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New Wine Releases, Butter and Coffee, Taste of Sonoma

Harvest Parties, Hoe-downs and Fairs, Farmdriven Feasts

Going Off-grid, Outdoor Living and Landscaping

National Heirloom Expo’s Day for Kids, Car & Cycle Shows

SalatinoGandolfo Glass Artists, Sonoma County Art Trails

VOLUME 19 | ISSUE 3 September-October 2015




Kayak Fishing the Russian River Food As Medicine A Lifetime Collaboration

Ginny Lambrix + Kevin Shaw, wine & design


The 5 C’s To Your Personal Oasis

• Collaboration • Creativity • Craftsmanship • Communication • Completion

P.O BOX 326, HEALDSBURG, CA, 95448 • 707-857-2050 • 707-433-7368 • WWW.GARDENWORKS-INC.COM

©2014 Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards®

The wines of Sonoma-Cutrer express a partnership with nature, resulting in world class Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. Discover why Sonoma-Cutrer has been America's Most Requested Chardonnay 22 out of 24 years.* Visit our beautiful estate located within the heart of the Russian River Valley and sample our artisan craftsmanship in every glass.

Tours and Tastings available: Thursday-Monday 10-4. 4401 Slusser Road · Windsor, California Appointments are recommended. Book online at or call us at 707-237-3489 Please Share the Cutrer Responsibly.

*Wine & Spirits Magazine, 24th Annual Restaurant Poll April 2013



Place Matters. Join us on the Terrace for a taste of our Reserve and Single Vineyard Cabernet from the Alexander Valley.


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A Lifetime Collaboration


Kayak Fishing Jack McKee’s Adventures & Advice


Going Off-Grid



10 Q&A: CHAT with Caiti Hachmyer of Red H Farm

12 FOOD AS MEDICINE Prevention & Healing

46 52


16 A DAY WITH THE EPICUREAN CONNECTION New Trend: Butter up your Coffee

18 OUT TO EAT Harvest Celebration: Tomatoes and peppers are the show

22 THE TASTING ROOM EXPERIENCE Harvest Parties and New Fall Releases

26 THE HARVEST TABLE A chef’s process for creating farm-driven feasts EDITOR’S LETTER






6 8 9 56 60

46 A PLACE IN THE SUN How Outdoor Rooms and Landscaping Enrich Lives

52 THE LUMINOUS GLASS ART OF SALATINO-GANDOLFO Inspiration for their vessels comes from nature

September/October 2015 Editor Patricia M. Roth Design & Production Brent A. Miller Managing Editor Sarah Bradbury Web Coordinator Eileen Mateo

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Sonoma Discoveries is published quarterly, four times a year. The entire contents of Sonoma Discoveries are copyrighted by Sonoma West Publishers, Inc. Sonoma Discoveries is published at 230 Center St., Healdsburg, CA 95448. Application for Periodicals Mailing Privileges is pending at Healdsburg, CA 95448. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Sonoma Discoveries, P.O. Box 518, Healdsburg, CA 95447-0518. The annual subscription rate for Sonoma Discoveries is $20 per year (four issues). Sonoma Discoveries advertising and editorial offices: 230 Center St., Healdsburg, CA 95448 707-433-4451 ©Copyright 2015 Sonoma West Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Sonoma Discoveries is an advertising supplement to the August 27, 2015 issue of Sonoma West Times & News, The Healdsburg Tribune, The Windsor Times and Cloverdale Reveille. Printed by Barlow Printing, Cotati, CA


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ighteen years ago publishers Sarah Bradbury and Rollie Atkinson debuted Discoveries magazine. Volume 1 No. 1 was published on newsprint and the date on the cover was April-September 1997. At the time, Sonoma West Publishers owned one newspaper, Sonoma West Times & News. Since then, the family-owned company acquired three more community newspapers—The Healdsburg Tribune, The Windsor Times and Cloverdale Reveille—and Sonoma Discoveries magazine grew to a quarterly, glossy, 4-color publication. In the past couple of years we’ve redesigned the magazine and the website, posted winemaker videos shot exclusively for SWP, brought on a couple of photographers to assist Sarah and added to our strong cadre of writers. We also enhanced the advertising, distribution and website teams. With this issue, we take another major step. Sonoma Discoveries will now be publishing every two months—six times a year, rather than four. Somehow it seems appropriate that our new format is published during harvest-time. Surrounded by conscientious farmers and growers, food and agriculture are naturally a big part of our lifestyle—and wineries, farms, friends and families celebrate harvest in a big way here, as you’ll discover as you read this month’s issue. Abby Bard interviewed three innovative chefs to find out how they’re incorporating the freshest produce from their gardens into signature dishes on their menus. Robin Gordon talked with a chef whose team travels from farm to farm (or winery) to cook up an outdoor eating experience that’s illustrative of a harvest-inspired meal you could try at home. You’ll also discover harvest-inspired wine releases and events in The Tasting Room Experience, you’ll meet an industrious young farmer in the Q&A, and also read about Slow Food’s community apple press. Our new well-being department aims to cover “mind, body and spirit” and support the county’s


goal to make Sonoma County the healthiest in the state. Michelle Wing’s story, “Food as Medicine,” tells of three different ways food can enhance healing and the quality of our lives. We’re also highlighting local personalities. This issue features a Sebastopol-based couple who collaborate in life and work: Virginia Lambrix, winemaker for VML and Truett Hurst Winery, and Kevin Shaw, founder of a packaging design company for alcoholic drinks. And you’ll meet Jean Salatino and Steven Gandolfo, glass artists, who blend life and art and make nature-inspired pieces out of their home studio—meet them (and many more) during Art Trails of Sonoma County. September and October are wonderful months to spend outside so we have brought you a couple of great home and garden stories in this issue. Writer Christian Lane headed into the Healdsburg hills to report on the ins-and-outs of going off-grid in Sonoma County. Local sources share outdoor living and landscaping experiences and tips. In Escape, Ray Holley brings kayak fishing into view; we love how Texans can spin a good yarn, capture your heart and catch fish at the same time. Check out seasonal events for adults and kids in Disco Picks 5, and see the calendars for arts and entertainment. Finally, kudos to photographers Sarah Bradbury and Gary Ottonello for giving us a rich visual experience on these pages, which have been printed for many years by Barlow Printing. We hope you enjoy the design updates, developed by designer Brent Miller, and the additions to our editorial coverage focusing on Sonoma County’s unique quality of life. From all of us, we wish you a heartfelt harvest. May your table be rich with shared family, friends and lots of love.

Patricia M. Roth Editor, Sonoma Discoveries

CONTRIBUTORS Abby Bard is a weaver who sells her handwoven clothing at local galleries and from her studio in Sebastopol. She is a member of Sonoma County Art Trails. She has a passion for growing food in an urban landscape. Sarah Bradbury is the associate publisher of Sonoma West Publishers, Inc. and the managing editor of Sonoma Discoveries. She has had the opportunity to photograph the county and its people for Sonoma Discoveries for 19 years. Ann Carranza is a freelance writer, joyous photographer and sometimes gardener who celebrates life’s diversity great and small. She is currently working on a photo-driven book featuring local family farmers. Carranza is a graduate of both Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State University. You can contact her at Winemaker Video Series

JUST POSTED Zinfandel Advocates & Producers

Sheana Davis is a cheesemaker, chef, caterer and culinary educator. With over 40 years of farm-to-table experience, Davis creates Wine Country-inspired edible experiences for food enthusiasts around the country under the auspices of The Epicurean Connection, her gastronomic experience company. Davis engages and inspires cheese lovers through the process of creating fresh, delicious cheese, similar to her many award-winning artisan cheeses. Learn more at Robin Gordon is a Sonoma County native who left home in her twenties to travel the world for a taste of the scene outside of Northern California. She has since returned home to raise her family and write about the wonders of the food and wine industry in her own backyard. When she is not furiously typing away on her MacBook, she may be found in the kitchen testing recipes or keeping warm at the Bikram studio. Ray Holley is the managing editor of Sonoma West Publishers, returning to the company in January 2015 after running his own consulting firm. He previously served in The Healdsburg Tribune’s newsroom as a reporter and editor. He considers himself lucky enough to live in Healdsburg, the land of good bread, good coffee, and good people. He has no fear of the serial comma. Christian Lane is a native New Yorker who landed in Sonoma County in 2004. His disciplines are music, wine, words, marketing and the Internet of things. The author of two books and a publisher of many, he’s known in the states as a performance poet. He wrote “Simple Math: Deconstructing How We Talk About Wine” and “#MuchBetter #ThanksForAsking (Poems for Performance).” His library card needed to be replaced recently because it just plain wore out. He loves semicolons, devours yellow legal pads and avoids -isms. Gary Ottonello is a photographer born and raised in Sonoma County concentrating in portraiture and action sports photography, specializing in off-camera lighting. He comes from a video background and enjoys playing the drums and skateboarding. Patricia Miller Roth is the editor of Sonoma Discoveries. She was previously a senior editor at Wine Business Monthly magazine in Sonoma and has been a reporter and editor at various publications in California, from the San Joaquin Valley to the San Francisco Bay Area. She has a Master of Arts in Writing from the University of San Francisco. Michelle Wing is a writer of poetry and creative nonfiction, and a published author. She serves on the board of the Healdsburg Literary Guild and is the founder and host of Books on Stage, sponsored by the Cloverdale Performing Arts Center. She lives in Cloverdale, and is aided in all of her creative endeavors by her service dog, Ripley. The walls of her writing studio are lime green and citrus yellow and are covered with art. Full 4k Video Production Creative Collaboration to tell your story


Winemaker Carol Shelton


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discoveries picks 5

Back to the Garden

Enjoy the bounty of all that’s grown at these five seasonal Sonoma County events. Educational and Fun Day at the National Heirloom Exposition

By participating in cool activities created just for them, thousands of kids will discover where their food comes from and why it’s important to keep it pure on September 10 at the National Heirloom Exposition. Eileen Wallace, school/student relations coordinator for The Seed Bank, which produces the exposition, said it’s amazing to see kids make that connection. “Our whole focus is on gardening organically and working with nature, rather than against it—and helping to educate the future generation,” she said. Hands-on demos, tastings and talks are planned, including: cheesemaking, being a farmer for the day, flower dissection, seed saving, sheep shearing, worm bin composting and more. New this year: a pumpkin and sunflower growing contest (for ages 4 to 16) and the Heirloom St. Chalk Art Show. Also top draws: the heritage livestock and poultry, a rooster crowing contest, giant pumpkins and the School Garden exhibit area in the Hall of Flowers. The expo runs Sept. 8-10 at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds.,

Visit Courtney’s Pumpkin Patch, and you’ll discover why the memory of a generous Cloverdale teen comes alive every year through fall traditions. On Oct. 3, the Kiwanis Club of Cloverdale organizes Octoberfest at the Cloverdale Plaza, with German food, live music and more. Look for the pumpkin patch banner and make your way over to the space. “Courtney started a pumpkin patch in 2003 to raise money to help others, and then she became ill and passed away in 2008. We started it again in 2009,” said Catherine Davis, Courtney’s mother, who organizes the event with Janet Domeniconi. A magic show, Halloween candy, face-painting, a scarecrow competition, photos with Mountain Mike’s Giant Pumpkin and a silent auction are planned. Proceeds benefit the Courtney J. Davis Memorial Scholarship at Cloverdale High School and people living with cancer. “It’s a cash award to kids who help others, or animals, and who have the characteristics like Courtney had—like being brave in the face of adversity, showing tenacity, being a leader and being honest,” said Davis. 1 Jordan Winery to 8 p.m. Cloverdale Plaza, Cloverdale Boulevard.

The atmosphere is casual and convivial as winemaking and viticulture staff mingle with guests during Jordan Winery’s harvest lunches, prepared by Executive Chef Todd Knoll from Sept. 11 through Oct. 17. Toast the county’s winegrape crush by becoming a part of this long-held tradition at Jordan Winery. The food’s fresh and delicious, and the fall weather should be ideal for eating outdoors. Menu planning begins with a walk through the bountiful Jordan Estate Garden to discover what’s ripe, steering the side dishes for the day’s feast. Sides range from heirloom tomato salads to grilled zucchini squash and eggplant, and entrees range from grilled fish and lamb to Mexican- and Italian-style entrees. You’ll also find some comfort food favorites on the menu—macaroni and cheese, meat loaf and kobe beef. The lunches are paired with Jordan wines. The experience is available for Silver, Gold and Platinum members of Jordan Estate Awards. Jordan Winery, 1471 Alexander Valley Rd., Healdsburg; 800-6541213,, Seghesio’s Family Harvest Homecoming at Home Ranch

Celebrate harvest with the Seghesio Family as they commemorate being in Sonoma County for 120 years. The Harvest Homecoming features three stations of food and wine and a larger lounge area showcasing Chianti Station, their new release—but the real treat is being invited to the historic property known as Home Ranch. Located in the western bench of Alexander Valley, Home Ranch was founder Edoardo Seghesio’s first purchase, and it was here that he planted his first Zinfandel vines. Each successive generation has demonstrated a similar regard for the land, and over the


Courtney’s Pumpkin Patch

Graton & Sebastopol Farm Stands

Walker Apples grows 27 varieties of apples on a terraced hillside near the family’s farm stand, located inside a packinghouse on their property. “We dry farm so the flavor is excellent,” said Lee Walker, who’s been farming apples for 68 years. Come September and October, he said the Pink Ladies and the Granny Smiths will be “looking pretty good. Those are really good keepers. I expect those to hang around.” You can buy apples from $1 a pound to $30 for a 50-pound box. To get there, drive through Graton and continue until you see a red wooden “apple” sign at a bend in the road. Go straight onto Upp Road, to the end of a dirt road, where sweetness lives. 10955 Upp Rd., Graton. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. 707-823-4310. Hale’s Apple Farm & Pumpkin Patch. When you see a weathered red barn with pumpkins, squashes and gourds and Halloweenish displays in a lot near an apple orchard on Gravenstein Highway in Sebastopol, pull over. Dave Hale and his wife Jill have planted 30 different varieties; you’ll also find many varieties of apples (he grows 40) and tomatoes. “Every once in awhile, someone will stop in and discover something unique, like our Pink Pearl apples, for example—or our Damson plums, which are cooking plums. There’s a lot to discover here,” said Dave Hale. 1526 Gravenstein Hwy. North, Sebastopol. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. 707-823-4613.

photo by Sarah Bradbury

Jordan Winery Harvest Lunches

years the family has acquired, planted and farmed 300 acres of prime vineyards in Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River valleys. Now renowned for exceptional Zinfandels and Italian varietals, the vineyards represent some of the region’s oldest vines and proprietary clones. Cheers! 4 to 7 p.m. $75. 707-433-3579,


Free Community Apple Press Gears Up for Second Year by Ann Carranza


photo by Sarah Bradbury

ear the end of July, Sonoma County’s signature Gravenstein apples ripen within a couple of weeks and the free community apple press swings into action to convert those tart-sweet apples into cider. Pressing isn’t limited to Gravensteins, however, and last year, volunteers saw Rome Beauties, Jonathans, Golden Delicious and Granny Smiths among the estimated 14,000 pounds of apples that ran through the presses. This year, Slow Food Russian River’s group, the Apple Core, will run two presses, one more than they operated last year. In addition to the usual days of operation on Saturdays and Sundays, they will be available to schools or residents during the week, if demand warrants it. The Apple Core came out of the Save our Gravenstein campaign created by Paula Shatkin in 2002, when the fruit was in danger of being lost in the county. According to Slow Food Russian River member—and one of the original Apple Core—Bob Burke, the idea to operate a community apple press “started fermenting about 2012 or 2013. We knew there are community apples presses in Europe but we knew of none here…We have apples everywhere going to waste…what can we do about that?” Burke, along with his wife Heidi, made juice with friends and decided that pressing apples should be available to the larger community. The group then started in to jump the hurdles that littered their path. The first one was health department requirements and its burden of regulations. However, Burke made the case that they were part of a non-profit group sharing their products, not producing something for sale. The University of California Agricultural Ombudsman Karen Giovanni helped them through the process. In just a couple of weeks, they got permission to operate in writing. Burke found his first serious challenge to the plan in April 2014, when he called the press manufacturer. They were taking orders at the time, but wouldn’t be filling them until the following December, leaving them without a press that summer. Friends came to the rescue. Ellen Cavalli and Scott Heath, a husband and wife team who own and operate Tilted Shed Ciderworks, offered an old press they had in the barn for a video shoot. They subsequently offered it as a gift to the project. The group’s next hurdle was to find needed money for the promoting the project, as well as to purchase another press. To that end, Burke filed a Community Grant Application with the City of Sebastopol. It was approved in June 2014, giving the group the money to move ahead.

