Located on the Plaza, in the Historic Ice Building 428 First Street East, Sonoma CA 95476

calBRE #01221013

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2295 Crane Canyon Road Classic European Casual Elegance in the Wine Country. Once the Gump department store family’s weekend retreat, this property has absolute privacy yet only a few minutes to wineries, restaurants, and shopping. Situated on over 4 acres with gated entry, rolling lawns, lavender, lily pond, bocce ball, fruit trees, creek, pool & hot tub, and sweeping views. Three classic pavilions with a total of 4 bedrooms/5 baths. Featured in Architectural Digest.

Offered at $1,795,000

Sonoma Valley’s Highest Producing Agent Since 2002

Sonoma County’s Top Producer for Dollar Volume

sothebysrealty.com

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great finds for all kinds of fun in the snow Outdoor gear can be functional and fashionable by Crissi LangweLL photography by aLVin JOrnaDa

Giro Nine.10 Snow Helmet

Both comfortable and lightweight, this helmet protects your noggin without blocking vision or weighing you down. The 14 vents allow fresh air to move through while also radiating heat. A vent shield helps you take control of your comfort level. The helmet comes in white and titanium colors.

$59-$99, Big 5 Sporting Goods, locations in Napa, Petaluma, Rohnert Park and Santa Rosa, big5sportinggoods.com

Smith I/O Recon Snow Goggles

These goggles not only keep your eyes protected, they also have the ability to show you where you are in the world, the speed you’re traveling, temperature, altitude and many more navigation stats. The technology also gives you the ability to text, check caller ID and control your music playlist. You might not ever want to leave the slopes. $650, Santa Rosa Ski & Sports, 1125 W. Steele Lane, Santa Rosa, 707-578-4754, santarosaskiandsports.com

CamelBak Blowfish

You never know what you might need on top of the mountain, but one thing’s for sure: Water is essential. Pack up right with the CamelBak Blowfish, a multi-use daypack that goes from small to big with a slip of the zipper. The 70-ounce reservoir holds plenty of H2O so you won’t get parched when navigating the moguls. The color choices are black and red.

Grabber Mega Warmer

If you’re heading out into the cold, this is one hand warmer you won’t want to be without. Slip the packet out of the wrapper and the air contact activates the heat within minutes. You’ll feel toasty-warm for 12-plus hours, ensuring plenty of time on the frosty slopes.

$87.95, Sonoma Outfitters, 145 Third St., Santa Rosa, 707-528-1920, sonomaoutfitters.com

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the mix

spreckels

Lights! No More Camera! Action! An entertaining life out from behind the lens by Dan Taylor photography by John Burgess

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ll Gene AbrAvAyA has left from nearly 15 years working behind the cameras in national network television is a grainy videotape.

The video shows him rehearsing a scene with actor Scott Baio for the sitcom called “Charles in Charge.” Co-star Willie Aames was out that one day, so as the show’s stage manager, Abravaya stepped in to help Baio run through his lines. “Scott and I were wearing sweaters that looked exactly alike, and we had the same coloring, so the camera operators didn’t know who was who,” Abravaya said. The tape caught Baio’s inadvertent double-take when he was confronted by what looked like his double. “It was my one and only time in front of the camera,” Abravaya said. In the North Bay, Abravaya, 62, has been a presence on the local live theater scene for the past quarter-century as an actor, director and playwright.

After working on soap operas in New York and sitcoms in Los Angeles from the mid-1970s to the late 1980s, Abravaya moved to Sonoma County in 1990 with his wife, Teri, and their two children. He became the publicist for Rohnert Park’s Spreckels Center for the Performing Arts in 2000, and its manager in 2011. Born in New York City in 1951, Abravaya grew up in Queens and graduated from Adelphi University on Long Island in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in speech. After a summer stock theater tour in Ohio, including productions with comic impressionist Rich Little and TV actor David Doyle (Bosley on “Charlie’s Angels”), Abravaya went looking for work in New York. “I was auditioning for acting jobs when my money ran out,” Abravaya recalled. “Then I saw a want ad in The New York Times that said, ‘script typist needed.’ It turned out to be the teleprompter service for all of

Spreckels Center for the Arts Managing Director Gene Abravaya has been a fixture on the North Bay theater scene for a quarter century.

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Gene Abravaya directs actors in a rehearsal for last fall's production of "A Christmas Carol" at Spreckels Center for the Arts.

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the Procter & Gamble soap opera series that were taping in eventually line producer on prime-time TV series in LA. He New York at that time.” spent almost five years at Embassy TV, working on comedy Soon he was the studio teleprompter operator for “As the series including “Facts of Life,” “The Jeffersons,” “One Day at World Turns,” and during the next five years, worked his a Time” and “Diff’rent Strokes.” way up to assistant to the producer. He worked with series Ultimately, Abravaya tired of long, hectic work weeks alco-stars Eileen Fulton and Don Hastings, and ternating with idle time between seasons, “The elevator doors and decided he’d gone as far in TV as he former child actor Freddie Bartholomew, who joined the show as an executive producer. opened, and a big guy could. In 1988, the television industry in At the series’ occasional on-location Los Angeles was crippled when writers, dishoots, Abravaya met with a blizzard in up- in a gorilla suit waved rectors and actors went out on strike, and to me and walked on Abravaya began to look north. state New York and a traffic jam on the 59th “I had done really well, but decided I’d Street Bridge in New York City, and he began by. From that moment had my fill. I’d been working 50 to 60 hours to look west. on, I knew I had a week, but I had work 30 weeks a year and After sending out 300 resumes and getting left reality.” then the industry would go on hiatus bethree replies, Abravaya went to Los Angeles tween seasons,” he said of the tumultuous for an interview at Universal Television, work rhythm. “And by then, we had two children.” NBC’s production arm. The Abravayas moved to Rohnert Park, where Teri’s sister “The elevator doors opened, and a big guy in a gorilla lived, and settled down to raise their family. suit waved to me and walked on by,” Abravaya remembered. “When I think back on my career, I’ve always been lucky “From that moment on, I knew I had left reality.” enough to be in the right place at the right time,” he said. In the 1980s, Abravaya worked as stage manager and

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to table t by Diane Peterson photography by Chris harDy

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Two Hawks watch over the hunting field from a windmill at a Sonoma county sports club.

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I

f you run into Charlie Palmer at the Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, chances are the tall, imposing chef will be buttoned up in a crisp chef’s jacket or white Oxford dress shirt. But scratch the surface of this well-known hospitality entrepreneur — with 12 restaurants to his name and a growing collection of boutique hotels and wine shops across the nation — and you’ll find a country boy at heart. Whether fly-fishing on Colorado’s Laramie River or stalking the scrappy pheasant in Sonoma with Dry Creek Kitchen executive chef Dustin Valette, Palmer likes to relax in the colorful costume of the avid outdoorsman: jeans, red cap and camouflage jacket. Thanks to the locavore movement, people increasingly want to know how their food is grown and raised. More and more hunters are motivated by the promise of high-flavor meat than they are by the sport alone. But not everyone knows the best way to cook partridge and rabbit, venison and elk. And from a chef’s point of view, that’s a problem. “You’ve got all these people who are into hunting and fishing, but they don’t know what to do with the stuff they catch,” Palmer said. “If you kill it, you eat it.” So when the gun-manufacturing company Remington Arms went looking for a chef to

Palmer and friends at a Sonoma county sports club before pheasant hunting collaborate on a new cookbook, it didn’t take long to flush Palmer out of his home in the forested hills above Healdsburg. After all, the project spoke to Palmer’s two greatest passions: the primal pleasure of eating in the outdoors, and the sourcing of the very best ingredients from around the world. “Eating in nature, from nature, means eating mindfully within seasonal harvests, using simple dishes enhanced by vivid flavors,” Palmer said.

This ain’t your grandma’s recipe box, and it’s not your average celebrity chef cookbook, either. Illustrated with rustic photographs and paintings from the archives and art collection at Remington Arms, “Remington Camp Cooking” by Charlie Palmer has the luxurious feel of a family keepsake, with a soft leather cover and flexible spine. Yet it’s rustic enough to throw in the back of a pickup truck with the guns and ammo. “The more you get oil on it,

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Charlie Palmer and Dustin Valette watch for pheasant at a sports hunting club in Sonoma county.

the better the book is going to feel,” Palmer said. “It’s not aimed at our restaurant clientele, but at the outdoorsman.” With the help of Valette, also a lifelong outdoors enthusiast, Palmer developed a mouthwatering array of recipes to appeal to anyone who believes food tastes better when enjoyed in the great outdoors. “There’s not a lot out there about cooking in the outdoors ... at least, not a lot that’s usable,” Palmer said. “Most of it is Uncle Joe’s recipe, and you soak it in Coca-Cola.” From a Duck Meatball Banh Mi to Trout in Foil with LemonSage Butter, the recipes marry the elegant with the accessible. They can be made by anyone with access to a grill, campfire or Dutch oven.

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“The recipes could be done anywhere,” Palmer said. “But the focus is how to be a more successful outdoor cook, whether you’re cooking over a fire pit, grilling or tailgating.” Palmer, who grew up in upstate New York and trained at the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, N.Y., has been hunting and fishing, cooking and camping, all his life. Most of the practical wisdom he imparts in the book has become second nature to him. “I got my first shotgun when I was 12,” he said. “My brother would take me trap and skeet shooting with clay pigeons.” While attending culinary school, he went pheasant hunting with one of his roommates from South Dakota. “There’s acres and acres of

harvest corn just loaded with pheasant,” he said. “It’s a perfect habitat for them.” Before he was married, he also fell in love with deep-sea fishing, chasing the storied blue marlin from the Bahamas to the coast of Venezuela. And years ago, before A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” TV show was a glint in the eye of its creator, Palmer was invited to Louisiana’s bayou to shoot a hunting show with Eli Haydel, a famous maker of duck calls. “We took the ducks back and cooked them,” Palmer said. “There was a guy named Big John who was drinking moonshine whiskey, and he had water moccasin scars all over his arm.” These days, Palmer likes to cook wild game on a fire pit he built outside his house. During

“If you kill it, you eat it.”

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Palmer and his hunting dog, Bob, with the evening's main course

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Dustin Valette watches as Palmer deglazes the pan of pheasant with red wine.

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the season, he enjoys morning pheasant and chukar (partridge) hunts at a local sport-hunting club in Sonoma County. “It’s like a preserve,” Palmer said of the rustic club. “It’s amazing that that piece of land is there still, and you can hunt with a dog.” Valette, who grew up in Geyserville, learned about hunting and fishing from his dad, Robert “Pops” Valette, an air tanker pilot for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. “We didn’t have TV, so we were always doing something hands-on and outdoosy,” Valette said. “I learned about guns on Ridge Ranch at the Geysers,

which is owned by family friends.” Valette started out with a Red Ryder BB gun, then received an old shotgun from his grandfather. He started quail hunting at 6 and shot his first buck at Mount Lassen when he was 9. In the winter, Valette likes to go to the Baxter Ranch at Lake Sonoma to hunt wild boar, then grinds the meat into luscious sausage, following his father’s recipe. “It’s more natural,” Valette said of range-to-table cooking. “Because the animal is not in captivity, it has a more natural life.” This spring, Dry Creek Kitchen plans to launch a new 24-seat outdoor annex, the

White Oak Grill, with a simple menu inspired by Valette’s oak-wood grilling experience at Baxter Ranch. “It will add another dimension to the restaurant, with a casual feel to it,” Palmer explained. “We’ll do a simple, grilled menu.” Like most outdoorsmen, both Valette and Palmer are passionate about taking care of the land, not only for themselves, but for future generations. “Outdoorsmen, hunters, fishermen and campers — those are the people who are most concerned about the outdoors,” Palmer said. “They understand they have to take care of it … or it won’t be there.”

Palmer relaxes with buddy Brock and a glass of wine.

“Outdoorsmen, hunters ... are the people who are most concerned about the outdoors.”

A finished dish of Bacon-wrapped boar loin with potatoes and carrots

Cleaned pheasants and Valette's wild-boar sausage are prepped for cooking in Palmer's kitchen. Jan/FeB 2014 sonomamag.com

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GERRI JACKSON, 22: Originally from Chicago, Jackson has been homeless since 2011 and last fall was living in a tent in Howarth Park in Santa Rosa while attending Santa Rosa Junior College.

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In this land of plenty, an alarming and growing number of youth are homeless, hungry and disconnected

Lost in

paradise by JEREMY HAY photography by ERIK CASTRO

T

he rain fell hard that day. The tent he’d pitched in Howarth Park had leaked and Gerri Jackson’s bed of piled blankets was wet. His Santa Rosa Junior College math textbook was damp. And he’d just gotten word from a campmate that someone was going to kick them out in 10 days. “Where’m I gonna go, go, go, bro — I don’t know, I never know,” he said. The 22-year-old’s singsong voice was just another sound in the night on a muddy hillside tangled with brush and trees, where Gerri was living with the skunks and deer. It was better than the pavement outside Chop’s Teen Center, where he’d been sleeping days before. “Concrete sucks the life out of you,” said Gerri, a Chicago native homeless on the streets of Santa Rosa since early 2011. Adrift and often unknown amid the plenty of Sonoma County, homeless young people reel from abandonment or rejection, flee abuse or broken homes, exit the foster care system unmoored at 18.

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LITTLE SHELTER: The leaky tent in Santa Rosa’s Howarth Park where Gerri Jackson spends most nights.

