Discoveries For Those Who Live and Play in Northwest Sonoma County
Exploring Alexander Valley
AVA Terroir, Grapes & Wines
Geyserville History Touring by Bicycle
Picnic Spots Art Attractions
Cocktails in the Valley A Sonoma West Magazine | Summer 2013
2 Summer 2013
GEYSERVILLE ROUTE 128 Vineyards & Winery
Open Friday - Sunday 11am-6pm
Personal vineyard tour and private tastings by appointment only. Call to schedule.
MUNSELLE V I N E YA R D S ALEXANDER VALLEY
Hand Painted Furniture Barn Fresh Collectibles Garden Decor, Rusty Relics…
featuring Ce Ce Caldwell Chalk & Clay Paints (707) 857-3509 21079 Geyserville Ave. www.vhcg.blogspot.com
Visit our Tasting Room in Downtown Geyserville for a complimentary taste of our artisan wines. 21079 Geyserville Ave., #2 (707) 696-0004 • www.route128winery.com
& Son APPROVAL Bosworth General Merchandise
Client: Route 128 Run date: Ad title/slug: 1/9 V colorstore, rich in nostalgia an old-fashioned Returnedand approval by: charm,due yet meeting the needs of townfolks andMag visitors. Scheduledtoday’s to run in: Discoveries summer 2013 Please check this proof carefully for errors and omisMens Western apparel & work clothes sions. Your signature below constitutes acceptance of Saddles and tack • Hardware • antiques full responsibility for all errors, omissions and legal and ethical compliance in this document. Sonoma West Publishers will not accept liability for errors overlooked at this stage of proofing. Any changes from your previously approved copy will be charged extra according to both time and materials. Advertiser agrees to pay appropriate rates and production costs as specified in the current rate card. All conditions of the latest rate card apply.
bosworthandson.com 21060 Geyserville Avenue
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Alexander Valley Your signature and date Lodge SixDesigned bedroom,by: 5 bath withon pool, jacuzzi, Jimlodge Schaefer 4-16-13 waterfall, and tiki bar on 54 private acres with panoramic views of Geyser Peak and Alexander Valley. Only 5-10 min to downtown Healdsburg.
Come in today for a complimentary tasting!
Residential • Ranches • Acreage Wineries • Vineyards IN DOWNTOWN GEYSERVILLE
Hours: 11am to 6pm daily.
NORTH COUNTY PROPERTIES
Not just a place to live…It’s a lifestyle Discoveries 3
SUMMERTIME IN ALEXANDER VALLEY In this issue, Discoveries continues its tour of NW Sonoma County American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) with a visit to Alexander Valley. A well-regarded wine appellation brimming with beautiful scenery, Alexander Valley is one of our favorite areas to enjoy during the summer months. Our contributors have supplied a variety of ways to explore this AVA—and you’ll have a much easier time traversing the Valley than did its namesake, scout and settler Cyrus Alexander, who was tromping around this terrain back in the 1840s. Perhaps you’ll start with a bike ride. One writer shares her favorite route and what it offers of interest along the way. Or maybe you’ve got your sights set on a leisurely day on the upper reach of the Russian River, paddling and floating along by canoe or kayak? It’s likely that you’re planning a wine tasting tour among the many wineries that dot Alexander Valley. We’ve included several features on the growers, the grapes, the wines and the winemakers of this area. We recommend some smaller wineries off the beaten track where the welcome is warm and the experience more personal. In addition, you can read about Riedel glassware and how using the wrong shape of wineglass can completely change the flavor characteristics of the varietal on your tongue. And we didn’t forget picnicking. Alexander Valley has some of the best picnic spots in Sonoma County (and some of the best places to pick up your provisions). Rounding out the local attractions, we’ve also covered public art installations and a venerable but revamped cocktail bar. So join our exploration of Alexander Valley; we’ve got all the bases covered— history and hospitality, people and places, food and fun. What a great place to start off summer! Enjoy, Pam Whigham, Editor 4 Summer 2013
Editor’s Letter ........................................................... 4 Summertime in Alexander Valley Contributors .................................................................................6 Absolute Musts ..........................................................7 Six hot picks for summer Do Dates ...................................................................... 8 An illustrated event calendar, June through August Ongoing Events .................................................. 14 On Stage ................................................................ 15
Art & About ............................................................. 16 Events and exhibits at art galleries and arts centers Advertiser’s Index ................................................ 54 Regional Map ........................................................... 55 [ Cover ] Cool cocktails beckon at an outside table at Alexander Valley Bar. [ This page ] Clockwise from top left— Riedel glasses await an educational glassware tasting at Trione Winery in Geyserville; A young fruit orchard, part of Alexander Valley’s past; kayaks lay ready for paddling at the Russian River under Alexander Valley Bridge; entrance to Robert Young Estate Winery tasting room in Alexander Valley. Below— One of Jordan’s vineyards in the Alexander Valley.
[ Features ]
The Edible Landscape 20 By Abby Bard
Wine Discoveries 24
A Survey of the AVA 32 By Kimberly Kaido-Alvarez
Wine Grapes 36 By Frank Robertson
Wine People profile, recent releases, and five summer coolers.
Agricultural History 40
Crystal Clear: Riedel 28
By Lynda Hopkins
By Nathan Wright
Prime Picnic Spots 44
Art Adventures 19 By Ray Holley
Pairings 22 By Jess Poshepny
By Abby Bard
Cocktails in the Valley 48 By Robin Hug
Day Tripping 52 By Jess Poshepny
CO N T R I B U TO R S Abby Bard is a weaver who sells her handwoven clothing from her studio in Sebastopol and is a member of ARTrails. She has a passion for growing food in an urban landscape and writes about it and other subjects for Sonoma West magazines. Ray Holley is the former editor of the Healdsburg Tribune. He is a free range writer and photographer, lucky enough to live and work in Healdsburg, the home of good weather, good coffee, good bread and good citizens. Lynda Hopkins is a farmer who raises heritage livestock and heirloom produce along with her husband Emmett at Foggy River Farm in the fertile soils of the Russian River Valley. She is also a freelance writer, reporter, and author of The Wisdom of the Radish. Robin Hug is a journalist for The Healdsburg Tribune and The Windsor Times. She enjoys writing on subjects such as food, wine and art by touring Sonoma County, taking photographs, and interviewing residents. She encourages locals to read their community publications. Kimberly Kaido-Alvarez is a Sonoma County native and journalist for Sonoma West Times & News. She holds a BA in Communications from Sonoma State University and has a background in graphic design, public relations, creative writing and dance. Jess Poshepny is Direct Sales and Marketing Manager for Trione Vineyards & Winery in Geyserville. The Sonoma native has 12 years of experience in the wine business and is President of the Geyserville Chamber of Commerce. She loves to eat, drink and play local. Nathan Wright works in the wine industry and is a freelance writer and former reporter for the Healdsburg Tribune and the Windsor Times. A native of Sebastopol, he’s long enjoyed exploring Sonoma County, introducing the interesting people he meets and places he sees to his readers. Pam Whigham is a writer and editor who has contributed to Sonoma West publications for over a decade. Prior to 1995, she earned a living reporting numbers; she much more enjoys playing with words and keeping up with all the exciting facets of ‘Discoveries Country.’
S TA F F MANAGING EDITOR Sarah Bradbury EDITOR Pam Whigham EDITORIAL DESIGN Gail Sands PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR Sarah Bradbury CONTRIBUTORS Abby Bard Ray Holley Lynda Hopkins Robin Hug Kimberly Kaido-Alvarez Jess Poshepny Pam Whigham Nathan Wright email us with comments, questions and suggestions at: firstname.lastname@example.org 6 Summer 2013
PUBLISHER Rollie Atkinson ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Sarah Bradbury ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Cherie Kelsay email us with advertising placement inquiries at: email@example.com ADVERTISING SALES Lacey Burdette Cherie Kelsay Steve Pedersen Paula Wise Discoveries Magazine Advertising and Editorial Offices P.O. Box 518 Healdsburg, CA 95448 Phone: 707-838-9211
sonomawest.com sonomadiscoveries.com Discoveries Magazine, Vol XVI, #4, is published quarterly by Sonoma West Publishers, Inc. Discoveries is published quarterly by Sonoma West Publishers. It is distributed at over 220 locations throughout Sonoma County free of charge— as a newspaper insert, on the Web, and to visitors centers, Chambers of Commerce, tasting rooms, shops, restaurants, inns and hotels, and other venues around North and West Sonoma County. Reprints in publications outside our distribution area are encouraged, but prior written permission is required.
© Copyright Sonoma West Publishers, Inc. 2013. All rights reserved. Discoveries is an advertising supplement to the May 30, 2013 issue of Sonoma West Times & News, The Windsor Times & The Healdsburg Tribune. This magazine uses zero VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) UV inks. VOCs create smog. Because it’s not printed using conventional Heatset this publication has substantially reduced its carbon footprint. Printed by Barlow Printing, Cotati, CA.
West of West Wine Festival
Absolute Musts Healdsburg Jazz Festival
Wine Country becomes Jazz Country when this festival comes to town. Whether it’s Dixieland in the bakery, a trio at the Raven, or Latin sounds in the lounge, this international jazz fest offers something for everyone.
Art at the Source
Grab a catalog or peruse the website and map yourself a tour of West County art studios. You’ve got two weekends and over 125 artists to choose among. Bonus: some artists double up in one location.
theater festivals concerts wine tastings
1-2 & 8-9
Independence Day Celebrations
Several local communities put on a party for the nation’s birthday this week. Picnicking, games and music often precede a fabulous display of pyrotechnics that light up the night sky.
4th of July celebrated in Sonoma County Healdsburg Water Festival
Will Bernard, Healdsburg Jazz Festival
The Russian River and park grounds at Veterans Memorial Beach come alive with exuberant fun that pays tribute to the water festivals of yesteryear. The parade of fantastic floats is a highlight.
West of West Wine Festival
WOW hosts a full-immersion weekend into the wines, food and culture of the West Sonoma Coast. Events run the gamut from interviews and seminars to the Grand Tasting and the Whole Hog Feast.
Gravenstein Apple Fair
Our very own celebrity apple, the sweet/tart one on Slow Food’s Ark of Taste, has inspired over 100 years’ worth of fairs. This event always guarantees bushels of old-fashioned country fun.
More details for the above can be found in Do Dates. Discoveries 7
DoDates Calendar June
(Area codes 707 unless noted.)
May 31 - June 9 15th Annual Healdsburg Jazz Festival This festival brings all genres and eras of jazz to a variety of intimate Healdsburg venues. The acts appear around town at Healdsburg parks, theaters, restaurants and wineries. Call or visit the web site for the full schedule of concerts, special workshops and all event details. 4334644; healdsburgjazzfestival.org.
June 1 -2 Art at the Source This two-weekend, self-guided open studios event maps out 99 locations where participating artists showcase their talents. Visit the Sebastopol Center for the Arts for the preview exhibit, browse online, or call for the catalog. Free; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 S. High St., Sebastopol; 829-4797; artatthesource.org. • Forestville Parade & Youth Park Celebration Follow the Saturday parade at First and Front streets to the Youth Park, where a carnival, rides, live bands, arts and crafts vendors, BBQ and beverages provide lots of fun and entertainment. Free to attend. Sat. parade starts at 10 a.m.; carnival and BBQ return at 10 a.m. Sun. Forestville Youth Park, 7045 Mirabel Rd., Forestville; 8879841; forestvillechamber.org.
lighting jewelry primitives
100 Dealers! Our 23rd year! On Sebastopol’s Antique Row (Hwy 116) 2661 Gravenstein Hwy So. | 707.829.1733
www.antiquesociety.com 8 Summer 2013
A huge place to browse! Fido friendly! Visit our delicious bakery too!
arts & crafts
Friends don’t let friends miss this place!
toys & dolls
furniture fruit labels garden antiques
Art at the Source Sonoma County. $50 VIP pass; $30 1-day pass. Tour supports West County Health Centers. Purchase tickets online via credit card or during event at participating resorts with cash or check. Tour runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat. and Sun.; special VIP reception on Fri., and wine tasting event Sat., both from 5 to 7 p.m. 869-5977 x3313; resortsinbloom.com.
• Philharmonia Healdsburg This orchestra of 20-plus professional musicians from the Bay Area and beyond performs a program called “Romantic Overtones” featuring pianist Lawrence Holmefjord-Sarabi. $25 general, $10 students w/ID. Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Raven Performing Arts Theater, 115 North St., Healdsburg; 433-6335; ravenplayers.org.
Stumptown Daze Parade Stumptown is Guerneville’s nickname from logging days and this annual parade down Main Street has lots of Old West flavor and theatrics. It’s followed by a delicious BBQ put on by the Russian River Firefighters. Free to attend. Parade at 11 a.m. Also look for an evening concert—act, venue, price and time TBA. Main St., Guerneville; 8699000; russianriver.com.
June 8 - 9
Healdsburg Community Band Concert Enjoy the band’s summer concert al fresco in Healdsburg’s beautiful Plaza Park. P.S., if you and your instrument long to join a band, the Healdsburg Community band welcomes new members. Free; 2 p.m. Healdsburg Plaza; 433-3413; hcband.healdsburg.net.
Art at the Source Second weekend; see details in the June 1 - 2 listing.
• Vinaccesi Ensemble Creative Arts Series presents Vinaccesi Ensemble’s “Voices of Venice,” a performance of music and voice that includes works from Monteverdi, Vivaldi, and Benedetto Vinaccesi, among other composers. $15 suggested donation for admission. 3:30 p.m. Resurrection Parish, 303 Stony Point Rd., Santa Rosa; 824-5611; creativeartsseries.com.
June 6 - 9 Windsor Fine Arts Show Windsor Arts Council members and other local artists show and sell their work. Opening reception, Thursday, 6:00 to 8 p.m. with refreshments courtesy of Windsor Certified Farmers Market and live music. Exhibition continues Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free admission. Huerta Gymnasium, 9291 Old Redwood Hwy., #200, Windsor; 838-5382; windsorartscouncil.com.
June 7 - 9 Resorts in Bloom Explore and admire beautiful gardens, accommodations, spa experiences and fine dining options in western
• Passport to Pinot Acclaimed wineries in the Russian River Valley appellation roll out the red carpet for an exclusive group of wine lovers. Barrel tasting, library samples, special wine discounts, food pairings, artist demonstrations, live music, and vineyard tours are all part of the Passport experience. $65 weekend ticket, $40 Sunday only. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 922-1096; rrvw.org.
June 9 Healdsburg Jazz Festival Finale Capping 10 days of multi-genre and cross-cultural jazz entertainment, Sweet Honey In the Rock and the Azar Lawrence Quartet perform at Rodney Strong Vineyards. $75, $65, and $45. 3 p.m., gates open at 2:00. Rodney Strong Vineyards, 11455 Old Redwood Hwy, Healdsburg; 433-4644; healdsburgjazzfestival.org.
June 15 Art Off the Wall This fundraising event for Gualala Arts features fine art, jewelry and experiences such as dining and entertainment. Instead of bidding, guests submit their names for their favorite item. $30 for reception, food and drink; a $70 ticket adds your name to the drawing. Doors open at 5 p.m. Gualala Arts Center, 46501 Gualala Rd., Gualala; 884-1138; gualalaarts.org.
June 15 - 16 Hot Air Balloon Classic Early risers on Saturday or Sunday morning can watch the Dawn Patrol take off into the skies at 5 a.m. The colorful main launch (about 30 balloons) is at 6:30 a.m. Tethered balloon rides, food and craft booths, and Kids Playland continue until 11 a.m. Advance tickets $6; day of event: 13 years and older $10, 6-12 years $6, under 6 free. Keiser Park, 700 Windsor River Rd., Windsor; 8371884; schabc.org.
June 21 Winemaker Dinner: Michel-Schlumberger The Inn at the Tides in Bodega Bay welcomes winemaker Kerry Damskey of Michel-Schlumberger for a four-course gourmet dinner paired with their Dry Creek Valley estate varietals. Reservations required; $90 per person, plus tax and gratuity. No-host hors d’oeuvre reception at 6:30; dinner at 7 p.m. 800 Coast Hwy. One, Bodega Bay; 875-2751; innatthetides.com.