They also needed a location to operate, and through friends of friends, came to the Luther Burbank Experiment Farm, maintained and operated by the West Sonoma County Historical Society. Once again, Burke prepared a written proposal and presentation for the board of directors. They said it was “easy to say yes” to the project as proposed by Burke. Last year’s efforts with the community apple press saw 10 to 12 groups coming to the press each operating day. The sources of each group’s apples varied from those purchased from Andy’s Produce and gathered at local U-Pick farms to those purchased at farmers’ markets and picked from backyards that morning. The press ran for a total of 19 days. Burke mentioned that many of the groups were pressing apples for homemade hard cider. “People used superlatives when describing the juice and cider. They used words like ‘amazing’ and ‘unbelievable,’” said Burke. Apples have a long history in Sonoma County. From the 1940s through the 1970s, apples were a mainstay agricultural product, including both Gravensteins and what’s termed as the “late apple” crop. Together apples covered nearly 14,000 acres in the county in 1940. However, with the onset of winegrape conversions in the 1970s, that number decreased to 8,039 acres by 1975. Acreage now devoted to apples has shrunk to just 2,155 acres, as reported in 2013 by the Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner’s office, the last year the report is available. The Luther Burbank Experiment Farm is located at 7777 Bodega Ave. Sebastopol. People can sign up for the press at www. The press will operate from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, from August 15 through October 31. SD



directly with consumers at the farmers market, through my CSA, and through restaurant sales, as well as by remaining involved in food system advocacy on a more systemic level. I continue to work with Food First in a research capacity, sit on the board of Petaluma Bounty (a local non-profit) and am the lead practicum instructor at the Permaculture Skills Center’s Farm School. You said as a farmer you “see” so much because you are so close to the earth every day. Please expand on this. One of the very best things about smallscale farming in an ecological way is that you are really very connected to the geographic spot in which you are situated. You’re not just tracking weather patterns or monitoring pest populations. You are noticing fox tracks in the back of your field. You find the gopher snakes and release them into the open holes of those maddening critters. You literally hear the birds sing and see their little footprints and scratches as evidence when they’ve eaten up all the seeds from a freshly sown bed. You realize that Northern California has birds and bugs that seem fit for the tropics, and that the warm, dry years seem to bring out hoards of lizards. But I do feel blessed that so much of the world is not just passing me by or more appropriately, I am not just passing it by in the hustle and bustle.


Interview by Patricia M. Roth

What is your farming philosophy? My farming philosophy centers on agroecological production methods, which focus on land and soil stewardship, water conservation, biodiversity and community engagement. We never use chemicals at the farm and instead rely on our ecological management practices to ensure a healthy and diverse array of crops throughout the year. We have spent the last two years transitioning the farm to no-till. Our version of this system uses compost products from Sonoma Compost, an important local resource, as a mulch layer for the beds. In the long-term this provides 10

photo by Sarah Bradbury

Chat with Caiti Hachmyer of Red H Farm

nutrients, organic matter, weed suppression and moisture retention for our planted areas. We love to use wood chips that are dropped off by local tree trimmers to mulch our pathways (providing more organic matter, weed suppression and moisture retention through reuse of more local resources), as well as straw and cardboard. This system helps reduce our watering needs, sequesters carbon, allows soil systems to remain intact, creates longterm habitat for wildlife through minimal landscape disruption and grows delicious and diverse crops. In addition to my work on the farm, I place a high value on being engaged with my community by connecting

What did you learn as a researcher for the Institute of Food and Development Policy and how does it influence your work today? The time I spent as an intern truly shaped my understanding of the global food system and how much things need to change. Coming back to Food First and working with them as a researcher provides me with a balance to the very localized and geographically bounded work that I do at the farm. The project I collaborated on last year looked at international food policy and the recent focus on food and agriculture at the World Bank. Remaining informed of and active in the international perspective grounds the work that I do on the farm in the broader system. For me this broader scope is a huge part of why I began farming in the first place and I would hate to loose that in the daily grind.

Why do you volunteer for Petaluma Bounty – and what’s the most important take-away message about this program, from your point of view? One of the tenets at Petaluma Bounty that resonates the most with me is the idea that as a community, and as members of a community, we need to look inward, toward each other, for support and empowerment. The amazing thing about Petaluma Bounty is that as an organization they both provide immediate support to people in need through the produce they provide from the farm and gleaning operations and they also aspire to enact change on a more long-term and systemic level. One of the biggest conundrums of our global food system involves the fact that billions of people need immediate assistance for their health and survival. However, in the long-term, the systems in place to provide that help are, in effect, exacerbating many of the problems. Finding ways to both provide much needed emergency support while at the same time working toward a real transformation in the food system is crucial. Who inspires you and why? What a tough question with a long list of answers! My family comes immediately to mind – my parents have more integrity than anyone I know and provide so much support to me. My mom, sister and sisterin-law are such amazing, strong women, all doing millions of things at once; my dad, brothers and brother-in-law can always be counted on. They are all very caring people. Professionally, the community I worked with and continue to work with at Food First, the leadership at Petaluma Bounty, and the other activists I’ve collaborated with over the years who work tirelessly and passionately for a more just and fair food system keep me going. My farming colleagues in this county, particularly the growing number of women farmers, are a huge inspiration. And Wendell Berry, who managed to build a life focused on both farming and scholarship, has always provided a model to which I aspire. SD

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2013 Estate Rose‘ of Syrah Double Gold 2013 Estate Riesling Double Gold 2010 Estate Petite Sirah Gold

Th e h igh est expression of th e mou ntain

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FINE HOME BUILDING & REMODELING SINCE 1978 BIO Caiti Hachmyer has been farming since 2008. After finishing her degree at UC Berkeley in 2006, she spent a year as a food advocate. She completed an agricultural apprenticeship in southern Minnesota in 2008, then one year later moved back to her hometown of Sebastopol and founded Red H Farm on the land where she grew up, as well as land made available by willing neighbors. Learn a lot more about Caiti at

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photos by Gary Ottonello


At the Ceres Community Project’s Sebastopol kitchen, volunteers Susan Bryer-Shelton and Leah Steiger prepare whole foods-based meals for people who are recovering from illness.


Food as Medicine by Michelle Wing


ost of us have experienced the nourishing healing power of food when we were ill, whether it was with our grandmother’s chicken soup or a special tea made from a friend’s herb garden. But what current research shows is that good food not only can make us well, it may very likely keep us from getting ill in the first place. A good diet can prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And that’s just for starters. The Ceres Community Project makes healthy meals for cancer patients, while educating the community at large about the benefits of a whole food-based diet. Traditional Healing Arts uses Chinese medicine to assess the entire individual, with a strong focus on seasonal foods. At Kaiser, the oncology nutritionist says looking at your dinner plate is a helpful key. And the local YMCA offers nutritional counseling to jump-start your own lifestyle change.


Food with love Cathryn Couch founded the Ceres Community Project in 2007 based on a simple premise—linking what we eat and how we care for each other. What has blossomed is a whole foods-based meal delivery program for those recovering from illness. The program has served more than 327,000 meals to 1,600 families via its locations in Sebastopol, Sonoma and Marin. The meals are prepared by teen volunteers—1,400 of them since the start of the program. Another 2,000 adults have chipped in their time, making this one of the top volunteer-based programs in the area. The beauty of the teen participation, says communications director Deborah Ramelli, is that those young people are not only giving back to their community, they are learning about good nutrition and how to cook a healthy meal from scratch. “There’s a whole set of arts that has been lost over the generations,” said Ramelli. “We had a folk wisdom about what to eat or not eat. People don’t have a comfort level in the kitchen, let alone know how to make a good broth when someone has the flu.” Nutrition education program manager Thais Harris said at Ceres, they try to infuse nutrition education into everything they do: with teens, with clients and with adult volunteers. When the teens are on shift, they have a half-hour break, where they receive a “yummy” snack and listen to short talks, covering topics from food systems to compassion. At volunteer nights, Harris gives presentations on nutrition for client liaisons, which then are passed on during client visits. What exactly is the nutritional message Ceres wants its clients and volunteers to hear? It’s a five-pronged approach: whole food (highest nutritional values); organic (more antioxidants, fewer pesticides); local (more nutrients and better for the community); low-glycemic (no spike in blood sugar, which reduces the long-term risk of diabetes and heart disease); and made with love.

Toby Daly, pictured at the Traditional Healing Arts clinic in Cloverdale.

photos by Gary Ottonello

“Medicine we take every once in a while. Food we take every day. We have the opportunity three times a day to help or harm our health. That’s the definition of medicine.” Toby Daly, Traditional Healing Arts

As far as the actual foods that Ceres puts into the bags going out to clients each week, the focus is on dark leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and radishes), immune broth, sea vegetables, fermented foods (for enzymes and probiotics) and soaked or sprouted seeds, nuts, grains and legumes. And, just as importantly, Ramelli said, the meals prepared in the kitchens at Ceres are appetizing, beautiful and infused with heartfelt compassion. “We have clients who say, ‘I can’t believe people who don’t even know me are cooking for me and giving me these meals,’” said Ramelli. “It’s also about community connection and support.” She noted that, in general, people often hand over the responsibility for their health to the medical profession. “They say, ‘If I get heart disease, I’ll take a statin.’ But we can be partners in that health equation. Doing it with food is a delicious, nourishing way to stay as vibrant as you can.” You don’t have to be a client to benefit from the Ceres Community Project’s nutritional know-how. Harris teaches monthly classes, “Healing Food Basics” and “Healing Food Essentials.” The classes are two hours long, with a lecture and cooking demonstrations. They are offered in both English and Spanish, at a sliding scale from

$10 to $35, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. The next class is set for Sept. 24 in Sebastopol. To register and find out other upcoming dates, go to ceresproject. org and select the “events and classes” tab. The website also contains a wealth of healthy eating tips. Go to the “resources” tab, and you’ll find recipes for Ceres’ specialties, like its vegetable-based immune broth, quinoa summer salad and poached salmon with asparagus and flageolet beans. Also check out the Nutrition Bites page, with quick reference guides to single foods and their health benefits, everything from beets to brown rice, sea vegetables to millet. And if you really want to dive in, click on the icon on the home page to purchase the “Nourishing Connections Cookbook,” which costs $29.95 and contains over 100 recipes.

Eastern wisdom Nutritional medicine is not something new. Homespun American remedies with food go back several generations. But it is even older than that on the other side of the world. Chinese nutritional advice harkens back two or three thousand years. Toby Daly of Traditional Healing Arts in Cloverdale has a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science, a Masters Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is enrolled

in a PhD program in Classical Chinese Medicine. He spoke about the difference between the Western and Eastern approach to nutrition. “Everything is personalized in Chinese medicine,” he said. “You take into account the individual food and the individual person.” To illustrate, he told this story. When training with a teacher in San Francisco, he asked her, “Is this a good herb?” Daly said, “My teacher was furious. She said, ‘For who? When?’ In Western medicine, we tend to ask, ‘Are eggs good?’ In Chinese medicine, you always have to ask those questions: ‘For who? When?’” He went on, “Each individual food has its individual nature. It’s not just that rice and bread are carbohydrates. Chinese medicine pulls apart what each does in the body.” Chinese medicine, he said, considers a person’s gender, activity level, constitution and body type. There is also a “temporal” category, which looks at the season and the weather. In explanation, he said, “The nature of the watermelon is cold. Summer is hot. You wouldn’t have a watermelon in the winter. Now that you can, you shouldn’t. It’s actually detrimental to our health. Your constitution is cold in the winter, so eating the watermelon is going further away from health.” This is one reason he’s very excited about



NEW VITAL NUTRITION PROGRAM Food For Thought, an HIV and AIDS-focused food bank for the past 26 years, has expanded its services to help people in the community who are critically ill and at risk of malnutrition. Many of them have no one to help care for them, and many are as sick as people living with HIV were in the 1980s. “We just signed up our first client,” said Karen Gardner, FFT development director. “There are so many people in our community who are suffering from a variety of illnesses who aren’t getting enough to eat, and we have the capacity to do more. It’s a huge need. We provide comprehensive nutrition services including weekly groceries, prepared meals, vitamins and supplements, and a lunch program where people can come in and get a hot lunch. We also offer cooking classes and nutritional counseling.” “We saw our neighbors who are sick and not getting enough to eat in our community, so we are going to be working with a couple of medical institutions, including West County Health Centers and Santa Rosa Community Health Center, for referrals,” she said. This year’s pilot program will serve 50 new clients. People are also invited to contact Food For Thought directly. fftfoodbank. org, 707-887-1647. –PMR


Teen volunteers learn about good nutrition and cooking while volunteering at Ceres Community Project.

the movement towards eating fresh, local foods. It supports healthy food choices, by supplying the body with seasonally appropriate nutrition. Daly and his fellow practitioner Laurie Martin also provide acupuncture, herbs, massage and other treatments at their clinic. But he said he offers nutritional aspects to almost all of his clients. “They all like to talk about it, but most don’t implement changes,” he said, with a laugh. Those most likely to act are the clients who are very fit or very motivated. “I work often with clients dealing with infertility. They will do anything I tell them.” Daly said his clients tend to like the latest research. While he is referencing nutritional knowledge centuries old, “they want to talk about whatever Dr. Oz is peddling.” No matter what, though, for him, food matters. “Medicine we take every once in a while. Food we take every day. We have the opportunity three times a day to help or harm our health. That’s the definition of medicine.”