They wander, their conditions anonymous, through shopping malls, parks and city centers, ride buses, scrounge free food, cigarettes and, often, drugs. They search for the next safe place to sleep. Gerri is one of more than a thousand young people under age 24 who are the fastest growing segment of the county’s estimated 4,280 homeless residents. This year’s count revealed 277 teens between the ages 12 and 17 who have nowhere to live — a 200 percent increase in four years. “They are terrifying statistics,” said Georgia Berland, executive officer of the Sonoma County Task Force on the Homeless. “What does it mean to their stability, to their ability to engage in society, to be productive?” she said. “If kids are going to be growing up feeling that their community doesn't even care enough for them to have a roof over their head, that means they’re not going to feel connected to their community. That doesn’t bode well for us.” More housing, education, job training and employment options, and counseling services are crucial to reversing the situation, Berland said. “We have to find some way to reconnect with these kids and find a way to help them feel valuable and cared for,” she said. “That is the most important thing we can do.” Tangled lives The young people who come to live on Sonoma's streets have had tangled lives and tell their stories mostly in tangents. Gerri was in Chicago’s foster care system from age 5 or 6 until 18. He joined the Paragon Marketing Group, which recruits young people as salespeople, as a way to start a new life, and sold subscriptions across the country. He can still recite the sales pitch. “I learned so much in that job,” he said. But after he arrived in Santa Rosa, the Paragon van left town without him, taking with it his identification. He spent 100 days in jail for taking someone’s car to sleep in. Although he’s avoided other serious legal trouble, it’s been the streets for him ever since. “You learn so much out here. All my senses are so good,” he said. But just an hour later, in Juilliard Park, Gerri, who can at times seem

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dreamy, said, “The longer you’re in this, the harder it gets.” Then he smoked a joint and played Hacky Sack with some friends. no shelTer Life on the streets possesses its own vague rhythms and dead ends. At the end of a day spent wandering, homeless young people have literally nowhere to go. There are just six emergency shelter beds in the county for homeless teens and seven temporary beds for former foster care youth. Adult shelters refuse those under age 18 and younger people on the streets tend to avoid shelters in general, preferring to hang out together and find other places to stay. “Imagine being 18 and homeless and walking into a shelter full of 40and 50- year olds. It would be frightening,” said Cat Cvengros, development director for Social Advocates for Youth, or SAY. “They stick together in packs,” Cvengros said. “It’s largely for safety, they just feel, ‘If I’m with someone I know, someone my own age, I know I’m going to be safer.’” She is soliciting support from business leaders and the broader community for a controversial transitional housing facility for homeless youth, proposed at the former Warrack Hospital in Santa Rosa. It would serve up to 63 former foster and homeless youth aged 18 to 24, but it faces stiff opposition from residents who fear the young people would bring trouble to their neighborhood. KicKed ouT She has bipolar disorder and was kicked out of her home in Reno, Nev., when she was 16, said Charlotte Warren, a Santa Rosa native who is now 21. She has been homeless for six years. Six months ago, when she quit shooting and snorting meth, Charlotte bought a skateboard to get around and is getting pretty good at it. In the late summer, she got a job in Staples’ ink and toner department and skated every day to work from the Sam Jones Hall shelter about 3 miles away in southwest Santa Rosa.

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CHARLOTTE WARREN AND JESSE DIRKS, BOTH 21: The couple shelter beneath a play structure in a west Santa Rosa park and break camp each morning. Warren, a Santa Rosa native, was 15 when her mother kicked her out of the house. Dirks was left alone when adoptive parents divorced.

But when the back-to-school season ended, she was laid off. She suggests, too, that she was finding it difficult to perform well at work because she was worrying about her boyfriend, Jesse Dirks, who had been kicked out of the shelter for having marijuana. “I was distracted a lot,” Charlotte said. “He wouldn’t text me and I’d worry if he was OK.” Tough love His mother was addicted to drugs, Jessie said, and he hasn’t seen her in years. He was adopted at a young age but his parents divorced, leaving him alone. He left home because his stepfather “told me, once I was 18, if I needed a place to stay or money, the answer was ‘No.’” “He’s kind of like, tough love, learn as you go,” said Jesse, an avid skateboarder who inspired Charlotte to buy her own longboard. So he moved out, had a baby with a woman, lost his job with Conservation Corps North Bay (for working too slowly, he said, because of a bad back), got kicked out by his girlfriend and has been homeless a year and a half. He got in trouble over marijuana and is facing a $900 fine for possession that keeps going up because he can’t pay it. “I can’t do anything about it, it’s just going to keep stacking and stack-

Sonoma County homeless aged 24 and under: 1,128 Jan/Feb 2014 sonomamag.com

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ing and I’m going to be in debt forever,” Jesse said. The runaway Jeramy Lowther Jr., 19, was entering high school when his mother sent him from Toledo, Ohio, to Petaluma to live with his father — but he spent his first night in a homeless shelter. Soon they found a trailer in Penngrove. But his father started drinking and they lost it. Jeramy ran away and has been alone ever since. He’s done poorly, sleeping for months on the streets, on friends’ couches, or at Coffee House, SAY’s teen shelter on Santa Rosa’s Ripley Street. He’s done well, too, graduating from Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center, where he was voted most helpful student in 2012, moving into SAY’s transitional housing facility, Tamayo House, on Yulupa Avenue in Santa Rosa, and attending Santa Rosa Junior College. He wants to be an engineer. But Jeramy decided he wanted to reconnect with his mother. His mentors at SAY and Hanna Boys Center were concerned: Jeramy’s life was finally stable; his mother’s life was muddied by drugs. He missed her, though, and in June he left for Toledo. There he lived in several gangridden neighborhoods, held two jobs and quit one, was jumped, and started drinking heavily. “My problem is hard liquor,” he said. “If I get a bottle, I drink the whole thing.” A breakdown put him in a psychiatric wing. He has been diagnosed with major depression and compressive anxiety disorder. The hospital sent him back to Santa Rosa on a Greyhound in November. “I’ve been through a lot of shit,” he said, looking exhausted as he sat in Coffee House, where he can’t stay anymore because it is only for youth up to age 18. Lisa Fatu, the co-program manager of Coffee House, gave him $5. Later he bought a Black Mountain cigar for 79 cents.

Homeless youth ages 12 to 17 2009: 92 2013: 277 86

“I’ve got to make this last for three or four days,” he said of the cash he had left. The breakup One night the wind blew so hard that power went out around Sonoma County, and Jesse and Charlotte had a fight in the west Santa Rosa park where they were living, and broke up. Charlotte sobbed in the windstorm. Jesse left to sulk. But later they crawled into a sleeping bag together beneath a play structure. A walkway made of rubber planks for playing children to run across sheltered them. They woke up about 7 a.m. and argued again. There still was a wind;

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JERAMY LOWTHER JR., 19: Landed on the streets after his father began drinking and lost the Penngrove trailer where they lived, but Lowther graduated from Sonoma's Hanna Boys Center and has attended Santa Rosa Junior College.

Charlotte got “used to being irritated” when she was using meth, he said. “Now she’s irritated a lot. It’s hard, we fight a lot.” But then he added: “I think it’s just our situation. Once we get on our feet it’ll get a lot easier, when we’re not together every minute.” He was wearing a pair of Charlotte’s shoes, which were two sizes too small for him, because his had holes in them and had gotten soaked in the rains. “It gets tiring,” he said. “You get to where you’re done. I’m tired of not having anything.”

the sunlight was not warm. Charlotte’s eyes were raw. “Just everything. Life,” Charlotte said about the subject of their argument. Jesse said it started because he sat on a different Juilliard Park bench than she did the previous day. The couple had been together for six months, since Charlotte got clean. The day before the breakup, she had caressed Jesse with greenpainted fingernails, kissed him, and talked about their relationship. “I love you,” she had said to him. “Now that we’re together it makes things so much easier. I don’t feel so alone; I’m not searching for anything.” But in a private moment, Jesse said things were tougher than that.

The To-do lisT When Jeramy got back to Sonoma County he spent the night at his grandfather’s place in Petaluma. Then, because overight guests were not allowed, he moved into a friend’s garage in South Park, a frayed neighborhood near the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. A throw rug covered part of the concrete floor and the garage was crowded with stuff — boxes, a mop, a refrigerator full of beer. One night his friend’s parents had a screaming match and Jeramy, against his better judgment, spent the rest of his money on a pack of Camel Wides and also drank two beers. For breakfast, he walked to Coffee House. For lunch he went to Voices, a Mendocino Avenue nonprofit founded by foster youth for others who are leaving the foster care system. He had a lot to do: Find a job. Find a place to live. Find a way to pay for SRJC. Remember to take his medications, which he carries in his backpack. “I’ve had a lot of things happen, to where it’s hard to keep myself distracted,” he said of his mental illnesses. “The littlest thing can happen and it’s like a flashback. Sometimes, I feel like I’m 19 going on 40.” Ahead of him: stops at Tamayo House and Hanna Boys Center. He needed help from both. At Tamayo House, which has 24 beds, he applied for a room. “It could take a week, it could take six months,” he said. He accepted a ride from a reporter to the Hanna Boys Center and walked around happily. “Man, it’s good to be back,” he said. On the administration building’s wall is a large photograph of Jeramy when he graduated. He is wearing a jacket and tie and his glasses (which right then he did not have, having forgotten them earlier at Tamayo House). He sat with a Hanna caseworker to ask if he could get another Hanna scholarship for SRJC. “We’re going to try and support you with whatever you need — but we can’t just throw money at you, because we’ve helped you in the past,” said Brad LaBass, who in June had tried to talk Jeramy out of going to Toledo. “And a lot of that didn’t work,” Jeramy said. “A lot of that didn’t work out,” said LaBass. After a moment, he added, “We get the pull of wanting to make it work with your family.” Jeramy said: “Now I have my head on right; now it’s a completely different story.”

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‘LiteraLLy nothing to do’ bered him from the year before. One Thursday morning, “As soon as I showed my Gerri walked to Summerfield face, they wanted to hire me,” Road and caught the No. 8 bus he said. for the downtown Transit Mall. It was a seasonal job but that From there he took the No. 3 was OK. By the time it ended, to Railroad Square where he he said, he’d be back at his SRJC hooked up with the Comfort studies. And it coincided with of Hope Ministries, which was another bit of good news. His setting up at the end of Sixth grandfather was going to talk to Street. the property manager and see He helped unload boxes and whether Jeramy could stay there set up a table on which was until he found his own place. placed a serving dish of hot en“I’ve got my head on straight chiladas. About 30 homeless now,” he said. people prayed together then parBut despite the happy develtook, milling about the sidewalk opments, Jeramy looked tense. and talking. His anxiety remained, he said. Later, as Gerri helped pack “That’s one thing I probably up, Pat Jones, a longtime activwon’t be able to change; it just ist for homeless people, watched kind of sticks to me,” he said. him. “He’s one of those hard nuts Lost to crack; he’s just so young,” The morning after they Jones said. She added, “He’s a broke up, Charlotte and Jesse good kid, he tries, but somewalked to Railroad Square times we’re our own worst enand, after meandering around emies.” for a bit, decided to go to the Gerri walked to Juilliard Redwood Gospel Mission. Park, where he found good for“It’s kind of nice to have tune in the form of a grocery bag people around,” Jesse said. “We containing peanut butter, bread just wander around sort of aimand two oranges. lessly hoping to find someone to He shared it with two friends talk to.” BACK IN CLASS: “I want to make something of my life,” says Gerri Jackson. he ran into. At the mission, they were “Everybody that is homeless among about 15 homeless peogoes through boredom, because there is literally nothing to do, there is no ple waiting for a meal. Charlotte found six wrapped snack bars to share extracurriculars,” he said. with Jesse. She got ahold of some chocolate lollipops, too, and shared The afternoon rolled around and Gerri went to class, Counseling 80, them with everyone else. which prepares students to transfer to four-year colleges. Each student She looked at ease. has prepared a presentation on the school they want to attend. Gerri’s is The same way, oddly, that she looked on another day, when she was the University of Chicago. discussing homelessness and said: “You get to where, I don’t want to say “I want to make something of my life,” he said. imprisoned, yeah, I’m going to say imprisoned. I just feel like I don’t know He sat alone in the second row from the back and settled in. When who I am anymore.” the instructor called on him, he volunteered a date that he can give his Such feelings frequently seem to color the days of the young and oral report. homeless. Five days later, paperwork arrived that he’d tried for a year to get and But that is not all there is. And it can change in an instant. that he needed to be eligible for a transitional housing program. But Gerri One day after the rain, Charlotte reached into her back pocket and suddenly had doubts about moving inside. pulled out a schedule for GED preparation classes at SRJC. “I’m not 100 percent on that,” he said. “I might not be feeling right “My plan is to go to school, probably next semester,” she said. about it. It’s just a gut feeling I have. I’m comfortable with my street Marked as they are by trauma, loss and life on the streets, many homesmarts.” less youth are, like Charlotte, also distinguished by that resilient sense of possibility lost to their homeless elders, said SAY’s Cvengros. Moving on “They haven’t gotten hopeless and it’s remarkable,” she said. “What Four days after getting off the Greyhound bus in Santa Rosa, Jeramy our job is as a community, and as an organization specifically, is to get found a holiday job at a store in Santa Rosa Plaza. The manager rememthem those tools they need to get to where they want to go.”

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Shelter may offer hope for homeless youth They have named it for what they are pursuing: The Dream Center. Proposed by the nonprofit Social Advocates for Youth, it would eventually offer long-term housing for 51 youth aged 18 to 24 escaping life on the streets or exiting foster care. The unexpected possibility came about when Sutter Health offered to donate the site to the group. But it is facing stiff opposition from nearby residents who say the facility is innappropriate for a residential neighborhood and will impact their safety and quality of life. Intended for the former Warrack Hospital site in Santa Rosa's

Bennett Valley, the center also would provide 12 emergency shelter beds for homeless youth and an array of support services. Santa Rosa’s City Council was to take up the proposal in early 2014. Already underway is a “rapid rehousing program� run by Catholic Charities, the largest provider of homeless services in Sonoma County. The effort focuses on getting homeless 18- to 25-year-olds into permanent housing. It works with private landlords, using federal grant funds to make direct payments to cover initial rental costs. Between September and December, the program got six homeless young people off the streets and into housing.