Comprehensive Eye Care & Treatments Prescription Eyeglasses • Contact Lenses Most insurance plans accepted. Currently accepting new patients.
June 22 Family Day in the Park Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods are planning a fun, activity filled day at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. Free admission; free parking at park entrance with shuttle service provided. $8 per car day-use fee applies to parking at the picnic area. Noon to 5 p.m. See full details at the website. 17000 Armstrong Woods Rd., Guerneville; 869-9177; stewardsofthecoastandredwoods.org.
June 22 -23 Russian River Rodeo & Parade Whoop it up at the annual Russian River Rodeo. There’s youth steer riding, drill teams, clowning, horseshoe tournaments, a raffle, kids’ activities and BBQ. $12 adult, $5 child, $7 senior; discounts for pre-sale tickets. Parade starts at 10 a.m. in Guerneville; main performances start at 1 p.m. both days. Russian River Rodeo Grounds, Moscow Rd., Duncans Mills; 865-9854; russianriverrodeo.org.
June 23 Hallberg Butterfly Gardens Annual Celebration Learn about the butterfly lifecycle, wildlife gardening and habitat preservation at the 16th annual open gardens celebration. Spot butterflies and birds and see wildflower displays on self-guided walks. Also: children’s activities, plant sale, crafts and books, too. Free to attend; donations greatly appreciated. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 8687 Oak Grove Rd., Sebastopol; 823-3420; hallbergbutterflygardens.org. • Poetry at Fort Ross Visit this historic fort for a convivial afternoon of poetry readings by environmentalist and Pulitzer Prizewinning poet Gary Snyder. Joining Snyder is Kashaya Pomo poet Martina Morgan. This fundraiser for Fort Ross Conservancy will also feature wine from nearby Fort Ross Winery. Ticket price TBA, see Eventbrite for purchasing info. 2 p.m. Fort Ross, Sonoma Coast Hwy.; 847-4777; fortrossstatepark.org.
June 28 - 30 Kate Wolf Music Festival This commemorative music festival for Sonoma County legend Kate Wolf always features a bountiful lineup. Among the acts this year: John Prine, Marianne Faithfull, Dave Alvin, Taj Mahal, Paul Thorn, Madeleine Peyroux, Red Molly, and many more. Ticket prices vary. See website for full schedule and camping info. Black Oak Ranch, Laytonville; 829-7067; katewolfmusicfestival. com.
Dr. Kimberly Lyons
Lyons Optometry 707-838-9393
8911 Lakewood Dr., Suite 11, Windsor www.LyonsOptometry.com
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hand trimmed steaks
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Purls of Joy
July (Area codes 707 unless noted.)
July 3 Sebastopol 3rd of July The Sebastopol Kiwanis invite you to bring your blankets, pick a spot and enjoy live music, dancing, games, food, and the flag parade before the fireworks. Rhythm Rangers and BlueShift are among those scheduled to play. Admission fees charged; picnic coolers OK, but no alcohol or pets. Gates open at 5 p.m., fireworks at dark. Karlson Field, Analy High School, Sunset Ave. at Taft St., Sebastopol.
Yarns • Books • Notions Classes & Gifts Open every day (Thursdays till 8pm) 429 Healdsburg Ave. Healdsburg (707) 433-JOYS www.purlsofjoy.com
• Windsor Independence Day Celebration Enjoy an old-fashioned Fourth on the 3rd with live music, food, and family games at Keiser Park from 4 to 10 p.m. with fireworks appearing at dark. See the website for admission prices and more information. Keiser Park, 700 Windsor Rd., Windsor; 838-1260; windsorkaboom.com.
July 4 Cloverdale Community Fireworks The Lions Club presents its annual Independence Day display at the Cloverdale High School football field. Free to attend; food and beverages for purchase. 8 to 9:30 p.m. 509 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale; 894-4470; cloverdale.net. • Healdsburg Fireworks Show The Sotoyome Post 111 of the American Legion puts on its annual show of Independence Day fireworks for the community of Healdsburg. Cotton candy, hot dogs, sodas and ice cream sold from 6 p.m. until show time at 9:30. Healdsburg High School, 1024 Prince Ave., Healdsburg.
July 6 Rio Nido Independence Day Celebration Celebrate independence near the Russian River with games, music, food and dancing. Free to attend; hamburgers and hotdogs available for purchase. 4 to 9 p.m.; food served until 8 p.m., dance until 9. Rio Nido Picnic Area, 14729 Canyon 7 Rd, Rio Nido; rionido.net. • Monte Rio Fireworks & Games Have fun with Big Rocky Games, Firemen’s BBQ, the annual Water Carnival with boat parade and Water Curtain, followed by fireworks. It all starts at noon. Monte Rio Beach, junction of Hwy 116 and Bohemian Hwy; 865-6100.
July 7 Windsor Quilt & Flower Show It’s a great day to be in downtown Windsor when three events combine with Independence holiday flair! The usual attractions of the Windsor Certified Farmers Market are complemented by the Windsor Garden Club’s annual Red, White and Bloom flower show as well as the town’s annual quilt show. Market runs 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., other events may begin earlier. Market St. and Huerta Gym parking lot, Old Downtown Windsor; 838-1320; windsorfarmersmarket.com; windsorgardenclub.org. • Guerneville Street Fair & Fireworks Guerneville’s Independence celebration starts with a craft fair on the Plaza at 10 a.m. From noon to 8 p.m., Russian River Rotary’s serves BBQ at Lark’s parking lot: chicken or pulled pork sandwiches, hotdogs and hamburgers, and a beer/wine bar. Also look for kids’ activities at this downtown block party. Fireworks over the river start at dusk. 869-9000; russianriver.com.
July 13 Art in the Park 10 Summer 2013
Healdsburg Water Festival Enjoy a fine arts exhibition and sale, acoustic live music, food, wine and beer tasting under the redwoods. No admission fees except parking, shuttles provided. Food available for purchase; $15 for six tastes of wine or beer includes a commemorative glass. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Group Picnic Area, Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, 17000 Armstrong Woods Rd., Guerneville; 8699177; stewardsofthecoastandredwoods.org.
July 13 - 14 Gualala Chamber Music Weekend Gualala Arts Chamber Music Series presents the annual performance of pianist Roy Bogas and Friends Ensemble, outstanding musicians from the San Francisco Symphony. $30 per day in advance; $35 at the door, $50 advance 2-day pass. Ages 7–17 admitted free. 4 p.m. both days. Gualala Arts Center, 46501 Gualala Rd., Gualala; 884-1138; gualalaarts.org.
July 14 Teriyaki Barbecue & Bazaar This annual fundraiser for the historic Enmanji Buddhist Temple serves up barbecued teriyaki chicken, a locally renowned potato salad, and other treats. Wander through exhibits of bonsai and handcrafts, and enjoy entertainment and games. Can’t stay? Grab BBQ to go from the drive-up window. Free to attend; BBQ lunch is $12. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 1200 Gravenstein Hwy South, Sebastopol; 823-2252.
July 17 - 19 Coastwalk Family Adventure It’s Coastwalk’s 30th anniversary and this is one of many events planned in celebration. Local nature interpreter/ biologist Peter Leveque leads three days and two nights of camping, casual walks, tide pool exploration, other activities and more at Salt Point State Park. Ideal for all ages and generations to enjoy their shared adventures. $250 adults; $150 youth. 829-6689; coastwalk.org.
July 20 Healdsburg Harvest Century Bike Tour The 27th annual tour offers moderately challenging rides through the Russian River, Alexander and Dry Creek valleys. Choose from 60, 30 or 20 mile routes. 6:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. $100 includes ride, rest stops, lunch, and party. A fundraiser for the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce, 433-6935; eventbrite.com.
• Healdsburg Farmers Market 35th Birthday Having trucked fresh, local and seasonal produce to downtown Healdsburg since 1978, the Healdsburg Certified Farmers Market truly has something to celebrate. Come join the party that’s sure to include some special attractions. Free; 9 a.m. to noon. North and Vine Streets, Healdsburg; healdsburgfarmersmarket. org.
July 20 - 21 Civil War Days Duncans Mills hosts a circa-1863 Civil War re-enactment each year with over a thousand participants in marches, color parades, battles and artillery demonstrations. 2013 is the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg, so expect some re-enactments of this decisive contest. See website for admission prices, directions and schedule of battles and other events. Duncans Mills; 831-751-6978; civilwardays.net.
July 24 - 27 Healdsburg Library Book Sale Support the library by selecting from quality books for $2, children’s books, DVDs, videos, music CDs and collectibles at various prices. Sale opens Wed. to Friends of the Healdsburg Library members only (or join at the door) 1 to 6 p.m.; open to the public Thurs. through Sat., hours vary. Healdsburg Regional Library, 139 Piper St., Healdsburg; 433-3772; sonomalibrary.org/friends.
July 25 - August 11 Sonoma County Fair “Home Spun Fun” is the theme for this year’s Sonoma County Fair; the Hall of Flowers theme is “Backyard Blossoms.” Livestock shows and auctions, the carnival midway, food, drink and entertainment, vendors galore, art shows and contests also celebrate Sonoma County at mid-summer. Closed Mondays. Adults: $10, Children 7-12: $5, children 6 and under free; special discounts on select days. See website for full details. Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa; 5454200; sonomacountyfair.com.
July 27 Healdsburg Water Carnival Harkening back to the early 1900s, when Healdsburg held an annual day of fun on the river, this carnival features a water parade, contests and games, live music, food trucks and other vendors. See the website for more details or if you want to enter your own float. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach, 13839 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg; 565-2041; healdsburgwatercarnival.com. • Wine, Women and Shoes A benefit with some serious “sole” for Healthcare Foundation Northern Sonoma County, 250 wine-savvy, shoe-loving women will kick up their heels for the cause as they shop shoes, sip Sonoma County varietals, and nibble on treats from fine restaurants. A Marketplace will showcase the latest trends while silent and live auctions offer adventures, activities and appellations. 1 to 4:30 p.m., Kendall-Jackson Wine Center. Tickets and info: 473-0583; healthcarefoundation.net.
July 27 - 28 Fort Ross Cultural Heritage Days From 1812 to 1841, the settlement of Ross was diverse— home to Russians, native Alaskans, Kashaya and the Coast Miwok, which is why this annual event includes a variety of ethnic music and dance, activities and demonstrations, food and drink. Event entrance fee TBD. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fort Ross, Sonoma Coast Hwy.; 847-4777; fortrossstatepark.org.
Gualala GUALALA ARTS AUTO SHOW
JULY 20, 2013
pets, please. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., ends Sunday at 5 p.m. Ragle Ranch Park, Sebastopol; 837-8896, 800-207-9464; gravensteinapplefair.com.
(Area codes 707 unless noted.)
August 2 - 4
Tour d’Organics Sebastopol This bike tour features rest stops at local farms and gardens stocked with organic produce and other local goodies. Four mileage options suit any cycling ability and all riders enjoy a post-ride meal. $45 to $100; fee and hours depend on ride option selected. Register online. Sebastopol Community Center, 390 Morris St., Sebastopol; 823-1511; seb.org.
West of West Wine Festival A celebration of acclaimed West Sonoma Coast varietals starts with welcome dinners hosted by Sebastopol area wineries on Friday night and evolves into seminars, interviews, flight tastings, two Grand Tastings, and Saturday night’s delectable whole-hog feast. Pick and choose your level of participation or immerse yourself and select the all-access weekend pass. Sebastopol; firstname.lastname@example.org; westsonomacoast.com.
August 4 also
WORKSHOPS RENTALS 46501 GUALALA ROAD 707.884.1138 | GualalaArts.org
Bodega Big Event The Bodega Volunteer Fire Department’s annual fundraiser begins with a big-hearted parade that marches through the historic town of Bodega. Enjoy live music and dancing outdoors, games, activities and a raffle. Free admission; BBQ chicken and tri-tip meals with all the fixings available for purchase. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 17184 Bodega Hwy., Bodega; 876-9438; bodegafire.org.
Gravenstein Apple Fair
• Windsor Zucchini Festival & Antiques Show Zucchini car races, contests for the biggest zucchini and wacky veggie art, chef demos on veggie carving and garnishing, and live music provided by the Hictones is all part of the fun honoring the humble zucchini at the Windsor Certified Farmers Market. Also in Old Downtown Windsor today: an antiques and collectibles show featuring over 100 dealers. Free to attend. Market runs 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Windsor Town Green and Huerta Gym parking lot, Market St., Windsor; 838-1320; windsorfarmersmarket.com.
August 15 - 18 Art in the Redwoods Held under the redwoods on Gualala Ridge since 1961, this arts festival has food, entertainment and extensive displays of art and crafts through the weekend. The “Top Hat Dinner” ($150 ticket includes $100 donation) kicks it all off on Thursday, 6 to 9 p.m. The Friday evening champagne sneak-peek preview ($10) runs from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, the festival continues with exhibits, live entertainment, vendors, a quilt raffle, and food, beer and wine. $6 adults, 17 years and under free. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sun. closes at 4 p.m. Gualala Arts Center, 46501 Gualala Rd., Gualala; 884-1138; gualalaarts.org.
August 9 - 11 Sonoma Coast Getaway Coastwalk brings the book club to wine country’s Sonoma Coast State Park for a relaxing weekend of camping, guided hikes, birding, and then in the evening—menus featuring local produce, and a glass of wine around the campfire with authors Kate Kelly and Liz Thach sharing their latest book: Zinfandel Zanies. $250 per person. 8296689; coastwalk.org.
August 10 Healdsburg Zucchini Festival This is Healdsburg Certified Farmers Market’s annual salute to the Z-squash. See fantastic zucchini cars in racing contests and an assemblage of big entries for the Giant Zucchini Contest. Free; 9 a.m. to noon, racing and contest from 10 to 11 a.m. North and Vine Streets, Healdsburg; healdsburgfarmersmarket.org.
August 10 - 11 Gravenstein Apple Fair Celebrate the Gravenstein apple and 40 years of Farm Trails with live music, farm animals and other exhibits, apple pie baking and eating contests, kid activities, fine arts and crafts, chef demonstrations, wines and brews. $12 general, $10 seniors 65+, students, and cyclists; $5 under age 12; under 3 free. On-site parking $5, free shuttles from Holy Ghost Hall and O’Reilly Media. No 12 Summer 2013
Beer Revival & BBQ Cook-off Each August, 30 breweries and 30 BBQ teams convene at the Stumptown Brewery on the banks of the Russian River offering beer, cider and barbeque food tastings plus music throughout the afternoon. Benefits WCCS Russian River Senior Resource Center. $100 VIP, $80 general; advance only—sells out quickly. Gate opens at noon, tastings 1 to 5 p.m. and music until 6 p.m. Stumptown Brewery Beach, 15045 River Rd., Guerneville; 869-0705; stumptown.com. • Dave Koz and Friends The Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series welcomes back Dave Koz and his Summer Horns Tour. Bring a picnic to enjoy on the grass or purchase food and wine from the courtyard. $60 general, $90 VIP. 5 p.m., doors open at 4. 11455 Old Redwood Hwy., Healdsburg; 431-1533; 8691595; rodneystrongconcerts.omegaevents.com. • Rockin’ and Rollin’ on the River at Korbel Korbel Champagne Cellars celebrates summer with a live rock concert, champagne tasting and BBQ lunch (served from 12:30 to 2 p.m.). Winery and garden tours are offered throughout the day plus special discounts for all participants. $35 general, $25 Wine Club members. 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Korbel Champagne Cellars, 13250 River Rd., Guerneville; 824-7216; korbel.com. • Grape to Glass BBQ Russian River Valley Winegrowers’ 18th annual celebration in anticipation of harvest is called “Back to Our Roots.” Held at Richard’s Grove and Saralee’s Vineyard, the party starts with a wine tasting reception and a Farmers Market. Then feast, bid on live auction items and dance to Urban Oasis. $85 per person; group rates available for tables of 6 or 10. Buy tickets online. 4
p.m. 521-2534; rrvw.org.