What’s on your plate? A plant-based diet is shown to be the best prevention for cancer. That’s according to Kaiser Permanente oncology nutritionist Christina Fifer. That doesn’t mean plants only; a minimal amount of animal products can fit into the picture. Fifer recommends looking at your dinner plate. Half of the plate should consist of

non-starchy vegetables. One-quarter should be filled with 100 percent whole grains (quinoa, brown rice). And the remaining quarter should have lean protein, either plant or animal. A plant protein would be beans or lentils, for instance. Fifer said the most important thing to focus on is eating whole foods in their natural state, foods that have only one ingredient—like carrots or grapes or broccoli. Think of food “as it comes out of the earth,” she said. Then add herbs and spices to make the food taste good. “But you’re not eating a box of Rice-a-Roni.” What are the biggest barriers people face when moving towards healthy eating? “Knowledge and time management,” Fifer said. “You may know what to do, but don’t get to the grocery store, or allow time to prepare. You don’t have the time management to put it into place.” She recommends improving one step at a time, looking at one area of your diet that could be changed. “People tend to give up before they start, or start out strong and burn out,” Fifer said. “It’s better to just keep building. We have habits that go back many years, and those aren’t easy to flip over and change.” To find out more about nutrition’s role in fighting cancer, attend one of Fifer’s free classes offered at Kaiser in Santa Rosa, “Food Is Medicine,” available to the general public. The next two classes will be held on Saturday, Sept. 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30

p.m. and on Monday, Oct. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. To register, call 707-393-4167 or 707566-5277.

Changing habits Most health care plans offer some access to nutrition advice, but for those who might be in search of relatively inexpensive expertise, the Sonoma County Family YMCA has solutions. Joyce Giammattei is a registered dietitian with a doctorate in public health, majoring in preventative care. She said, “Food really does make a difference in how you feel and how you respond to what you’re doing.” Giammettei offers food intake analysis—log your food for several days, and she will provide an in-depth analysis and recommendations for improvement. The cost is $40 for members and $65 for nonmembers. She also provides nutrition counseling, which includes the same analysis plus an hour-long one-on-one session. The cost is $80 for members and $100 for nonmembers, or $130 for a family (a 90-minute session). Call 707-545-9622, ext. 3122 for information. The YMCA also has a year-long Diabetes Prevention Program for adults in the pre-diabetes range, taught by Nicole Martinovich. She said, “One in three of us in America is pre-diabetic. We need to make changes, and then get some help with that.” For more information, call 707-545-9622, ext. 3412. The YMCA provides a free monthly Health & Wellness Lecture Series. Recent topics have included “Diabetes” and “Vegetables Done Right.” For information, go to the website at Lectures are at the YMCA at 111 College Ave., Santa Rosa. SD RESOURCES Ceres Community Project 707-829-5833 Traditional Healing Arts 707-894-5313


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NEW TREND: Butter up your coffee


aving owned a cafe in Sonoma for years, I had never been asked to serve a dollop of butter in coffee, until around six months ago when we started getting requests for a teaspoon of melted butter in a cup of coffee or a double

espresso. This was new to me, considering we serve all types of coffee bar drinks, including goat milk, sheep milk and hemp milk lattes—not to mention lattes with coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk and, of course, fresh Sonoma County cow milk. As I started getting requests for “butter and coffee,” I searched the topic online and was sent straight to our Sherpa community here in Sonoma Valley. As it turns out, in the Himalayas the composition of yak milk is much different than milk from dairy cows here in the US, so quite a few of the butter-and-coffee drinkers who are trekking


add the yak butter to their coffee to add extra calories for the hikes. Here back at sea level in Sonoma County, we can add our backyard butters to a cup of morning coffee. We did a taste test in our shop and, to no surprise, Straus Family Creamery from Marshall took the butter-and-coffee award! We brewed up six cups of Melody Coffee from Melody Coffee Roasting Co. in Healdsburg and added in one tablespoon of sweet cream or unsalted butter to each cup and blindly tasted them. We then pulled six double espresso shots and added in one teaspoon each of sweet cream or unsalted butter and again offered a blind tasting. Both times, Straus Family Creamery rose to the top. The butters that we tasted were all of quality and quite delicious. All the butters were unsalted, grass-fed and all natural. A few benefits of consuming grass-fed butters: they are high in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, a natural source for vitamin K.

photo by Sarah Bradbury

by Sheana Davis

BUTTER & COFFEE 8 ounces freshly brewed hot Melody coffee 1 tablespoon, grass-fed, sweet cream butter, melted

Stir butter into warm coffee and enjoy. You may season sweet or savory (we sprinkled cinnamon on top and it was delightful!).

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For the tasting, we enjoyed Clover Stornetta, McClelland’s Dairy, Organic Valley, Spring Hill Jersey Cheese and Land O’Lakes. Yes—they were all satisfying, yet Straus was full of the most culture and cream flavor, by far. We chose a day to offer complimentary “butter and coffee” drinks at The Epicurean Connection, and we were quite entertained. We do the same whenever we introduce a new drink, such as a sheep milk latte with sheep milk from Haverton Hill Creamery. Our lucky locals get to taste new trends, share feedback and enjoy a unique item— and I can tell you, these types of drinks usually make the long-term menu. While on my butter-and-coffee trail, I stopped into Melody Coffee Roasting Co. and talked with Coffee Roaster Max Bretzke. He had good input: “Butter and coffee is not my go-to for daily coffee consumption but I recommend it to anyone looking for a new option to their daily intake.” I then learned about “Bulletproof Coffee” online, which apparently is a trend around the country, but I could not locate a local coffee shop. Their recipe of two tablespoons grass-fed butter in your cup of coffee is a quick alternative meal for people on the go who are looking for high calories and less carbs. SD


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BUTTER LATTE Double shot Melody espresso 1 teaspoon grass-fed, sweet cream butter, melted

photo by Sarah Bradbury

1/4 cup whole milk, steamed

Pull double shot of espresso. Foam milk, then add in melted butter. Enjoy! Feel free to season with vanilla syrup, Stevia, sugar or cocoa.

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Chef Dustin Valette



Celebrating the Harvest: Tomatoes and peppers are the show


by Abby Bard

onoma County chefs have different approaches to highlighting tomatoes and peppers this harvest season, but it’s all good. One thing on which the chefs

from Valette Healdsburg, Fork Roadhouse and Catering, and Canneti Roadhouse Italiana agree: local and sustainable is the best way to go. Tomato and pepper lovers will find something to satisfy their palates from these culinary talents during the harvest season.

The Realization of a Chef’s Dream


photos by Gary Ottonello

The tomatoes that Dustin Valette is raising to serve in his restaurant, Valette Healdsburg, were just beginning to climb their trellises and develop flowers in May when he shared his fall harvest menu plans. The Sonoma County native, who spent the past six years fine-tuning his culinary skills as executive chef at Dry Creek Kitchen, recently opened his own restaurant with a very personal slant. The name is an homage to his grandfather, who owned the building 75 years ago. His partner is his brother, Aaron Garzini, who runs the front.

Valette’s food is edible art and if you’ve never experienced it before, or find it hard to choose from the rich menu descriptions, you can order the “Trust Me” tasting menu and sample four or more courses in a single meal.

Line-caught local bass with espelette pepper dough; dining room, Valette Healdsburg; Tomato capresse soup.

Valette designed the clean, modern décor of the interior and had it built to his specifications. His own charcuterie is curing on display in a custom-built glass-fronted case above the open kitchen. Large mirrors reflect the light from the globe-shaped lighting pendants and gleaming wood tabletops (custom-built by Andrew Somawang and each inscribed with a “V”); cozy cream-colored banquette seating lines the north wall. The back bar is white Cararra marble. A 14-foot reproduction of an oil painting by William Monmonier that once hung over the meat counter of Healdsburg’s Sotoyome Market in the 1870s is a nod to his Healdsburg roots. But Valette’s creativity shines brightest in the food he prepares from the freshest of local produce. We sat at the massive new redwood bar where the name Valette is inscribed in cursive in marble dust and resin, and his eyes gleamed with anticipation as he described how he’d be using tomatoes this harvest season. His approach to food is transformative. A familiar concept (caprese salad, for instance) becomes something extraordinary when he reinvents it as Tomato Caprese Soup with Basil Pistou. He describes it as “a consommé of heirloom tomatoes—crystal clear, like water, with olive oil-poached-Sweet 100s cherry tomatoes, a house-made burrata mouselline (a light, fluffy burrata with whipped sweet cream folded in), and a compressed brioche pave.” The pistou is “pesto-ish,” he explained, “but just hot raw basil and oil—no cheese, no garlic.” Just hearing his description made me salivate. Along with the Sweet 100s, Valette is growing Lemon Boy, Teardrop, Black Beauty and Green Zebra, along with two kinds of peppers, in six 4-foot by 8-foot boxes filled with soil from Mix Garden and augmented with compost from the kitchen at Valette and his brother Aaron’s garden. He’s growing Espelette peppers (a hot variety with a depth of flavor originally from the Basque region of France), which he describes as “the

freight train of peppers. There’s a lot of energy behind it. It looks like a big red jalapeno, 5 to 6 inches long and one-inch wide. I was turned on to them by Laurent Manrique when I worked at Aqua [in San Francisco]. They’re amazing peppers.” When they’re ripe, he will dry them and grind them into a powder, which he’ll mix with flour and water to form bread dough; he’ll wrap the dough around a fish filet. He’ll also make an Espelette pepper sausage, cure it, and mix it with fresh green beans and baby fresh onions. He’s also raising Piquillos, an intensely flavored sweet Spanish chili pepper, with a bell pepper flavor. He picks off the first set of blossoms as soon as they appear, so the plant becomes 5 to 6 feet high, “and then it produces like crazy!” Valette’s food is edible art and if you’ve never experienced it before, or find it hard to choose from the rich menu descriptions, you can order the “Trust Me” tasting menu and sample four or more courses in a single meal.

Refined Comfort Food at Fork Everything about Fork Roadhouse and Catering says local comfort; cozy indoor dining rooms hung with colorful paintings by Saroj Heron and Mary Lu Downing, the espresso bar and chalkboard menus, an outdoor creekside patio featuring a whimsical wood-fired oven with surround seating, built by Miguel Elliott of Living Earth Structures out of cob—a mixture of clay, sand and straw—and inlaid with abalone shell. But first and foremost, it’s all about the authentic food. Sarah Piccolo, the petite dynamo who runs the busy engine of Fork Roadhouse and Catering and who has been operating her popular food truck at local events for the past five years, recently opened up her new restaurant on rural Bodega Highway, just outside of Sebastopol.


Amon Easley’s Fried Green Tomato BLT; Fork Roadhouse and Catering, located on Bodega Highway, outside of Sebastopol.

The food truck now has a staging area on one side of the brightly painted building; on the other side is a recycled walk-in refrigerator. Reclaimed wood and metal fences, built by Jason Silverek, surround the property. Piccolo runs it all with her husband Chris Brown and a core crew “who are like family now,” she says. Brown works the front of the house. “He doesn’t cook, but does everything else.” This fall, Fork will highlight the harvest with a local rockfish sandwich with homemade, roasted pepper and lime mayonnaise; an ultra-comfort-food Green Chili Mac and Cheese, made with fire roasted Poblano, Anaheim and Pasilla pepper béchamel sauce; and Amon Easley’s Fried Green Tomato BLT, featuring cornmeal crusted fried green tomatoes (Black Krim early in the season and Big Beef later) and roasted pepper mayonnaise. Easley, the main line cook, oversees quality control; she also designed the distinctive sign in front of the restaurant and handpainted the shirts that the wait staff wears. Another of her specialties is chilaquiles, layered with jalapeno crema, beans and roasted tomatillo salsa. “Amon’s food is just gorgeous,” Piccolo says. There are plenty of cooks in the kitchen (several of them are local and homegrown). Sebastopol-raised Cheyenne Vazquez’ specialty is salsa for tacos, and Ursule Amiot (his next-door neighbor growing up)


makes brunch French toast and all the desserts. Also on the Fork team are Stacy Noble, the catering manager and floral designer who “keeps everything together,” and Trish O’Malley, who “keeps the restaurant flowing,” according to Piccolo, and catering crew Giovanni Glorio and Amanda Perez. Two months ago, local treasure Michael Smith joined the Fork staff as a line chef and a member of the catering team. He has a long history with local restaurants, cooked at Skywalker Ranch in Marin and ran the coffee concession at the Lucasfilm headquarters in the Presidio of San Francisco. As a caterer he’s known for his expertise with Asian flavors. For a recent Thursday night dinner at Fork, he prepared steamed Su Mei Dim Sum Dumplings, filled with pork, prawns, Dustin Valette green onions and shiitake Valette Healdsburg mushrooms, seasoned with 707-473-0946 ginger, cilantro, sesame oil and fish sauce and served with a soy, red vinegar and Sarah Piccolo garlic sauce. Fork Roadhouse and Catering While the menus are 707-634-7575 chosen by Piccolo, Smith says that she is very open to the ideas presented Francesco Torre by the other cooks. He Canneti Roadhouse recently made a Burmese707-887-2232 style soup for the staff, using a paste of dried Thai chilies, rehydrated and blended with fennel seed, coriander seed, turmeric and cumin. There’s talk of the restaurant opening for dinner on Friday nights. More opportunities to eat at Fork Roadhouse are a good thing, so I hope that comes to pass. Great food happens when there are just the right number of cooks in the kitchen. Fork Catering also provides lunches at cost to Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary in nearby Freestone, and a portion of the sales from lunches is donated to the Ceres Community Project.

Inspired by the Tuscan Traditions If Sonoma County had a “soul sister” it would be Tuscany, and a blend of both can be found at Canneti Roadhouse Italiana in Forestville, where chef/owner Francesco Torre infuses the local bounty with inspiration from his Tuscan roots. I met with Torre early in the morning at his restaurant, serene and spotless in the morning light, tables set and prepared for the lunch service later that day. Torre grew up in Massa, Tuscany, and he brings that sensibility to the food he prepares. He lives nearby among the grapevines and olive trees at Blue Cottage Farm. Early in the year, rapini, mustards and fava beans are planted as cover crops between the rows of grapes. “We like to keep the dishes simple, so you can really taste the ingredients,” says Torre. In the summer season, he grows tomatoes, borage, crookneck and zucchini squash, amaranth, cardoons and cilantro. He also cures salumi at the farm. He designs his menus around his own harvest and the produce he buys from Preston of Dry Creek farm, Shone Farm (which delivers) and Offerings of the Land farm and Singing Frogs Farm, both at the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market. “I’m a cook,” declares Torre. “Every good chef is also a good cook—and a good dishwasher! You have to be good at every aspect in

order not to fall into the banality. We just try to avoid the preparations that everyone does and be a little more inventive. We do a house-pulled mozzarella with green tomato marmalade. For lunch, we’ll do a pizza with fresh tomatoes. There’s a gentleman named Amos on Mirabel Road who has a friend who works with crossing plants. He did a cross and called it ‘Amos Tomatoes’ and gave me some seeds. We planted them at Blue Cottage Farm. They’re heavy and the flesh is very meaty. We serve them raw in salads.” Torre also grows black cherry, yellow pear, red pear, Mr. Stripey, Early Girl and Copia [a Jeff Dawson cross of Green Zebra and Marvel Stripe]. For a savory riff on millefoglie (a traditional Italian dessert dish of puff pastry and rich chantilly cream), Torre layers housemade bread crisps with grilled vegetables—tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini— and mozzarella, and puts everything in the oven until the cheese melts. Then he tops it with a caper and marjoram pesto. He likes to cut tomatoes in half, sprinkle them with fresh oregano and fresh basil, and lightly oven-dry them, preserving them in extra virgin olive oil, to use on salads or on top of pasta. For cooked dishes, “We do gigantic pots of tomatoes—blanch, peel, chop and use everything, seeds and all, and cook it down and can them. They usually last all winter long.” He also grows Jimmy Nardello Italian peppers [a sweet variety so richly flavored that it’s included in the Slow Food organization’s Ark of Taste]. Torre splits them in half, removes the seeds and roasts them. Or he’ll candy them by dipping them in simple syrup and placing them on a pan above (not below) the salamander, where they get warm and almost translucent. He’ll pair them with fish, using sustainably caught tuna. “In Italy, it’s tuna and peppers—that’s a classic.”