HOLDING ON: Charlotte Warren and Jesse Dirks find mutual support in their joint life on the streets of Santa Rosa.

Emergency shelter beds in Sonoma County: 584 ~ Number for teenagers aged 12 to 17: 6 ~ Number for youth aged 18 to 21: 7 Jan/Feb 2014 sonomamag.com

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Chris Hardy

Charlie Gesell

Oh,

the Places

You Can Go! by Virginie Boone

There aren’t many places in the world where winter road-trip options include snow, coast and a cosmopolitan city. But here we are, in the epicenter of optimal destinations, each one marked by equal parts physical beauty, smart sophistication and vibrant food scene. Take a break during Sonoma’s traditional quiet time and recharge in a new setting. Jan/Feb 2014 sonomamag.com

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Where Whereto toGo Go: Blue Waters Kayaking Tomales Bay is ideal for kayaking, offering several places to launch, including at Nick’s Cove (officially known as the Miller County Park Boat Launch). Fifteen miles long, the bay offers plenty of room to paddle without having to tackle rough, open ocean. Blue Waters rents kayaks and standup paddleboards, and leads morning, sunset and fullmoon paddle tours launching from Marshall and Inverness. Rentals start at $50, tours at $65. 60 Fourth St., Suite C, Point Reyes Station, 415-669-2600, bwkayak.com

Osteria Stellina Located on the main drag in Point Reyes Station, Osteria Stellina serves gourmet Italian dishes with a Marin twist; freshly harvested ingredients include Drake’s Bay oysters, Bellwether Farms ricotta, Marshall Farm honey and Stellina farm baby lettuce. The zuppa del giorno (soup of the day) is a wintertime staple; so are the grilled cheese sandwiches on sourdough. Mains in winter focus on comforting Niman Ranch osso buco, braised chicken and Rossotti Ranch braised goat. The wine list reflects the best of Italy and Northern California.

Point reyes

11285 Highway 1, Point Reyes Station, 415-663-9988, osteriastellina.com

the

Marin Coast

L

Less than an hour’s drive from santa rosa, the coastline along Marin’s Point Reyes National Seashore is among the most beautiful in the world, dotted with beaches that are accessible, and some less so. The hillsides in wintertime are brilliantly verdant, and there are many warm, cozy corners in which to curl up against the storms. Dramatic trails and beaches are perfect places to feel nature’s moods. The coastal region’s bounty of food and drink is as impressive as its beauty. The Point Reyes area sustains cows, sheep and goats for milk and cheese, grass-fed beef, fish and oysters, and several farmers markets’ worth of cool-climate produce. Coastal Marin is also viticulturally viable, with small plots of mostly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines. Point Reyes makes an ideal setting for a multiday or overnight stay organized around the one-road towns of Olema and Point Reyes Station, and the outcrops of Inverness and Marshall, set along Tomales Bay.

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Cowgirl Creamery at Tomales Bay Foods

Sir and Star at The Olema Within The Olema Inn, this restaurant represents the rebirth of Margaret Grade and chef Daniel DeLong, who for many years were the force behind Manka’s restaurant in Inverness before it burned down. They continue to operate Manka’s as a lodge. Anyone who had the exquisite experience of dining at Manka’s will find renewed hope here, where the inspiration for farm-fresh and foraged food continues as brilliantly as ever. Dinner only, Wednesday through Sunday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., with Saturday nights focused on a leisurely meal of small courses. Reservations encouraged. 10000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Olema, 415-663-1034, sirandstar.com

World-famous Cowgirl Creamery originally made all of its cheeses in this restored hay barn. Now it’s a shop for all things delicious, including, of course, the best selection of cheeses in town, from America and abroad. Local breads, sandwiches, salads and a rare collection of local wines complete the picture. 80 Fourth St., Point Reyes Station, 415-663-9335, cowgirlcreamery.com

Marin Sun Farms Butcher Shop and Restaurant This sustainable meat purveyor, which sells at farmers’ markets throughout the Bay Area, is a great place to have a meal or purchase meat, eggs and charcuterie, and beef and chicken stocks. The menu is, of course, meat-obsessed, offering steaks, chops and burgers, including a goat burger with Laura Chenel Chèvre cheese. Open Thursday through Monday for lunch and sometimes dinner. 10905 Highway 1, Point Reyes Station, 415-663-1800, marinsunfarms.com

Nick’s Cove

The Boat, Hog Island’s onsite oyster bar, offers shucked oysters, raw and cooked, cheese, bread, beer and wine, with no reservations required. What will require a reservation is a picnic spot of one’s own for DIY shucking, complete with table, grill and tools. BYOB is fine, and there are plenty of beverages for sale at The Boat, including Marooned On Hog Island Oyster Stout. Oysters and shellfish are also sold to go.

A waterside place to stay and eat, Nick’s is a series of cottages on stilts on Tomales Bay and below the road. There’s a cozy gourmet restaurant, oyster bar and watering hole within walking distance that’s reason alone to make the drive. With the same sustainable mentality that marks so much of Marin, Nick’s food is in keeping with the natural surroundings, the menu stocked with crab mac and cheese, crab cakes, crab Louis, crab risotto, clam chowder and plenty of oysters. Lodging rates start at just above $200 and are a better deal in winter, especially midweek.

20215 Highway 1, Marshall, 415-663-9218, hogislandoysters.com

23240 Highway 1, Marshall, 415-663-1033, nickscove.com

Hog Island Oyster Co.

Manka’s Inverness Lodge The lodge, which survived a 2006 fire that claimed Manka’s destination restaurant, remains among the most luxurious and quietly private places to stay. Breakfast is included, the well-appointed cabins have fireplaces and hot tubs, and the town of Inverness and the wild beaches of Point Reyes are nearby. Rates start at $215. 30 Callendar Way, Inverness, 415-669-1034, mankas.com

photos by Charlie Gesell

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To be so close To such an urbane, food-oriented city is a blessing in Sonoma, and San Francisco can feel more like a part of our extended backyard than a separate place of its own. There is a defined thoroughfare between the two in terms of ingredients and frame of mind. Chefs, bartenders and wine buyers love having the connection to Sonoma, and Sonoma to them. Whether it’s cozying up to a romantic Manhattan in a dark, timeless bar, hanging onto an F-line streetcar in the dark of a winter’s evening, or foraying into the shops and eateries that contribute to the national conversation on what constitutes inventive, a trip to the city is sure to open all the senses and remind that what is grown and harvested in Sonoma adds substantially to the fabric of a world-class, much-loved city.

Where to Go: Dandelion Chocolate Dandelion is San Francisco’s newest artisan chocolate maker, continuing a lineage that runs through Ghirardelli, Guittard and Recchiuti. From its hipsterdetailed Mission District outpost, it makes the bars in full view of visitors, from melting to wrapping, with plenty of the finished product for sale, plus roasted cocoa beans and decadent baked goods. 740 Valencia St., San Francisco, 415349-0942, dandelionchocolate.com

Ferry Building Marketplace This Embarcadero emporium offers all one could possibly want to eat, with outposts such as Hog Island Oyster Co., Cowgirl Creamery, McEvoy Ranch Olive Oil and Gott’s Roadside. It’s also a place to discover new wines at the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, where food can be brought in to enjoy alongside a rotating selection of wines by the glass or bottle; vintner nights are frequent. One Ferry Building, San Francisco, 415-983-8030, ferrybuildingmarketplace.com

Bi-Rite Market and Bi-Rite Creamery & Bakeshop One of the early pioneers of artisan food supplies, Bi-Rite in the Mission District is a cool place to browse and find picnic items and other goods to take home. It’s so devoted to new discoveries that the store also organizes farm tours (it operates its own organic farms in Sonoma, Placerville and San Francisco), classes and tastings. Committed to creating community as much as nourishing through food, Bi-Rite maintains a second San Francisco store (550 Divisadero, 415-551-7900) and two Creamery & Bakeshops, near both of its markets. 3639 18th St., San Francisco, 415-241-9760, biritemarket.com; 3692 18th St., San Francisco, 415-626-5600, biritecreamery.com

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Kent Porter

Bar Agricole South of Market, near the Slim’s nightclub owned by musician and Napa Valley vintner Boz Scaggs, Bar Agricole does food and booze equally well, with an emphasis on classic cocktails with an artisan twist. This means a drink like Ti Punch is made from rhum agricole, a species of rum made from fresh-pressed sugarcane instead of molasses, and meant to reflect the sugarcane’s terroir, much as wine shows its provenance. 355 11th St., San Francisco, 415-355-9400, baragricole.com

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Offering modern elegance in the heart of the Financial District, an easy walk to Chinatown, North Beach and the Embarcadero, the Mandarin Oriental boasts luxurious rooms with views of the bay or bridges. It’s also a must-stop for gin lovers; the gin and tonic-obsessed Bar at Brasserie S & P is a slice of heaven for the cocktail-erati. Rates start at $395. 222 Sansome St., San Francisco, 415-276-9888, mandarinoriental. com/sanfrancisco

photos by Chris Hardy

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SPQR

Tartine Bakery & Café

House of Air

The second restaurant of the team that launched A16, SPQR in the Fillmore is sure to steal your heart if it hasn’t already; the Italian-inspired food is rendered in poetically perfect ways. Chef Matthew Accarrino deserves every accolade bestowed and many more. Do everything possible to order the smoked fettuccini with sea urchin, smoked bacon and soft quail egg, paired with something adventurous from owner Shelley Lindgren’s Italian wine list.

Another stalwart of the city’s rigorous attention to artisan detail, Tartine crafts outstanding bread and baked goods. Co-owner and baker Chad Robertson is a hero to many. Fresh-baked bread is available daily after 4:30 p.m., in time for dinner or overnight wrapping for the next day’s best-ever toast. The on-site café serves pastries, hot-pressed sandwiches and quiche, along with Four Barrel coffee and Niman Ranch meats. Lines out the door are routine.

Indulge your inner aerialist at this giant warehouse at the Presidio’s Chrissy Field, devoted to getting airborne via trampoline. Come just to bounce, or for workout classes, coaching sessions on how to master Olympiclevel tuck jumps and pikes, better maneuver on skis and snowboards, or simply to release workweek tension through a game of trampoline dodgeball. Sessions start at $13.

1911 Fillmore St., San Francisco, 415-771-7779, spqrsf.com

600 Guerrero St., San Francisco, 415-487-2600, tartinebakery.com

926 Mason St., San Francisco, 415-345-9675, houseofair.com

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The ski slopes around lake Tahoe are such an irresistible draw for Bay Area residents that they’ll happily sit in traffic for hours, slog on chains and tempt the fates of road closures, just to get in a day or two of snowboarding or skiing. But that’s not the only reason so many love Tahoe. It’s also because the year-round resort knows a thing or two about living the good life, offering adrenaline junkies a chance to slow down and refuel around a meal.

Where to Go: Where to Go: The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe Yes, it’s fancy and over-the-top luxurious, but the Ritz-Carlton in North Lake Tahoe also has as ace up its sleeve: Manzanita. The destination restaurant has a chef’s table for up to eight guests, who experience a “mountain-inspired California cuisine” tasting menu that’s crazy-good. In addition to a spa, hiking trails, fishing, children’s programs and championship golf, a new Backyard Bar & BBQ is being built. Rates start at $369. 13031 Ritz-Carlton Highlands Court, Truckee, 530-562-3000, ritzcarlton.com/en/properties/laketahoe

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Moody’s Bistro, Bar & Beats

The Pour House To stock up on fine wines, look no farther than this retail shop packed with bottles from the Old World and New, including Pinot Noirs from Saintsbury and Flowers, and selections from the nearby Sierra Foothills, such as the Donkey & Goat Five Thirteen Red Wine Blend from El Dorado. The store also carries collectibles it categorizes as “You Wish!” comprised of library wines such as the 1997 Opus One Cabernet blend. Best of all, the shop does daily tastings of two reds and two whites and will help with parties. 10075 Jibboom St., Truckee, 530-550-9664, thepourhousetruckee.com

Wilderness Adventures Dog Sled Tours Admire the graceful choreography and poetic paw work of a team of eight to 12 huskies pulling a sled through the snowy mountains on this one-hour tour. Daily daytime and sunset tours are available, weather permitting, winter through spring, leaving from the Resort at Squaw Creek. Up to two adults and two children typically fit per sled. Rates start at $110 per person. 400 Squaw Creek Road, Olympic Valley, 530-550-8133, tahoedogsledtours.com

Petra In the Village at Northstar, Petra is food, wine and people in equal proportions, featuring some 150 wine selections, winemaker dinners and happy hours daily from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. (two glasses of wine plus cheese for $20). The restaurant’s menu is organized around cheese, charcuterie and tapas. 3001 North Village Drive, Truckee, 530-562-0600, teloswine.com

PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn The PlumpJack Café at Squaw Valley continues where the beloved San Francisco institution left off, creating sumptuous plates for lunch and dinner that are meant to be enjoyed with wine, which is sold at retail prices. It’s a fun place with seasonal wine dinners a prominent part of the mix. On weekends, stay for Sunday Bloody Sunday, when Bloody Marys (Asian- and Southern-inspired) take on new meaning from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Rates start at $255.