August 17 - 18 Fall Plant Sale & Tours It’s time to put fall and winter seedlings into the ground while the soil is still warm. This two-weekend biodiversity plant sale at the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center has hundreds of varieties of heirloom vegetables and herbs as well as old-fashioned annual flowers. Free admission. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., garden tours both days at 1 p.m. 15290 Coleman Valley Rd., Occidental; 874-1557; oaec.org. • Wings over the Wine Country The Pacific Coast Air Museum hosts this annual air show. Watch exciting fly-bys and aerobatic performances; climb aboard aircraft; enjoy interactive displays, memorabilia, family entertainment, food and beverages. $20 general, $5 ages 6 to 12; under 6 and active duty military free. Presidents Club and Performers Reception tickets also available. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport, N. Laughlin Rd. (free shuttle buses to gate from parking areas), Santa Rosa; 566-8380; wingsoverwinecountry.org.
August 18 Sip, Savor & Celebrate Benefit The Instant Wine Cellar (IWC) is the Healdsburg Museum & Historical Society’s largest and most popular fundraising event. Hundreds of bottles of wine are donated from generous area wineries and raffled off during three drawings. This year’s IWC party, complete with food, music, silent auction and raffle drawings, is at Sbragia Family Vineyards overlooking the north end of Dry Creek Valley. $45; 2 to 5 p.m. 9990 Dry Creek Rd., Geyserville; 431.3325; healdsburgmuseum.org.
www.thegarciarivercasino.com Where the river ends the winning begins! 22215 Windy Hollow Road Point Arena, CA 95468 (707) 467-5300
• Wunderkammer Festival The Wunderkammer festival is a public celebration of The Great Sonoma County Handcar Races. Expect to see mechanical railcar races, visual, culinary, and costumed performing arts, all combined with human ingenuity embracing sustainability and alternative transportation. Oh, and also good old-fashioned fun! $10 general admission. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Historic Railroad Square; 490-5039; wunderkammerfestival.com.
August 24 - 25 Bodega Seafood, Art & Wine Festival Celebrate seafood and the arts in the town of Bodega while supporting Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods. Great music, juried art and crafts, games and contests are accompanied by a selection of delicious seafood dishes from restaurants and catering companies, fine wines and microbrews. $12 advance, $15 at the gate; discounts for seniors and teens, under 12 free. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sun. closes at 5 p.m. Watts Ranch, 16855 Bodega Hwy., Bodega; winecountryfestivals.com. • Fall Plant Sale & Tours Occidental Arts & Ecology Center holds a second weekend fall plant sale (see Aug. 17-18), with tours of the Center’s gardens and introduction to their educational programs at 1 p.m. Free admission; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 15290 Coleman Valley Rd., Occidental; 8741557; oaec.org.
August 31 - September 2 Studio Discovery Tour The 21st annual two-weekend, self-guided tour along a 50-mile stretch of Highway One from Sea Ranch to Irish Beach includes dozens of open art studios filled with paintings, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, glass art, textiles, photography, iron work, murals and much more. Call for the catalog/map or download from website. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Event continues September 7th and 8th. 785-9513; studio-tours.com. Discoveries 13
Ongoing Events (Area codes 707 unless noted.)
Bodega Lab Tours The UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory offers public drop-in tours for groups fewer than 10 people, on Fridays from 2 to 4 p.m. Displays and aquaria of colorful local species illustrate the biodiversity and dynamic energy of the northern California coast. Free. Call ahead for larger group tour arrangements. 2099 Westside Rd., Bodega Bay; 875-2211; bml.ucdavis.edu.
Shop with the Chef Participate in a chef’s tour of the offerings at Healdsburg Farmers Market and then attend a cooking demonstration at Relish Culinary Adventures, followed by lunch. Tour is free; there’s a charge for the cooking class and lunch. Second Saturdays, May through November, 10 a.m. Downtown Healdsburg; 431-9999; relishculinary.com.
Charles M. Schulz Museum The current exhibit at the museum where the Peanuts Gang lives on is “Mid-Century Modern,” a look at how 1950s and 1960s Peanuts strips reflected contemporary style and design. Weekdays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Tuesdays), weekends 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free to members; $10 adults, $5 seniors 62+ and youth 4 to 18. Charles M. Schulz Museum, 2301 Hardies Ln., Santa Rosa; 579-4452; schulzmuseum.org.
Healdsburg Museum & Historical Society The current exhibit, “The Movie Stars Next Door: Fred MacMurray, June Haver and the MacMurray Ranch,” is presented in partnership with Kate MacMurray. Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through July 21. Free. 221 Matheson St., Healdsburg; 431-3325; healdsburgmuseum.org.
Pacific Coast Air Museum Open House From Skyhawks and Harriers to Phantoms and Tomcats, you can climb aboard and inspect the open cockpit of a featured aircraft every third weekend of the month. See website for admission fees. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific Coast Air Museum, One Air Museum Way, Santa Rosa; 575-7900; pacificcoastairmuseum.org.
Dry Creek Kitchen Winemaker Dinners Once per month, Chef Dustin Valette creates elegant menus to complement the wines of a chosen Sonoma County vintner. Seating is limited to ensure an intimate experience. $105 per person plus tax and gratuity; special Healdsburg Hotel rates available for dinner guests. 6:15 p.m. Dry Creek Kitchen, 317 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg; 431-0330; charliepalmer.com/properties/ drycreekkitchen.
First Friday Artwalk in Guerneville Galleries hold receptions, shops stay open late and restaurants feature local artists’ exhibitions. Every first Friday of the month in downtown Guerneville from 3 to 8 p.m. Free to attend. 869-9000; russianriver.com. 14 Summer 2013
Second Saturday Soirees in Windsor See the latest exhibits, enjoy special presentations, and mingle with local artists on second Saturdays at the Windsor Arts Council gallery. 507 David Clayton Ln., Old Downtown Windsor; windsorartscouncil.com
Literary Café Every second Tuesday of the month, the Healdsburg Senior Center hosts an evening with special literary guests and open mic readings. Bring your own prose or poetry to share. Light refreshments served. Donations appreciated. 7 to 9 p.m., doors open at 6:30. 133 Matheson St., Healdsburg; 696-1111 (Cynthia); email@example.com.
Occidental Arts Events The Occidental Center for the Arts holds a wide variety of film screenings, book launches, classes and performances. Check the website for a schedule of current offerings. 3850 Doris Murphy Ct., Occidental; 874-9392; occidentalcenterforthearts.org.
Friday Night Live in Cloverdale Cloverdale’s Friday evening farmers market (5:30 to 8 p.m.) is joined by live music performances (7 to 9:30 p.m.) on Cloverdale’s downtown plaza, May 31 through August 30. Call or check the Arts Alliance website for scheduled acts. 894-4410; cloverdaleartsalliance.org. Sebastopol Friday Night Live
Friday Night Live in Sebastopol One Friday a month, Sebastopol Community Cultural Center hosts a concert and dance, each with a different musical theme or genre. Food and drinks available for purchase. $10 adults, $5 under 18 years. 7 p.m., doors at 6:30. 390 Morris St., Sebastopol; 823-1511; seb.org.
Live Music at Aubergine Musical acts perform every night of the week at this funky Sebastopol nightclub that by day is a vintage clothing emporium. Mon. through Wed., catch music and open mic sessions at no cover. Thurs. through Sun. feature hotter shows, with cover from $5 to $20. Pub grub, pool tables and darts round out the good times. 755 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol; 861-9190; aubergineafterdark.com.
Live Jazz in Healdsburg Relax in the lodge-like ambience of Hotel Healdsburg’s Fireside Lounge while listening to some of the Bay Area’s finest jazz musicians in duo and trio combinations. These year-round gigs are sponsored by the Healdsburg Jazz Festival. No cover. Every Friday and Saturday night, 7:30 to 11 p.m. Hotel Healdsburg Lobby, 25 Matheson St., Healdsburg; 431-2800.
Main Street Station Enjoy acoustic jazz, blues, folk, Celtic, or cabaret shows at this restaurant/pizzeria almost every night. No cover. 16280 Main St, Guerneville; 869-0501; mainststation. com.
On Stage (Area codes 707 unless noted.)
Kimberly Akimbo Now - June 9 A hilarious and heartfelt play about a teenager with a rare condition and the antics of her dysfunctional family. $15; $30 for final matinee fundraising gala. Fri. and Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. matinees 4 p.m. Rio Nido Lodge, 4444 Wood Rd., Rio Nido; 583-2343; pegasustheater.com.
Exit the King June 14 - 30 Eugene Ionesco’s third play in his “Berenger Cycle” about a king’s dying day and his crumbling kingdom. $25 general, $20 seniors 65+, $15 students. Thurs. through Sat. 8 p.m.; Sun. 5 p.m. Main Stage West, 104 N. Main St., Sebastopol; 823-0177; mainstagewest.com.
Night of the Iguana June 14 - 23 Tennessee Williams’ classic play about a diverse group converging at a dilapidated Mexican resort hotel. $18. Fri. and Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. matinees at 2 p.m. Cloverdale Performing Arts Center, 209 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale; 894-2214; cloverdaleperformingarts.com.
Evita June 21 -- July 14 The alt-Cinderella story of Argentine dictator Juan Peron’s wife. $26 general, $20 seniors 65+ and students w/ID; Thurs. 6/27 is Value Night. Fri. and Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. matinees, 2 p.m. Raven Players, Raven Performing Arts Theater, 115 North St., Healdsburg; 433-6335 x11; ravenplayers.org.
SebShakes Festival July and August Main Stage Theater presents “The Servant of Two Masters,” July 12-28, followed by “The Tempest,” August 9-25. Both productions run Thurs. through Sun. at 7 p.m. See website for details and admission prices. Ives Park, Willow St., Sebastopol; 823-0177; mainstagewest.com.
Tapas July 12 - August 4 An annual festival of new short works by Northern California playwrights. $15 general; opening weekend performances are pay-what-you-can. Fri. and Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. matinees, 2 p.m. Pegasus Theater, Rio Nido Lodge, 4444 Wood Rd., Rio Nido; 583-2343; pegasustheater.com.
The Cemetery Club July 26 - August 4 Three widows form a “cemetery club,” meeting once a month to have tea and visit their dead husbands’ graves. $15 advance, $20 day of show. Fri. and Sat., 7 p.m., Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Coleman Auditorium, Gualala Arts Center, 46501 Gualala Rd., Gualala; 8841138; gualalaarts.org.
Blithe Spirit August 16 - 25 At a séance, a novelist’s mischievous ex-wife visits him from the beyond. $18. Fri. and Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. matinees at 2 p.m. Cloverdale Performing Arts Center, 209 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale; 894-3222; cloverdaleperformingarts.com. Discoveries 15
Charles Lloyd by George Wells at Healdsburg Center for the Arts
Art & About
(All area codes 707 unless noted.)
Representing works of over 50 artists: woven, felted, quilted, and knitted items, pottery, yarn & fiber, glass, sheepskin boots, painting, sculpture, photos, jewelry, cards. Demonstration every first Saturday. Daily 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; 17135 Bodega Hwy. (Hwy. 12), Bodega; 876-9830; artisansco-op.com.
Roy Austin, woodworking and Richard Skidmore, photography, Jun. 2 through Jul. 4, opening reception, Sat., Jun. 2, 5 to 7 p.m.; Tom Eckles and Susan Shaddick, opening Jul. 7; Brewer & Van de Carr, opening Aug. 4. Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; 39225 Hwy. 1, Gualala; 884-3896; gualalaarts.org.
Erickson Fine Art Gallery
Representing the best of Northern California painters and sculptors: Bobette Barnes, Joe Draegert, Finley Fryer, Chris Grassano, Susan Hall, John Haines, Jerome Kirk, Donna McGinnis, Michael Mew, Tom Monaghan, Jean Mooney, Jeanne Mullen, Bob Nugent, Carlos Perez, Carol Setterlund, Jeffrey Van Dyke, Paul Van Lith and Antoinette Von Grone. Open daily 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wed. by appointment; 324 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg; 431-7073; ericksonfineartgallery.com.
Finely Lara’s, Gallery of Fine Things
Custom jewelry, paintings, art glass and more. Representing over 25 lo16 Summer 2013
cal and national American artists. Just off the plaza on the south block of Center St. Open Wed. through Sat., 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Private appointments available. Member of the Healdsburg Gallery Group. 239 B Center St., Healdsburg; 433-2959; finelylaras.com.
B.K Hopkins and Soo Noga, May. 21 through Jun. 30; Mylette Welch, Jul. 2 through Aug. 11; Susan Ball and Linda Ratslaff, Aug. 13 through Sept. 22. Open Wed. through Sat. 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun. 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed Mon. and Tue.; 9048 Graton Rd., Graton; 829-8912; gratongallery.com.
Gualala Art Center
Automotive Art, Jun. 1 through Jul. 29; Warps and Wefts, Jul. 7; Art in the Redwoods Festival, Aug. 16; Studio Discovery Tour, Aug. 25. Opening receptions are the first night of the exhibit, 5 to 7 pm. 46501 Gualala Rd., Gualala; 884-1138; gualalaarts.org.
“Russian River: Points of View,” a sound and video installation by Hugh Livingston; Harley, paintings, Brian Wilson, sculpture and Bill Shelley, multimedia, reception for both exhibits, Jun. 1, 6 to 9 p.m. Rotating exhibits by established and emerging conceptual Sonoma County and Bay Area artists. Open Mon. through Sat., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun. noon to 4 p.m.; 132 Mill St., Suite 101, Healdsburg; 473-9600; hammerfriar.com.
Hand Fan Museum
Hand fans circa 1725-1900 from Europe and Asia. New at the museum: Discovery Drawers! Come see the variety of components that make a fan—from ivory and bone, sea snail, abalone and various bamboos and woods. Open Wed. through Sun., 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed holidays and rainy days. 219 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg; 431-2500; handfanmuseum.org.
Healdsburg Center for the Arts
Jazz photos by George Wells, Jun. 1 through 30; “Flying Home,” multimedia show inspired by jazz, Jun. 4 though 30, reception, Sat., Jun. 8, 5 to 8 p.m.; “Clay and Glass 2013,” featuring sculptural art and functional pieces from 17 artists, Jul. 3 through Aug. 25, reception, Sat. Jul. 6, 5 to 8 p.m. 130 Plaza St., Healdsburg; 431-1970; healdsburgcenterforthearts.com.
J. Howell Fine Art
Visit us upstairs in the newly renovated Bank of Italy building. Open weekends and by appointment. 105 C Plaza St., Healdsburg; 431-2684; jhowellfineart.com.
Local Color Gallery
“Retrospective,” painting and photography by Ron Sumner, Phil Wright, Jody Shipp, Tom Moyer, Florence Brass, Pamela Wallace, Linda Gamble and Judy Henderson, Jun. 5 through Jul. 7, reception, Sat., Jun. 22, 2 to 4 p.m.; “Horizons,” paintings and drawings by Pamela Wallace and Linda Gamble, Jul. 10 through Aug. 11, reception, Sat., Jul. 13, 2 to 4 p.m.; “Images,” photography by Diane Miller, Aug. 14 through Sept. 8, reception, Sat., Aug. 17, 2 to 4 p.m. Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; 1580 Eastshore Rd., Bodega Bay; 875-2744; localcolorgallery.com.
Occidental Center for the Arts
“Fiber, Folkwear, Funk & Flash,” Alexandra Jacopetti Hart, Jun. 7 through Jul. 7, reception, Fri., Jun. 7, 6 to 9 p.m. Open Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 3850 Doris Murphy Ct., Occidental; 874-9392; occidentalcenterforthearts.org.
“Edge,” paintings by Ron Quercia and sculptures by Bobbi Jeanne Quercia, Jun. 1 through Jun. 24, reception, Sat., Jun. 1, 3 to 6 p.m. Open Thu. through Mon. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m; 25193 Hwy. 116, Duncans Mills; 865-0243.