Clockwise: Panzanella of house-baked milk bread with pesto and roasted wild King Salmon; toasted bread crisps and organic Mozzarella with grilled vegetables, capers, basil and mint sauce; Canneti Roadhouse Italiana Chef/Owner Francesco Torre

Torre makes a sauce he calls “Fake Sugo,” a vegetarian spin on sugo all’amatriciana—traditionally made with guanciale (cured pork cheek), pecorino cheese, and tomato—using eggplant cubes dusted in flour, seasoned with basil and briefly deep fried, instead of meat. He mixes the eggplant with fresh tomato paste and onions as a sauce for housemade eggless corkscrew pasta. He also makes a relish from red bell peppers, chopping them raw, mixing them with sugar, salt, white wine and vinegar, and then cooking it down. The wine list includes local varietals and Tuscan imports. “I had to beg for six months to get Solaia,” says Torre, of this Cabernet/ Sangiovese blend, and he uses locally produced olive oil as well as Badia, a Coltibuono extra virgin olive oil from Tuscany. “When we have it, we use our own Blue Cottage Farm olive oil for finishing the dishes and for making pesto,” he adds. At cooking school in Tuscany, they’d have a fancy lunch at yearend, a big party for all the teachers, the mayor of the city, and the chief of police, and serve ricotta with thyme ravioli and borage pesto. That memory made a deep impression on Torre. “I planted borage everywhere at the farm,” he says. He makes a pesto with the blanched leaves, blended with shallots, onions, olive oil and a little bit of cream. “I don’t keep much of a record [of past menus],” says Torre, “but if someone wants something, they can ask, and if the ingredients are in the house, we’ll make it.” He’ll also hold Tuscan cooking classes on request. “Our main goal is: you come in and you go out happier.” SD



An Iron Horse employee pours sparkling wine; Greg Velasco (front) and Tate Brown at Mauritson Family Winery; Katelyn Byrne, White Oak Winery assistant hospitality coordinator.


Harvest Parties and New Fall Releases


by Robin Gordon

he common theme among wineries at harvest time is commotion. Whether you are managing the tasting room, picking grapes or making juice, all can agree that it is the busiest time of year to visit a winery. Yet,

anyone in the industry will also tell you that it is the most


White Oak Vineyards & Winery

If you have never taken a drive through the vineyards in Alexander Valley, fall might be the best time of year to start exploring the area. The trees and vineyards are all-encompassing as you travel down the winding back roads and across the Alexander Valley Bridge. Not much further past the Jim Town Store you will find White Oak Vineyards & Winery, a beautiful Mediterranean-style building that will make you forget you are in California. The space feels like a winery should—greeting you with a bubbling fountain and willing you in with large wooden doors. Founded in 1981, the winery quickly outgrew its small space on the Healdsburg Square when owner and former architect Bill Myers fulfilled his dream of designing his own winery and property in the Alexander Valley. Now, the winery has 750 acres in the Napa, Alexander and Russian River valleys, producing close to 23,000 cases per year.

Inside the tasting room, you will find a friendly staff waiting to pour you a taste of their signature Sauvignon Blanc and award-winning Napa Cabernet. “We have two flagship whites, our stainless steel Sauvignon Blanc and our 100 percent oak-fermented Chardonnay. Locals might get more excited about our Zinfandel, an Old Vine Zin from vines that date back to 1920s, 1930s. This is a small production wine, with about 400 cases per year. We won’t enter it in to competitions anymore but we pour it here in the tasting room. It is not something we distribute in the market so that we make sure that we have enough here for our visitors and wine club members,” said Tasting Room Manager Francesca Huson, noting the Zinfandel can be sampled during their Reserve Tasting option. The Zinfandel is one of several wines that the winery opens at harvest time. Visitors can taste the new releases along

photos by Gary Ottonello

educational time and possibly the most beautiful. Grape leaves have changed color, from rows of green to brilliant sunshades of oranges and reds. Employees demonstrate to visitors the process and skill it takes to make and then barrel wines. Tasting room managers are pouring wines alongside fresh pressed grape juices, and plump grape clusters are abundant for tasting. It is also a time when new fall wine releases begin. Many bottles are taken from the cellar for their debut, just in time for harvest dinner parties and the holiday season. In this issue, Sonoma Discoveries visited three tasting rooms that have big plans to celebrate harvest this season, not only by throwing a party but also by showcasing fall releases.

September 19

with the options from both their Napa and Sonoma regions. Huson said that not only can the tasting menu change during this time of year, but the feel of the tasting room is also different. “Harvest is a very magical time out here, all of the leaves have changed colors and the fruit is ripe. It is a very exciting time,” said Huson. “You have the trucks coming in; outside of the tasting room window you can see the pickers with their bins and hats on, and you see everyone working really hard.” While visiting, guests can see the process and the action of turning grapes into wine. Crews are out in the vineyards picking grapes and hauling in bins while others are crushing grapes. “The winemaker gets really excited, he will bring different grapes into the tasting room for guests to try and as the juices are freshly pressed he will bring them in as well,” she said. “The feel is completely different than any other time of year.” “It’s just barely controlled chaos,” joked winemaker Bill Parker. “No, it is fun, and it really is different that time of year. Most people don’t get to taste varietal grape juice that is going to be made into wine very soon.” In celebration of their hard work, each year the White Oak staff gathers with winery admirers for a harvest celebration. This year, on Saturday, Sept. 19, both wine club members and non-members are invited to the winery for appetizers, dinner and dessert, all paired with winning estate-grown White Oak wines. “We always celebrate accordingly. We have a little harvest dinner right around the time when all the wines are pressed and barreled, so it is not so much a time of new releases as it is a celebration of what we just did,” Huson said. Although, due to the early demands of national distribution, holiday releases are ready for tasting and purchase in the tasting room by September, she said. To sign up for the harvest party and tasting or for more details on visiting the winery, go to Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Signature tastings and reserve tastings daily, private tastings by reservation.

Top-bottom: White Oak Winery; Iron Horse tasting room; (page 24) Tom Aldendifer, Mauritson Family Winery tasting room associate.

HARVEST PARTY September 20

Iron Horse Ranch & Vineyards

Founded in 1976 by Barry and Audrey Sterling, Iron Horse Ranch & Vineyards is perched high above the Russian River Valley in the unique microclimate of the Green Valley Appellation. More than 320 acres covered with trees, plants, flowers and vegetables surround the 160 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines. Visitors can soak up the stunning views during their tasting in the outdoor tasting room. “Barry loves to grow things. He grows roses, herbs, all of the flowers you see around here. He has a little fruit orchard on the property and he grows table grapes and berries. He has a giant vegetable garden with over 200 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes. I always call him the amateur ornamental horticulturalist,” said Tasting Room Manager Lisa Macek. Today, the Sterling’s two children run the winery, continuing the family legacy of developing prestige sparkling wines and estate-bottled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Upon moving to the area, the Sterling name had already been claimed by a winery in Napa. After a bit of research of the area, the Iron Horse name was chosen in memory of a historic passenger train that operated through the property bringing visitors to Ross Station. “The Native Americans nicknamed the train the Iron Horse and this area was known as that. Then they came up with the logo when


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have stepped into somethey were tilling to plant one’s beautiful backyard. A vineyards and dug up this old White Oak Vineyards & large grass area welcomes turn-of-the-century weather Winery you, offering red pop-up vane with a horse on it. It all 7505 Hwy. 128 umbrellas for shelter on kind of came together naturalHealdsburg warmer days. As you enter ly,” said Macek. 707-433-8429 the cool tasting room, a bit When visiting the winery of history is hung on walls and tasting room, guests can that are the barrier between marvel in the wines while Mauritson Wines the production that you taking in the views. The year2859 Dry Creek Road cannot see but certainly round, outdoor tasting room Healdsburg smell. features outdoor heaters for 707-431-0804 Mauritson focuses pricolder days and overhead fans marily on Zinfandels, offerin the summer. The valley ing eight different releases. below is the perfect backdrop Iron Horse Ranch & The highly sought-after for photographs or a romantic Vineyards Rockpile reds are created glass of bubbly. 9786 Ross Station Road from grapes grown in the “The vineyards turn a gorSebastopol Rockpile AVA. Elements geous yellow, some turn red; 707-887-1507 including high elevation, it is very pretty here,” said coastal winds and a setting Macek. “Harvest is a busy higher than the fog line time but people love to come make for a rare combinaout here. September has some tion and, most importantly, the vines are sitof the most beautiful weather.” uated on the Hayward fault, lending multiple Every year, the winery throws a large soil types in a close proximity. harvest party onsite and open to the public. “The heart and soul of what the MauThis year the event is scheduled on Sunday, Sept.20. Tickets are $75 per person for non-members and include tastings and newly released Pinot Noirs. “Generally we release the Pinot Noir around the harvest party or sometimes even at the harvest party,” said Macek. “We are earlier for sparkling wine—they come in with lower sugar, usually the second week of August.”


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the cutting edge of cultivation, producing single-soil wines alongside their coveted Rockpile reds, but this winery also holds a deep history of family and farming. Founded in 1868 in the Dry Creek Valley, Mauritson celebrates six generations of family famers that have continued to work the land around the Lake Sonoma area. “I think what is really unique about us is that we are a six generation grower turned winemaker family. We have the experience from ground to glass and it has been a 150year journey to get where we are here,” said Leigh Behrens, Mauritson tasting room manager. While the tasting room is just off of Dry Creek Road, when you pull onto the parking lot, all sounds of the world outside of the winery disappear and it feels as though you

ritson family is focusing on is the Rockpile releases, the small production wines,” said Behrens. “Definitely here at the tasting room, we invite people to experience the Dry Creek wines as well as the Rockpile wines.” New fall releases will be available for tasting during their October 3 release party, open to the public. “That peak experience is what people are looking for and when they come here in the fall, it is when the magic happens,” Behrens said. For more information on joining the New Release Party or to learn about the winery, visit SD

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A chef’s process for creating farm-driven feasts by Robin Gordon


Foggy River Farm produce is available for purchase at the Healdsburg Farmers Market (summer), the Wells Fargo Center (year-round) and the Sebastopol Market (winter). The next Metes & Bounds dinner hosted in Sonoma County will be held at Dry Creek Peach and Produce on Sept. 12 at 5 p.m.

photo by Naomi McLeod

Dining by candlelight in an orchard; Chef Heath Thomson cooks outside while tables are prepared for guests, with the culinary bus “Hugo” in the background.


howing up to work for Chef Heath Thomson and his staff means strapping on their most comfortable shoes and driving “Hugo,” an old school bus turned culinary kitchen, to a local farm. Advanced arrangements have been made for the team to create a harvest dinner using local, seasonal ingredients clipped straight off the vine.

These culinary experts arrive hours before their guests to prepare a four-course meal that is unfussy yet extraordinary. Dishes are designed methodically, and dinner offers a dining experience that food enthusiasts may only dream of hosting in their own backyards. Luckily for those interested in trying their hand at transforming this season’s harvest into a spectacular spread of their own, Chef Thomson shares some insight into what coaxing a meal from a farmer’s bounty looks like. And even luckier are those who can afford to attend a Metes & Bounds farm dinner, one of the newest and most sought after forms of bringing the farm to the table.

photo by Chris Choweniec

The Process Metes and Bounds has been operating as a traveling restaurant since 2014. The company hosts public farm dinners throughout Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties, working with local farmers to create and serve an ingredients-driven meal that encompasses all that their land has to offer. Tables are set among rows of crops that inspire the feast. “The creative process starts as soon as I set foot on the land and look at the overall site,” Thomson said. “I am looking at the crops that they grow, but also all of the volunteers around the farm, whether it be little weeds or flowers. This helps to decide how many guests the dinner can accommodate on the site.” His vision begins with placement of a long communal table that will be set to serve between 40 to 80 guests. Once Thomson and the farmer agree to a date for the dinner, an event page is created on the Metes & Bounds website and tickets become available to the public. “About two weeks before the event, I reach out to the farmer to get a crop list and this is when the menu preparation begins. I sit down with the list and begin to think about the season and what the weather has been like. Will it be a warm menu? Do we want a refreshing menu? What ingredients can really be the cornerstone of the dish and what ingredients like to be highlighted? Which ingredients are accent ingredients and what will be beautiful garnishes?” he said. Once the menu is created from the farmer’s crop list, Thomson looks to locally source any other ingredients needed to complete the meal. Many times, a farm has an abundance of produce but little to no proteins.

“The goal is to reach 100 percent of the dinner from the farm,” he said. “We haven’t done it yet but we have gotten close.”

The Preparation Several days before the event, guests receive an email reminder that features tidbits about the menu and a friendly note about dressing the part for a farm dinner. “When we go back out to the farm, that is where I get particular about where I am going to park the bus, how the bus will be positioned and where the table will be,” Thomson said. The bus, Hugo, is worth exploring while soaking in the elements of the evening. An old yellow school bus, painted vibrant red, has features that most commercial kitchens can’t brag about. Its 12-foot cutting-board-grade, maple prep counter spans the length of the bus that Thomson can only compare to a bowling alley lane. “It is a great board for rolling out pasta. We prep all of our vegetables there. It is just a real beauty.” The mobile kitchen also houses a lowboy refrigerator, equipment storage and custom-made knife drawers. During dinner prep, sounds of chopping and cooking may be heard from the open windows, but the battery-operated feature of the bus runs in silence, an installation that was top of the list when designing Hugo. Although Hugo is their king kitchen, it is no question who the real boss of the operation is. The large, wood-burning grill, “The Boss” has been named accordingly. While most of the prep happens on the bus, all of the cooking is done outside with The Boss. Thomson said that his passion has always been to cook outside.