Within the Truckee Hotel, Moody’s is both inspired eatery and live music hangout, where a plate of truffled deviled eggs or housemade corndogs with CocaCola ketchup makes perfect sense while a blues band plays. Thin-crust pizza, burgers, sandwiches and house-made pastas round out the standard offerings, while bison short ribs and Durham Ranch elk burger stand out as the not-in-Kansas-anymore choices. Wines on tap include J Pinot Gris and Qupé Syrah, and you can pillage Moody’s Cellar for a bottle of something rare. And be on the lookout: Paul McCartney has been known to show up unannounced and sing a few tunes. 10007 Bridge St., Truckee, 530-587-8688, moodysbistro.com

1920 Squaw Valley Road, Squaw Valley, 530-583-1578, plumpjacksquawvalleyinn.com

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Tasting the Future Fans of barrel tastings don’t let the mouth-puckering tannins and oaky character of young red wines stop them from sipping these infants a year or more before they’re released to the market.

Christopher Chung

Jan/Feb 2014 sonomamag.com

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getting out

Bungs Away by Linda murphy

I

n their first year of life, most red wines taste raw, tannic and mouth-puckering — assaults that only winemakers should have to endure. So how to explain why 15,000 people would go out of their way to sample harsh, astringent, all-elbows red wines less than a year old, and pay good money to do so? It’s part of the mystique of barrel tasting, a ritual in which vintners pour their wines right from the barrel for consumers looking for a behind-the-scenes experience. They also hope to snag prized bottles at discounted prices, well before they’re sold in tasting rooms. Filled barrels are stored in cellars so chilly that visitors can see their own breath; bundling up is part of the fun. It's a glimpse behind the curtain at gleaming stainless-steel tanks, wine-stained casks, and bottling lines either clattering away or stoically silent. Wine cellars have a distinct aroma, too, a haunting mix of fermented grapes, toasty oak and wet cement. Visitors can see, feel and smell the winery as well as sip its young wines. Barrel tasting relies on a system called futures: pay now and get the bottled wine 12 to 18 months later. The buyer feels like an insider, invested in the future of the wine; the winery’s cash flow improves by finding early homes for the bottles. Customer and seller both win. The Wine Road Barrel Tasting is a phenomenon, growing from a one-day affair in 1978 to two three-day weekends that are attended by 15,000 people, 50 percent of them from out of state. They travel from winery to winery, sometimes in limos, dressed way up, or down, to try wines that aren’t yet ready to drink. In the recent past, the event’s popularity and $10 price led to overcrowding, buses blocking narrow roads, and inebriation of those who didn't spit after sipping. But tickets now cost $30 to $50, which has eliminated most of the hearty partiers; there are also restrictions on buses and limos. As a result, barrel tasting has become attractive again to dedicated collectors and those wanting to get the jump on bottles that might not be available a year later. Some 120 vintners will pull bungs from barrels at the 36th annual Wine Road Barrel Tasting in late February and early March. The event has become a template for other regions seeking to sell wine at a traditionally slow time of year. On the weekend after Wine Road, Sonoma Valley

wineries roll out their barrels for Savor Sonoma Valley. “We like barrel tasting for the opportunity to educate,” said Julie Pedroncelli St. John, vice president of marketing for Pedroncelli Winery in Geyserville. “Our interaction with a visitor might spark a lifetime interest in wine.” So can the purchase of futures, said Rod Berglund, winemaker at Joseph Swan Vineyards in Forestville. “Futures can be the only way to acquire a wine made in small amounts. People like to have something the rest of the world doesn’t have,” he said. “We also try to offer futures at a generous discount. Since wine prices seldom go down and our costs are constantly going up, futures buyers often get a very, very good deal.” While a few wineries offer barrel tastings year-round, the real action is on the two Wine Road weekends, according to Executive Director Beth Costa. “Some visitors bring spreadsheets of what’s in their cellars,” she said, “and use them to decide which wines to buy. They're that into it.”

Bella Vineyards and Wine Caves in Dry Creek Valley was decked out in down-home, rustic lighting for the 2013 Wine Road Barrel Tasting, an annual event that regularly draws 15,000 people over two long winter weekends.

Wine Road Barrel Tasting, Feb. 28-March 2 and March 7-9, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 800-723-6336, wineroad.com, $30-$50 Savor Sonoma Valley, March 15-16,11 a.m.-4 p.m., heartofsonomavalley.com, $50-$65

photo by Kent Porter

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WEILL HALL at

presents the

Sonoma State University

Discover the ultimate

MUSIC EXPERIENCE in the heart of

Don’t Miss the Remaining

wine country

2013-14 S E A S O N S H O WS :

Sat, Jan 18

Sun, Feb 9

Audra McDonald

Venice Baroque Orchestra with Phillippe Jaroussky

Sat, Jan 25 Handel’s Theodora The English Concert

Audra McDonald

Sun, Feb 23 Bahia Orchestra Project with Chucho Valdés

Phillippe Jaroussky

Celebrate Valentine’s Day at W EILL H A LL! TICKETS: 1-866-955-6040

Sun, Apr 27 Hilary Hahn

Sun, Mar 9 An Afternoon of Opera Leah Crocetto and David Lomeli in Recital

Chucho Valdés

Tue, Mar 11

Sat, Mar 29

Sun, May 11

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Jessye Norman American Masters

Florian Boesch and Malcolm Martineau

Sat, Mar 15

Sun, Apr 13

Sun, May 18

Estrella Morente

Deborah Voigt

Richard Goode

Estrella Morente

Jessye Norman

Enjoy Philippe Jaroussky and the Venice Baroque Orchestra on February 9 Followed by a divine 3 course meal at Prelude Restaurant, accompanied by live harp music. Visit gmc.sonoma.edu for information

GREEN MUSIC CENTER

MasterCard and the MasterCard brand mark are registered trademarks of MasterCard International Incorporated. ©2013 MasterCard.

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Hilary Hahn

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play

events

Fun Things to Do JANUARY THROUGH APRIL

JANUARY 5

JANUARY 10

Whale Watching

Three Kings Day

Martini Madness

In January, migrating gray whales head south from their feeding grounds in the frigid waters near Alaska to the subtropical waters of the lagoons and bays of Baja California. On weekends, whale fans gather at Bodega Head for a chance to see the majestic sea mammals. Once they arrive in the south, the whales mate and nurse their young. By April, pairs of cows and calves, which tend to travel closer to shore, can be spotted heading back north again.

Celebrate the arrival of the wise men after the birth of Christ, in keeping with the Spanish tradition of “El Día de los Reyes Magos,” with an Epiphany performance from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Gloria Ferrer Winery cave. Sip sparkling wine and sample Spanish holiday treats. $15; children under 12 free.

Sonoma Valley celebrates olive season throughout January and February with a dozen events, including this popular cocktail contest, with bartenders from Sonoma Valley restaurants, bars and pubs competing to create the best new martini. Visitors get to sample the creations and vote for their favorites. The party, at MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa, runs from 5 to 7 p.m. MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa, 29 E. MacArthur St., Sonoma, 707-9382929, macarthurplace.com Sonoma Valley Olive Festival, 866996-1090, olivefestival.com

Michael Wilson

Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods, 707-869-9177, stewards ofthecoastandredwoods.org

23555 Highway 121, Sonoma, 707933-1917, gloriaferrer.com

JANUARY 18

Audra McDonald Audiences love this singer, who made her Broadway debut in 1992 while still studying at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. She has since won a record-tying five Tony Awards. After four seasons on the ABC television series “Private Practice,” she continues her concert career, making her first appearance in Weill Hall. McDonald will perform show tunes, songs from classic movies and original pieces. $45-$95. Green Music Center, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park, 866-955-6040, gmc.sonoma.edu

JANUARY 18-19

Christopher Chung

Winter WINEland

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Wine Road Northern Sonoma County stages its 22nd annual winter celebration with a long list of wineries participating. Meet winemakers and taste limited-production wines, new releases and library wines. All of the wineries will have something on sale, some will offer food pairings and others will give tours. $35-$45 in advance; $45-$60 at the door; $5-$10 for designated drivers. 707-433-4335, wineroad.com

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Experience the newly renovated Ruth Finley Person Theater!

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For info about growing your business in Sonoma, visit

SonomaValley4Biz.com,

the website of the Sonoma Valley Economic Development Partnership

Bryan Adams: Bare Bones Tour 2013 (photo by Will Bucquoy)

We ship wine. UP C OM I NG P ERF O RM A NC ES

The UPS Store

www.theupsstore.com/1743.htm

707-935-3438 19201 SONOMA HIGHWAY

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M–F 8AM–6PM SAT 8AM–4PM

Jan 29

Larry The Cable Guy

Jan 30

The Irish Rovers: Farewell to Rovin’ Tour

Feb 9

Engelbert Humperdinck

Feb 11 Chicago® Feb 23 Symphony Pops Series: Three Phantoms in Concert Mar 4

Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Mar 9

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis

707.546.3600

|

wellsfargocenterarts.org

Conveniently located off Hwy 101 in Santa Rosa

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events

FEBRUARY 15

Feast of the Olive Dinner

Kathleen Madigan

Another olive season high point is this event at Ramekins Culinary School, Special Events & Inn in Sonoma, with local chefs, winemakers and olive oil producers collaborating on the fivecourse menu and wine pairings. 6 p.m. $150.

Lewis Black called her “the funniest woman in America.” With her latest TV special, “Madigan Again,” out on CD, the winner of several “best female comedian” honors is on the road again, and returning to Santa Rosa’s Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. 8 p.m. $32.

450 West Spain St., Sonoma, 707-996-1090, olivefestival.com

50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa, 707-546-3600, wellsfargocenterarts.org

Charlie Gesell

JANUARY 25

FEBRUARY 1

Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest

John Burgess

There are great crab feeds throughout Sonoma this time of year, and one of the most beloved is the Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s annual bash, now in its 25th year. The feasting begins at 6:30 p.m. in Grace Pavilion at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa. $75. 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa, 707-544-5575, sonomafb.org

FEBRUARY 8-9

International Alsace Varietals Festival The Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association hosts a tasting of wines from around the globe, with wineries from France, Germany and New Zealand pouring samples alongside those from Michigan, New York, Oregon and California. And, of course, there will be Anderson Valley wines. The event includes pairings with local cheeses, Tomales Bay oysters and more, an educational session and winemaker dinners. $65 for the Grand Tasting. Mendocino County Fairgrounds, 14400 Highway 128, Boonville, 707-895-9463, avwines.com

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FEBRUARY 26

Jazz on the Menu FEBRUARY 14-17

FEBRUARY 15

Cloverdale Citrus Fair

“Wild Jungle Love”

California’s first fair of the year is also one of the longest-running. Founded in 1893, it’s held every February, rain or shine. The featured exhibits are made of citrus fruits, primarily oranges, and are filled in with other food products, such as coffee, nuts and raisins. Entertainment, rides and fair food are among the other activities. $7 general admission; $5 for children 6-12; 5 and under free.

Celebrate the day after Valentine’s Day at the Safari West wild animal preserve northeast of Santa Rosa, where even water buffalo and wildebeest can find romance. The package includes chocolates and wine at 2:30 p.m., followed by a look at love in the wild on a “Safari Sex Tour” of the 400-acre property by truck. Finish with dinner and dancing from 5:30 to 11 p.m. $140. Private tours are available by reservation for Feb. 14 and 16, at $800 for up to 10 guests.

Cloverdale Citrus Fairgrounds, 1 Citrus Fair Drive, Cloverdale, 707-894-3992, cloverdalecitrusfair.org

One of the more inventive music events of the season is the Healdsburg Jazz Festival’s winter fundraiser for music education. Dine at one of 15 participating restaurants in Healdsburg and Geyserville, with each restaurant featuring live jazz 6-9 p.m. Restaurants donate 25 percent of their evening’s receipts to school music programs. There’s also an “after party” 7:30-10:30 p.m. at Costeaux French Bakery ($15). 707-433-4633, healdsburgjazz.org

3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa, 707-579-2551, safariwest.com

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American Made

Bedroom & Dining Room

S O N O M A

LAND TRUST

Furniture

Founded in 1976 in the Sonoma Valley

Working to preserve what you LOVE about the Sonoma Valley

Since 1977

FURNITURE • MATTRESSES • BEDDING

800 WEST NAPA ST. SONOMA 939-7733

chestbedstore.com

Learn about our work to protect the Sonoma Valley Wildlife Corridor at sonomalandtrust.org.

The best—because You deserve it. Ă‚ESSYZgSfQc`aW]\a Ă‚4W\SRW\W\UbV`]cUV]cbbVSROg Ă‚>O`bWSaQObS`W\UOdOWZOPZSaW[^ZSb]SZSUO\b Ă‚4`]\bRSaYabOTTOdOWZOPZS "V]c`aOROg Ă‚>O`Y>]W\b4Wb\Saa1ZcP[S[PS`aVW^ Ă‚AOZ]\ Ă‚>`WdObS^ObW]aT]`SOQVO^O`b[S\b Ă‚:O\RaQO^SU`]c\Ra Ă‚3f^S`WS\QSR[O\OUS[S\b Ă‚4cZZaQVSRcZSR]TOQbWdWbWSaQZOaaSaUO[Sa O\RS\bS`bOW\[S\b

Call us to arrange lunch and a tour

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Fabiola Sotomayor and Emily Mughannam prepare their picnic table for the Pop-Up Dinner Wine Country at Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma.