Ren Brown Collection
“Expressions of Texture,” wood-fired ceramics by Tri Tran, paintings on canvas and paper by Chiyomi Longo, through Jul. 12; Recent work by Sarah Brayer of Kyoto— Discoveries 17
delicate paperwork and choice recent pieces using photo-luminescent inks, Jul. 19 through Sept. 2. Ongoing contemporary ceramics, handcrafted jewelry and Japanese antique furnishings. Come visit our Japanese gardens, too. Wed. to Sun., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; 1781 Coast Hwy. 1, Bodega Bay; 875-2922; renbrown.com.
Art, crafts and products made from reclaimed and re-used materials. Thu. through Mon., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; 2371 Gravenstein Hwy. So., Sebastopol; 823-9407; renga-arts.com.
Sebastopol Center for the Arts
Art at the Source Preview Exhibit, through Jun. 9; “Up, Up and Away,” national juried show featuring art related to various aspects of flight, Jun. 13 through Jul. 20; “Not Just Landscapes,” national juried show, Aug. 1 through Sept. 7. Open Tue. through Fri. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sat., 1 to 4 p.m. 282 S. High St., Sebastopol Veterans Building, Sebastopol; 829-4797; sebarts.org.
Monoprints, paintings and wooden birds by Robert Breyer, Jun. 24 through Aug. 10, reception, Jul. 13, 5 to 7 p.m. Open daily 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 150 North Main St., Sebastopol; 829-7200; sebastopol-gallery.com.
Award-winning gallery specializing in photography, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, glass and mixed media by local, regional and nationally established artists. Now representing ceramics by Karen Shapiro. Open Fri. through Mon., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; 39102 Ocean Dr., Gualala; 884-9065; studio391.net.
Upstairs Art Gallery
Healdsburg’s historic, oldest gallery is artist-owned and exhibits a wide variety of fine art paintings and artisan crafts. Open daily 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; 306 Center St., Healdsburg, on the mezzanine inside Levin & Co. Bookstore; 431-4214; upstairsartgallery.com.
T Barney Sculpture
Stone and bronze sculptures. 115 Plaza St. Healdsburg; 395-0322; JustForYouGallery. com.
Windsor Arts Council Gallery
Windsor Fine Arts Show, Jun. 6 through 9, reception, Jun. 6, 6 to 8 p.m., sponsored by the Town of Windsor Parks & Recreation Department; “Free Expressions,” May 11 through Jul. 7, reception, 4 to 7 p.m. includes guest artists, food, wine and music. Open Fri. through Sun., noon to 5 pm. Gallery: 507 David Clayton Lane, Old Town Windsor.
18 Summer 2013
Alexander Valley Art Adventures By Ray Holley
Sculptor Ann Hamilton’s “Tower” at Oliver Ranch in Alexander Valley, photo by Ray Holley.
Urban centers are typically where you find public art, but Alexander Valley offers interesting exceptions.
T Barny Sculpture Garden
T Barny is a world-renowned stone sculptor, carving marble and other stone sourced from all over the world. T Barny specializes in the Mobius shape. By curving and turning back on itself, the Mobius defies visual logic and invites you to see space differently. T Barny carves stone so deeply, with such a sure hand, that you can often see right through the medium. His sculpture garden is filled with flowering cacti and surrounded with vineyards. Two friendly dogs are on site and T Barny himself is a gregarious sort, with a hearty laugh and the firm handshake of a guy whose primary tool is a diamond-tipped chainsaw. Tours are by appointment only; call 707-431-8378 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The village of Geyserville is near the north end of Alexander Valley and boasts a public art collection that rivals bigger communities. In its third year, the public art in Geyserville is the passion of Geyserville resident Victoria Heiges, who believes that art should be accessible, so much so that she installs art by local sculptors along the side of rural roads in her community. “Art in galleries and museums can be intimidating,” says Heiges. “I want people to be able to walk up and touch it.” After moving to Geyserville from San Rafael, where she helped create a public art pro-
gram, Heiges decided to try something in her new community. The response has been very positive. At press time there were four art works by professional sculptors installed for this year’s project, with three more being installed in the coming months. Information about the art is available on the Geyserville Chamber of Commerce website, wwwgeyservillecc.com. Heiges is working with a member of the Cloverdale Arts Alliance to create a sculpture trail that will begin at the south end of Geyserville and follow a frontage road all the way to the southern entrance to Cloverdale. The Cloverdale-Geyserville Sculpture Trail project will launch in June.
Steve and Nancy Oliver bought 100 acres in 1981 and began to graze a few sheep on the property. The Oliver Ranch website quotes Steve Oliver describing it as “my daughter’s 4-H project gone bad.” Now home to 18 site-specific art installations, including the massive tower by artist Ann Hamilton, Oliver Ranch is one of the most significant art collections in the North Bay, with work by world-renowned artists like Richard Serra and Andy Goldsworthy. The ranch is only accessible by joining one of a few dozen tours that take place each year. Tours are usually led by Steve Oliver himself and a non-profit organization is always the beneficiary. Individuals might be able to join an already-scheduled tour if the designated non-profit has space. Visit www.oliverranchfoundation.org for more details. Discoveries 19
The Edible Landscape:
In the Garden Summer 2013 story by Abby Bard | photography by Sarah Bradbury
In order to more easily climb up to the sunny patch
where the garlic grows along with the beds for this summer’s tomato crop, I placed some flat rocks in a series of steps leading up from the edge of the driveway. Now I have places to put my feet on entering the spot where mysteriously shaped winter squashes grew last summer. I overdid it on the squash plants last year; I didn’t realize just how big those sprawling vines could get. Six plants covered more than 150 square feet of soil and produced really big squashes, many more than I needed. This summer I’m being more selective, growing the more compact zucchini plants for summer and butternut for fall and winter eating. I’ll focus instead on tomatoes, which I love to eat all year long—fresh in season, then dried, and also roasted in the oven into a delicious and versatile puree seasoned with olive oil and garlic. Last year I didn’t grow enough tomatoes; this year I’ll preserve lots of roasted tomato puree in the freezer to enjoy next winter. The garden beds were planted with kale, chard, lettuce, peas and fava beans in the spring. Tomatoes and basil followed the favas after their harvest. Some of the greens are bolting, some are freshly planted from starts I raised from saved seed, and some have self-sown where last year’s plants flowered and dropped their seeds. Some—mustard in particular—are sprouting up in strawberry pots. I love the dramatic reddish leaves and bright yellow flowers of the mustard, especially when they mingle with the bright blue star-shaped flowers and shaggy leaves of borage, as they are doing at the edge of the old compost pile. I weed the mustard out of the strawberry pots, but let it be elsewhere. The summer beds have a new infusion of composted duck manure, which I bought by the bagful from Sonoma Compost. I’m hoping the tomatoes will thrive in it as well as the artichokes did last fall; they grew huge leaves and multiple flowers. I’m planting Sun Gold cherry tomatoes for summer eating, and I’ll put some in the dehydrator where they’ll become raisin-like chewy treats. I’ll also have Romas for preserving and heirloom varieties for sum-
mer salads with basil, borage flowers and olive oil. When the heat hits the garden, the plants dig in with their roots, sinking them down deep into the soil enriched over the years with compost and reaching with leaves and stems to the sky. The summer crops grow magically fast; the beds can look sparse just after planting, substantially occupied a few weeks later, and bursting to the borders as long hot days encourage them to their destinies. I always try to resist—but rarely can—the urge to set the plants too closely together, which denies them …Mayo went to kitty heaven this year … I buried his ashes in a space to spread both above sheltered spot next to the red maple tree …and sowed seeds of forgetand below the ground. me-not around his grave, in the garden where he spent his life. Borage and nasturtium are
20 Summer 2013
sprouting from seeds dropped from last year’s flowers among the summer vegetables and along the paths, where dandelions are bright against the freshly spread wood chips; everything together creates a beautiful mosaic of green, yellow, blue and orange. It smells like heaven in the garden. Starting when the fruit trees burst into flower in March, an intoxicating symphony of fragrances is released from each blooming plant in turn: lilacs in April, roses in May, with supporting notes from lilies, rosemary, lavender, and mints wreathing my senses when I walk along the paths. I could spend hours here, visiting each plant, watching the bees enjoy the blossoms, stooping to pull weeds here and there. The paths meander down the slopes and under the trees, past roses, loaded with blossoms after their soaking by spring rains, and fresh, robust raspberry canes. In shady spots, the mint has sent up fragrant new leaves, releasing
their perfume when I brush against them or step into them. In the sunny driveway, the citrus trees in their big pots are sprouting new clusters of deep green leaves and round pearly buds of blossoms. Fruit from last season’s blooms are bright yellow on the Meyer lemon tree. The chamomile bed invites me to stretch out on it and lay my cheek in the soft mossy green, the sun shining down, butterflies dancing, bees humming busily in the flowering herbs while I lay there quietly and soak it all in. My beloved cat Mayo went to kitty heaven this year after almost 18 years with me, and I miss his presence in the garden, where he’d climb the trees and stalk the birds in his younger years, and spend the hot summer days napping in the shade. I buried his ashes in a sheltered spot next to the red maple tree in a bower of camellia and Philadelphus shrubs, and sowed seeds of forgetme-not around his grave, in the garden where he spent his life. Discoveries 21
[ PAIRINGS ]
What I like about summer
in Alexander Valley Story by Jess Poshepny Photography by Sarah Bradbury
ummer means warm weather, fresh produce and happy, vitamin-D-energized people all throughout the Alexander Valley. Let me share some great tasting experiences, perfect for the season, that go beyond the typical wine and food pairings usually associated with an American Viticultural Area. For those of you who have followed along with my pairings, it is quite clear the genuine love I have for Geyserville. One of my staples there is Geyserville Mud. At Geyserville Mud, 22 Summer 2013
I was introduced to how coffee really should tasteâ€”with their specialty cold-pressed coffee made with Thanksgiving Coffee. The difference is that cold-pressed coffee takes much longer and the result is a concentrated amount of liquid that extracts the nutty, sweet notes of the coffee bean, allowing even those who regularly sweeten their coffee to take it black. Hooked on this summer delight, I was excited to hear that now I can enjoy it with waffles on the weekends! The waffles are made in house
[ This page ] top—Carrie Brown from Jimtown Store with her signature chocolate chip bread pudding; below—Salumi plate at Diavola. [ Page 22 ] The entrance wall to Geyserville Mud, Coffee and Espesso shop in Geyserville.
and are served with either fresh strawberries or caramelized bananas. I personally prefer the caramelized bananas atop the waffles, alongside that cold pressed coffee to wash it down. The tables out front (if available) make for the ideal setting to people watch. Is it noon yet? Somewhere it must be, so I like to pretend I’m in Italy and head
to Diavola where it’s never too early to have a wonderful red house wine produced by Alexander Valley’s Hawkes Winery especially for Diavola. I pair this “jug” Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon blend with Dino’s (the chef/ owner) salami and cheese platter. Diavola uses the “cucina povera” practice in the kitchen; it is like a small village mentality—they use locally grown and produced ingredients, recipes that have proven to be well-mastered and delicious, and nothing is wasted. Locals and visitors alike flock to Diavola for this perfect palate-pleasing duo. An Alexander Valley classic is the Jimtown Store. Centrally located in the heart of the beautiful valley, positioned next to several family owned wineries, it provides a 360-degree view of vineyards. Jimtown has this incredibly moist chocolate-chip bread pudding that they top with a house-made dulce de leche whipped cream. I pair this tasty treat with a decanted Estate Grown Zinfandel from Starlite Vineyards. This combo is a wonderful treat after a long day: feet up, comfies on, under the stars on a warm summer eve—pure bliss. Now my summer forays with Alexander Valley’s finest would be far from complete if I failed to mention the super-fabulous fact that there is now a pool in the area, at Coppola Winery. It can be quite difficult to make a reservation (they book up fast), but if by chance I am able to get a seat by their pool, I jump on it. For $20 I can be poolside in Alexander Valley and be treated like royalty. They have their poolside café for the appetite, but the way to go is cocktail service! I enjoy a traditional Tanqueray and tonic with a splash of bitters. The bitters add a bit of an herbal note, perfect with the juniper taste in the gin. Wherever the journey takes us, the sure thing is this: senses will be pleased with tantalizing dishes and drinks, the people are friendly, the views spectacular and the pairings will be perfect. I love Alexander Valley.
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5 Summer Coolers (of the non-alcoholic type)
Summer is when you experience the full sensation of Sonoma County’s Mediterranean climate. Many mornings begin in cool fog, but the light gray wisps quickly evaporate in sunny, yellow rays from a quick-rising sun. Before noon—and without looking at a thermometer—you know this could be a “scorcher.” The grape vines love it and you swear you can see them growing by inches, like watching a time-lapse movie. Grapes have tougher skin than humans, so when the “high” for the day promises to reach three-digits, it’s time to reach for a summer cooler. As it turns out, that doesn’t always mean a tall glass full of ice and beverage. Here are five mid-summer coolers to help beat the heat: Take a Russian River Kayak Trip There are several kayak and canoe rental agencies along the Russian River. Plan your trip to begin early in the day and don’t be too ambitious. Think lazy river and be sure to “accidentally” fall in the water, or stop on a shady beach and watch the other paddlers drift by. River’s Edge Kayak & Canoe Trips (located at Healdsburg’s Memorial Bridge, telephone 707-433-7247) offers self-guided, shuttled tours on the river through the Alexander Valley. You can take a half-day or full-day trip. Prices range from $45 to $100 and river conditions are safe for children and fun for whole families or larger groups. Drink Some Ice Cream You’ll swear you got lost in time when you discover Pick’s Drive-In in the middle of Cloverdale (117 S. Cloverdale Blvd. , 707-8942962). Opened in 1923, Pick’s has been mixing milkshakes, serving ice cream scoops and cones and root beer floats for 90 years in the same location. Ice cream cones cost just $1.50—you can’t buy a cheaper or tastier summer cooler. Of course, you can also get a great hamburger, fries and soda fountain drinks. Hide Out in a Wine Cave When the valley floors get too hot, you can always go underground in one of the region’s several wine caves. Bella Vineyards (9711 West Dry Creek Rd., 707-473-9171) opened its caves to the public 10 years ago. Inside are spaces for entertainment and dining, a 24 Summer 2013
tasting area and a music alcove. The cave temperature is a constant, year-round 61 degrees with a natural humidity of 55 percent. The aging wines in barrels love the natural air-conditioning and you will, too. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Take a Dip at Coppola Something you might not have expected to find at a winery is a 3,600-square-foot pair of swimming pools, connected by a “swim through” with water jets. The pools are surrounded by wide patios and private “cabines” ($180 per day per family). Daily swim passes are available starting at $20 per adult and $10 per child. The pools are open daily, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Sept. 29 and continuing on weekends until Oct. 27. (Francis Ford Coppola Winery, 300 Via Archimedes, at Hwy 101, Geyserville; 707-857-1471.) Sip Some Teas There’s a shady porch out front and some canopy space as well at Alexander Valley’s Jimtown Store (6706 Highway 128, Healdsburg, 707-433-1212). This is a popular bicyclists’ refueling station and a picnic supply depot beyond compare. Yes, the menu has wine and beer, but also Black Currant Iced Tea, Spiced Hibiscus Tea and Nana Mae’s Spiced Apple Cider. You can even buy them by the gallon if you like. Jimtown Store’s menu changes frequently to match the weather and what’s fresh from the garden. Watch for special events, which include summer evening gatherings that generate a warm vibe just when that fog is beginning to creep in.