HOSTING A HARVEST MEAL AT HOME Find a location that is comfortable yet functional. Think about how many guests will fit into the space and how far you will have to travel from your cooking space. Develop a feel for the evening. Ask yourself: Will it be cool enough to serve soup or is an Indian summer meal a better fit for the weather? Research a local farm near you and visit them at the farmers market or at the farm itself, if permitted; for farms and markets, go to Create your menu. Decide on how many courses you will serve, what proteins you want to use and what produce is available from your chosen farm. Start shopping. Days before the dinner you can purchase all of your dry ingredients and spices that you will need. Day of the dinner. Lay out all of your ingredients. Discover what parts of the produce you could use to enhance the dishes rather than toss out. If a zucchini has a flower on the end, use it. If you are only using the bulb of the garlic, chop up the attached greens. Try decorating your dinner table with leaves and flowers growing in the yard. Serving the meal. Tell your guests about each dish. Give them information on the farm provider.


Of course he spent more than a little time working in fine dining to acquire his high level skills, but then took those skills outside to create his own concept of farm dining. This is where he said he finally felt he found his way to being responsible to the ingredients he uses and returned to the idea of cooking on an open fire. During the last farm visit, usually the last day of prep before the meal, Chef Thomson walks the crop rows to uncover smaller unlisted items that he finds add a special touch and sets the meal apart. “The items that don’t make it on to the crop list are what make the dinner special. These are the nasturtium flowers that are growing in the riverbed that they didn’t mention, or the radishes that have bolted and are now flowering. You never knew you were going to have radish flowers available, but then I see them and know that they will make a perfect garnish. Or cilantro flowers, you can’t transport them because they are so tiny and so delicate but this allows me the opportunity to go out with my mini scissors and collect these an hour before the guests arrive,” Thomson said.

The Farmer’s Role Guests begin arriving around 5 p.m. and are greeted with canapés and a cocktail, beer or glass of wine when checking in. Known starters have included: Jowl bacon with turtle bean hummus, chili jam and cilantro; ashed onion dip and beet caviar with tarragon; and wild mushroom duxelles atop a cracker and garnished with watercress. While guests are getting to know each other before dinner, they are also given the opportunity to meet the farmer and learn more about the farm and the food that they grow. “I feel like one of the really neat things about the Metes and Bounds dinner, which you could reproduce yourself by coming to the farm or the farmers market to buy produce, is being able to talk to the people that grow your food and getting to tell them the story behind the food,” said Lynda Hopkins, co-owner and operator of Foggy River Farm on Westside Road just outside of Healdsburg. “We grow a lot of different heirloom varieties and there is a cultural and historic story that goes along with each of those varieties of produce, so it is really fun when we get to retell those stories to the person who is going to be eating it.” Lynda and her husband Emmett worked with Metes & Bounds during the early days of dinners when the company first launched the concept. Their family farm offers a wide range of fruits and vegetables available through weekly CSA membership as well as at several local farmers markets. “Being a part of the event gave us the

opportunity to see what a really talented chef put together with what we grew, and it was pretty amazing. The creativity was the best part of the meal and also making the connection with the consumer and watching them experience what they can do with the food from our farm,” Hopkins said. She also noted another unique experience working with Metes and Bounds was watching them pick unusual items from the farm that they don’t sell or normally use for cooking. “They used the flower heads from the bolting lettuce to do really fun things within their dishes,” she said. Once everyone has turned up and gathered together for introductions, they are introduced to the farmer and given details on what is for dinner. “Then we send them out on a farm tour with the farmer. Often they are eating strawberries or tomatoes off the vine, that’s when we sneak off to the kitchen to start preparing the first course,” Thomson said. As the first course is served, Thomson and his staff begin to talk about the food. With each bite, diners get a better understanding of why pairings are made and how the fresh ingredients are showcased through thoughtful preparation and delicate handling. “We like to describe the creative process and why we are serving this or that at that moment and Ari will talk about the wine pairing. It is fun and interactive. We go for three savory courses and a dessert course, all with wine pairings,” he said. Dinner is definitely an event, lasting sometimes for more than four hours. “Part of the thing that is fun about doing a public dinner is that there is this great sense of camaraderie and community; it is not just that we are the staff, people are respectful and responsive and it feels like we are in it together. It’s like that bumper sticker, ‘No Farms equals No Food.’ We are all in it together when it comes to food production,” he said. This feeling of coming together is a win-win for the Metes & Bounds staff but also for the farmers who gets to showcase their hard work and watch as their food is enjoyed by many. “It was a really satisfying experience for us—I think because it demonstrates the value of food. Everyone talks about farm to table, but until you actually go out to the farm, you don’t really get that whole farm to table experience. People say if they go out to a restaurant where local food is served you are eating farm to table but really you are not getting the farm part, you are just getting the table part. Something like Metes and Bounds, or visiting a local farm and purchasing food to prepare for your own dinner, gives you a different experience,” Hopkins said. SD

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Ginny Lambrix and Kevin Shaw with James and Madeline



If you are ever lucky enough to be welcomed into the Sebastopol home of Virginia Marie “Ginny” Lambrix, director of winemaking for Truett-Hurst, Inc., and Kevin Shaw, the founder of Stranger & Stranger, a label design and branding firm that specializes in alcohol packaging, expect a lot of laughter, warmth, generosity and a genuine interest and inquisitiveness about their guests.

There’s an easy, playful banter between the two, a dynamic that began before they even met, when Shaw was based in his native England and Lambrix was establishing herself as an innovative and creative Sonoma County winemaker. Lambrix had been making VML wines for Truett-Hurst and selling them in the tasting room for about a year, when Truett-Hurst’s partners, led at that time by longtime industry veterans Phil Hurst and Paul Dolan, decided to open a new winery, VML, named after Lambrix. Having trouble creating a viable brand identity for VML, at Hurst’s suggestion the partners turned to Shaw, whose firm is known for intricate, innovative and award-winning designs that push the wine industry forward in its approach to packaging. “So Phil called Kevin and gave him a brief, but it was for this really beautiful, sweet, foggy Russian River [brand],” said Lambrix. “And what came back was this really beautiful, sweet, foggy Russian River. I looked at them and said, ‘It’s beautiful and sweet— and so not me.’” With that, Shaw and Lambrix began a yearlong email collaboration to develop several TruettHurst brands, looking for labels that captured both

her personality and the attention of a crowded marketplace. The result is extraordinarily intricate labels that are full of details large and small, many derived from the natural world. They evoke a sense of history and attention to a healthy vineyard, a mix of a botanist’s logbook and an ancient scientist documenting pagan rituals. “He showed the labels to Phil and warned him, ‘Ginny’s a witch and your eyeballs are probably going to melt into the back of your head. Spend a little time with it and it’ll be okay,’” Lambrix said. For Lambrix, the unconventional labels speak far more closely to who she is as a person and a winemaker. “I’ve got some edges. I do things like bury crystals in some of the vineyards, and I mingle in things that are really different. I definitely believe in things that are unusual,” said Lambrix, encapsulating her winemaking philosophy. “I think wine has karma. I think your intentions with it are often reflected in the wine. I know people who are way more conventional winemakers than I am who also believe that wine has karma. They just may not say that publicly.” The collaborative process with Shaw continued as they worked together on a number of new brands


for the Truett-Hurst family of wines. “I really enjoyed working with him,” said Lambrix. “We were emailing back and forth for over a year and we had this really fun synergy where I was coming up with label names and giving him briefs and he was coming up with labels. We did Dearly Beloved, Bewitched, Criminal, The Fugitive. We did a bunch of labels together before we even met, but our emails were always a little bit flirty.” During that year, they discovered a number of shared interests and backgrounds—for example, both began their careers in chemistry and other sciences, yet both also pursued art. However, they had yet to meet in person and had vastly different lifestyles. Lambrix was a single mother to a young son, James, who she was raising with the


support of his father, who is still a good friend. She had come to Sonoma County years earlier, pursuing a love of Pinot Noir and cool climate viticulture and winemaking, working with Hugh Chappelle at Lynmar Estate and Greg La Follette at DeLoach Vineyards before joining Truett-Hurst in 2008. For Shaw, life at that time consisted of finely tailored Armani, sports cars, late nights and cross-Atlantic trips between his offices in New York and London. “It’s part of being in the industry. They are always telling me about the latest bar you’ve got to go and take a look at and the latest bottle you’ve got to go and look at and this spirit at some club,” he said. “It sounds great, and it is great the first few years, and after that it just becomes a complete chore.”


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overall vibe is just amazing. My son goes to Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm, where they have 30 acres to run around in. It’s incredible—the level of fitness, the caliber of teaching and the quality of food are magical.” Moving to Sonoma County, though, was an adjustment for Shaw, who was raised in the north of England but had lived in cities most of his life. “When I first got here, it reminded me of home. The geography and the people seemed to be really friendly and open,” he said. “But I realized this is one of the craziest places I’ve ever been. It has influenced me, though. It’s loosened me up. When I first saw Patrick Amiot’s work on Florence Avenue, I thought, wow. Then there is another guy that I met at Aubergine, he was wearing a kilt. There were all these people who were just kinda hanging out and doing their thing. It definitely loosens you up as a creative person.” He jokes that Sonoma County can be a “bit of a zoo” and that he now goes to his offices in New York or London to be around the mainstream. “Sonoma County is beautiful. There are a lot of characters here. It attracts people from the outskirts of society, I think. So I felt at home from the minute I got here, I’ve got to say.” Shaw has definitely adapted, trading his impeccable designer clothes and sports cars for checked shirts “that hide all manner of baby stains” and a family home on several acres. “There’s been several experiences that have made me laugh,” said Lambrix. “Kevin’s license had expired once so I had to drive my socially-conscious Sonoma County hybrid, and he’s in the passenger seat. And my son James used to call him Kenny instead of Kevin. At one point he just looks over at me and says, ‘This is not my life. I am riding shotgun in a fake Prius listening to country music with a redheaded step-child calling me Kenny.’ And at that very moment, James got carsick everywhere. And Kevin says, ‘This cannot be.’ “It’s been unconventional and crazy and when we were going back and forth, that was tough,” continued Lambrix, as Shaw pointed out he took 44 long-distance plane trips over their first year of dating. “I am so glad we figured it out. There’s a few times when you do long-distance, you question it, but I am so, so glad we sorted it out because, look at what turned out. Look at what happened,” she said. Lambrix said she and Shaw “both lived

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Still, Lambrix was intrigued and wanted to finally meet the man she’d been working with so long. “One day, I heard he was in California,” said Lambrix. “I said, ‘You can’t come to California, call someone a witch and not make arrangements to meet her.’ He initially told me, ‘I just don’t have time.’ I was kind of mad. I was sending him all sorts of dark and evil thoughts.” “You have to understand, we have clients all over the world—Australia, China, Japan, people I’ve never met,” said Shaw. “They just mail things in. It’s completely normal for me. So I thought, maybe if I’m in the vicinity, that’s fine, but...” “So, 45 minutes later he said fine, we could meet for breakfast,” interjected Lambrix. “We had a two-hour breakfast and at the end of it, he said, ‘I’ll move to California.’” “No, no I didn’t. You have that all wrong,” said Shaw. “I said that we were clearly going to be mates. I’ve actually got it. I’ve saved every one of our emails. We’re clearly going to be really good friends, that’s what I said. We got on like a house on fire, we just laughed our heads off for two hours. Then it kind of... morphed.” “You are so full of it,” laughed Lambrix. “I’ve got the emails! I’ve kept every single email,” protested Shaw. “I am going to dig out my email from you too, because you definitely didn’t say we’re going to be friends,” said Lambrix. “You are so fabricating!” “That’s the first line of the first email,” Shaw continued. “We’re clearly going to be best mates. When I got down to LA to the hotel a day later, then it was, ‘I wish you were here.’” “Let’s just say that he came back three weeks later,” said Lambrix. When Shaw returned, there was an obvious connection and any debates about whether or not they’d just be best mates or something more were put to rest. Over the course of the next year, Shaw made dozens of long-haul trips back to California as the relationship flourished. At the end of the year, he did indeed move to Sonoma County. In the four years since, Lambrix and Shaw have married, bought a home and added a daughter, Madeline (Maddie), now one and one-half years old, to their family. “Sonoma County is just amazingly beautiful and really committed to agriculture and a lot of people around here are very forward-thinking,” said Lambrix of why she chose Sonoma County and why her family still calls it home. “Just being so close to the ocean, and the food and the



pretty fun lives before the kids,” traveling and experiencing the world on their own terms. “Since kids entered the scene, our lives been much more low key. It’s been pretty busy in the last few years, especially with the birth of Maddie,” she said. But they continue to collaborate. One project the couple is working on together is California Winecraft, one of the latest brands from Truett-Hurst. Currently found in limited distribution, California Winecraft are wine-based, carbonated beverages mixed with organic and natural flavoring. It’s a project that was inspired by the burgeoning craft beer and cocktail movement, and it currently includes a lineup of four related but distinct individual offerings: Norcal Sqeeze, a Sauvignon Blanc with lemon and lime; Sonoma Brew, a blend of red wine and cola; Château Vanille Chardonnay with vanilla flavors; and Mataro’s Punch, a sangria. “Ginny still comes up with names and we do the traditional wine stuff. I keep doing the crazy new idea things and throwing things in from that side,” said Shaw. “The idea was to take regular drinks and make them out of wine. Initially with this she looked at me like I was the devil. ‘You want to do what to wine? Why?’ Then I went to her office and she’s surrounded by these organic essences and she’s dripping them into wine. She really got into it. These are amazing, you can drink them all day. They are about six percent alcohol and they just taste delicious. They’re all part of a family, but offer different flavor promises.” “The can project has been really interesting,” said Lambrix. “It probably took me two months of dragging my feet. I thought, you’re kidding me. You want me to take wine, water, CO2, flavor and sugar and make something I might drink? Really? But once I did get 34

into it, what I did was take some base wines that I liked and thought what are the flavors in these wines I could pull up and turn up the volume on and make them entertaining? These have been a labor of love. Even the bases on the red wines are blends of different base things because I liked what that can add, then that and that.” It’s a project that also appeals to Lambrix because it makes wine be more accessible to a larger audience. “I didn’t grow up with people going, ‘Oh, I get raspberries from this wine.’ I want people to just enjoy the wines and have fun and play and to be comfortable enjoying wine,” she said. “Wine and art can be so intimidating and off-putting. If you say you’re a winemaker and they’re tasting something, they’ll go, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know anything about that.’ They get all tense. I don’t like that, I want people to be happy and really in the moment. I didn’t grow up with a lot of money and my parents didn’t really drink wine. I think wine of a great quality should be available at different price points.” It’s a project that also appeals to Shaw because it speaks to the heart of his philosophy on wine packaging: moving forward in new and interesting ways. “It’ll be interesting to see what happens with it,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll get people trying them. You’ve got to keep pushing the envelope. Wine just doesn’t evolve like the other sectors we deal in, like beer or spirits. They have constant evolution and growth and we’re still using the same wine bottles we used 500 years ago, sticking bits of wood in the top and calling it done. The world doesn’t need 6,000 identical wine products. We’re pushing a little bit in our corner of the world and hope it inspires others to do as well. I’ve got an endless stream of different things to try.” SD

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Kayak Fishing JACK MCKEE’S ADVENTURES & ADVICE by Ray Holley

T 36

The bass fought hard and pulled McKee’s kayak back and forth in the river channel while he tried to get his iPhone out of his pocket. “I was trying not to fall out of the kayak or drop my phone in the river, and I was able to get a photo of the fish and text it to my family while I was still on the river. It was a fish to brag about, but I released him after I took pictures.” McKee is a fisheries biologist by trade and grew up fishing in Texas. “As early as I can remember, my great grandmother and my grandmother would take me fishing,” he said. “I was three years old and we’d be out fishing farm ponds with cane poles, or fishing little lakes in the area where we lived in Texas. It was a unique way to learn and bond as a family. Fishing is in our blood.” The family continued to bond through fishing. McKee

photos by Gary Ottonello

he first time Jack McKee fished the Russian River, he ended up with a classic fish story. “It was about six or seven years ago,” McKee recalls. “I got my brother-in-law to drop me off at Del Rio Beach. I had not fished the area before and I’d heard that the bass here were a smaller version of the species, so I half-expected to catch a half-pound smallmouth.” McKee boarded his kayak with his fly rod and a couple of beers, and had only floated a couple of hundred yards downriver when he got a bite. “It was maybe 20 minutes into the float, it was a beautiful afternoon and I wasn’t really paying attention, when I hooked a 4-pound smallmouth.”