Oysters with white verjus and pickled cucumber are served at Partake by K-J in Healdsburg.

eats

Pop-up and Party On by Diane Peterson photography by Conner Jay

T

hanks to aMC’s retro TV show “Mad Men,” it’s hip to be square again. In Wine Country, pleasure-seekers of all ages are dressing up, sipping cocktails and stepping out to dinners that come with a twist: some kind of show. More intimate than a restaurant and more social than a dinner party, the events are creative and theatrical. Last fall, some 600 guests dressed all in white and gathered at Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma for the first Pop-Up Dinner Wine Country. For the posh, Gatsby-style picnic, participants brought their own food and wine, plus over-the-top table decor. Then they danced the night away in a barn to the gypsy jazz of Dgiin. “It’s not just a pop-up dinner, but a pop-up art installation,” said Nicole Benjamin, coowner of Hand Made Events of Sonoma, which hosts the intimate dinners among strangers in cities across the country. Part speakeasy, part Venetian carnival and part shabby-chic convention, the all-white dinners started in France in the 1980s and have since gained momentum, spreading from Nairobi to New York.

Tip

Leave the black, shrink-to-fit Levis at home. White garb is the order of the day.

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The parties offer something for everyone — food, wine, fashion, decor, music and a hint of mystique — while relying on the guests themselves to create the evening’s zeitgeist. At Cornerstone Gardens, serious foodies warmed up gourmet dishes such as duck breast over Sterno, while a dozen Marilyn Monroe look-alikes imitated the fetching film star with glamorous white wigs. The pop-up dinner will return to Wine Country this fall, in a new, secret location that will not be revealed until the last minute. Those who can’t wait that long can head to Suite D in Sonoma, where Girl & The Fig restaurateur Sondra Bernstein and her chef and business partner, John Toulze, throw weekly pop-up dinners for 40 to 50 guests. Each dinner offers a different theme, decor and menu, from Southern-style feasts to lobster bakes, with wine. Entertainment can include a flamenco guitarist, a Ping-Pong tournament or a caricaturist. “It’s really quirky and fun,” Bernstein said. “It gives us a chance to do something we don’t normally do.” Up north in Geyserville, Dino Bugica draws food lovers from far and near with his soulful, wood-fired Italian cooking at Diavola Pizzeria. Four times a year, Bugica also hosts the Diavola Supper Club, a pop-up dinner and dance that draws up to 120 guests to the Oddfellows Lodge above the restaurant. It’s a grown-up affair for hipsters that offers a family-style meal, guest winemakers and brewers, and a live band with dancing into the wee hours. Bring your own fedora and loud tie. “Mad Men” would approve.

The first Pop-Up Dinner Wine Country drew about 600 diners to Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma.

Diavola Pizzeria, 21021 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville, 707-814-0111, diavolapizzeria.com Hand Made Events, 974 First St. West, Sonoma, handmadeevents.com Suite D, 21800 Schellville Road, Suite D, Sonoma, 707-933-3667, figsuited.com

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Partake by K-J. An exploration l of wine and food at the table. Enjoy small plates designed to highlight the extraordinary affinity between wine and food. partakebykj.com

241 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, California 707.433.6000

A recipient of the prestigious Michelin star, SantĂŠ is one of the only places in the United States where fruits and vegetables are picked in the morning, delivered to the restaurant and on the plate that same afternoon. It is the culinary teamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mission to create unparalleled experiences that will be remembered for years.

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Hours: Sunday - Saturday 11am to 9pm

Open for Dinner nightly from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Reservations Suggested - 707.939.2415 100 Boyes Blvd, Sonoma, CA 95476 www.santediningroom.com

Michelin

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Dining Out Choice restaurants for the winter season Key Here are spoon-size portions of previous restaurant reviews by Jeff Cox, accompanied by the date they originally ran in The Press Democrat. Reviews will be curated on a seasonal basis. Price guide:

$ $$ $$$ $$$$

Entrees under $12 Entrees $12 to $17 Entrees $17 to $24 Entrees $24 and up

café claudio, 9890 Bodega Highway, Sebastopol, 707-861-9547, cafeclaudio.com Claudio Capetta has served

his well-made Italian specialties in Sonoma County for 17 years, and in his newest venue on Bodega Highway just west of Sebastopol, he continues his string of good restaurants aimed straight at the heart of locals. The building is unassuming; there’s a short but good wine list; the entrees run to the tried and true: chicken cacciatore, chicken Parmigiana, veal scaloppini, scampi fra diavolo. There’s usually a vegetarian risotto and fish of the day. Reviewed 4/7/13. $$-$$$ café europe, 104 Calistoga Road, Santa Rosa, 707-538-5255, clickcafeeurope.com Austrian chef Rob-

ert Buchschachermair knows his German and Austrian dishes well and replicates the classics flawlessly. Here are the potato pancakes with sour cream and apple sauce, the spicy red cabbage, wiener schnitzel, sauerbraten, sausage platters and good German beer on tap. Plus he adds mainstream nightly specials from other cuisines, such as grilled salmon, chicken with pasta, duck a l'orange and wild boar ragout. Buchschachermair’s Austrian apple strudel for dessert is right on the money. Reviewed 1/6/13. $$-$$$

minestrone, green salad, bread and side dishes of pasta with meat sauce. There’s a full bar out front and a dining room with a beautiful mural showing a Sonoma County scene before the redwoods were harvested. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Reviewed 1/27/13. $$ Forchetta/Bastoni, 6948 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol, 707-8299500, forchettabastoni.com While

the Forchetta (fork) side of the menu is Italian, the Bastoni (sticks) side offers Southeast Asian street food, with noodles, chicken and rice with spicy hot sauce, salads, curries and of course, a very good banh mi sandwich. Prices are moderate and there are a lot of choices. The full bar is one of Sebastopol’s top spots for gettogethers and friendly fun. Reviewed 9/22/13. $$ Formosa Bistro, 799 Gravenstein Highway South, Sebastopol, 707823-6688, sebastopolformosabistro.com Excellent preparations of

classic Japanese and Chinese dishes, with some Southeast Asian recipes, too. There are pages of nigiri sushi and fancy maki sushi rolls, along with many entrees and combination plates. The coconut curry begs to be served over rice, and the gyoza dumplinglike pot stickers stuffed with spiced pork are worth a stop. A good list of sakes completes the picture. Reviewed 12/30/12. $-$$

You get a big helping of humor from the way the maki rolls are named, but there’s nothing frivolous about the excellent Japanese food. Nigiri sushi, hand rolls, raw and cooked entrees, and many items to fill a bento box are available. Presentations are as pretty as the food is delicious. Recommended for lunch and dinner. Reviewed 6/2/13. $$-$$$ Jack and Tony’s restaurant and Whisky Bar, 115 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 707-526-4347, jackandtonys.com Jack and Tony’s in Railroad

Square has the best whisky bar in the North Bay, with more than 300 selections from around the world, from rough to smooth, cheap to pricey, and with nuances to satisfy any palate. The food is solid crowd-pleasing; don’t miss the butterscotch pudding, made with real Scotch and butter. Reviewed 1/13/13. $$$-$$$$

La rosa Tequileria & grille, 500 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 707-5233663, larosasantarosa.com The res-

taurant’s beautiful brick and wooden building in the heart of downtown Santa Rosa delivers many delights, starting with chef Robert Reyes’ inspired Mexican cooking. He gives modern and welcome twists to traditional Mexican dishes. There’s also a bar with 160 tequilas and freshsqueezed margaritas served in a relaxed and casual atmosphere. It’s a great place to meet up and hang out. Reviewed 3/31/13. $$-$$$ Luma, 500 First St., Petaluma, 707658-1940, lumapetaluma.com This

Jeff Kan Lee

dinucci’s italian dinners, 14485 Highway 1, Valley Ford, 707-8763260, dinuccisrestaurant.com Here’s

a place that hasn’t changed much for many years. It serves family-style Italian dinners, with entrees accompanied by all the trimmings: antipasti,

Haku Sushi, 518 Seventh St., Santa Rosa, 707-541-6359, facebook.com

is a real find: an unpretentious restaurant with a feel-good vibe, great service and contemporary American cooking featuring nightly specials such as braised pork ribs and blackened catfish. The regular menu includes ancho- and porcini-seared filet mignon, chicken picadillo, and a daily “vegetarian delight,” a tray loaded with wonderfully prepared seasonal fruits and vegetables. The wine list is

Dumpling-like pot stickers known as gyoza are stuffed with spiced pork at Formosa Bistro in Sebastopol.

global and modestly priced. Reviewed 11/3/13. $$$ Lydia’s Kitchen, 1435 N. McDowell Blvd., Suite 100, Petaluma, 707-7925300, lydiasorganics.com If you’re

looking for healthy, vegan, glutenfree, organic food, you’ll find it at Lydia’s Kitchen, the restaurant offshoot of Lydia’s Organics, a purveyor of such goods to the international market. Yes, Lydia’s serves burgers, pizza, crepes and more, but they’re all made of cooked or raw nuts, seeds, grains, greens and herbs. The cooks at Lydia’s make this fare taste good, and often delicious. Reviewed 8/11/13. $-$$

Prelude at the green Music center, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park, 866-955-6040, sonoma.edu/prelude

Sonoma State is not your parents’ Granola U anymore. The campus’ beautiful Green Music Center has a fine restaurant in Prelude, where concert-goers can dine before or after performances in Weill Hall. The bar offers mixed drinks and wine; the food showcases Sonoma’s bounty from ocean and farm, making concert-going a double delight. Call for schedule and details. Reviewed 7/28/13. $$$$ Press, 587 St. Helena Highway, St. Helena, 707-967-0550, pressnapavalley.com Owned by the family

that owns Dean & DeLuca and the Oakville Grocery, Press focuses on high-quality steaks and a huge list of Napa Valley wines, from current releases to treasures produced as long ago as the 1960s. The cocktails are superior, too. While many good dishes come from the wood-fired oven, it’s really the steaks that are the stars, among them Wagyu beef from Japan and extravagantly good American beef. Reviewed 10/20/13. $$$$ restaurant rudy, 522 Broadway, Sonoma, 707-938-7373, restaurantrudy.com When it comes to classic

Mediterranean dishes from southern France and Italy, chef Rudy Mihal is one of the best chefs in Sonoma County. Some of his American-style dishes don’t have quite as much flair, but that shouldn’t stop you from seeking out his cooking. His tortelli,

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Awarded California’s Best Beef Restaurant

El Pueblo lnn We are family owned and operated since 1959!

Enjoy gracious comfort, excellent value and a prime location near the heart of Sonoma. At MacArthur Place Inn & Spa  East MacArthur Street

707-933-3191 Award Winning Wine List Martini Bar · Outdoor Dining Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Daily

For reservations: Phone: 1.800.900.8844 Online: www.elpuebloinn.com

w w w. M ac A r t hur P l ac e . c o m

Fine dining in a secluded, mountain-view location in the heart of Santa Rosa

Lunch: Friday ONLY starting at 11:30am Dinner: Daily starting at 4pm Join us at The Villa for

Happy Hour 3pm-7:30pm every day

We take pride in preparing Indian dishes from fresh ingredients and hope that you will enjoy them.

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3901 Montgomery Dr., Santa Rosa 707-528-7755 www.thevillarestaurant.com

–Jeff Cox

The Press Democrat

52 Mission Circle, Suite 110, Santa Rosa 707-538-3367 • pamposhrestaurant.com

12/18/13 2:52 PM


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lasagna and country-style duck and pork terrine are wonderful. Reviewed 6/30/13. $$-$$$$

Pastis-Scented Steamed Mussels with a separate plate of shoestring fries at The Girl and the Fig in Sonoma.

Rustic, Francis’s Favorites, 300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville, 707-8571485, franciscoppolawinery.com

satisfying. It’s a great place for lunch or late-afternoon/early dinner on Fridays and Saturdays. The food tends to be organic and locally sourced, with soups, salads, sandwiches, pastas and daily specials. The short wine list has some gems. Reviewed 7/14/13. $$

Francis Ford Coppola needs no introduction, yet at his winery/restaurant/ resort/tasting room, you’ll get one anyway. The restaurant, called “Rustic, Francis’s Favorites,” features the Italian dishes of his childhood, plus adult loves like an Argentine grill serving big portions of beef with chimichurri sauce. The wine list is mostly from his winery, and that’s OK. A wood-burning oven makes wonderful pizzas. Reviewed 11/10/13. $-$$$$

rant sets the standard for high-quality spa food, not only in Sonoma County, but anywhere in the world. The ingredients are mostly locally sourced and treated with respect, so the basic flavors shine through. The chefs use various techniques and carefully measured herbs and condiments to glorify the base ingredients. The service is impeccable. Luxury doesn’t come cheap, but indulge yourself and go. Reviewed 6/16/13. $$$$

Sazon Peruvian Restaurant, 1129 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa, 707523-4346, sazonsr.com Small and

Alvin Jornada

Santé at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, 100 Boyes Blvd., Sonoma, 707-939-2415,fairmont.com/sonoma /dining The food at this classic restau-

Wild Goat Bistro, 6 Petaluma Blvd. North, Petaluma, 707-658-1156, wildgoatbistro.com Tucked into the back

Taverna Sofia, 244 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 707-431-1982, tavernasofia.com This sweet little taverna

offers honest-to-goodness Greek fare. The Mediterranean diet never tasted so good. There are gyros, yes, but also spanakopita, souvlaki, moussaka and copious amounts of tzatziki. Greek coffee, strong and spiced, is available, as well as Greek wines and beers. For dessert, try the house-made baklava. Sofia’s usually on hand to share her sunny attitude and smile. Reviewed 12/2/12. $$

better at this restaurant since proprietor Sondra Bernstein and executive chef John Toulze expanded their repertoire during world travels. All of the wines are made from Rhone grape varieties; the full-flavored dishes complement the French country theme. Duck confit, steak frites, wild flounder meuniere, pastis-scented mussels — there’s so much to like. Reviewed 2/17/13. $$-$$$ Tian Yuen, 421 S. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale, 707-894-5697, tianyuencloverdale.com This pan-Asian res-

inconspicuous, yet clean and sunny, this southwest Santa Rosa restaurant is a treasure, serving authentic Peruvian food that’s packed with the multicultural flavors that define Peru’s cuisine. The dishes are not only delicious, but beautifully presented. In addition to the regular menu, there are nightly specials. The ceviches are particularly good. Reviewed 5/5/13. $$

taurant features traditional dishes of Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan and the Chinese mainland. The dishes aren’t knock-offs of these cuisines, but faithfully reproduced with skill and excellent ingredients. The chef makes her own curry pastes, and her curries are outstanding. The Japanese component has its own Japanese sushi chef. A fresh and interesting concept. Reviewed 11/17/13 $-$$$

