• Click and Sip

    While technology has impacted practically every business and social interaction, wine tasting has remained relatively unchanged. Visitors tend to land in a tasting room either through a recommendation, by seeing a sign or advertisement, or on impulse during an outing. The customer, if they like the wine enough, may join a wine club or at the very least a mailing list, building a relationship between the winery and the consumer. This type of customer engagement has been transpiring in the same way for decades, with little change.

    » read more

  • Rebuilding Better

    Building a new house can be challenging—especially if it’s something you didn’t plan for or expect. It’s a scenario facing thousands of families in Northern California who lost their homes in the wildfires of 2017. And as they begin the process of rebuilding their homes and reclaiming their lives, they have a multitude of decisions to make, from walls and windows to innovative methods and materials that take construction in new directions.

    » read more

  • The Arts

    Travelers from around the world make Northern California’s Wine Country a coveted destination. Excellent wine is undeniably a powerful lure, but Sonoma and Napa counties have more to offer. Alongside picturesque vineyards, hills and valleys, the arts thrive, too, giving visitors plenty of opportunities to enhance a Wine Country experience and make their stays memorable in more ways than just one. 

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  • If Old Vines Could Talk

    When Edoardo Seghesio left Italy in 1886, little did he know that he was on his way to building an American winemaking legacy. Seghesio left his family’s vineyards in the Piedmont region to join his best friend at an agricultural colony. The Italian Swiss Colony had been established in the far reaches of northern Sonoma County by fellow Italian Andrea Sbarboro. Sbarboro developed a profitable business focused mostly on grape production, and provided work for many Italian immigrants who were arriving in San Francisco.

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  • Aftermath

    When the smoke cleared last fall in Wine Country after the most destructive firestorms in California history, the hospitality and wine industries quickly mobilized to bring back tourist dollars, especially during the slowest season of the year––winter. Without minimizing the despair over the loss of life and property, efforts to reach out to potential visitors began in earnest within days of the initial devastation. The goal was to vigorously spread the word that the fires were contained, the air was smoke-free, and it was safe to travel to Sonoma and Napa counties.

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  • Wine Country Events

    The beauty of the land, the legacy of the generations of families farming grapes and making world-famous wines down the word is a part of Wine Country living. And we welcome visitors from all over the world who, by paying to enjoy our paradise, help keep the North Bay prosperous. So what could be wrong with this picture?

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  • Starting Over

    Last October, Sonoma County experienced a natural disaster of epic proportions. Many people perished when tens of thousands of acres were ravaged by a firestorm. At least 4,655 homes were destroyed by the Tubbs fire alone. In Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove neighborhood, 1,420 homes were lost; in Coffey Park, 1,240 were reduced to ash. In addition, 109 mobile homes were destroyed, together with 209 multi-family homes.

    » read more

  • DNA Testing

    Who are you? Where are your ancestors from? We’ve all been confronted with these types of questions. And you may even have found yourself pondering, where you really come from.

    » read more

  • Getting Back to Business

    The October fires blew in on gale-force winds devouring with little discrimination thousands of homes both humble and grand and numbers of businesses large and small. Burning to the ground with equal ferocity, the firestorm hit a range of structures from a big Hilton Hotel to a small animal hospital. Stories of personal loss, including shocking loss of life were nearly overwhelming. Businesses suffered too, and the challenges facing business owners when deciding whether to rebuild, repair, or retreat will continue for months, or perhaps even years.

    » read more

  • Seeking Shelter in the Rental Market

    Kimberly Romero woke up at a friend’s house in Windsor at 5:30 the morning of October 9, 2017, to prepare for her job as a computer teacher at Herbert Slater Middle School in Santa Rosa, unaware that a few miles to the south her home on View Court, around the corner from Coffey Park, was already burned to the ground.

    » read more

North Bay News and Stories

Blissful Beginnings

Welcoming a healthy baby into the world is one of life’s most precious moments. It’s a joyful time that comes with a feeling of accomplishment and wonder, and when the process of giving birth meets the parents’ expectations, it’s even more rewarding. Delivering that kind of satisfaction is the ultimate goal for the North Bay’s hospitals, and to achieve it, they are embracing knowledge and practices that focus on the physical and emotional health of mothers and their newborns, while also meeting their medical needs and keeping them safe.

Vitality at Any Age

In 2005, National Geographic magazine published a story entitled “The Secrets of a Long Life,” in which author Dan Buettner identified five geographic areas that are populated with the world’s longest-lived people. Coined “Blue Zones,” these areas not only have a high percentage of centenarians, but also ones that live healthy, fulfilled lives. They give new meaning to the term “Cent’ Anni,” a traditional Italian toast meaning “May you live 100 years.”