Jack McKee

THE RUSSIAN RIVER The Russian River, 110 miles long, drains a watershed spanning more than 1,400 square miles in Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Historically rich in natural resources, European trappers and fishermen boasted of catching giant sturgeon and trapping beaver and otter in the 1800s along the river. Named Ashokawna (water to the east) by the Southern Pomo, the Russian got its current name in memory of Ivan Aleksandrovich Kuskov, who helped establish the Fort Ross colony. The Russians called it the Slavyanka River. The Russian meets a series of creeks along its journey from the headwater in the Laughlin Range near Willits to the mouth near Jenner. Decades of meandering by the river have deposited rich deposits of fertile soil and deep aquifers, both of which contribute to agriculture. Always a source of drinking and agricultural water, the river has long been a source of recreation and fishing. Recent restoration efforts in its tributaries are improving the biological health of the river, and native fish, once struggling, are making a comeback.


says that, even after his great grandmother had broken her hip and had mobility issues, they would fish. “Right up until she passed we were still going on fishing trips. I would help her get in her wheelchair and we’d go out on the dock and fish together. It’s great, you get to share something with someone.” The early imprint on fishing stayed with McKee, who attended Texas A&M to become—what else? A fisheries biologist. “I worked for A&M in their fish farming labs— aquaculture—and worked for a consulting business where we helped farmers who were growing catfish or crawfish. Being a fisheries biologist is a great job as long as you like to be outside and have your feet wet all the time. And, you have that fish smell on you.” Since moving here full time, McKee has become a student of fishing the Russian River, and his favorite way to fish it is in a kayak. For those who want to try it, he recommends what he calls a sit-on-top style, a molded plastic craft that’s still light enough to carry or easily drag around. “They’re really stable and they’ll hold a tremendous amount of weight. They’re good for cruising around as long as you don’t get into really fast water. If you fall off you can crawl back on and they carry hundreds of pounds of gear.” Renting a kayak from a local outfitter is a good way to try kayak fishing, McKee says. Local outfitters can rent you a kayak and drop you off upriver, where you can float and fish your way back to where you started. “Just load up your gear, your drinks, your food and go,” McKee says. The type of fish you find in the Middle Reach of the Russian River depends on where you are and the time of year. According to McKee, the river between Cloverdale and just north of Healdsburg is faster, wilder

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Jack McKee says you’ve got to ‘match the hatch’ and align your fishing gear with the natural habitat that fish are eating.

and deeper. “The river is more aggressive above Fitch Mountain, more boulders, more roots, more holes that are conducive to holding fish.” McKee fishes for bluegill and smallmouth above Healdsburg, and like a lot of other fisherfolk, looks for steelhead below the confluence of Dry Creek and the river. “I like to put in just below the fish weir at Memorial Beach. There’s a mile-and-a-half to two miles of the river’s best steelhead fishing. That’s where you see the locals who have been fishing there for decades.” The area around Wohler Bridge, McKee says, is popular with fly fishers. “It’s easy to park and you don’t have to bushwhack so much.” The Russian is a “barbless” river, where catch-and-release is encouraged, and in some cases, required. “It’s a good strategy for managing the fish population, says McKee. “A barbless hook does less damage, when you go to remove the hook you won’t tear out a chunk of fish that might result in an infection.” McKee rarely keeps the fish he catches on the river. “I prefer halibut and ocean salmon,” he admits, but allows that he will occasionally keep a hatchery steelhead in season. Fishing gear and styles are endless. The Russian is popular with fly fishers, like McKee, and bait fishers alike. The trick is to learn the river and the seasons, and match your approach to the fish. “Fly fishing is more creative to me,” McKee says, “figuring out what they’re going to hit. You want to match something that’s natural to the habitat, 40

whatever flies or aquatic critters they’re eating. You want to ‘match the hatch’ and figure out what they want to hit that day.” Regular river fisherfolk are the best source of information on bait, lures and fishing tackle. The days of “sporting goods” stores that dealt in guns, ammunition, bait and tackle are long gone in Healdsburg, but King’s Sport and Tackle thrives in downtown Guerneville and offers gear sales and rentals along with good advice. McKee likes to schedule what he calls “two-hour floats.” With the help of a friend or relative, he puts into the river, floats and fishes his way downstream, and either gets a ride back or picks up his vehicle if he dropped it off at his destination. He recommends Badger Park and Del Rio Beach as good starting points in the Healdsburg area, that end at Memorial Beach. Wohler Bridge is a good starting point downstream. How is the drought affecting fishing? “Flow rates have a lot to do with it,” McKee says. “Steelhead, like salmon, are sea-going fish. They come back upstream where they were born to spawn, so if the river is blocked or there isn’t enough flow to create the right place to spawn, well, that’s Mother Nature doing things the way she wants to. In a drought there will be lower reproduction and not as healthy a population. When we come out of the drought, hopefully the fish populations will come back.” SD

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Rody Jonas stands in front of a solar power installation at a secluded off-grid site in Healdsburg.



GOING OFF-GRID By Christian Lane


photos by Sarah Bradbury

ore and more, people are seeking ways to be in the world but not of it. To leave no trace is the camper’s way and the festivalgoer’s code. We’re in a world of flux, and this world’s capacity to support our impact is under unprecedented pressure. Energy use is something we can act on. Because of advances in technology and public policy, deciding how to power our lives has become a place where we can make sensible choices with tangible impact. What’s behind the latest groundswell of enthusiasm about energy efficiency? Storing power is as important as measuring how much we use, so I decided to have a chat with Rody Jonas, proprietor of Healdsburg’s Pure Power Solutions. Jonas has lived off-grid for 20 years, designed hundreds of solar systems and regularly studies the industry’s latest technologies and practices. He and I recently visited a secluded off-grid residential site located high in the rolling hills above Healdsburg, where he showed me one of his solar power installations. On this sprawling property, we witnessed the results of going off-grid in Sonoma County today. While extensive, this system illustrates how to sever one’s connection to utilities by utilizing standalone delivery systems. Off-grid solar energy systems have no ties to the utility infrastructure and usually include solar panels to supply power, a gas or diesel-powered generator to supplement it, and batteries to store excess created power. Grid-tied solar systems, on the other hand, generally involve a means of delivering excess power back into the grid. According to Jonas, going off-grid implies that “the stakes will be higher in terms of balancing sacrifices with gains. However, no matter what your long game may be, the rewards will be justified.”


“A system designed properly will help you reach your goals of energy independence, economic savings and a lighter environmental impact.” – Rody Jonas


A well-engineered system Seeing a well-engineered electrical system allocate electricity efficiently is like understanding how to throw a party. The solar panels do the cooking and the power inverter serves the guests (not too much, not too little, and timed correctly). The backup generator remains in close communication with the solar panel array in case there’s a reason to run to the store at the last minute. Then, the batteries act as the refrigerator to store accessible leftovers. Every part is coordinated and interdependent. A great party host basks in leftovers, and an off-grid system should always store reserve power. As noted, battery storage is the key to alternative energy assemblies, and Jonas’s strength is in designing and installing solar systems and his support of the systems. Each installation is, as he puts it, “a cake built to rise.” The system’s location, the grid’s reliability, and the economy of the electricity all contribute to the perceived success of the system. In general, every homeowner or business will want to experience cost efficiency. Therefore, Jonas assesses the system owner’s consumption patterns and economic goals. Watt the Heck Now? If you want to know how many kilowatthours your home consumes, or how much joule be spending (yep, I went there), talk to Jonas. Every situation is unique. What’s important here is whether to go au naturel in Sonoma County. “We create

photos by Sarah Bradbury

There is math involved The thoughtful way to approach moderating your power consumption in an increasingly resource-constrained world is a matter of simple math. With a well-designed system, Jonas helps his clients reduce their overall usage of electricity while limiting the peak power required. Peak power is simply a measurement of the highest amount of electricity your household is using at a specific time of the day. It happens when the dishwasher is running, the dryer is humming and maybe the air conditioner or electric heater is on. It is simply the time of day when you’re consuming the most energy. Your off-grid system will be smaller and more economical if you can re-schedule some of these tasks and lower the peak consumption needs of your home. Spread them out so they are not all demanding power at that same time and you can do everything you are used to doing without taxing your system. Jonas plans a solar-powered system with this in mind. If he can ascertain a household’s overall usage patterns, he can suggest a usage profile to fit it. “I’ve worked out a reasonable usage schedule for my own household to spread the load out over time. In other words, a family member can run the washing machine in the morning without worrying about the hot tub pulling too much out of the system, since that activity may likely occur at night,” he said. This is why battery storage is the key to alternative energy assemblies—whether windpowered, water-propelled, solar or otherwise. Batteries store collected power that can be distributed at the right times in the proper amount. “With all of a battery back-up system’s components, you have to use the system properly, monitor it, program it… you have to support that. We do. I walk clients through it by phone, visit the site, or log in and monitor or change settings from my computer,” Jonas said.


a portfolio of options to handle what the system will realistically need to deliver where you live. If that’s on a forested hillside with no access to infrastructural resources like sunlight, wind or data, you can see that the variables change. Perhaps a household will shrink soon; the washer and dryer won’t be used as much,” Jonas said. Jonas wants to know what the future holds in order to optimize the installation for its true load. “If you only have a generator in a remote area just to watch TV,” he quipped, “you’re brushing your teeth with a fire hydrant!” His systems deliver calculated amounts of power for now and later. Batteries store and distribute carefully-timed drips of the electrical juice you need to get you through brief periods of lack of power generation, often caused by unusually cloudy stretches of time. According to Jonas, going off-grid implies that “the stakes will be higher in terms of balancing sacrifices with gains. However, no matter what your long game may be, the rewards will be justified. A system designed properly will help you reach your goals of energy independence, economic savings and a lighter environmental impact.” Let’s ask ourselves the question once more, now that we know a bit more about the wide world of alternative energy. “Should I go off-grid?” There is no singular answer. Once again, it’s all about the system’s reliability and what you want it to do. A stable installation built for contingencies like power outages will adjust to them. SD

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A Place in the Sun by Patricia M. Roth


nspired by climate, environment and perhaps an inner calling,

Above: outdoor entertainment area, Chiquita Road residence; below and Page 47: Tuscan-style landscape.

the outdoor culture thrives here in Sonoma County, from outdoor rooms with hammocks and

bistro sets in shady backyards to elaborate entertainment areas with views of the



photos by Sarah Bradbury

Alexander and Dry Creek valleys. “I think we tend to ignore the fact that, in California, the outdoor space for most of the year is a super great place to be,” Gardenworks President Jay Tripathi said. “A lot of people come here from all over the world to see what we have. They come up here to enjoy the wines, the ambiance and the weather—and a lot of us who live here wish we could stay at home and take the same vacation, too.” Truth is—you can—and the benefits may long outweigh memories from a ticket to a tropical island. “The concept is to extend one’s home without walls, to be closer to nature and to be surrounded by beauty and comfort,”

photos by Sarah Bradbury

Aaron Fogleman of Sonoma Backyard pointed out. “Birds chirping, slight breezes billowing through the trees, the beautiful colors the evening sky provides us with and fresh air are great reasons people love to come home from the craziness of work and traffic and get right to the serenity of their outdoor room.” As all gardeners know, fall is the ideal time to plant—and locally, gardening follows a national trend. “The number one hobby in the U.S. is gardening. Creating an outdoor room is an extension of that… it’s a place to enjoy being in that garden and spending the leisure time that your hard work earns you,” Fogleman said. Take a walk on three different properties, whose property owners had very different reasons for creating their places in the sun.

Tuscan Landscape Surrounded by native oak trees on ample acreage on Wallace Creek Road in the Dry Creek Valley, a Tuscan-style home with many amenities stands out for its landscaping that blends into the environment—and also because the owners set aside space for a campground. Three camp cabins are nestled in the trees, and nearby there’s an area for barbecuing and a bocce ball court. The property is a working ranch with a vineyard, 500 olive trees, a fruit orchard and small vegetable garden. The L-shaped residence features a covered porch with seating areas on the west and south sides of the house. The residence sits above one

of the tributaries to Mill Creek, so there are many elevations that add architectural and landscaping interest. A lap pool, spa and cabana sit on one level; below, there is a court for the French game known as petanque, similar to bocce ball. The original owners called Healdsburg-based Gardenworks to design and build the landscaped area around the house, and its team of landscape design and installation professionals has now managed the site for two consecutive owners. The landscape surrounding the main house consists of primarily moderate to low-water use plants and meandering gravel pathways. Forty percent of the plant palette is ornamental grass, approximately six different varieties. Landscape roses, lavender, day lilies and barberries add color and variety; camellias and hydrangeas grow close to the house. Some tree roses were transplanted from one area and scattered around the pathways. There are also some ornamental trees. But it’s the grasses that raise the landscaping bar. “The nice thing about using ornamental grasses is they mimic the natural grasses in the area. You get tawny browns with the green. In winter, many turn yellow and go dormant. They move in the wind very nicely


so they can be very calming and decorative,” Horticulturist and Gardenworks Vice President Peter Estournes said. “Many of the selections put out a lot of plumes so they are covered with grass flowers during most of the summer. Some will be on the rose side and some will be on the tan side and then fade to light yellow. Sometimes they are grown for their plumes, sometimes for the foliage texture and sometimes for the color. “This is the kind of place you don’t want to leave,” he added.

Wallace Road property with tent-style cabins; Chiquita Road site (below).