SEA Thai Bistro, 2323 Sonoma Ave., Santa Rosa, 707-528-8333, seathaibistro.com The food at this upscale

Twist Eatery, 6536 Front St., Forestville, 707-820-8443, twisteatery.com The place is tiny, with nine

Alvin Jornada

Thai restaurant can be very, very good, depending on what you order. Generally, the featured entrees, such as the Angel Eggplant Chicken and baked duck breast, are excellent. The spiciness is toned down for the American palate, and ingredients are organic or sustainably grown whenever possible. Reviewed 4/14/13. $$-$$$

The Girl & the Fig, 110 West Spain St., Sonoma, 707-933-3000, thegirlandthefig.com The food has never been

stools at the counter, but the owners (the chef and his wife) are friendly, the vibe is warm, and the portions are

The Porkchop of Awe and Wonder at Wishbone in Petaluma.

of the Great Petaluma Mill, this bistro specializes in Neapolitan-style pizza, and that means perfectly crisp, thin crusts. There’s lots more to like, mostly dishes with an Italian flair such as local lamb ragu over pappardelle. The salads are organic and the meats are nitrate-free. A good wine list helps out. Reviewed 3/3/13. $$-$$$

Wishbone, 841 Petaluma Blvd. North, Petaluma, 707-763-2663, wishbonepetaluma.com If you remember

Humble Pie restaurant in Penngrove, you’ll connect with Miriam Donaldson’s rustic country take on California cooking. She and Josh Norwitt are now at Wishbone, the former site of Three Cooks Cafe, and are serving up food that’s a locavore’s delight. Donaldson puts a lot of her personality into dishes like chicken jalapeño pie, a buckwheat crepe pizzetta with gravlox and preserved lemon, and trout wrapped in house-raised bacon. The wine list is full of treasures. Reviewed 11/24/13 $$$

Zazu Restaurant + Farm, 6770 McKinley St., Sebastopol, 707-5234814, zazukitchen.com While many

restaurants claim to cook farm-totable, Duskie Estes and John Stewart take the concept to a new level at their restaurant, now located in a spacious room at The Barlow in Sebastopol. They have a small farm at home where they raise animals, gather eggs and grow produce, and a kitchen garden by the restaurant, too. Stewart makes great bacon and salumi, Estes ferments vegetables, and the kitchen turns out American comfort food that’s impossibly tasty. The Sonoma County community is lucky to have them here. Reviewed 9/15/13. $$$$$$$

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winery tasting rooms

Sip away the Winter Chill

Expert's guide For winter visits, wine writer Virginie Boone recommends these wineries, which typically are open to the public from around 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Contact the individual tasting room to confirm. Auteur Wines, 373 First St. West, Sonoma, 707-938-9211, auteurwines. com In a little cottage off the Sonoma

Plaza, Auteur offers intimate seated tastings of five of its exquisite wines, by appointment daily. The brand of winemaker Kenneth Juhasz, who also consults for The Donum Estate, Auteur is all about vineyard-designated Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

Banshee Wines, 325 Center St., Healdsburg, 707-395-0915, bansheewines.com One of the newer

additions to Healdsburg’s downtown wine-tasting scene, Banshee has created a cozy enclave of wine and art, open into the evenings for lounging. Wines are available by the glass and bottle at retail prices; more formal tastings are available, paired with bites from Healdsburg Shed. Benovia Winery, 3339 Hartman Road, Santa Rosa, 707-526-4441, benoviawinery.com In the heart of

the Russian River Valley, Benovia is open daily by appointment only, but worth the call to visit and taste current-release Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Grenache made from several estate-managed vineyards.

Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves, 9711 West Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, bellawinery.com 866-572-3552,

Duck into Bella’s cozy caves to taste, and on the weekends, enjoy small bites from the winery’s stellar chef, Bruce Frieseke. Cave and vineyard tours can be arranged by appointment with one week’s notice.

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Buena Vista Winery, 18000 Old Winery Road, Sonoma, 800-926-1266, buenavistawinery.com Historic

Buena Vista has refashioned its wine caves into a darkened, romantic spot for barrel tasting and touring, and a section of the cave can be reserved for private, by-appointment tastes of library wines and barrel samples. Don’t miss the Champagne Cellars (kid-friendly and there is no charge) where the winery’s history can be further explored.

Chateau St. Jean, 8555 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, 707-833-4134, chateaustjean.com With plenty of

food and gifts to buy from its wellstocked tasting room, the best reason to visit this venerable winery right now is that it’s celebrating 40 years of producing its Bordeaux-style blend, Cinq Cepages; the 2010 vintage has just been released. Every January, the winery hosts a popular Crab and Chardonnay party. Sign up soon. DeLoach Vineyards, 1791 Olivet Road, Santa Rosa, 707-526-9111, deloachvineyards.com Producer of

predominantly Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, DeLoach affords visitors the opportunity to learn the philosophies of Biodynamic farming and take part in two unique experiences available daily. The M.F.S. Blending Experience ($100) is a 90-minute lesson in blending, bottling and labeling your own Pinot Noir. The Magic of Wine and Mustard ($40) explores the history of mustard in Burgundy, France, and includes a stroll through the vineyard and garden, the chance to make your own mustard from Dijon seeds, and a pairing of mustard-inspired food with a flight of DeLoach wines.

Dutcher Crossing Winery, 8533 Dry Creek Road, Geyserville, 866-431dutchercrossingwinery.com 2711,

This quiet, comforting winery with a fireplace in its tasting room, overlooks its own magnificent Dry Creek Valley vineyards, and produces a slew of fine wines, from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to port and Petite Sirah. You might find winery dog Dutchess lounging near the fire or hanging out in the garden picnic grounds. Fritz Underground Winery, 24691 Dutcher Creek Road, Cloverdale, 707894-3389, fritzwinery.com Step into

Fritz’s subterranean winery, complete with warming fireplace, and enjoy its red blends, award-winning Zinfandels, fine estate rosé and late-harvest wines. By reservation, winemaker Brad Longton will even show you how to blend your own Pinot Noir ($175 a person).

Handley Cellars, 3151 Highway 128, Philo, 707-895-3876, handleycellars. com The stomping ground of Men-

docino County wine pioneer Milla Handley, Handley Cellars is the place to taste Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Alsatian varietals, including Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer. The tasting room includes Handley’s impressive collection of international folk art. The first weekend of every month takes a page from her collection, offering “Culinary Adventures,” a pairing of Asian, African and New World cuisine with her wines.

Harmonique Wines, 14501 Highway 128, Boonville, 707-895-9300, harmoniquewine.com Recently

opened by owners Bruce and Moira Conzelman to celebrate the release of three aged Pinot Noirs made by winemaker Robert Klindt, the Harmonique tasting room is within the John Hanes Fine Art Gallery, across from the Boonville Hotel. Enjoy the winery’s 2007 Delicacé Pinot Noir

from the Ferrington Vineyard, 2007 The Noble One Pinot Noir from the Klindt and Wiley vineyards, or 2007 Elegancé Pinot Noir, a blend from all three vineyards. The winery also offers an unoaked Chardonnay. Hartford Family Winery, 8075 Martinelli Road, Forestville, 707-8878030, hartfordwines.com Tucked

away in the woods, Hartford is a consistent high-quality producer of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and oldvine Zinfandel, sourcing grapes from the Green Valley sub-appellation of the Russian River Valley where it is based, and from other cool locales such as Anderson Valley. Seated indepth tastings, including some with food pairings, can be arranged by appointment.

J Vineyards & Winery, 11447 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg, 707431-5400, jwine.com A glass of bub-

bly is always a good thing, and this is a well-appointed spot at which to have it, as well as taste J’s Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, and the very rare J Pear Liqueur. The J Bubble Room will pair wines with exquisite, locally sourced dishes. Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards, 12747 El Camino Bodega, Freestone, josephphelps.com 707-874-1010,

On the way to the coast, Freestone Vineyards makes what you would expect — cool-climate Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays — and the tasting room will also pour selections from parent winery Joseph Phelps Vineyards, the Napa Valley producer of Cabernet Sauvignon and the famous Insignia proprietary red blend. On the second Sunday of every month, Freestone features local foods paired with the Sonoma Coast and Napa Valley wines.

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 110 west spain street sonoma, ca 707.933.3000 

 13690 arnold drive glen ellen, ca 707.938.2130 

 CATERS!

707.933.3667  

Place Matters Join us for a taste of our Single Vineyard Cabernets from the Alexander Valley

Open Daily 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM 11455 Old Redwood Hwy. Healdsburg, CA 800.678.4763 rodneystrong.com

country food with a French passion

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winery tasting rooms

Ladera Vineyards, 150 White Cottage Road South, Angwin, 707laderavineyards.com 965-2445,

Ladera is on the site of one of Napa Valley’s “ghost” wineries — an 1886 stone building built for gravity-flow winemaking. The Howell Mountain producer offers daily tastings of its current-release wines, as well as twohour estate tours (11 a.m. and 2 p.m.) that delve deeply into the winery’s history, vineyards and wine caves. Lambert Bridge, 4085 West Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, 707-4319600, lambertbridge.com Lambert

Bridge offers comfort and warmth in the wintertime, with a fieldstone fireplace roaring in the redwood-paneled tasting room. Then there are the dogs, a motley crew usually on hand, and the Barrel Room Wine and Food Pairings, during which Lambert Bridge’s richly elegant Cabernet Sauvignons and Zinfandels are poured with seasonal bites to match. Do a Signature Tasting on the weekend and you’ll be seated in the candlelit barrel room for a sampling of five small-lot wines.

Landmark Wine, 101 Adobe Canyon Road, Kenwood, 707-833-0053, landmarkwine.com In the shadow

of Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, Landmark makes Chardonnay (including the famous Overlook bottling) and Pinot Noir, and is increasingly becoming known for its Rhone-inspired reds, including Syrah and Grenache. In addition to its tasting room, the winery offers picnic spots and bocce courts. Merry Edwards Winery, 2959 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, 707-823-7466, merryedwards. com Winemaker Merry Edwards is a

pioneer in Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, excelling at coaxing rich berry flavor and voluptuous texture from the grapes. She also produces some of the best Sauvignon Blanc in the state, and has recently added Chardonnay to her lineup. Don’t miss the opportunity to discover her skill and view some of the vineyards surrounding the winery.

Odette Estate, 5998 Silverado Trail, Napa, 707-224-7533, odetteestate. com Owned by the PlumpJack Win-

ery guys (Gordon Getty, Gavin Newsom and John Conover), Odette is in

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Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District and on the path to becoming LEED-certified. With 18,000 square feet of caves, some of the first modern versions dug in Napa Valley, Odette makes for an intriguing visit, with great Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines on offer. Partake by K-J, 241 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 707-433-6000, partake bykj.com This is a novel concept in

tasting rooms, in that Partake is as much about the food (much of it sourced from the Jackson Estate’s gardens and orchards) as it is the wine itself. Take advantage of this delightful concept and step in for seasonal bites made to match specific flights of wine, from Sauvignon Blanc to dessert wines and lots in between. Reservations are recommended.

Paul Mathew Vineyards, 9060 Graton Road, Graton, 707-865-2505, paulmathewvineyards.com This tiny

operation produces Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as well as the much rarer Valdiguie, a light-bodied red akin to Napa Gamay and sourced from the Turner Vineyard in Knights Valley. Also look for the winery’s ongoing schedule of Foodies Seminars, events held once a month with a focus on local food and wine.

Porter Creek Vineyards, 8735 Westside Road, Healdsburg, 707-433portercreekvineyards.com 6321,

Here is an old-school tasting room in terms of its simplicity, but there’s nothing simple about Porter Creek’s wines, which are intriguing and complex, made from organically grown grapes from hillside vineyards. In addition to Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, enjoy Viognier, Carignane, Syrah and Zinfandel. Ram’s Gate, 28700 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, 707-721-8700, ramsgate winery.com Ram’s Gate was designed

for lingering, with a host of spacious sitting areas, many of which are grouped around a fireplace. Then there’s the food, prepared to order by the on-staff chef for seated, guided tastings. Order a picnic lunch to take into the vineyard or out by the pond. The wines alone are a reason to stay, a collection of single-vineyard Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay and even a brut bubbly.

Alvin Jornada

The Porkchop of Awe and Wonder at Wishbone in Petaluma.