ALEXANDER VALLEY VINEYARDS www.avvwine.com
HANNA WINERY www.hannawinery.com
ARBIOS/PRAXIS CELLARS @ LOCALS Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from AV, Viognier, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir and Lagrein from other appellations. Arbois Cabernet from mountaintop estate fruit; Praxis Merlot voted “Best in US” Food & Wine; each single vineyard; 100% varietal. Open daily 11-6. 21023 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville; 857-4900; arbioscellars.com
HART’S DESIRE WINES www.hartsdesirewines.com
BLUE ROCK www.bluerockvineyard.com CLOS DU BOIS www.closdubois.com DELORIMIER WINERY www.delorimierwinery.com DRAXTON WINERY www.vintnerssignatures.com FIELD STONE WINERY & VINEYARD Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Viognier, Sangiovese. Over 119 years old petite sirah vines. Subterranean winery. Underground tasting room. Fantastic picnic spot. Open daily 10-5, closed on major holidays. 10075 Highway 128; 433-7266; fieldstonewinery.com
HAWKES Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay; estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon. Open daily 10-5. 6734 Highway 128, Geyserville; 433-4295; hawkeswine.com J. RICKARDS WINERY www.jrwinery.com JOSEPH FAMILY VINEYARDS www.josephfamilyvineyards.com KELLEY & YOUNG www.kelleyyoungwines.com LANCASTER ESTATE www.lancaster-estate.com MEDLOCK AMES www.medlockames.com MERCURY WINE GEYSERVILLE Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Mosque, Malbec, Petite Verdot. A mad scientist workshop, small lot pinots, bordeaux and interesting single varietals you’ll love. Open daily 11-6. 21015 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville; 857-9870; mercurywine.com
FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA WINERY www.franciscoppolawinery.com
PECH MERLE WINERY www.pechmerlewinery.com
GARDEN CREEK RANCH-VINEYARDS-WINERY www.gardencreekvineyards.com
ROBERT YOUNG ESTATE WINERY www.ryew.com
HAFNER VINEYARD www.hafnervineyard.com
RODNEY STRONG VINEYARDS Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Merlot,
Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Syrah, Meritage. Rodney Strong Vineyards is dedicated to crafting world-class wines that capture the essence of Sonoma County. Open daily 10-5. 11455 Old Redwood Hwy., Healdsburg; 431-1533; rodneystrong.com SAPPHIRE HILL WINERY www.sapphirehill.com SEGHESIO FAMILY WINERY www.seghesio.com SILVER OAK CELLARS Cabernet Sauvignon. For 40+ years Silver Oak has been singleminded in the pursuit of excellent Cabernet Sauvignon. Open M-S 10-5 and Su 11-5. 24625 Chianti Rd., Geyserville; 942-7082; silveroak.com SIMI Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot. Simi is Sonoma County’s oldest continuously running winery focused on Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Open daily 10-5. 16275 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg; 433-3686; simiwinery.com
STONESTREET VINEYARDS www.stonestreetwines.com STRYKER SONOMA www.strykersonoma.com STUHLMULLER VINEYARDS Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel. Off the beaten path with stunning views of the Valley. Estate wines. Picnic area. Open F-M 11-4:30. 4951 West Soda Rock Ln., Healdsburg; 431-7745; stuhlmullervineyards.com TRENTADUE WINERY Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Merlot, Petite Sirah. Two hundred and eight acres of estate-grown fruit producing Gold Medal winners! Open daily 10-5. 19170 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville; 433-6249; trentadue.com VERITÉ WINES www.veritewines.com WATTLE CREEK WINERY www.wattlecreek.com
WHITE OAK VINEYARDS & WINERY Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Bordeaux Blend, Syrah, Merlot. Award-winning wines, picnic grounds and scenic views. Open daily 10-5. 7505 Highway 128, Healdsburg; 433-8429, whiteoakwinery.com
STARLITE VINEYARDS We are a premium boutique winery offering elegant and handcrafted European-style Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Viognier wines that have all earned 94-92 points. Open Th-Su 11-5 and by appointment. 5511 Highway 128, Geyserville; 431-9800; starlitevineyards.com
FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: WWW.ALEXANDERVALLEY.ORG
SKIPSTONE RANCH WINERY www.skipstoneranch.com
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wine discoveries River Road Ranch 2008 Russian River Valley Chardonnay $30 / 14.5% alcohol
Creative, Fresh, Local 7501 Healdsburg Ave., Sebastopol 8caw.com 707.823.8189
Winemaker Scot Covington accepted the challenge of making a classic Burgundy-style wine from grapes grown and harvested from a most difficult year of weather extremes and harsh harvest conditions. Now you know where all that character came from that you’re tasting. This is a rich chardonnay with classic flavors of baked apples and pears. The wine was aged for 13 months in 100% French oak. Complex aromas preceed a fullmouth taste of fruit with a feel of firm ripeness and a nice silky finish. Alexander Valley Vineyards 2010 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon $22 / 14% alcohol
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This is a classic Bordeaux blend and stands as prime evidence why Alexander Valley Cabs are favored by so many wine drinkers. The blend is Cabernet Sauvignon (89%), Merlot (8%), Cabernet Franc (2%), Malbec (1%) and Petit Verdot (1%). The Wetzell family has been making this wine for 50 years. The wine is ready to drink now and would be a great companion with grilled meat or at a picnic. Hart’s Desire 2007 Hidden Springs Vineyard Merlot $30 / 14.5% alcohol
John Hart III and his wife Desire make small lots of wines with much love and attention. This Merlot won a Gold Medal at last year’s Sonoma County Harvest Fair and is a local favorite. The wine has a soft fruit character with both cherry and blueberry flavors. It’s easy to find; Hart’s Desire has a tasting room in Healdsburg
on the river at Front Street and if you are not near Healdsburg, this wine and others from Hart’s Desire can be found on many wine lists throughout Sonoma County. Lancaster Estate 2009 Sophia’s Hillside Cuvée $42 / 14.3% alcohol
This is a dark, lush wine made from a blend of hillside blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon and a small addition of Merlot. It has aromas of clove, cinnamon and violets. The wine has an excellent balance with berry, plum and cherry flavors and a slight overtone of chocolate at the finish. It was aged for 18 months in French oak and 781 cases were produced. White Oak 2010 Russian River Chardonnay $24 / 14.3% alcohol
This is a “best buy” chardonnay, released a year ago but still available at the winery and many retail shops. It is 100% Chardonnay and was harvested in small lots, gently pressed and put inONGOING Dutton Goldfield 2010 Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir Freestone Hill Vineyard $72 / 13.7% alcohol
This was the first modern vineyard planted in the Freestone region of coastal Sonoma County. 2010 was a challenge to both farmer and winemaker; Freestone was socked in with fog most of the summer, got a blast of hot August days and then a cold September. What’s in the bottle is an intense pinot, full of spiciness and mixed berry flavors. The astonishingly smooth finish belies the potential of this wine to age for a decade or longer.
OUR GENEROUS SPONSORS:
Hotel Healdsburg, Big John’s Market, Summit State Bank, Crabb-Grasseschi Family Foundation, The Press Democrat, Parkpoint Health Clubs, The Healdsburg Tribune, Tallulah Gardenworks, Dr. Stanley Jacobs, American Ag Credit
26 Summer 2013
FAVORITE RECENT RELEASES
o tell the truth (and that’s what Discoveries is all about), excellent wines aren’t made at the winery—they are grown on the vine. It takes a patient, experienced and deft grower to know his vines and be keen to the promise of greatness hidden in the slow-ripening clusters of berries. And, to tell more of the truth, no winemaker or grower— no matter the accolades, gold medals or ribbons—ever stands completely alone. Alexander Valley grape grower and vineyard manager Bret Munselle is a living example of this. Age 36, Bret is a fifth-genALEXANDER eration member of a farming VALLEY’S family that has been plowing land, planting vineyards and making wines along the upper Russian River since 1876. He was named Outstanding Young Farmer at the 2010 Sonoma County Harvest Fair. Bret has followed in many footsteps, including those of his grandparents Fred and Ruby Wasserman and his parents Bill and Reta Munselle. His aunt Bev Wasson and mentor winemakers Rob Davis of Jordan Winery and Corey Beck of Francis Ford Coppola Winery also influenced Bret’s approach to the vines and wines of his native valley. For awhile, after graduating from UC Davis, Bret left Alexander Valley to work for American Ag Credit in land appraisal. He married a southern California girl, Kristen, and his Valley roots got tested. But when the family launched the Munselle Vineyards wine label in 2006, Bret and Kristen moved their two daughters, Maddie and Callie back home. The Munselle family now produces about 1,000 cases of wine under their own name while also growing and managing grapes for Jordan, Coppola, Stryker Sonoma and several Alexander Valley neighbors. There’s another truth about growing wine grapes. It’s not all tractor and vine maintenance. It’s a business and Bret has won the reputation up and down Alexander Valley as an intelligent and upstanding business professional who has never lost the inner heart of a farmer, father and family man.
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Crystal Clear Riedel glassware 28 Summer 2013
The glass does make a difference Riedel’s Alexander Valley seminars show tasters just how much having the right wine glass matters Story by Nathan Wright Photography by Sarah Bradbury
he Joker—a typical plastic cup similar to ones found in the homes of millions of Americans— stands out like a sore thumb amongst the crystal stemware crowded atop the placemats at Trione Winery.
“Every time you want to be seduced by the wine you’re about to taste, the smell is the beginning of what’s to come…”
It reminds one of barbeques and birthday parties; events where one is handed a plastic cup just like this Joker, and offered wine. And with that choice of container, the experience is ruined. Sound a bit melodramatic? Far-fetched, perhaps? Riedel educator Sylvie Laly can show you otherwise. Laly teaches Riedel stemware seminars twice a year at Trione Winery in the Alexander Valley, immersing her students in a lush sensory experience of wine. Her classes attract a wide range of wine tasters, from loyal Riedel believers to the curious and the skeptical. “In all of the tastings I do, I’ve never had one guest that did not become a believer after the experience,” she says. That experience begins with the Joker and a Riedel glass designed for drinking Sauvignon Blanc. Each student is treated to a pour of the white wine varietal and invited to smell. Laly explains how the curve and volume of the glassware allows a cloud of fragrance to waft to the taster’s nose, delighting the senses. “Every time you want to be seduced by the wine you’re about to taste, the smell is the beginning of what’s to come,” she says. “It’s all about the senses. It’s about everything that’s perceived.” And then comes the taste. “To me, this shape delivers the wine to the top tip of my tongue,” she says. “The wine only flows backward.” The glassware is specifically designed to deliver the flow of wine to specific areas of the mouth, hitting the taste re-
“When I’ve been ordering wine at restaurants, I go to the Riedel app [on his phone] to see what the closest shape they have is to the right glass. I’m annoying the service staff a little bit—but if I’m going to order wine, I’m going to enjoy it to its potential.”
Sylvie Laly instructs winetasters on the fine points of using the right glass for the right wine.
ceptors in the tongue that will respond favorably to the varietal. The audience nods as they enjoy the crisp, delicious wine. She then directs her class to pour the remaining wine into the Joker, smell, and taste. The result sends shocked laughter and comments throughout the crowd. A Sauvignon Blanc that was just moments ago brilliant becomes odorless and bitter. “That was totally amazing,” says Dawnyel Howard. “It really did change everything about it. I was definitely blown away. I knew [the seminar] was going to change the way I drink wine, but I didn’t think it was going to change my opinion that much.” “You go to barbeques, and you have friends who serve wine in plastic cups,” says Shawn Trumpney, another participant.
“I always thought, who cares? When we put that wine in the Joker cup, it deadened the flavor and the fragrance. It wasn’t the wine we were experiencing before at all. I’m never drinking out of a plastic cup again.” Her audience hooked, Laly asks the class to put the Joker aside. For the remainder of the hour she’ll show how the sensory experience of wine tasting changes from true wineglass to true wineglass—a legitimate test of crystal stemware. “There is no merit against a 50-cent plastic glass,” she says. “The merit of a glass is comparing it to others.” There are more surprises in store for the class. The next common belief to fall is the idea of universal white and red wine glasses—that is, one can purchase one red wine
[ The Sensory Experience of Glassware ] Smell The shape and the volume of the glass allow the wine drinker to swirl and sniff the fragrance of the wine. Taste The diameter of the mouth of the glass delivers wine to a specific part of the mouth, allowing it to flow over the correct regions of the tongue. Sight The crystal clear stemware allows the wine drinker to view the color of the wine.
Touch The thinness of the rim of the glass changes the feel on the wine drinker’s lips, eliminating unnecessary stimulation.
Sound The ring of the crystal struck lightly together is distinctive to the stemware.
30 Summer 2013
glass for all red varietals and one white wine glass for all white varietals. Each participant is poured an oaky Chardonnay into balloon shaped stemware—a glass that some in the group guess is actually designed for red wine. Unlike the Sauvignon Blanc designed stemware, this glass allows for a wider flow of wine to enter the mouth—completely changing the delivery of wine to the tongue. The audience again nods along with her commentary as they taste using the new glass. As went the previous comparison, Laly directs the crowd to pour the Chardonnay into the Sauvignon Blanc glass, smell, and taste. The murmurs around the table lack the shock of the previous realization— they’re now on to Laly’s game—but the conclusion is the same: the crisp, sweet Chardonnay enjoyed in the correct glass is much more acidic in the wrong glass—and it’s missing the sweetness. The results remain consistent as the group tastes the Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon red varietals. The Cabernet Sauvignon experience is especially powerful; delicious in the correct glass, harsh in the wrong glass. One of the students offers that one might conclude— if drinking from the wrong glass—the wine wasn’t ready to drink and needed to be aged a year or two longer. Laly’s overall seminar is well received— not much of a surprise when one considers her product-speaks-for-itself approach and absence of a hard sales pitch. Laly says the seminars are only a small part of her job, but says she does about 60 a year. “The goal is education,” says Laly. “For these seminars, when you’re trying the stemware, the proof is in the pudding. It has to be an experience on an emotional level. This is not something that can be done via a video or remotely. We provide that experience so that people are aware and can make educated decisions on stemware.”
The Riedel collection has a large range of products for different varietals at different price points. Laly says a wine drinker can expect to spend $15 to $125 on a single piece of crystal wine stemware. She offers a general rule the consumer can easily apply: spend about the amount on one glass that you’d spend on one bottle of wine. “Consumers spend a lot of time and money on wine consumption,” she says. “It’s only normal that we educate clients that we have tools to enjoy what they’re already spending quite a bit of money for.” In the month following the seminar, many of the participants had decided to take Laly’s advice. For Howard, who works in the hospitality industry, she’s started making wine glass recommendations to clients and event organizers. “I wish every event would have Riedel glasses,” she says. “Most events do. It’s something you definitely want to talk about with clients, and I have since the class.” For Trumpney, who lives part-time in the wine country, he’s purchased numerous sets of Riedel stemware for entertaining. He’s also started requesting specific stemware at restaurants when ordering wine. “The biggest ah-ha moment for me at the seminar was the right glass makes a big difference,” he says. “When I’ve been ordering wine at restaurants, I go to the Riedel app [on his phone] to see what the closest shape they have is to the right glass. I’m annoying the service staff a little bit—but if I’m going to order wine, I’m going to enjoy it to its potential.” •
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[ TRY IT ] An upcoming Riedel seminar is Saturday, July 13, 4 p.m. at Trione Winery. For reservations, call 707814-8100 or email email@example.com. Participants take home a set of four glasses used during the seminar. On the web: riedelusa.com; trionewinery.com Get the app: Search for Riedel Wine Glass Guide on iTunes
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ALEXANDER VALLEY— American Viticulture Area
What’s in a name? Soil, climate, geology and more.
Official AVA status was granted in 1984 and Alexander Valley became designated as a wine grape growing region distinguishable by geographic features. Alexander Valley is located in the northeastern corner of Sonoma County, beginning in Healdsburg and stretching up through Geyserville and Cloverdale to the Mendocino County line.