Biodynamics & Philanthropics Intersect Nature rules on a Chiquita Road property that has views of the Alexander and Dry Creek valleys and where the owners use solar power and windmills and adhere to biodynamic principles at their vineyard and farm, which spills over into the sprawling gardens surrounding their home and outdoor entertainment spaces. The owners aim to promote biodiversity. They built an insectary that attracts beneficial insects, reducing the need for pesticides; brought in beehives, chose lowwater use native plants and edibles for the gardens, and more. Wildlife is welcomed here—from raptors that keep gophers at bay between the vine rows to goats that munch weeds near the property’s main water supply, a pond. Built in 2006, the property surrounding the home is expansive and a workin-progress. The owners are local philanthropists and do a good deal of entertaining—so they wanted functional spaces that were also beautiful. They hired Gardenworks in 2006, which has been working on the property’s hardscapes and gardens ever since. Collaboration with the owners has been key throughout the design process, as well as with other professionals, primarily ARC Design owner Julian Cohen of Healdsburg and building contractor Joe Swicegood. The role of Gardenworks has been to share its knowledge of science, help the homeowners with the artistic flow, challenge some of their ideas and lead them through the design process in the most beneficial way. Unlike interiors, exteriors are alive, and gardens are dynamic. “Gardens are threedimensional art that is living,” Estournes of Gardenworks said. “When you’re managing a garden, you need to know the soil, plant and water relationships. What a plant needs and how to care for it, using companion

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Biodynamic principles are applied to vineyards and plantings on Chiquita Road property.

plants that require the same amount of water. Choosing low or broad elements, where to use plants to fill in and soften the space you are creating outdoors.” Estournes points out that when a plant is left in its natural form, there is more of a chance for habitat to be invited into homeowners’ lives. “If you have flowers, you will attract bees, pollinators of some sort. If you have a tree near a patio, it will attract birds in the branches.” Recently, a hummingbird’s nest with pea-sized eggs was discovered inside one of the owner’s boots. This natural harmony benefits the homeowner in numerous ways. “I think plants have a certain calming effect because you are bringing nature in close,” Estournes said. Also, plants create a sense of space. “They can create areas of interest to look beyond the here and now so when you are outside with a glass of wine on a patio, you have something in the foreground and background to look at. It has an effect— formal and dramatic or a natural effect—and plants can be used in ways to maximize the that sense of space and to add an element of creativity into it.” In late June, Gardenworks began

working on the property’s North Terrace, constructing a garden wall and an entertainment area with an outdoor kitchen, an overhead structure and arbors. The property also has a pool and patio, and a lower terrace that overlooks the valley. A raised deck has views of the east. The main entertainment area is a 5,000-square-foot space on the west side of the house. “Walls were put in and we built a series of terraces so you could move from the patio area, covered by the copula, step into the fire pit area, then move through a lower wall that is the bocce ball area,” Estournes said. The goal is to have the entire area around the house be different areas so people can flow from one area to another, particularly during large fundraising events organized by the community-minded owners. Simple Pleasures

“We want people to enjoy their gardens and spend time in them. With that concept comes things like outdoor kitchens, fire pits, water features, foundations and outdoor rooms. It could be a space in the garden for reading and relaxing, or a hammock tucked behind a group of shrubs and trees so that it’s not obvious it’s there,” Tripathi of Gardenworks

said. “The idea is to create a place in your backyard that is, in fact, your vacation spot.” Budget and resources may set the pace, be it for an exterior makeover or new droughtresistant plants. The benefits of these efforts can extend beyond personal satisfaction. “Landscape values, if you do it right, will get you up to 150 percent of the money you put into it—and well-landscaped homes help to market homes,” Tripathi noted. But outdoor rooms need not be extravagant or expensive and can be upgraded over the years. “Most outdoor rooms reflect who the person creating it really is. I’ve been in hundreds of backyards in every corner of the county and have seen what a simple chaise lounge, umbrella and side table can do, all the way up to a $30,000 patio set in Mayacama,” said Fogleman, the buyer for Sonoma Backyard. “It is so much fun seeing the enthusiasm people have for outdoor living… I prefer an outdoor room where you can look up to the sky and enjoy the stars at night, after all of the hustle and bustle has ended for the day. Really all you need to create an outdoor room is the desire to be outside and a small amount of space,” he added. SD



Salatino-Gandolfo Glass 2820 Bloomfield Road Sebastopol 707-829-8535

Jean Salatino and Steven Gandolfo in their studio.


Inspiration for their vessels comes from nature by Abby Bard


photos by Sarah Bradbury


ean Salatino and Steven Gandolfo are partners in art and life. Together they explore light, color, form and texture in the creation of their exquisite sculptural glass vessels, each with a unique style. This October, you can visit these innovative artists and see their work at their studio in West County during the two weekends of Sonoma County Art Trails.

Salatino, who grew up in The Berkshires in Massachusetts, was a first-year student working exclusively in glass at California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland (now called California College of the Arts) when she met Gandolfo during his final year of sculpture studies there, casting both bronze and glass. A mutual friend introduced them and they began collaborating by helping each other with their individual glass projects during the “blow slots,” set times allocated to students for their projects in the CCAC glass-blowing studio that was open from 6 a.m. to midnight. After graduating from CCAC, Salatino further studied and worked at Pilchuck Glass School, founded by the famed glass artist Dale Chihuly. In 2002 the couple bought a house with some land in rural Sonoma County and moved here from Oakland. They wanted to stay within 50 miles of the city, near the glass blowing facility in Richmond where Gandolfo rents time, but they also wanted to have a little property, a place to spread out. Salatino wanted a garden. They married in October of the following year, and 2004 was their first year of Open Studios. Four years ago their daughter Sofia, who prefers to be called Fia, was born. Now they carve glass in a light-filled hillside studio they share overlooking the Bloomfield Valley, which they built adjacent to their home in 2009. They welcome the public to visit their studio three times a year: each June for Art at the Source, each October for Sonoma County Art Trails, and in December for their own holiday show.

Both Salatino and Gandolfo really enjoy the personal connection that comes from opening their studio to the public. “The beauty of open studios is that you are home. When people come to Art Trails, they’re looking through the catalog and picking you. They’re seeing you in your element. We’ve met people through open studios that we’re friends with still,” said Salatino. “My favorite part is when the students come to interview you. They’re often so shy. It’s a real honor that they chose you.” The rhythm of the couple’s lives is defined by their annual show schedule, which includes a major show in Palo Alto during the summer. They recently started a new lighting design business with a third partner and have added a Las Vegas hospitality trade show to their spring calendar. “Our birthdays, anniversary, Mother’s Day all seem to fall on days when we’re doing shows, so we celebrate every other day of the year,” said Salatino, laughing. Parenting is a tag-team system. With the studio next to the house, one of them can care for Fia, while the other can be working in the studio, right nearby if needed. Inspiration for their vessels comes from nature, and the different shapes have evocative names: baleens, for an undulating pattern resembling the baleen of whales; pallina, shaped like a bocce ball; tulip vases, and watermelon seed vessels. Gandolfo blows the glass “blanks” at the studio in Richmond, then brings the transparent glass blanks to their home studio where he “sand

Pictured (top to bottom): vessels marked for grinding; a diamond-carved vessel by Jean Salatino; Salatino secures the diamond wheel to the grinder shaft.


Jean Salatino with a finished diamond carved vessel.

carves” or Salatino “diamond carves” individual pieces. Each vessel balances a feeling of delicacy with the depth of color enhanced by their richly carved surfaces. “We like texture,” said Salatino. A carved piece goes through several stages of grinding or sanding and will take at least a week to make, and often more, according to its size and complexity. Their roman vases are blown, but not carved, and they also make clear, stemless wine glasses with a colored swirl. The size of the pieces is limited by the sheer weight of the glass. Larger pieces are harder to blow—and harder for Salatino to hold during the grinding process. Their vessels are blown from soda lime glass. They use the same technique as Waterford Crystal, but not the leaded glass used by Waterford. Salatino explained that the leaded glass used by Waterford makes it softer and easier to carve, but “I wish it wasn’t so toxic.” The colors they introduce during the blowing process do have a little bit of lead in them, but not the glass itself. Gandolfo uses his sand-carving method on blanks that he has blown with one color inside and another color on the outside. Using a masking technique, he then sandblasts the surface; when he goes 54

deep enough, some of the surface color is removed to reveal the color underneath. He likes to explore two-dimensional design on threedimensional forms. “I play with the colors,” he said. Carving glass is hard and noisy work, which is why they do not demonstrate the actual carving process during open studios. Machinery lines one wall of the studio—lapidary wheels, drill press, masonry saw, band saw—and a machine that turns the grinding wheel below a water faucet. As Salatino grinds glass with a diamond wheel, flowing water cools the glass so the heat of friction does not break it. The water is collected in a bucket under a sink, where the glass particles settle to the bottom and then go through another filtering system to remove any remaining bits of glass before getting recycled. Salatino’s diamond-carved vessels evolve from a single color blank that Gandolfo has blown. She first sandblasts the entire glass blank to rough up the surface so she can draw her designs on with pencil, then goes over the lines with Sharpies, and finally grinds the design with a series of diamond-embedded wheels, finishing with finer and finer grit for a sculptured bas relief effect on frosted glass (that is actually flat to the touch), created by interplay of light



Jean Salatino flattens the bottom of a vase on a diamond lap wheel in the couple’s studio.

through the carved shape. She starts with a 4-inch diameter Russian wheel, embedded with black diamonds, for a rough cut. Then she will go over the same surfaces with successive sandings, using finer grit diamond-embedded wheels for each sanding. “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” she quipped. Salatino enjoys the solitude of grinding glass, putting on her headphones for protection against the loud noise of diamonds cutting glass. She’ll work on three pieces at a time, with different patterns on each one; since the grinding process is so repetitive, she protects her body from repetitive stress injuries by working the angles of different patterns, rather than the same pattern over and over. Down the center of the studio is a broad worktable with shelves for supplies

underneath. Shelves against a wall hold finished pieces for display. Sliding glass doors form another wall. The building also houses a workshop for storage, packing and assembly of lighting fixtures. Come and visit Salatino and Gandolfo in their studio and see their luminous art glass vessels and their new line of lighting pendants and lamps during the two weekends of Sonoma County Art Trails, the weekends of October 10-11 and October 17-18. Throughout the year, you can find their art vessels at Sebastopol Gallery and their new line of lighting fixtures, Lustre Lighting, at The Passdoor in The Barlow. They are represented around the country in galleries in Seattle, San Francisco (Gump’s) and Boston. SD

onoma County Art Trails, the county’s longest-running juried open studio program, invites you to take a look inside more than 160 artists’ studios and meet the artists where they create. This year, there are 137 returning artists and 25 new artists. For the artists, connecting with the Sebastopol Center for the Arts also provides a permanent showcase for the group’s Preview Exhibit. The Opening Reception will take place Friday, Sept. 25 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the SCA. In 2014, the artists’ steering committee made an arrangement with Sebastopol Center for the Arts to take an administrative role in supporting this iconic open studio program, following the demise of their previous umbrella organization, the Arts Council of Sonoma County. Connecting with the SCA has insured that this program (formerly known as ARTrails) can continue to welcome the public the second and third weekends in October, as they have for over 25 years. For Linda Galletta, executive director of SCA, adding the program “was a natural fit. It was an opportunity for the Center and an opportunity for the artists. A core group on the artists’ steering committee looked at several other organizations and felt that we were the most suited to be the new parent organization because of our long history with spring open studios [Art at the Source] for the past 21 years. Many local artists participate in both.” What has changed is the new name and the new logo, but the quality of art and the willingness of artists to welcome the public remains the same. Catalogs showing a sample of each artist’s work are available online (go to and click on the Sonoma County Art Trails logo) and in print at many locations around the County in September. The Open Studios are free—just follow the blue signs!


ART&ABOUT BOURNE photo studio + gallery Cloverdale Arts Alliance Gallery

Graton Gallery

Through Sept. 17: Serenade, featuring Drew Jackson’s images showing fine detail and tonal value and his exploration into other mediums. Guest artists include Diana Majumdar and Rive Nestor. Resident artists: Laura Paine Carr, Pamela Heck, Terry Holleman, Sharon Kozel, Paul Maurer and Hanya Popova Parker. Open Fri.-Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 204 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale.cloverdaleartsalliance. org.

Through September 20: Juried Cigar Box Show and New Works by Mylette Welch with guest artists Angel Fabela, Barbara Goodman, Jan Thomas and Carolyn Wilson. Sept. 22Nov.1: New Work by Susan Ball, “Travels in the West,” a series of plain air paintings compiled over the years, UK and other places. Guest artists: Don Van Amerongen ,Peter Fronk, Jennifer Holmes and Valerie Winslow; reception Sept. 26, 2-5 p.m. Open TuesdaySaturday 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. 9048 Graton Road, Graton.  info@

Dolphin Gallery

A Featuring the photography of Tom Eckles and ceramics by MICA; opening reception Sept. 5, 5-7 p.m; through Sept. 27. Also: paintings of PT Nunn and glass art and mosaics of Star DeHaven. 39225 Highway 1, Gualala. Open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Erickson Fine Art Gallery

Oct. 3-Nov. 3: Antoinette Von Grone, Recent Paintings; artist reception Oct. 3, 5-7 p.m. 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, Tom Monaghan, Jean Mooney, Jeanne Mullen, Bob Nugent, Carlos Perez, Sam Racina, Carol Setterlund, Jeffrey Van Dyke, Paul Van Lith, Antoinette Von Grone and Kathleen Youngquist. Open daily 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wed. by appointment; 324 Healdsburg Ave.Healdsburg; 431-7073;

Gualala Arts Center

Through Sept. 27: Nobility– Indian Portraits by Ira Yeager, the bold paintings of Native Americans. Opening reception Sept. 4, 5-7 p.m., through Sept. 27. Sculptures and Tables: Now and Then by Brad Wilson. Opening reception Oct. 2, 5- 7 p.m., through Nov. 21. Rock paintings by Robert Minuzzo,

Erickson Gallery, Antoinette Von Grone


Featuring the diverse images of photographer Barbara Bourne. Prints of vineyards, horses, landscapes and seascapes are on display and available in a wide variety of sizes and surfaces, including canvas and metal. 14 Healdsburg Ave., Suite D, Healdsburg. 486-9420, bbourne. com.


Original artwork by established and emerging Bay Area conceptual artists. Open Tues.-Fri.,10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 132 Mill St., Suite 101, Healdsburg.

Hand Fan Museum

Fans tell the stories and histories of the cultures and individuals who used them. Open Wed. through Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 219 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg. 431-2500, handfanmuseum. org.

Graton Gallery, Mylette Welch

opening reception Oct. 2, 5 -7 p.m., through Nov. 21. Unusual and distinctive multi-media art created by collaborative artists Peter Suchecki and Lauri Twitchell, opening reception Oct. 2, 5 -7 p.m., through Nov. 21. Open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays, noon-4 p.m. weekends. Gualala Arts Center, 46501 Gualala Rd., Gualala. Healdsburg Center for the Arts

Fine art gallery that supports a community nonprofit arts organization. Through October 4: This juried exhibit features works made collaboratively by multiple artists working in book arts, mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture and more; closing tea Oct. 4, 2-4 p.m. A juried exhibition featuring the work of artists between 18 and 30 years of age. Open daily (except Tuesdays), 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Fri. and Sat., 11 a.m.-6.p.m., 431-1970. Healdsburg Arts Festival

Central Healdsburg location (details at Sept. 12, 10 a.m.- 7 p.m.; Sept. 13, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Outdoor festival of fine crafts and arts, including ceramics, fiber, jewelry, painting, mixed media and more. Nichibei Potters

Blending the elegant tradition of Japanese folk art with a contemporary flair resulting in an innovative collection of handmade pottery. Visit by appointment 1991 Burnside Rd., Sebastopol.