Red Car Wine, 8400 Graton Road, Sebastopol, 707-829-8500, redcar wine.com Open daily, Red Car is a

sweet spot to taste Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah, and a particularly good choice in winter. With inspired labels on many of its bottles, look for its The Fight Syrah, made from Gray’s Town Vineyard in the Sonoma Coast appellation, close to the winery; it’s a gorgeous expression of earthy mushroom, blueberry and dark chocolate. Ridge Vineyards / Lytton Springs, 650 Lytton Springs Road, Healdsburg, 707-433-7721, ridgewine.com

The mighty Ridge is a perfect place to stop in winter, for its structured Zinfandels and Cabernet Sauvignons that are worth seeking out for occasions special and not. The tasting room is open daily, but reserve ahead for a Century Tour and Library Tasting, which might include an older vintage of Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon, Ridge’s most famous wine. Saracina Vineyards, 11684 Highway 101, Hopland, 707-744-1671, sara cina.com John Fetzer and his wife,

Patty Rock, have created a lovely destination getaway on the outskirts of Hopland. Practitioners of biodiversity, they have 600 acres that include grapevines, olive groves and ponds, and the cave is a cozy option for tasting the wines in winter. Bottlings include Malbec, Petite Sirah and an Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. Schramsberg Vineyards, 1400 Schramsberg Road, Calistoga, 800877-3623, schramsberg.com Among

the first in California to specialize in sparkling wine, Schramsberg occupies hallowed, historic ground, home to the oldest hillside vineyards in Napa Valley and some of the first caves dug for storing and aging wine. Take a tour by appointment, and don’t miss the Mirabelle Brut Rosé and other gorgeous sparklers before moving on to taste the J. Davies Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. Stonestreet Alexander Mountain Estate, 7111 Highway 128, 707-4733333, stonestreetwines.com Locat-

ed near Alexander Valley’s popular Jimtown Store, Stonestreet excels

in mountain-grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, and invites visitors to taste through its single-vineyard bottlings. Carve out extra time to take the twohour Mountain Excursion and Picnic ($90; 10:30 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday), a revelatory traipse through Stonestreet’s 6,000-acre estate, with lunch and wine. Thomas George Estates, 8075 Westside Road, Healdsburg, 707-431thomasgeorgeestates.com 8031,

Set in a converted 1920s-era hop kiln, Thomas George specializes in Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from specific, soughtafter sites, and limited amounts of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Zinfandel and Syrah. Expect to see dogs and sheep during your visit. Tricycle Wine Partners, 23568 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, 707-255-4929, tricyclewineco.com The newest addi-

tion to Cornerstone Gardens, Tricycle makes a range of high-quality wines, from its rich Obsidian Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon from Lake County, to Kazmer & Blaise Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Carneros, to the Molnar Family single-vineyard wines from Napa Valley.

Valdez Family Winery, 113 Mill St., Healdsburg, 707-433-3710, valdez familywinery.com Ulises Valdez is a

highly sought-after, Sonoma Countybased vineyard manager with access to some mighty fine grapes, so it’s no wonder he’s now producing his own lineup of stellar wines, with a special focus and place in his heart for Zinfandel. If your own heart beats for Rockpile, don’t pass up the Valdez Botticelli Vineyard Zin, an excellent expression of the rocky appellation high above Lake Sonoma. VJB Vineyards & Cellars, 60 Shaw Ave., Kenwood, 707-833-2300, vjb cellars.com In an Italian-inspired,

courtyard-centered villa in the heart of Sonoma Valley, VJB serves coffee and pastries in the morning, panini, pasta and pizza during the day, and samples of its Italian-inspired wines. The winery also stocks co-proprietor Maria Belmonte’s line of sauces, pestos and tapenades, and houses a shop for gelato and specialty chocolates.

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Dennis Milbrath is dressed to suit the Gatsby Gala’s theme at the McDonald Mansion.

Liza Nichayeva, left, and Erin Biesecker

Flappers’ gowns rippled and the chrome on ostentatiously elegant, pre-Depression automobiles shone on the manicured grounds of Santa Rosa’s grandest old estate for the Gatsby Gala. It was a playful, retro night of amusement and a social triumph for the sponsoring Sonoma County chapter of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The owners of McDonald Avenue’s exquisite Mableton, or McDonald Mansion, dressed in their 1920s best and greeted the Sept. 21 gala’s 150 guests. Bartenders from Stark’s Steakhouse and Jackson’s Bar and Oven poured modern interpretations of Prohibition-era, perfectly chilled contraband. After dinner came timeless lemon-chiffon cake and music, which drew guests onto the dance floor and back to a fleetingly gilded age.

M-L and Bill Reinking, left, laugh with Kevan Jurin during the Gatsby Gala.

Tatiana Argenal, left, Liza Nichayeva and Amanda Muller vamp it up in their Gatsby-era garb during the NAMI fundraiser. NAMI Sonoma County chief Rosemary Milbrath, left, joins Terri Timms and Vivian Brockway at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Sonoma County Gatsby Gala.

photos by Alvin Jornada

Jan/Feb 2014 sonomamag.com

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Saul Gropman, Lizzy Adair and Rob Larman

Tom Blackwood, left, and Michael Zivyak, president of Sonoma magazine

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Sonoma magazine relaunch party Just-pried Hog Island oysters, freshly hand-rolled cigars, abundant local wines, intriguing conversation, a hosted El Coyote food truck, cakes nearly too beautiful to slice, a venerable winery venue â&#x20AC;&#x201D; now this was a Sonoma party. More accurately, it was the Sonoma magazine relaunch party at Sonoma Valleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s historic, 1857 Buena Vista Winery. Hosted by principals of Sonoma Media Investments, the Nov. 7 bash premiered the expansion of the visually striking and lyrically written magazine that for years has reflected and interpreted life in Sonoma Valley. The new Sonoma magazine celebrates all of Sonoma County and its Wine Country environs. The cookies and the collection of sweet, sweet classic sports cars alone made it a night to write home about.

Jean-Charles Boisset of Boisset Family Estates and Buena Vista Winery addresses the relaunch party crowd.

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Amy Keohane, Alyson Douglas, Shannon Reiter and Sarah Golightly

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Jean Moulia and Darius Anderson, a principal of Sonoma Media Investments, which owns Sonoma magazine.

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Pascal Guyillermie and Coronet, a Canine Companion

Wine tasters watch a demonstration by Canine Companion service dogs.

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Pinot for Paws J Vineyards & Winery’s splendid visitor center near Healdsburg went to the dogs on a glowing autumnal Saturday, and it was a good thing. The occasion was Pinot for Paws, the inventive pairing of tastings of J Pinot Noirs and encounters with the life-enhancing work of Canine Companions for Independence, the Santa Rosabased organization that pioneered the training of service dogs for people with disabilities. Visitors to J on Nov. 30 witnessed the remarkable and myriad ways that a helpful dog can enable and enrich a person’s life. In addition to introducing its patrons to CCI, J donated to the organization a portion of the day’s tasting fees and Pinot Noir sales. The special day has J thinking it might introduce a Yappy Hour.

Jamie Stapleton guides her Canine Companion service dog, Nakoma, to open a door at J Winery's visitor center.

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Kayla and Helen Breslin pet service dogs at J Winery's Pinot for Paws event.

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Erin Davis and Kelly Stober have been real Erin Davis and Kelly Stober have been real estate business partners in Sonoma for over estate business partners in Sonoma for over 21 years. Their partnership was successful 21 years. Their partnership was successful from the beginning, and together the team from the beginning, and together the team is one of the most recognized real estate is one of the most recognized real estate partnerships in the area. Their extensive partnerships in the area. Their extensive experience and knowledge has enabled the experience and knowledge has enabled the team to give guidance to buyers and sellers team to give guidance to buyers and sellers about the market. They are consistently ranked about the market. They are consistently ranked among the top agents in the company and still among the top agents in the company and still continue to be active in their community. continue to be active in their community.

CharleenPrice Price Charleen 707.477-8470 707.477-8470

Charleen Price has been actively involved in Charleen Price has been actively involved in the Sonoma and Napa real estate market since the Sonoma and Napa real estate market since 2001. She brings common sense and down2001. She brings common sense and downto-earth honesty to all of her clients. Charleen to-earth honesty to all of her clients. Charleen focuses her attention on the clients at hand and focuses her attention on the clients at hand and provides them with quality service, necessary provides them with quality service, necessary information, guidance and support to make information, guidance and support to make well-informed decisions about their real estate well-informed decisions about their real estate needs. She works closely and maintains positive needs. She works closely and maintains positive relationships with other real estate professionals relationships with other real estate professionals to create a cooperative approach that will ensure to create a cooperative approach that will ensure transactions close as smoothly as possible. transactions close as smoothly as possible.

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Avram Goldman is a widely known and respected Avram Goldman is a widely known and respected real estate broker with more than 30 years’ real estate broker with more than 30 years’ experience. Avram’s marketing expertise, experience. Avram’s marketing expertise, extensive local knowledge, passion for client extensive local knowledge, passion for client service and real estate track record establishes service and real estate track record establishes him as a leading authority in the marketplace. him as a leading authority in the marketplace. He believes it is essential to look at each client’s He believes it is essential to look at each client’s specific needs and develop a custom plan to specific needs and develop a custom plan to meet each client’s personal expectations. With a meet each client’s personal expectations. With a strong sense of community involvement, Avram strong sense of community involvement, Avram has been named as Habitat for Humanity’s, has been named as Habitat for Humanity’s, Humanitarian of the Year. Humanitarian of the Year.

Carolina Salmonsen ‘found’ real estate years Carolina Salmonsen ‘found’ real estate years ago...or perhaps it might be better said, real ago...or perhaps it might be better said, real estate found her. Living in, and loving Sonoma estate found her. Living in, and loving Sonoma since 1994, it is no surprise that she enjoys since 1994, it is no surprise that she enjoys fine food, great wines, interesting people and fine food, great wines, interesting people and beautiful places - like the wonderful, diverse and beautiful places - like the wonderful, diverse and magical places in Wine Country we call home. magical places in Wine Country we call home. Carolina’s extraordinary ability to match buyers Carolina’s extraordinary ability to match buyers with their ideal property - whether a cottage, with their ideal property - whether a cottage, estate or dream vineyard property, is innate. estate or dream vineyard property, is innate.

Gina Clyde and Jeff Lokey have created a great Gina Clyde and Jeff Lokey have created a great team with strong analytical skills, problemteam with strong analytical skills, problemsolving abilities and effective relationships with solving abilities and effective relationships with their clients. Jeff’s personal experiences owning their clients. Jeff’s personal experiences owning businesses and being involved in residential businesses and being involved in residential and commercial development and Gina’s longand commercial development and Gina’s longstanding knowledge of the people and areas standing knowledge of the people and areas (she is a 5th generation Wine Country native) (she is a 5th generation Wine Country native) they work in combine to provide their clients they work in combine to provide their clients with an expertise in a variety of different types with an expertise in a variety of different types of real estate transactions. of real estate transactions.

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Noelle Dimare Perhaps it is because she grew up in San Rafael and now lives in Sonoma that gives Noelle DiMare an amazing knowledge of the North Bay communities. Perhaps it is her business degree from Dominican University or her 15 years as a mortgage broker that gives her an unusual grasp of some of the intricacies of real estate transactions that are often overlooked by other agents. But, for sure it is Noelle’s clever wit, her endless energy and her care for others that makes Noelle a real estate agent one would want to do business with. Noelle’s background in supervising, her financial know-how and her well-honed technology skills have all proven to be valuable skills in real estate. She travels far and wide, both physically and figuratively to meet her clients’ needs having closed transactions in Sonoma, Petaluma, Napa, Novato and even in Cloverdale.

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Maintaining a Vision Alice Warnecke Sutro and her husband, Eliot Sutro, on a rock overlooking the Russian River at Warnecke Ranch on Chalk Hill.

Chris Hardy

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A Visionary’s Legacy Thrives Art, land preservation and vineyards at Warnecke Ranch by Meg Mcconahey photography by chris hardy

J

ohn Carl WarneCke designed the South Terminal at Logan International Airport in Boston, the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington D.C., the master plan for UC Santa Cruz, and major projects in Asia, Europe, the South Pacific and the Middle East. But the peripatetic visionary who most famously designed the gravesite for President John F. Kennedy in Arlington National Cemetery, and who at one time headed the largest and most diverse architectural firm in the world, considered home base a 245-acre ranch The Russian River runs along the edge of the Chalk Hill property.

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along the Russian River on Chalk Hill that had been in his family for a century. Here, starting in 1960, “Jack” Warnecke carved out a singular family compound for his four children that paid careful respect to the land. And while his work took him all over the world, Warnecke would always come home to his “special place on the river” to power down, as well as to welcome his many associates, clients and friends, a wide, eclectic and influential circle that including Sen. Ted Kennedy, the Grateful Dead and the first delegations of Russian and Chinese architects to come to the United States. He also envisioned this spot, with its striking vistas of mountain ranges

and one of the best steelhead and smallmouth bass fishing holes on the Russian River, as a rural getaway and salon for the best and brightest minds in the world of architecture, preservation, urban planning and the arts. It was a place both casual and refined, where Warnecke and his second wife, Grace Kennan McClatchy, the daughter of diplomat George Kennan, would canoe and ride horses, serve barbecue or sip Russian vodka while engaging in erudite conversations by candlelight. The heart of the ranch is the 60 acres of riverfront land he inherited from his maternal grandfather, George Esterling, who purchased it in 1911. Over the

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years, Warnecke acquired neighboring ranches to create a vast retreat, situated on a 1-mile U-turn of the river that creates a private, hidden valley. It is also within or surrounded by the Alexander Valley, Chalk Hill, Knights Valley and Russian River Valley viticultural areas. Three years after his death in 2010 at age 91, Warnecke’s heirs are of a single mind to preserve the ranch as he left it, including 70 acres of vineyards, and to move forward his dream of making the ranch available as a recharging station for artists. They’ve already created the Chalk Hill Artist Residency, setting aside an old farmhouse with nearby studio space for select artists and composers to spend two weeks to two months on a special project, drawing inspiration from the land. “He knew we all loved it and it was going to be in good hands,” said Fred (clockwise from top left) Famed architect Jack Warnecke’s drawings and blueprints are archived at Warnecke Ranch; a bedroom in Hazel’s House, one of several structures on the ranch; Windsor House, a century-old former saloon that was purchased for $1 and moved to the property; a rental house on the ranch.