Kimberly Kaido-Alvarez Photography by
Sarah Bradbury 32 Summer 2013
It’s really pride and compassion that collide in the souls of those who garden or farm on any scale. Yearning for the prize—that juicy, sweet peach, the head of butter-leaf lettuce devoid of bitterness, a gigantic pumpkin—this is pride, and the first half of the equation. It’s often fueled by nothing less than empathy, a caring not only for the plant that produces but also for the family, friends and community that depend on local food for their sustenance, health, enjoyment and wellbeing. These two qualities—compassion and pride—are more often present than not in successful farmers, gardeners, and viticulturists who are driven to grow the best quality fruits and vegetables. A hospitable climate and good soil of course helps, too, and Sonoma County is considered a land of paradise and possibility by those in the wine industry. One of the first considerations of any good cultivator is: what will grow here? This is a multifaceted question that involves taking a look at soil components, climate and even geography to determine what will thrive in the environment or particular “terroir.” The answer for Tom and Sally Jordan, founders of Jordan Vineyard and Winery in Healdsburg, was Bordeauxstyle varieties. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Verdot and Malbec, traditionally grown in the Bordeaux region
of France, all thrive on the Jordan estate property located within the Alexander Valley growing appellation. “Alexander Valley is very diverse in terms of what can be grown there, what works,” said Forrest Tancer, who grew up in the Valley and is a wine grape grower and an original board member for Alexander Valley Winegrowers, which worked to get formal government recognition of Alexander Valley as an American Viticultural Area (AVA). Official AVA status was granted in 1984 and Alexander Valley became designated as a wine grape growing region distinguishable by geographic features. Alexander Valley is located in the northeastern corner of Sonoma County, beginning in Healdsburg and stretching up through Geyserville and Cloverdale to the Mendocino County line. The valley is
22 miles long and ranges in width from two to seven miles. The Russian River, which runs through the entire appellation before heading out to the coast, has strongly influenced the soils along with prehistoric volcanic activity. Soil types in Alexander Valley range from volcanic ash to gravelly alluvial fans to silty sedimentary solids, all depending on where the vineyard is located in the Valley’s north-to-south length or its 200to 2,000-foot altitude in growing elevation. Acting as a conduit that pulls fog through Healdsburg and into Alexander Valley, the Russian River snaking along the valley floor is a moderator that balances climatic swings. More than 6,000 acres in the Valley are planted to the Cabernet Sauvignon variety, making it the star of the region. This is almost half of Alexander Valley’s vineyards acres, which total 15,000. Cabernet
Sauvignon grows on the floor, hillsides and mountain ridges of the valley. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Syrah and Zinfandel are also grown here. “The cool nights really maintain the fruit-forward characteristic of wine made from Alexander Valley grapes,” said Tancer. Soil composition affects the flavor of the grapes as well, and at Jordan the vineyard soils have been mapped, explored and analyzed using cutting-edge technology. Vineyard managers have in their hands a map of the soil structure and its ability to hold water (also called soil resistivity). But what was done scientifically has also been detected biologically on the palate of winemaker Rob Davis, who has been with Jordan since 1976—many harvests ago. Davis can walk through a vineyard block tasting grapes from each vine and at some point he might stop, tying a green ribbon on a vine. The marker is placed where he
begins to taste a difference in the grape, explained Greg Miller, Director of Wine at Jordan. Remarkably, comparing where Davis stops correlates with a change in the soil on the map. “While the soils on the Jordan property as well as throughout the AVA vary considerably from one location to the next (and many being “hybrid soils” resulting from tectonic shifting and erosion, which further complicates things), the soils of the Alexander Valley are largely alluvial from the flood plains of the Russian River, volcanic ash, and silty sediment,” explained Miller. A handful of different soils are present on Jordan’s 1,000-acre property. Yolo, Cortina, Diablo and Toomes are a few of the different soil classes that hold their own unique characteristics and compositions. “Merlot does well in a clay soil,” said Miller. But he went on to explain that Discoveries 33
Left— Rob Davis holds a sample of soil in his hand, illustrating the diversity of soil types in just one vineyard; top—providing further evidence of volcanic activity, and adding a little extra beauty and mystery to the Jordan property, are large outcroppings of basaltic rocks (boulders).
Cabernet Sauvignon or Petite Verdot tend to thrive on Toomes, which is a gravelly loam, well-drained soil typically found on the ridges and foothills of volcanic flows and uplands on the Jordan property. Science tells us that long ago Sonoma County was covered with water and existed as an inland sea. Active tectonic shifting of the coastal plates throughout history created the present day Mayacamas Mountains that form the eastern boundary of the county and are a geological factor that distinguishes the Alexander Valley AVA, affecting its climate and soil composition. Providing further evidence of volcanic activity, and adding a little extra beauty and mystery to the Jordan property, are large outcroppings of basaltic rocks (boulders). Getting back to the idea of care and compassion, attention to the needs of the plant or vine is of grave concern at Jordan. “Each vine is coached on an individual basis,” said Miller. Sonoma County is famous for growing all kinds of crops throughout history. In past years it was dubbed “the little Yellowstone” by nature enthusiasts around 34 Summer 2013
the globe who came to enjoy the hot springs, hiking trails, and visual wonders of land and sea. The county contains countless microclimates—temperatures and soil
…long ago Sonoma County was covered with water and existed as an inland sea. Active tectonic shifting of the coastal plates throughout history created the present day Mayacamas Mountains that form the eastern boundary of the county and are a geological factor that distinguishes the Alexander Valley AVA, affecting its climate and soil composition.
conditions can change drastically within mere miles, which works to the advantage of wine grape growers interested in planting more than one varietal. The maritime influences of the Pacific Ocean include fog that cools the summer nights, creeping in through valleys like the Petaluma Gap. Some areas receive more
fog than others and those that are just above the fog-line and tend to be a little warmer. Parts of Alexander Valley would fall into this category, and that’s one of the reasons why Cabernet grows well here. But Chardonnay also requires warmer temperatures in order to express the favored stone-fruit flavor characteristics of white peach. Even before the Alexander Valley Winegrowers applied for AVA status from the government, it was a recognized and renowned growing region for wine grapes. Much of this was due to the 1976 Judgment of Paris, a wine competition organized by Steven Spurrier, a British wine merchant. It was a blind tasting in which French judges compared top-quality California Chardonnays to the best French whites from Burgundy. The competition also included reds, with Cabernets from California going up against red wines from the Bordeaux region in France. At the time, it came as a surprise to many that California rated the best in each category. “Overnight it shocked the nation and put California on the map as a legiti-
Cutting-edge technology provides a soils map of the land at Robert Young Winery, showing the different types and boundaries of soils contained within the vineyards.
mate wine-growing area,” said Miller. The majority of the fruit used in making the winning Chardonnay at the 1976 Judgment in Paris came from Alexander Valley. Other crops like prunes and walnuts were also big in Alexander Valley before the mass planting of grapevines. “Alexander Valley has had lots of incarnations,” said Tancer, who remembers it being prune country during his years growing up here. “Becoming an AVA was an important effort, as the Valley was making a transition from prunes to grapes,” said Tancer, who farmed a 65-acre vineyard in Alexander Valley during that time. But defining the area as a unique growing appellation was also about preserving its agricultural heritage that was being threatened with plans for housing developments and other interests. “There was uniform support throughout the Valley to hold the line and not allow the property there to be chopped up and sold,” explained Tancer. The Alexander Valley Winegrowers were successful in their mission to preserve the agricultural heritage of Alexander Valley and paved the way for the sprouting of new wineries and vineyard plantings. Today it is home to more than 40 wineries and 200 grape growers. The annual “Taste of the Valley” event is held each May and gives wine lovers a chance to visit wineries here not usually open to the public. For more information, contact Alexander Valley Winegrowers at 707431-2894 or visit alexandervalley.org. •
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Alexander Valley Grapes
Recognizing a wine’s origins, however, “is not that different to how we’d recognize a human being,” … “You notice certain memorable things about their character. The next time you see that person you remember them.” —Fred Scherrer (pictured left).
Letting the fruit talk (and learning how to listen) 36 Summer 2013
Story by Frank Robertson
Photography by Sarah Bradbury
If there’s one thing to praise about the Alexander Valley it may be what it isn’t. It’s not the Sonoma Valley (yet) where on busy weekends it feels like you’re stuck in traffic at the Wine Country Shopping Mall. At first blush the Alexander Valley seems less ostentatious than other parts of wine country; it’s not so in-your-face with fancy chateaus where you half expect to see people dressed up like Louis Quatorze driving around in gilded coaches pulled by white stallions. Rather than finery, what you will find here, say Alexander Valley wine growers, are “distinctive, unassuming wines made by distinctive, unassuming people.” They say what makes a great bottle of wine is the vineyard, more than the winery. “Let the fruit speak for itself,” is the mantra, although for the uninitiated it may not always be clear what it’s saying. From a consumer’s point of view, will the taste of wine made from grapes grown in the Alexander Valley (or anywhere else for that matter) be memorable in some particular way? Maybe. What should we expect distinctive unassuming wines from the Alexander Valley to taste like? “More of a dry dusty tannin structure,” said Tom West of Sebastopol’s Wine Emporium shop, when asked how he would describe the Valley’s Cabernet Sauvignons. “More red fruit rather than black fruit.” Alexander Valley cabs are said to be “softer” than Napa Valley’s. The tannins are often called “round” and the flavors impress wine tasters as being “concentrated,” “fruit-forward,” spicy, herbaceous and “velvety.” You may taste “cassis,” the French word for blackcurrant, as well as other aromas ranging from cigar boxes to barnyards. Wine writers also praise Alexander Valley cabs for being as good as Napa’s but less expensive. The Alexander Valley’s morning fog plays a role in defining its AVA, as do the soils, although who can honestly say they can taste fog or dirt in a glass of wine? When tasting good wine made from Russian River Valley grapes I have yet to detect the moldy scent of Russian River bottom silt, thank
god; if I did I’d probably say the wine was corked and send it back. The taste of dirt (or maybe in this case, place) is called terroir, the French word for soil. It’s getting more and more interesting listening to wine drinkers talk about terroir. Among vinophiles it means much more than soil—so much more you may not always know what they’re talking about. The conversations tend to get a little abstract and metaphysical, along the lines of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Identifiable terroir may apply to a small place, a single vineyard or a hillside. An AVA’s signature taste is not measurable; it’s a boundary on a map. And one characteristic often mentioned about the Alexander Valley as a wine-growing region is its amazing diversity. We do know that AVAs carry what one wine writer called “a great deal of subjective importance.” They will affect the wine’s price, for one thing, and are used as a marketing tool. California’s American Viticultural Areas have only been around since the 1980s, and many of the vineyards within them are far newer than that. “The wise consumer should take an appellation name with a grain of salt,” wrote wine writer Steve Heimoff in a recent discussion of California AVAs. “An appellation is a generalization. It means that a wine bearing that origin should conform to certain expectations of, say, dryness, acidity, fruit profile and weight. But it does not guarantee that any particular wine will meet those specifics. All that an American Viticultural Area [on the label] guarantees is that 85 percent of the grapes come from there.” Heimoff and others say the entire Russian River watershed is perhaps a truer common denominator of what the region is about, not the American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) of which there are now 13 in Sonoma County. “All those AVAs can in-
deed seem confusing even to the initiated,” said Heimoff in A Wine Journey along the Russian River, his 2005 book that offers a good tour of Russian River AVAs, especially the Alexander Valley’s. Researching the valley’s flavor profile, I opened a Geyser Peak 2008 Alexander Valley cab whose label promised a wine with an “easygoing attitude” and “a long rich finish.” It assured me this was an “exceptional wine,” but in all honesty it wasn’t even close. It wasn’t bad, just not impressive. It was red wine. And where, I wondered, was the Alexander Valley part? A Clos du Bois 2008 Sonoma Reserve Alexander Valley cab presented the same profile, dark maroon color and a sort of promising flinty opening note and then … not much. “I’m not looking forward to drinking any more of either one of these,” said my tasting companion. I wondered whether our disappointment had to do with these wines being produced by large multinational corporations. Clos du Bois is owned by Constellation Brands, Inc., the world’s biggest wine company. Geyser Peak was purchased last year by Accolade Wines, the Australianbased global wine giant. There was talk of the Geyser Peak brand needing some “rebuilding.” John Haggard, a knowledgeable vinophile who with his partner David Defries owns Sophie’s Cellars, the little wine shop in Duncans Mills, said a problem with mass-produced wines like these is that a human touch has been replaced by formulas and computers. “They’re trying to put out 100,000 cases of fairly generic wine,” said Haggard. “They’re doing it in a more corporate way.” There was probably nothing wrong with the fruit, said Haggard, but probably nothing great about it either. If it was talking, it wasn’t saying much. “What they’re working on is a formula,” said Haggard. “No matter how good or bad the vintage is nobody is ever going to know. It’s going to always taste the same.” I asked John to suggest some Alexander Valley wines he’d like to drink. He mentioned several, including the Robert Young Winery, “probably the most prestigious of Discoveries 37
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38 Summer 2013
Ed Scherrer followed in his father’s footsteps. Ed still works in the family vineyard (he’s in his 80s).
wineries in Alexander Valley.” He recommended Hart’s Desire, the Wetzel family’s Alexander Valley Vineyards (“incredibly affordable wines”), and Cabernet Sauvignons and Zinfandels made by Fred Scherrer, whose family planted grapes in the Alexander Valley more than 100 years ago. After our disappointing foray into cabs, we tried a 2009 Chateau St. Jean single vineyard Chardonnay made with grapes grown in the Robert Young vineyard. “Today the 500-acre Robert Young Estate is among the most honored winegrowing properties in the world,” says the Robert Young website. “The ranch is planted with 317 acres of bench land and hillside vineyards, containing three main grape varieties: Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Ten other varieties thrive on the ranch in lesser quantities. Vineyard soils contain sandstone, shale, oceanic crust and sediment, providing well-drained and diverse beds for the vines.” “The area is a bit of an anomaly,” said noted winemaker Richard Arrowood, who used to make wine at Robert Young. “It grows highly sought-after Cabernet Sauvignon in one location and absolutely gorgeous Chardonnay in another.” “Nice and fruity,” said my tasting companion. “It’s good. I like it.” It was a crisp, spare white wine, no butterscotch (which I actually like) and a balanced feel on the tongue. I’m not sure
what this reveals about the place where it was grown. This was a pleasing, subtle glass of white wine. I sipped it while making croutons for a Caesar salad. The Chardonnay boosted my enthusiasm, which was already strong. Why don’t wine writers praise wines that boost your enthusiasm? I wondered. Big John’s Market in Healdsburg has a good wine section. I was surprised there was only one Zinfandel from the Alexander Valley (they’re mostly from Dry Creek Valley), but it was one I was looking for, a Scherrer made with grapes grown in the Scherrer family’s Alexander Valley vineyard. Even to my uneducated palate, this wine seemed to offer everything so frequently promised in a good representative Alexander Valley red wine: lots of fruit, soft tannins, good balance. “An elegant mouthful of good red wine,” I wrote in my notes. It was a 2006 (not a renowned vintage, which may explain why it was even available), made in a way that was intended “to capture the beauty and personality” of the family’s vineyard,” said Fred Scherrer’s notes on the bottle. I called Scherrer to ask about the vineyard, where it was, what it’s like, how he does it. His “old and mature” vines are on 24 acres in the Valley’s southeastern area, “perched on a bench with pretty good air and drainage,” said Scherrer. “It’s a neat part of the Alexander Valley. I think it’s a really nice spot.”
His grandfather planted grapes there starting in 1911. “It seemed like a good idea at the time,” said Scherrer, who may have been referring to Prohibition, which came along in 1920. Fred Scherrer’s father, Ed Scherrer, followed in his father’s footsteps. Ed still works in the family vineyard (he’s in his 80s), taking what Fred Scherrer called “meticulous” care of the land the family has owned since 1899. “Talking to my father will give you insight. He’s an amazing guy,” said Scherrer, who makes his wines in a wonderfully nondescript old warehouse on Ross Road near Graton. At a recent open house his father was there pouring Scherrer Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon for the roomful of guests milling around among the wine barrels. Fred Scherrer does all the cellar work himself, relying on “intuitive judgment to come into play.” He releases his wines when he thinks they’re ready, sometimes aging them for several years. The 2009 Scherrer Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was just released in April. Besides zins and cabs, his reds include Pinot Noir and Syrah (not all from the Alexander Valley). “I tend not to use the word terroir,” said Scherrer, when I asked him about the term. “It’s charged with so many different definitions.” Recognizing a wine’s origins, however, “is not that different to how we’d recognize a human being,” said Scherrer. “You notice certain memorable things about their character. The next time you see that person you remember them.” He talked about the importance of what he called “peasant logic,” which has to do with discovering “what seems to work,” said Scherrer. “It’s valid even though it may not have a scientific background to it.” Scherrer makes a red wine he calls Zinfandoodle, a blend of Alexander Valley Zinfandels, combining different vintages and leftovers from other bottlings. His comments on how Zinfandoodle tastes may offer a new way of letting the fruit talk. “I like the way it sits in the mouth like an old house cat on your lap on a cold night—it just belongs there,” said Scherrer. “ This wine p ractically purrs.”