Client: Graton Gallery Run date: 7-30-15 Ad title/slug: 1/6 V - recreate EPS - add border Returned approval due by: ASAP Scheduled to run in: Disco Fall 2015 Please check this proof carefully for errors and omissions. Your signature below constitutes acceptance of 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. OK AS IS Your signature and date

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Ren Brown Collection


Special exhibit of recent paintings and Fern etchings by Seiko Tachibana, Aug. 29-Oct. 25. Rotating exhibits of contemporary Japanese printmakers and local artists featuring Japanese tansu chests, fine jewelry, wood-fired and saltglazed ceramics. Open Wed.-Sun.,10 a.m.5 p.m., 1781 Coast Hwy. 1, Bodega Bay. Sebastopol Gallery

Oct. 23-Nov. 28: International Fiber Arts VII, a biannual juried exhibition presenting a distinct approach to innovative and traditional fiber techniques, and a contemporary concept for the use of traditional and unusual materials. 150 North Main St., Sebastopol. Open daily 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 150 North Main St., Sebastopol. 8297200, Sebastopol Center for the Arts

Galletta Gallery: Chairs, through Sept. 11. Art for Life, Sept. 17-19. Sonoma County Art Trails, Sept. 25-Oct. 18. Open Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 1-4 p.m., 282 S. High St., Sebastopol Veterans Building, Sebastopol. Quercia Gallery

Through Sept. 28: “The River Runs Through It” featuring wildlife of West County by Christine Grassano. Open Fri.-Mon., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. or by appt. 25193 CA-116, Duncans Mills. 8650243, The Passdoor

A uniquely curated selection of functional products and artworks for your home space, workspace, lifestyle and life’s special occasions, and featuring contemporary artwork by some of California’s most innovative artists. 6780 McKinley St. #150, Sebastopol, 6340015, Upstairs Art Gallery

A showcase for local art, featuring an eclectic mix of paintings, mixed media, collage, drawings, prints and fine arts and jewelry. The gallery is owned and operated by local artists. Open daily, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 306 Center St., Healdsburg. 431-4214,


Our family established triOne winery in 2005 tO create small lOts Of wine frOm Our prized estate vineyards. cOme taste a selectiOn Of winemaker scOt cOvingtOn’s wines, including exclusive bOttling fOr Our estate and medalliOn clubs. enjOy a picnic, play a little bOcce and savOr sweeping views Of alexander valley.

Open thursday - mOnday, 10:00 am tO 5:00 pm 19550 geyserville avenue, geyserville, ca




Client: Bourne Photography Run date: 8-27-15 Ad title/slug: 1/4 page color Returned approval due by: ASAP Scheduled to run in: Discoveries Fall 2015 Please check this proof carefully for errors and omissions. Your signature below constitutes acceptance of 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.


FINE ART • CRAFTS • JEWELRY by Local Sonoma County Artists

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150 North Main St. • Sebastopol • CA 11am - 6pm daily • 707-829-7200





troll through the historic MacMurray Estate Vineyards property and savor wines and pairings from more than 200 wineries and 60 local chefs; seminars, cooking demonstrations and winemaker dinners that evening. Produced by the Sonoma County Vintners and the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Foundation, proceeds benefit local charities. $165 general admission. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. MacMurray Estate Vineyards, Healdsburg.


22nd Annual Cloverdale Car and Motorcycle Show SEPTEMBER 5

Rodney Strong Vineyards Summer Concert

Featuring musical icon guitarist George Benson. 5-8 p.m. Rodney Strong Vineyards, 11455 Old Redwood Hwy., Healdsburg. $75, VIP $110.

The show opens Friday night with a car cruise and live music by the Unauthorized Rolling Stones in the Plaza. On Saturday, the senior center flips pancakes starting at 8 a.m., and more than 200 classic cars and motorcycles line the boulevard; dancing, food booths, kids zone. Cloverdale Firefighter’s Association Tri-trip BBQ and Dance at the Cloverdale Citrus Fair (5 p.m.) SEPTEMBER 12

Free Geyser Tours

Take a bus from from the Cloverdale Car and Motorcycle Show to Calpine’s geothermal operations at The Geysers, to see a working power plant. The bus leaves from the post office side of the Cloverdale plaza from noon until 3 p.m. Book tours online or call 707-987-4270.


Barlow Street Fair


Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction

Bid on exclusive items and mingle with the wine community while supporting local kids at this signature fundraising event. 12:30 p.m.-7 p.m. $500. Chateau St. Jean, Kenwood.

Catch the West County vibe every Thursday evening, when Sonoma County’s musicians, entertainers, premier craftspeople and food vendors come to The Barlow. 5-8 p.m. McKinley Street, Sebastopol. SEPTEMBER 4

Charlie Musselwhite, Friday Night Live

Mississippi-born Musselwhite is one of the most revered blues musicians in the world. He is a harmonica master, singer, songwriter and Grammy winner. Free. 5:30 p.m. Downtown Cloverdale plaza. SEPTEMBER 4

Sonoma Starlight

Kick off Sonoma Wine Country Weekend poolside with wine, dinner, music and dancing under the stars at Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Geyserville. $125-$175. 6:30-10 p.m.




“The World’s Pure Food Fair” is where farmers, pure food enthusiasts, talented gardeners, school groups and food industry leaders gather for education, discussion, demonstrations, anti-GMO activism and more. Discover more than 300 natural food vendors, garden and agricultural exhibits, eco and sustainable products, heritage breeds of livestock and poultry. See the tractor show and old-time fiddlers contest. Read about kids activities in Disco Picks 5 (page 8).



Dutton-Goldfield Vineyard Hike and Tasting

Learn about the soil, vines and geography of the Russian River area. A seated tasting and brunch follows the hike. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. $50. Morelli Lane Vineyard, Sebastopol. Reservations:, 707-823-3887.



Russian River Jazz and Blues Festival

The 39th annual event includes: Dave Koz and Friends, Kenny Lattimore, WAR, Kyle Eastwood, Buddy Guy, BB and The Blues Shacks, Taj Mahal Trio, Jackie Greene and The Rad Trads. Plus: wine garden, international food court and snack bar. Boats, umbrellas and beach chairs for rent. Gates open 10 a.m. Johnson’s Beach & Resort, 16241 First St., Guerneville. 707869-2022, SEPTEMBER 12

Sebastopol Cajun Zydeco Festival

The Rotary Club of Sebastopol presents Lil’ Buck Sinegal, Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble, Jimmy Breaux, and Mark St. Mary and his Louisiana Blues and Zydeco Band. Savor Cajun cuisine, wine, beer, margaritas and hurricanes. $22/advance, $25/gate, under 12 free. 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Ives Park, 7400 Willow St., Sebastopol. SEPTEMBER 13

The Laguna Garden Gala fundraiser

Wear your vintage garden best and celebrate the harvest and the 25th anniversary of the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, while supporting the restoration and conservation of our local wetlands. Lively music, premium local wines and beer, and delicious food pairings in a lovely setting. Bid on wine lots, one-of-a-kind wearable and garden art, and adventure packages. Artisan food, gourmet cheeses, desserts and more are included in the $85 general admission. 3-7 p.m. Vine Hill House, 3601 Vine Hill Rd., Sebastopol. SEPTEMBER 15

The Legacy of an Artist: The Life and Times of Grace Hudson

Cloverdale Historical Society Speaker series: Sherrie Smith-Ferri, director of the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah, will talk about artist Grace Hudson (1865-1937), known for her paintings of the Pomo Indians and for being one of America’s earliest commercially successful female artists. $10. 7-8:30 p.m. Center for Performing



Arts, 209 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale. After-program reception at the Cloverdale History Center. cloverdalehistoricalsociety. org. SEPTEMBER 19

Old Grove Festival

In the Redwood Forest Theater, an outstanding variety of music, including Hot Buttered Rum. Some walking required, shuttles available. Dinner served pre-show. Gates 4:30 p.m., music 5:30 p.m. $30-$75; $10 children 5-12. Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, 17000 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville. SEPTEMBER 19


Northern California’s premier Americana music festival features a stellar lineup of national and regional Americana musicians. Main Stage: John Hiatt and The Combo, Doyle Bramhall II, Amy McCarley, One Grass Two Grass. Hopmonk Stage: Lazyman, John Courage and Bear’s Belly. Great vibes, edibles, beer and wine. Hats and sunscreen recommended. A fundraiser for the Earle Baum Center, 100 percent of proceeds underwrite vision rehabilitation services. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. $45/advance; $50. Earle Baum Center of the Blind, 4539 Occidental Road, Santa Rosa.

American Roots Festival

Live music, food, drinks and a silent auction at a family-friendly event. Proceeds benefit Lifeschool, an outdoor adventure program for kids. 2-10 p.m. $30, kids under 10 free. 16951 Bodega Hwy., Bodega. tracynevill@ SEPTEMBER 26 SEPTEMBER 26-27


The Pacific Coast Air Museum presents this premier aviation event on the North Coast. Watch the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon, Wings of Blue US Air Force Skydiving team, warbird fly-bys and more. Gates 9 a.m., show 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport.


19th Annual Kendall Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival

Discover the flavors of more than 150 heritage varieties of tomatoes grown in Kendall-Jackson’s expanded estate culinary gardens. Tours, pairings and more. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens, Fulton.


Looking for more calendar events in the area? Visit our website for a complete listing of area events.


CALABASH - A Celebration of Gourds, Art, and the Garden

Enjoy fine food and wine from the county’s bountiful harvest, a chance to buy gourd art by local artists, and live music played on handmade gourd instruments, many harvested from the food bank’s gardens, where clients and volunteers work side-by-side. Benefit supports FFT, serving those living with HIV/ AIDS and other critical illnesses in Sonoma County. $45/advance, $50. 1-5 p.m. 707-887-1647,

Sonoma County Harvest Fair

The World Championship Grape Stomp, local artisanal products, wine, craft beer and cider tastings, chef demos and workshops. Check website for times and ticket costs. Sonoma County Fairgrounds. OCTOBER 3

LifeWorks Harvest Hoedown

Get footloose with fiddle players, line dancing, music by Court ‘n Disaster, Sonoma County wines and beer, and Harvest-style food. Proceeds go to promote the healthy emotional well-being of children and families. 4:30 p.m. until “the cows come home.” Trappe Ranch, Sebastopol. $75. 707-568-2300, OCTOBER 3

Polenta and Beef Stew Fundraiser

A fall fundraising meal put on by the Bodega Volunteer Fire Department, which operates solely on donations. 5-8 p.m. Bodega Volunteer Fire Department, McCaughey Hall, 17184 Bodega Hwy., Bodega,, 707-876-9438. OCTOBER 3


The Kiwanis Club of Cloverdale and Courtney’s Pumpkin Patch present Cloverdale’s 13th Annual Oktoberfest, featuring great German food, local beer and wine, two live bands, silent auction, vendors, and kids’ activities and games. See Disco Picks 5 on page 8. 707-894-3222,


Fort Ross-Seaview Wine Festival

The spotlight’s on wines from this rugged grapegrowing region, where the vineyards flourish in islands of sunshine above the coastal fog. Meet local grapegrowers and winemakers at the Grand Tasting (noon-4 p.m.) from Flowers Vineyard and Winery, Wild Hog Vineyard, Williams Selyem and more. Tickets sell out fast for the Grand Luncheon, a four-course lunch with wines held on a bluff overlooking the ocean. Fort Ross State Historic Park, 19005 Coast Hwy. One, Jenner. OCTOBER 24

Dutton-Goldfield Winery Harvest Party

Celebrate the end of harvest with autumn release wines paired with culinary magic. Harvest tasting is $25 or complimentary with a $100 purchase. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. RSVP: nicole@duttongoldfield. com. Dutton-Goldfield Winery3100 Gravenstein Hwy. North, Sebastopol. Art in the Redwoods Festival

Held under the redwoods on Gualala Ridge since 1961, this festival includes a benefit dinner, champagne preview and art, live entertainment, vendors, quilt raffle, food, beer and wine. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sun. closes at 4 p.m. Gualala Arts Center, Gualala. OCTOBER 25

Russian River Valley Pinot on the River

On Sunday, come to the Pinot Noir Grand Tasting, with over 100 wineries plus guest artisan food vendors on the downtown Healdsburg Plaza Square. Enjoy food tours; a winemaker dinner on Friday, seminars and gala dinner on Saturday; Grand Tasting with cheese pairing on Sunday. Benefits Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.


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Fall Colors Festival and Vintage Car Show

Vintage cars and trucks fill downtown Geyserville; there are handmade arts and crafts, a silent auction to benefit students, music in the streets and kids’ games. Firemen’s breakfast, 8-11 a.m. Cosponsored by the Geyserville Chamber of Commerce and Geyserville Kiwanis. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.






Diavola practices the time honored tradition of Cucina Povera which consists of using the most basic, locally available ingredients combined with recipes that have been proven through centuries. We take pride in our house cured salumi and sausages as well as our authentic Italian pizzas fresh from our wood burning pizza oven.

an old-fashioned store, rich in nostalgia and charm, yet meeting the needs of today’s townfolks and visitors. Mens Western apparel & work clothes Saddles and tack • Hardware • antiques

21021 Geyserville Avenue Geyserville • 707-814-0111



Barn Barn Fresh Fresh Collectibles, Collectibles, Farmhouse Farmhouse Finds, Finds, Garden Garden Decor, Decorr, and so much more! more!

Complete Maintenance & Repair on Foreign & Domestic Cars & Trucks 707-857-3790 21310 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville

featuring Ce Ce Caldwell Workshops orkshop Paints & Workshops Flea Flea Market: Market: June & August August  t(FZTFSWJMMF"WF  t(FZTFSWJMMF"WF X XXXWIDHCMPHTQPUDPN XXWIDHCMPHTQPUDPN

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is the one LORNA & PETE OPATZ 707.696.0004



New custom home with detached granny unit built by Harkey Construction, Inc. Your signature and date


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Please check this proof carefully for errors and omissions. Your signature below constitutes acceptance of 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.


Introducing Sebastopol’s Newest Wine Country Estate

Client: Windsor Golf Club Run date: 11-27-14 Ad title/slug: 1/2 page color Returned approval due by: ASAP Scheduled to run in: Disco Winter 2014

Experience Wine Country Golf at its Best.

Windsor Golf Club is a perfect setting for your favorite foursome or yearly tournament. After your game, relax and soak in the view at Charlie’s lakeside bar and restaurant. Serving lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, Charlie’s features great food, fine wines and beers on tap.

For tee times, call 707.838.7888 or visit For reservations and special events at Charlie’s, call 707.838.8802. 707.836.1315

Bringing the best of organic produce to Healdsburg

Sonoma Discoveries Sept-October 2015  
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