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Warnecke who, at 60, is the youngest of the architect’s four children. “He had set up all these plans and long-term goals of things he’d love to see happen. That was a great outline for us to proceed.” A landscape architect, Fred now lives full time on the ranch. He once spent idyllic summers roughing it in platform tents set up beside the Brick House, a family lodge for dining and recreation with 14-foot ceilings, wide oak-plank floors and a big porch overlooking the river. His daughter, Alice Warnecke Sutro, 29, an artist, lives in a cottage on the ranch with her architect husband, Eliot, and helps to manage her grandfather’s land and legacy alongside her aunt, Margo Warnecke Merck. “We all grew up here in the summer and that’s how we all just fell in love and got our passion for the ranch. It was

like an amazing summer camp,” said Merck, who for years helped manage her father’s firm out of New York after receiving a master’s degree in architecture from Columbia University. It was her brother, Rodger, who brought her back to Sonoma County in 1996, and whose struggles with mental illness inspired a key component of the Chalk Hill Artist Residency program. A gifted artist, Rodger was recognized as “the next Frank Stella” while attending the prestigious Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. Stella was a celebrated minimalist and post-painterly abstract artist and Andover alumnus. But Rodger’s promising career imploded during his first year at Stanford University, when he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. “His work,” Merck said softly, “got smaller and smaller” until he stopped

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An open-air garage is used for parties and picnics at Warnecke Ranch. Jack Warnecke’s middle son, Rodger, sits for a portrait painted by artist-in-residence Frank Ryan. Granddaughter Alice Warnecke Sutro inspects a book in Windsor House.

drawing altogether. Rodger spent years in a locked mental facility in Eureka, and Merck became her brother’s fierce supporter when he was released to a board-and-care facility in Sacramento. “I said, ‘absolutely not. We want Rodger around as family,’” declared Merck, who bought a nearby ranch with her husband, Al Merck, and became a forceful advocate for permanent housing for the disabled and mentally ill in Sonoma County. Rodger’s artistic drive returned with the arrival to market of the schizophrenia drug Clozaril in 1994, and now he enjoys coming to the ranch to work on his abstract paintings and intricate notebook drawings. “The first thing he said after 25 years was, ‘I see light. It’s like I’m at the bottom of a river looking up, and I want to paint again,’” Merck recalled. Artists who are selected for the residency program are asked to spend a day interacting, supporting and sharing ideas with outsider artists from area nonprofits that serve the mentally ill. Mental illness is a cause of great importance to the Warneckes. Jack’s oldest son, John Jr., an early road manager for the Grateful Dead who died of a heart attack 10 years ago, suffered from bipolar disorder. Rosemary Milbrath, executive director of the Sonoma County chapter of

the National Alliance on Mental Illness, calls the Warnecke Ranch “a healing place.” “Our clients get to go up there and work with established professional artists,” she said. “Many of them are living in little one-bedroom apartments or group homes and they don’t even get the chance to be in a beautiful, natural place like that.” Alice Sutro, who oversees the program, said it helps artists with disabilities “feel special and considered as professional artists.” With converted barns, cabins, houses, carefully designed park-like grounds, gardens and wild open spaces, the ranch is as big and multifaceted as Jack Warnecke himself. He was a formidable presence in both figure and personality. A Stanford football left tackle on the school’s undefeated “Wow Boys” team that won the 1941 Rose Bowl, Warnecke vaulted into rarified circles. Through a mutual friend, he was introduced to John F. Kennedy, who recruited him to come up with a historically sensitive redesign of Lafayette Square across from the White House. After the president was assassinated, his widow, Jackie, turned to Warnecke to design JFK’s monumental gravesite, marked by an eternal flame. During the process, the pair became lovers.

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“They loved each other equally and strongly and passionately,” said Fred Warnecke, who spent a summer in Hawaii with Jackie and even babysat her children while his father worked on the state capitol building in Honolulu. Fred said he was told that the relationship fell apart when Robert Kennedy counseled Jackie that Warnecke, who was always on the move and whose business fortunes rose and fell, couldn’t provide the stability she needed. But the architect maintained a lifelong friendship with the former first lady and other

(clockwise from top left) Margo Warnecke Merck with Zephyr the dog, Fred Warnecke and his daughter, Alice Warnecke Sutro, stand behind Rodger Warnecke; an artist’s studio on the property; Andy Barker (with apron), the tasting room manager at Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery, lives on Warnecke Ranch in a 1940s Airstream trailer. Here, he cooks a 60-pound pig for party guests; a painter’s tools of the trade; John F. Kennedy’s eternal flame gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, which was designed by Jack Warnecke.

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members of the family. A wall in an art-filled home he created for himself on the ranch is filled with photos of the charismatic Kennedy clan. Warnecke left a remarkable architectural legacy. A converted milk barn on the ranch contains his vast archives — photographs, maps, blueprints for everything from university buildings to embassies to a luxury motor home for a Saudi prince, and master plans for projects such as D.C.’s Pennsylvania Avenue. It also houses the archives from the work of Warnecke’s father, noted Bay Area architect Carl Warnecke. Family members love giving tours to architects, planners and other design researchers. But they also simply love sharing the ranch, just as Jack Warnecke did, inviting in school groups

and periodically holding open houses so the public can explore the land he loved. “After he passed,” said Merck, “there was so much work. But we’re getting there and we’re feeling excited.”

sonomamag.com JAn/FeB 2014

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Material the proce ess of how we get to where you want to go is unique ever y time.

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Plan your dream garden with us this Winter. Enjoy it in Spring.

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12/18/13 10:33 AM


place

wool

Shear Pleasure Beautiful, warming wool comes from Bodega, Valley Ford by Michele AnnA JordAn photography by erik cAstro

A

s spring approaches, the rolling green hills of Sonoma County are alive with sheep grazing on early grasses. They wear their lush winter coats, thick pelts of beautiful warm wool that have protected them from the season’s chill. Soon they will be shorn, just as sheep have been for countless north bay springs. For decades, the wool didn’t see much of a life after it left the sheep. Most of it ended up in landfill, at a cost to the rancher, or back on the ranch, to be used as mulch and for erosion control. a bit was sold on the open wool market, but fetched such paltry sums that it was barely worth the effort it took to sell it. That began to change in 1993, when Joe Pozzi of Pozzi Ranch in bodega founded PureGrow Wool. “When a friend asked what I did with my wool,” Pozzi recalled, “I was taken by surprise. My sheep are raised for meat and their wool has mediumlength fibers, which are not used for clothing.” but the inquiring friend was interested in making bedding, pillows, comforters and mattresses. Pozzi’s wool was ideal and PureGrow Wool, based on the same humane, environmentally thoughtful practices that guide Pozzi’s ranching, was born. Today Pozzi produces about 84,000 pounds of PureGrow Wool a year from about 14,000 sheep, both his own flock and from local ranches and those throughout the Pacific northwest. Pozzi sends the wool to Texas for processing, first to a scouring mill where it is washed, and then to a carding mill, where it is combed, straightened and rolled into what are called bats: freshly cleaned

Casey Mazzucchi holds Rose, his juvenile pet Horned Dorset sheep, at his Valley Ford Mercantile & Wool Mill in Valley Ford. Lambs and sheep at Pozzi Ranch near Bodega spend their entire lives in pastures, never seeing a feedlot.

Jan/Feb 2014 sonomamag.com

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sheaves of wool ready to be used. The process is simple and mechanical; it uses none of the chemicals of industrial processing that strips natural lanolin from the wool and accounts for its reputation as being itchy. Some of the wool reJoe Pozzi with partner Amy Chesnut at Pozzi turns home to Sonoma Ranch, located in the hills overlooking the town of Bodega. Sonoma Wool Company’s wool dryer balls Wool Company in Valley and a dish-drying mat. Ford, where it is used in a line of products that include dog toys, dishdrying mats and dryer balls (balls of wool that fluff your clothes and reduce drying time). Pozzi uses a Texas facility because cleaning wool takes a lot of water, too scarce a commodity in California for large-scale wool processing. Yet there is a renaissance of small-scale wool processing in the Golden State and its heart, its nexus, resides in the hamlet of Valley Ford, where the Valley Ford Mercantile & Wool Mill opened last august to instant success. “We barely had time to get our feet wet,” said Casey Mazzucchi, who grew up on a nearby sheep ranch and founded the mill with his business part-

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ner, ariana Strozzi. Within weeks, the mill was filled with wool from two dozen clients. Interest in local wool rose as the sheep’s-milk cheese industry here found a lucrative niche and the diversity of sheep breeds broadened. also, as the mantra of sustainable farming has deepened, farmers have sought ways to make use of and benefit from their wool. Mazzucchi oversees the processing, from the moment the wool comes in the door until it is ready to be transformed into goods. Strozzi develops products from wool from their flock of sheep, making mattress pads, comforters, pillows and mattresses, with more items soon to come. Deborah Walton of Canvas Ranch in Two Rock, west of Petaluma, was the mill’s first customer. after establishing her ranch in 2001 and at first using wool from her Olde english babydoll Southdown sheep as mulch, Walton slowly entered the wool business, initially making pillows and small comforters. at first she sent her wool to the Yolo Wool Mill in Woodland, one of the few in California, but eventually switched to a mill in Michigan that offered a better price, even with shipping costs factored in. now that there is a local option, Walton is expanding her products, with beautiful table runners, full-size comforters, vests, felted items and more. Mimi Luebbermann of Windrush Farm in south-

sonomamag.com Jan/Feb 2014

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Green Fish Trading Co Japanese Antiques

Magnificent collection of Japanese Tansu Chests. Tibetan Carpets & Asian Folk Art Accessories “An Oasis of Calm & Good Taste”

204 Wilson Street, Santa Rosa 707-528-8101 • greenfishtrading.com

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wool

ern Petaluma has produced wool from her animals since 1995. Currently, she has Corriedale cross and Shetland sheep and alpacas. Luebbermann still uses the Yolo mill, as it produces roving, the long, narrow bundles of fiber preferred by spinners (Luebbermann’s primary customers). Her animals produce wool that ranges from white, gray and light brown to chocolate and true black, from the Shetlands. She also uses natural materials to dye her wool, which she sells at the Marin County Farmers Market in San Rafael on Sundays. She’s waiting, she said, to see if the new mill will produce roving. If the Valley Ford mill’s first season is any indication, demand will continue to grow as more sheep ranchers take advantage of having a mill close to home, and with customers eager for another local product. Looking at the enormous barn, where wool covers nearly every surface and bags of it are stacked almost to the ceiling, it is easy to imagine that the need for more space will come sooner rather than later.

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(clockwise from top left) Joe Pozzi shears the wool from a Dorset ewe at Pozzi Ranch; Casey Mazzucchi displays raw Navajo-Churro wool at his Valley Ford Mercantile & Wool Mill; after the wool is washed, Mazzucchi places it on mesh drying racks; Mazzucchi fluffs wool by raking the fibers over rows of sharp needles. (photos below) Ariana Strozzi makes wool scarves, hand warmers and coasters at the Valley Ford mill.

sonomamag.com Jan/Feb 2014

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

NORTH COAST

WINE CHALLENGE Invitational Tasting Culinary Institute of America â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Greystone St. Helena, California

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Tickets go on sale mid-February 2014

northcoastwineevent.com

12/18/13 10:37 AM


the finish

O

n most days, landscape painter Wade HOefer, 65, retreats with his Bernese mountain dog, Pluto, to a restored 1880 studio behind Soda rock Winery in the alexander Valley. Widely collected, his work has been shown in galleries around the world. Lately, he’s been working on incorporating spices such as turmeric, curry and cayenne into his work.

THEN: Born on a naval base in Long Beach NOW: Lives in Calistoga with his partner, Henriette Steinrueck, who is the tasting room manager at Castello di Amorosa winery. WHEN VISITORS HAPPEN ON HIS STUDIO: “That kind of comes with the territory, even if sometimes it’s a minor annoyance. Some people come over and they’ve had too much to drink and they’re frolicking around and I’m trying to get work done.” PAST LIFE: Vineyard manager and landscape architect at Clos du Bois winery in Geyserville (1981-1991). WHEN HE’S NOT PAINTING: Likely found in his Calistoga garden, which he describes as “green, gray and white” with olives, privet hedges, star jasmine and potato vines. INSPIRATION TO PAINT WITH SPICES: In 2010, “in the village in Spain where I was working, every Monday morning they had a market and this Moroccan guy would set up a big table of spices in perfect pyramids. And every day I would go by and say, ‘What can I do with these spices?’ They’re very textural, very physical. They look like slabs or objects. ... they really hark back to the earth.” THE LIGHT IN SONOMA COUNTY: “I like it when it’s transitional, when you don’t know if it’s coming up or going down. It’s timeless.” by John Beck photography by John Burgess

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sonomamag.com Jan/Feb 2014

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SOPHISTIC ATED RETREAT This estate is located a short distance to the historic village of Glen Ellen. The luxurious home and guest house are set atop a private ridge overlooking romantic wine country views. Structures also include a fabulous studio with view and private deck. Gated entry to approximately 9.5 acres with mature gardens, oaks and madrone. A private paradise. RetreatInGlenEllen.com Offered at $3,295,000

Tina Shone Specializing in Wine Country Real Estate Acquisitions and Sales Since 1986 707.933.1515 | RealEstate-SonomaValley.com | BRE # 00787338

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Photography by Jacob Elliott

“ H e a v e n o n E a r t h” Wine Country Estates, Ranches and Vineyards

Nicki Germaine Naylor 707.953.9456 nnaylor@apr.com Apr.com/nnaylor BRE# 01024605

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Sonoma Magazine Jan/Feb 2014  

Romantic Weekend Getaways

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