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From Wheat to Cabernet Over the decades, historic Geyserville and the ever-changing face of Alexander Valley have held fast to agricultural roots. Story by Lynda Hopkins
40 Summer 2013
lexander Valley is now known as Sonoma County’s sweet spot for Cabernet Sauvignon; tourists and locals alike flock to taste the region’s rich, aromatic wines. But long before the landscape morphed into sweeping rows of Cabernet, Geyserville was a farm town surrounded by traditional agriculture. “The really, really early history goes back to Cyrus Alexander, who was the ranch manager for Henry Fitch of the Sotoyome Rancho, which was 48,880 acres. Fitch hired Alexander to basically build him a house, start making this rancho prosper,” said Holly Hoods, curator of the Healdsburg Museum. Alexander Valley was recognized as prime agricultural acreage early on. “The agreement between Fitch and Alexander was ‘after you manage my ranch for x number of years, you will get land.’ So basically Cyrus Alexander got to pick out the best land. The payment for his work was Alexander Valley.” That was in 1845. And by 1862, the area’s earliest nonnative settlers had already rec-
ognized that the valley was an ideal setting for growing grapes. Charles W. Matthews of Tennessee acquired 600 acres of fertile land and planted Mission grapes, which he later replaced with nearly 40 acres of Zinfandel. A decade would pass before any more grapes were planted in the valley. Riesling, Chasselas, Carignane, Grosseblau, Burger, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Grenache, and yes, Cabernet Sauvignon: the first generation of Alexander Valley growers experimented with a wide variety of wine grapes. As more vines were planted, wineries blossomed. Production in individual wineries was substantial, ranging from tens to hundreds of thousands of gallons per
vintage. And still the valley and town remained close-knit. “One thing that’s neat about Alexander Valley is that it was settled by so few families they called it ‘Brother-in-law Flat,’ because everyone was related,” Hoods said. The close-knit community is something that Harry Bosworth—owner of Bosworth and Son General Mercantile, which has been in business for more than a century and is itself rich in agricultural history—remembers growing up. “I remember some of the girls in high school talking about how they couldn’t date anyone in high school because they were cousins. At one time I think we had five members on a basketball team and they were all the same last surname. So there was certainly that,” Bosworth said. Bosworth has seen some of the change to the valley firsthand: other changes have been passed down as stories from generation to generation, beginning with Bosworth’s great-grandparents who first settled in the valley. And some changes have been preserved in the shopkeeping records of Bosworth and Son. “I can remember stories of my grandmother, how when they first farmed in the area that the valley was wheat. And I guess people just brought the crops that they were used to. Farmers from the Midwest came here and raised what they could, and they raised wheat and different grains,” [ This page ] top— Cyrus Alexander; bottom— A prune orchard in bloom in the 1960s, photos courtesy of Healdsburg Museum & Historical Society. [ Page 40 ] top— Depot St. in Geyserville in early 20th century, looking west; bottom— Pre-Prohibition wine barrels on horse-drawn wagons in front of a Geyserville hotel/bar. Photos courtesy of the Bosworth family.
Bosworth said. In the 1870s, Bosworth’s forebear was one of the valley’s first vineyard managers. Bosworth estimated it would have taken two days to haul his grapes by horse and buggy to the Santa Rosa winery that processed the crop. Throughout the history of the valley, trees—both native and farmed—have played a pivotal role. The plentiful oak trees were harvested for lumber, power, cooking and heat, and to make way for sheep grazing pastures. Later, the valley floor was covered with fruit trees. “Of course, prunes were the big thing; we’re talking about in the 40s and ’50s. Before that, there was a time when there were quite a few apples around, and pears... women would cut the pears and dry them, and they’d have little sulfur houses that they’d run them through to keep them from
“I can remember stories of my grandmother, how when they first farmed in the area that the valley was wheat. And I guess people just brought the crops that they were used to. Farmers from the Midwest came here and raised what they could, and they raised wheat and different grains…” turning yellow or brown in the sun. Some people down the river had hops, and hops were still a viable crop. Little by little, all those things had their limits or somebody else could grow them better or cheaper. And pretty soon in the ’70s we started converting back to grapes and everything became grapes,” Bosworth said. In the heyday of the prune, that humble, fibrous fruit laid the groundwork for later tourism, defining the valley as a beautiful
Geyserville and the Geysers When first established, Geyserville was known as Clairville Station. The name change came about after the discovery and subsequent popularity of a series of steam vents, fumaroles and hot springs in a narrow canyon east of Alexander Valley. While not technically geysers, the name stuck and these geologic features became a sightseeing attraction. It was a bear hunter named William Bell Elliott who stumbled across the steaming terrain when he was tracking grizzlies in April of 1847. A rudimentary hotel was erected in 1854, but it took about a decade to realize any measurable profit in the tourist trade. Some credit is given to Clark Foss, a stage coach operator, who opened a new route between Healdsburg and the resort at The Geysers in 1863. Today, The Geysers area hosts 15 geothermal energy plants, providing about 725,000 kilowatts of electricity to Northern California’s power grid. Sources: Geyserville History, geyservillecc.com.; CalPine Power Plants, calpine.com.
42 Summer 2013
and worthy place to visit. “It’s interesting to think of that there was anything tourist-associated with prunes because people think ‘ha ha ha, prunes.’ When they called Healdsburg ‘the Buckle of the Prune Belt,’ the belt was Alexander and Dry Creek Valleys,” said Hoods. “But one of the tourist draws for a long time, especially in the 60s and early 70s, was prune blossom tours. It is so beautiful to see a whole panorama of prune trees in blossom that tourists would come just to see the blossoms. People also talk about the beautiful smell of the blossoms. It became something that was actually promoted, and they had buses and they would actually have a certain tourist season where people would come for the blossoms,” Hoods said. Somewhere between hops, apples, prunes, and wine grapes, the tenor of valley life changed. And with it changed the offerings of Bosworth and Son, Geyserville’s original general merchandise store. “What we carry has changed a lot. We used to have a lot of large animal feed. Now we sell mostly cat and dog food. But it used to be almost everybody in town had chickens, quite a few people even had cows in town. And almost all farmers had a horse to plow the hills with, and some of those hill vineyards were plowed by horse clear up until the 1960s,” Bosworth said. “And at the same time we sold lots of work clothing like bib overalls and that sort of thing that men wore to work, where now people’s workwear is more casual wear because they’re not out there doing the same kind of work. The same with boots. We used to sell cowboy boots and we had all sorts of different sizes and we had different heel shapes for different guys wanted a more sloping heel or a taller heel; yet with all of that my father only sold them in black,” Bosworth said, smiling. The great wine grape renaissance of Alexander Valley came in the 1970s. The valley gained renown at the piv-
Above— Harry Bosworth with his daughter Gretchen Crebs, in Bosworth & Sons, photo by Sarah Bradbury; top right— feed sacks at Bosworth & Sons in the 1960s, photo courtesy of the Bosworth family; bottom— hats and clothing for sale at Bosworth’s today, photo by Sarah Bradbury; facing page— a steroscope card depicting the old Geyser Hotel, photo courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org.
otal 1976 Judgment in Paris, when a California Chardonnay beat out its French competitor. (The majority of those Chardonnay grapes had been grown in Alexander Valley.) Today, grapes are planted from the valley
floor all the way up to the rolling hillsides and mountain ridges. Cabernet Sauvignon is the region’s leading grape varietal, comprising approximately 6,000 acres of the valley’s 15,000 planted acres. Other popular varietals include Chardonnay,
Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, as well as Syrah and Viognier. And while most people in town don’t own a cow, backyard chicken keeping is making a comeback, and small vegetable farms, gardens, and fruit trees are once again springing up in the valley. •
Trione Vineyards & Winery For more than three decades, the Trione family has carefully farmed and managed 750 acres of some of the finest grapes in Sonoma County. With painstaking devotion to the land, the Trione family has developed a reputation for producing premium grapes, and in 2005, they decided to start their own portfolio as Trione Vineyards & Winery.
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Picnic in the Alexander Valley
Nothing says summer like a picnicâ€”whether impromptu or plannedâ€”and the gentle roads of the Alexander Valley offer some ideal places to eat outdoors.
Story by Abby Bard Photography by Sarah Bradbury
44 Summer 2013
Above—Stryker Sonoma’s terraced picnic lawn; facing—Field Stone Winery, with wine-barrel picnic tables under the oaks.
ne gorgeous, warm day in spring, a companion and I set out to explore picnic spots along the Valley, wanting to get a jump on the summer picnic season. We first stopped at Big John’s Market in Healdsburg to pick up some picnic-friendly foods. We were faced with selecting from an enormous array of sandwiches, wraps, and salads (from old-fashioned coleslaw, chicken, egg, pasta, and potato salads to the more eclectic choices of broccoli-gorgonzola-grape, Thai noodle, couscous, quinoa with edamame, and many more). Also very tempting are Big John’s hot prepared meats and vegetables, fried chicken, veggie lasagna, potatoes prepared many ways, and a complete Mexican menu bar. In addition, they have a salad bar with cold chicken, shrimp and raw vegetables, and banks of shelves displaying local and imported cheeses, cured meats, and fish, sushi, condiments and sweets. We chose kale Caesar salad and a mixed fruit salad from the salad bar, and a favorite sandwich from the deli: European ham and Gruyere cheese on a Costeaux Bakery baguette with a tiny container of Dijon mustard on the side. We then made a quick trip across the street to Garrett Ace Hardware, where Vanessa in Garrett’s Gift Horse Home Store helped us find a handy picnic kit complete with dishes, cloth napkins, wine glasses, flatware for two, a wine opener, and a spacious insulated section for storing our food. We were now picnic-ready. From Alexander Valley Road, we headed south on Highway 128 to Field Stone Winery, drawn there by the website’s description of their picnic grounds as “one of the most beautiful scenic vistas in the California wine country.” We were not disappointed. In a quintessential Northern California landscape of gentle hills and huge old oaks, wine-barrel picnic tables sit under the sheltering trees. The winery building tucked into a hillside is landscaped at its entrance with native ceanothus, manzanita and fragrant lavender; its simple stone façade blends seamlessly into the curve of the land. Arched oak doors open into a cave lined with barrels and a small tastDiscoveries 45
if you go around the corner from the entrance, past the water tower, you might find him there at work. We wrapped up our day at J. Rickards Winery at the northern end of the valley. Family owned since 1976 and operating as a commercial winery for eight years, owners Jim and Eliza Rickards offer “Darn Fine Barn Wine.” The winery motto is “passion . . . no pretense,” and you sense it as you drive up the road from the highway. It feels like an old-timey family farm (except for the state-of-the-art stainless steel tanks behind the barn), surrounded by 45 acres of vines and perched on a steep hilltop west of Highway 101. Directly opposite the barn, a fruitladen citrus shrub shades the entry to the owners’ home and its attached office/ tasting room. On a cement deck between the two buildings are wrought iron benches with red cushions and some recycled-metal sculptures created from old tools, gears and saw blades resurrected by artist Rebecca Nase, whose Jon Rickards of J. Rickards Winery, their motto is: work is also on display “passion…not pretense.” in the tasting room. Jon Rickards, Jim and enjoy the views from the tasting room Rickard’s son, was our convivial host porch or shaded picnic tables above the during our visit, pouring us a taste of nearly creek. Optionally, let the winery provide every wine produced by winemaker Blaine the wine and the food by reserving a space Brazil. At the edge of the small parking lot, for the wine and artisan cheese pairings tucked under some fruit trees, are a couple they offer daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., May of picnic tables where you can sit and enjoy your picnic with a view of the length of the through August. Continuing north on Hwy 128, you valley to the south. I loved this place with can’t miss Soda Rock Winery, marked by its reasonably priced wines, unpretentious a distinctive stone façade on the building. style, and most of all, the genuinely welConstructed in the 1860s, a hotel, the coming atmosphere. Several weeks ago, another friend and Alexander Valley general store and post office once thrived here. The tasting room I headed to the Valley for a spontaneous opens out onto a spacious patio facing the picnic, stopping first at Jimtown Store at road, with metal tables and chairs shaded the junction of Alexander Valley Road and by umbrellas or redwoods. Enjoy your pic- Hwy 128, to provision up. Chalkboard nic lunch here with a bottle of wine (also menus at the deli counter list mouth-wateravailable by the glass for $5 or $8, de- ing specials—or you can order box lunches pending on the bottle price). Painter Wade (with 24-hour advance notice) that include Hoefer has his studio at Soda Rock—his a baguette sandwich, side salad, olives, paintings are displayed in the winery—and fresh fruit and a cookie. To picnic in style ing room. We chose the featured wine of the day, an estate-bottled Staten Family Reserve Petite Sirah (from vines planted in 1894) to drink with our lunch under the oaks. For ambiance and delicious, affordable wines, I felt we’d hit the jackpot. Their vintage port, accompanied by a morsel of dark chocolate, makes a perfect dessert, and I bought a bottle to take home. In 1962, the Wetzel family bought a large part of the homestead that the Valley’s namesake Cyrus Alexander established in 1846. They restored the hillside house and the old adobe, and established Alexander Valley Vineyards. Bring your picnic lunch
46 Summer 2013
(six people or more and 48 hours notice), they’ll prepare a family style lunch, beautifully arranged on returnable platters. We arrived at lunchtime on a beautiful, sunny day, and the store was filled with families and groups of cyclists. While we waited for our grilled eggplant and provolone sandwich from the signature menu and a kale salad from the deli, we cruised around the store. Shelves of old dollhouse furniture, a collection of lunchboxes and thermos bottles, ancient shopping carts, new children’s books, hand-painted wooden toys, a pair of childsized Zipees ice skates, and a Monkey Boutique, devoted to the sock monkey phenomenon, line the walls. Racks of candy-filled jars brought a rush of nostalgia—malt balls, Turkish taffy, candy corn, York mint patties, cinnamon gummy bears, licorice pipes, red wax lips, “It’s a Boy” and “It’s a Girl” color-coded bubblegum cigars, candy necklaces, Junior Mints, Sugar Babies, Tootsie Rolls, Red Hots, and dozens more confections, including my childhood favorite, paper strips of pastel button candy. On shelves lined with brightly patterned Mexican oilcloth (also sold by the yard for a perfect picnic tablecloth), are baskets, candles and hammered copper platters. You’ll find hot sauces and splatter-design enameled metal dishes in several colors, mugs, packages of coffees and teas, spiced nuts, gluten-free brownies, energy bars and, mystifyingly, an adult-sized Guernsey cow costume. The store has tables where you can eat, both inside and on an outdoor patio, but our picnic lunch was packed and ready, so we added some hand-cut tortilla chips and an espresso brownie to our bag and headed out. This time I remembered to bring a cooler and lightweight dishes and cutlery, but if you don’t have those handy, Jimtown Store sells reusable bamboo plates, picnic sporks, and simple cloth napkins and dish towels to add to your basket. Just next door, the Hawkes tasting room has a charming picnic area, with painted tables and chairs on a stone patio under a wisteria arbor, which looked like a great place to stop if you’re on a bicycle tour, but Merryl and I were seeking somewhere off the main road to have our picnic, so we drove a short way to Stuhlmuller Winery, on quiet Soda Rock Road, where Jackie the tasting room host welcomed us. This
family-owned vineyard has been making wine since 1996, but the tasting room is one of the newer ones in the Valley, opened just five years ago. While it’s fine to drop in, the tasting and picnic areas are small and intimate, so they recommend calling ahead, especially if you’re with a large group. Well-behaved dogs are welcome. After our tasting we ordered wine by the glass (at one-quarter the bottle price) and headed outside to an umbrella-shaded picnic table to eat lunch and enjoy the peaceful view of the vineyards and Mt. St. Helena across the valley. It was so delightful there that we were reluctant to leave, but I wanted to explore one more spot. Before heading out, I bought a bottle of Zinfandel to take home and we drove back to Highway 128, this time heading north. The driveway of Stryker Sonoma Winery is lined with mature zinfandel grapevines and leads up the hill to a stunningly beautiful building, inspired by mid-century modern American architecture. Nielsen Schuh Architects designed the winery building in perfect harmony with its site at the top of a gentle rise with 360-degree views. The spacious tasting room, with inlaid floors and a curved granite countertop, has northwest views of the valley and also looks down into the barrel room and production area on the lower level through a huge window wall. Below the wisteria-shaded veranda is a broad, terraced lawn with picnic tables, shaded by large trees and surrounded by a circular fieldstone wall, with more tables at the edge of the vineyard. You can also bring a blanket to spread on the lawn. Wine is available by the glass at reasonable prices, and the grounds are dog friendly. Wine country etiquette suggests that you buy your picnic wine at the venue where you choose to eat. And do call ahead to check on availability of space, especially on the weekends. Bring your hat and sunscreen, put a couple of frozen water bottles (or a container of icecubes) into your cooler, fill it with a delicious lunch, and head out for a picnic in the scenic and historic Alexander Valley. •
M D Summer Spirits in the
Creative, seasonal cocktails are the draw at a venerable but renovated bar in the middle of Wine Country.
Story by Robin Hug Photography by Sarah Bradbury
48 Summer 2013
BLEND MUDDLE DRIZZLE Blend, muddle, and drizzle.
Peel, pickle, pinch. Pit, puree and shred are just a few of the many techniques that a bartender at Alexander Valley Bar needs to know in order to create its signature garden-inspired cocktails for guests.
Known to locals as AVB, and the only bar in town, this little building just off of Alexander Valley Road is an unmarked modern speakeasy. Once a popular watering hole and deli, new owners Chris James and Ames Morison have transformed the space into a sultry den that mixes contemporary style with vintage touches and an old-town feel. Now the little valley bar is one of the best spots in North County to have a fresh seasonal cocktail made to order. Partnered right next door is their Medlock Ames tasting room, open during the day and closed by cocktail hour.
PEEL belowâ€”Alexander Valley Barâ€™s interior features updated decor with historical photos and memorabilia with communal table in foreground; facing--Bar manager Kirsti Kinservik mixes a Pascaul Margarita
PICKLE PINCH Discoveries 49
From the outside, the bar and tasting room duo resemble a country grange hall with a small gravel parking lot that offers a place to pull off the main road. As you approach the back deck you may notice the neon cocktail sign lit up indicating that you are in the right spot but hidden from the road by a large hedge. Inside the walls are painted a deep brown and decorated with framed history of the area. An antique photo booth stands prominently in the back corner and has been rigged with a few modern-day technologies to keep it snapping so that patrons can take home a string of black and white memories from their visit. A large communal table sits under shallow lights, providing a great platform for conversation or bar games, while three little bar stools are pitched by the doorway. For those that want to kick back on a comfy cushion, the wall across from the dark wooden bar hosts a small nook for close conversation. The best spot in the joint, however, is the back porch. Just a step above the garden where your cocktail ingredients are grown is a large deck with benches and tables, perfect for enjoying a drink and watching the sun set over the vineyards. Rolling hills drape the background and the sound of happy birds sing high in the olive trees. Off in the distance is the large pizza oven that plays host to many parties where homegrown ingredients top pies served to mingling guests. “It is nice because we have a lot of creative liberty here, whatever is in season, or whatever our gardener has planted, the bartenders can play with to craft different cocktails,” said Kirsti Kinservik, the bar’s manager. “We also have a ranch off of Chalk Hill Road and we have a huge market garden up there, so when we hold pizza parties we source all of the produce from there.” During the summer, AVB hosts pizza parties, olive oil tastings and other special events including live music and food trucks. On Sundays, a band starts playing at 5:30 p.m. accompanied by a food truck serving dinner. Daily picks from the bar garden to pair with summer spirits include lavender, edible flowers, lemon, rosemary, mint, berries, cucumbers, cilantro and peppers. A selection of freshly picked herbs and produce is neatly grouped in glasses and vases 50 Summer 2013
…the back porch [has] a large deck with benches and tables, perfect for enjoying a drink and watching the sun set over the vineyards. Rolling hills drape the background and the sound of happy birds sing high in the olive trees.
across the bar, looking more like a blooming arrangement than cocktail ingredients. “A lot of the drinks are collaborative, so when things start coming into season we come together and do a tasting, many of them start as classic cocktails and then we give them a twist,” said Kinservik. You can expect to see a martini, a mule and a margarita all listed on the menu, but each one takes on its own flavor profile. In the summertime, one of the most popular AVB drinks is the Pascaul, a spicy margarita made with fresh red peppers and cilan-
tro. For those that prefer a sweeter concoction, the Rasta cocktail, featured for Bob Marley’s birthday, is a mix of Kraken rum, Kahlua, pineapple juice and bitters. “We use all fresh ingredients and focus mainly on garden-inspired cocktails, but for some of our locals we have kept a lot of our domestic beers and we also have one of the largest whiskey selections in this area,” said Kinservik. Keeping the domestic beers and a large selection of whiskey was a decision made to keep the regulars happy with all of the
changes and renovations that were made to their age-old bar. Once an after-work spot for vineyard workers, a place where muddy boots were the rule not the exception, the old Alexander Valley Bar, market and deli was purchased by the Medlock Ames partners in 2004 and by May of 2010 the place had a new look and feel. “It used to serve the local community quite well, all the locals used to stop through whether it be for charcoal, sandwiches or ice cream for the kids, or eggs, milk and butter; it was kind-of like an old town general store. The fire department people stopped in and the bar was open a lot earlier, so we were involved with the community; the guys would come down in the morning to have coffee and donuts and talk about the harvest—it was a different place,” said Lyn Starr, a bartender at AVB who started there in 1995 before the rebuild. During the transition many of the locals had a hard time with the change from a store and bar to a tasting room and bar, considering the area is rural and most households have to travel to get to a store for basic needs. Even though Starr said she still hears some dissatisfaction in the change, locals are starting to come back around and are enjoying the new venue. “They left one wall up, the one that is facing west Sausal Lane, and they redid everything and they did a beautiful job. I could never see the vision and was one of the disgruntled people that thought I wouldn’t go back in there again, and here I am working there again,” Starr laughed. Still keeping its casual, cool atmosphere, you can expect to see a mix of locals and visitors, some dressed for a nice dining experience and having a before-dinner drink, while others have come from a fun day in the sun still bearing sandals and sunscreen. Whatever the occasion (or no occasion at all), stop by this summer for a seasonal spirit and a friendly welcome in the one and only bar in the Valley. The Alexander Valley Bar (3487 Alexander Valley Rd., Healdsburg; 707-431-1904) opens daily at 5 p.m. Medlock Ames Wine Tasting Room is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Discoveries 51
[ DAY TRIPPING ]
Seize the day in
Valley Story by Jess Poshepny Photography by Sarah Bradbury
t’s summertime and the livin’ is easy (especially when you are vacationing in the beautiful Alexander Valley). The activities are endless and on a single day you can pack in as many wonderful, sensory, fulfilling adventures as you would like. Submerged as I am in the local wine industry, I love the summertime because guests that come through the valley continue to introduce me to all kinds of new, cool day trips.
Whether you are a bride-to-be, a groom-to-be, honeymooning, visiting for the sake of visiting, or even passing through to another destination, Alexander Valley has the views, the food, bikes, canoes, kayaks, the river, the back-country roads, and wine tastings as well as places to stay after you’ve had as much fun as you can. (Is there such a thing?) The Hope-Merrill House is a quaint, old-school B&B that is sure to please those that want hospitable attention from the innkeeper/ owners, good food and cozy rooms. The Geyserville Inn is another 52 Summer 2013
wonderful place to stay with views that are so absolutely stunning they are sure to take your breath away! It’s a good thing the days are much longer in the summer because there is so much to see and do throughout Alexander Valley. I always enjoy a bike ride to take in the views and I begin near Simi Winery at the north end of Healdsburg Avenue. I like to stop along the roads to record the beauty with some iPhone photos. In the early part of summer, the rusty railroad tracks with purple, white and orange flowers are the perfect setting for the envy shot (the one I post for my friends who are unable to enjoy it in person). Even when the grass turns brown in some spots, the rustic elegance shines through in the bright sunshine with the rough rust peeling from the tracks. Fresh fruit is key to the Alexander Valley experience, and just past my photo stop is a small stand across from Alexander Valley Road where I like to pick up a few things to enjoy with a picnic lunch. I continue north, up Geyserville Avenue; the vineyards are endless and the view of the mountain range in the distance is spectacular. The road into Geyserville shows off new art: a bright pink stick-person, “Running Home,” aptly named because Geyserville/Alexander Valley feels like home to anyone! After a leisurely ride through the valley, I like to get my hands on a hearty turkey and cranberry sandwich from the Geyserville Mud. Pair that sandwich with the refreshing taste of the Mud’s famous cold-pressed coffee (take it black, you will be surprised at how naturally sweet the beans really are). After a nice filling lunch and some fuel for the soul, I like to make a stop at one of my favorite Ma and Pop
[ This page ] Above—Cyclists ride past Robert Young Estate Winery; middle—Lori Frederickson, ready to dig into a turkey and cranberry sandwich at Geyserville Mud; below—Jimtown Store makes for a fun and tasty rest stop. [ Page 52 ] Top—A beautiful red barn along Geyserville Avenue between Healdsburg and Geyserville; bottom—A group of kayakers prepare to launch an expedition at the Russian River under the Alexander Valley Bridge.
It’s a good thing the days are much longer in the summer because there is so much to see and do throughout Alexander Valley. wine-tasting rooms: Route 128. Not only are owners Lorna and Pete two of the best people, but their Viognier is to die for and it will be the perfect accompaniment with my dinner later. But the ride is not yet over. The journey deeper into the heart of Alexander Valley is phenomenal. Past the Grange Hall on the left are vineyards belonging to Rodney Strong. Their Rockaway Cabernet Sauvignon (from this vineyard we are passing) is something to write home about. Moving along, I see the River Rock Casino and many beautiful private homes in the distance when finally I arrive at the driveway of one of my favorite stops: Stryker Sonoma. I like this winery mostly because of the wine and the people, but to be honest, after riding through the valley, it’s the one hill I can cycle up without feeling like passing out, and I still get rewarded with a view from above. Cycling through the valley in the summer can be difficult, so it’s imperative to stop and say hello to friendly folks—plus, they do not mind if you stop in for the restroom or to see the view. Heading home on Alexander Valley Road, I cross the bridge at the Alexander Valley campground. This is a popular spot for locals and visitors to take a dip or relax by the Russian River. The canoes below the bridge remind me of the fun of canoeing down the river and biking through the valley. Getaway Adventures offers a fun tour called the Pedal ‘N Paddle. River’s Edge Kayak & Canoe in Healdsburg is another local option where you can rent a fun water vessel for the afternoon, should you fancy creating your own experience. Although I enjoy abiding by my own itinerary, I also recommend a guided tour to visitors because it is a more indepth experience and a wonderful way to learn about the area from a professional. Getaway Adventures offers a “Sip ‘N Cycle” tour (among others), tailoring an ideal itinerary for each group or individual. Visit vineyards such as DeLormier and Robert Young with your 54 Summer 2013
tour guide, who helps to broaden the wine tasting experience. You can even enjoy a luxurious lunch. Ride along the wine country roads like Red Winery Road, visiting some of the family owned wineries that Alexander Valley is known for. “Our philosophy is ‘Get away from it all,’ so wherever tour buses go, we head in the opposite direction as far and as fast as we can,” says company president Randy Johnson. Exclusive tours are available at wineries such as Skipstone, a hard to find, off-thebeaten-path estate making some of the most amazing Cabernet Sauvignon I have tasted—definitely worth a visit. Getaway Adventures strives to create the perfect experience for their guests. All of the tours are supported with a van and a local guide for both safety and education, on the bike and off. “Our guides are the best in the business...we select, train and retain the best possible guides that act as a wine educator, Sherpa, concierge, chef, confidant—all wrapped into one,” explains Johnson. The company also offers services to ship the wines that you buy. I know first-hand what they do for their guests and would recommend their services and experiences to anyone. It truly is one of the most fun ways to experience Alexander Valley. •
[ SEIZE THE FUN ] Getaway Adventures 2228 Northpoint Pkwy., Santa Rosa 800-499-2453 getawayadventures.com Geyserville Mud 21001 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville 707-814-0021 geyservillemud.com River’s Edge Kayak & Canoe Trips 13840 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg 707-433-7247 riversedgekayakandcanoe.com
Advertiser Index Antique Society..............................................................8 Art Galleries ................................................................. 17 Erickson Fine Art Hammerfriar Hand Fan Museum Healdsburg Center for the Arts Nichibei Potters Sebastopol Gallery Bear Republic Brewing Company ........................ 39 Big John’s Market ....................................................... 56 Boat House Restaurant............................................. 15 Burkes Canoe ............................................................... 14 Francis Ford Coppola Winery ...................................4 Costeaux Bakery ........................................................ 47 Cricklewood Restaurant ..............................................9 Dr. Lyons Optometry....................................................9 Finely Lara’s ................................................................... 38 Garcia River Casino .................................................... 13 Garrett’s Hardware/The Gift Horse ....................... 38 Geyserville........................................................................3 Alexander Valley Lodge Bosworth and Sons Geyserville Inn Gin Gillis Vintage Home Mercury Wine Munselle Vineyards North County Properties Route 128 Graton Gallery ............................................................ 18 Gravenstein Apple Fair ............................................. 51 Gualala............................................................................ 12 Clutterbug Gualala Arts Center Timber Cove Inn Hammerfriar Gallery & Framing ............................ 18 Healdsburg Water Festival....................................... 11 Inn at the Tides ........................................................... 35 K & L Bistro .................................................................... 27 Korbel ............................................................................. 15 Leff Construction ........................................................ 39 Northwood Golf ......................................................... 14 Omega Events ...............................................................2 Purls of Joy .................................................................... 10 Ram’s Head Realty ..................................................... 13 Ren Brown Gallery ..................................................... 18 Rodney Strong Winery ............................................. 35 Saint Dizier Home Furnishings .............................. 23 Sebastopol Area ......................................................... 21 Mom’s Apple Pie Hook & Ladder @ Main Stage West Thai Pot Sebastopol Center for the Arts .................................8 Silk Moon ....................................................................... 23 Sonoma Lake Resort.................................................. 11 Sushi Tozai .................................................................... 26 Thankfully There’s Healdsburg .............................. 31 B. Real Framing Arts Healdsburg Vintage Pizzando Tallulah Zizi The Wine Emporium .................................................. 27 Trione Winery ............................................................... 43 Villagio Dental ............................................................ 10 Wine Road of North Sonoma County.....................4 Wine, Women & Shoes .............................................. 26 Windsor Farmers Market.......................................... 47
Ma rk W est Spr ings Rd
Armstrong Woods Rd .
New Season New Tastes Always Fresh Finest service deli, prepared meals to go, choice quality meats, fresh produce and gourmet grocery departments plus an expansive selection of local wines & cheeses.
1345 Healdsburg Avenue at Dry Creek Road in Healdsburg (707) 433-7151 | www.bigjohnsmarket.com Open Monday through Saturday 7am-9pm and Sunday 7am-8pm
Published on May 31, 2013
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