Being Heart Safe
Imagine this: You’re in your office working at your desk and a coworker approaches in distress, collapsing in front of you. What would you do? Your mind would probably race: Is this a heart attack? Does anyone know CPR? Isn’t there a defibrillator somewhere? Where is it? Does it still work? Does anybody know how to use it? By now you’re shouting, “Call 9-1-1!” 
The Unseen Damage

The fires that raged through Sonoma and Napa counties last October have the potential to create lasting psychological effects on individuals and communities, straining an already stressed mental health delivery system in the North Bay. Though not everyone experiences long-term effects, there are populations vulnerable to life-altering fallout such as anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Acacia House

Built in 1907 and nestled in the heart of the Napa Valley along Main Street, you’ll find a charming Georgian-inspired house at the top of a hill, known as Acacia House, which opened in May last year.

Roni Brown

Roni Brown is vice president and marketing director at Summit State Bank as well as the strategic planner of all marketing and branding objectives. She’s been in banking for more than 25 years, and is active in the community, serving as board president for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), which supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy so every abused or neglected child in the United States can be safe. Brown has lived in the North Bay most her life and currently lives in what’s left of the Coffey Park area of Santa Rosa. She’s the proud mother of her two daughters, and the grandmother of six grandchildren.

Bibis Burger Bar

If you’re in downtown Santa Rosa and looking for a casual place to get a bite, Bibi’s Burger Bar is the perfect spot to share a meal with family and friends. Locally-owned by the Chandi Hospitality Group, Bibi’s offers indoor-outdoor seating and a variety of burgers, including the all-American classic bacon-cheeseburger, but there are other options that offer a unique take on the classic such as the Thai burger, served with chili-lemongrass coleslaw, and the Smokey, topped with bacon and smoked gouda. There’s also a vegetarian option—the potato tiki burger. I’ve tried it once before, and it’s one of those rare veggie burgers that’s bursting with flavor and has a satisfying mouth-feel.


Americans are seeking out cosmetic and plastic surgery services in greater numbers than ever before. Statistics compiled by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reveal that between 2000 and 2016, surgically and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures increased by 132 percent in the United States. Approximately 17.2 million procedures were performed in 2016 alone, an increase of 4 percent over 2015.

First and Second Loves

My first love from California was (and still is) my wife, Susan Chinn Amaturo. My second love was Rafanelli Vineyards Zinfandel. I’m not so sure the first would have happened if not for the second

Hear Me Roar!

I was raised in a household that bent to the right, so the idea of seeing women in positions of power on the political front, was unthinkable. Now, as mid-century status beckons, it’s less about what side of the fence I lean on, and more about being open and ready for action.

How to Stay Fit and Healthy

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? That’s the question once posed by Satchel Paige, who became a legend in his lifetime, known as perhaps the best pitcher in baseball history by his longevity in the game and for drawing record crowds whenever he pitched. At age 42 in 1948, he was the oldest major league rookie while playing for the Cleveland Indians. Paige believed age was a question of mind over matter and is still a good example of how you can feel your best at any age. Here are some practical tips from North Bay physicians to help you develop good habits for health and wellness.

Trione Vineyards and Winery

Three generations, four decades and five ranches—the Trione family history runs deep in Sonoma County. Brothers Mark and Vic, with their father, Henry Trione, began vineyard development in the 1970s, farming the best varietals in the Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations. 

The Wine Label and Your Finances

Picture a leisurely trip to the wine store to purchase a bottle of WXYZ Zinfandel. Your clerk says he would be happy to get it for you, but asks whether you prefer the entry level, the Estate, a Reserve, or an Old Vines. Since the price of each category is higher than the last, your simple trip to buy a bottle for burger night is no longer so easy. Should you pay the extra money? Is each wine truly better than the one named before? And, maybe the most important question, “Even if each bottle is somewhat better, is the more expensive one worth the price differential?”

Gundlach Bundschu Winery

Gundlach Bundschu is located at the foot of the Mayacamas Mountains, along the Napa-Sonoma border. Named “Rhinefarm” by its founder Jacob Gundlach, the 320-acre estate vineyard is situated on three appellations—Sonoma Valley, Carneros and Napa Valley.

Lets Resolve Construction Barriers Together

The firestorm of October 2017 brought a pernicious problem into the light and shoved it firmly center stage—a dearth of skilled construction labor. But long before the wildfires, Mike Yates, president of the local Teamsters, knew the North Bay had a severe shortage of well-trained construction workers. Jack Buckhorn of the North Bay Labor Council and North Coast Builders Exchange and Marin County Builders Exchange CEOs Keith Woods and Rick Wells did, too. It was one of the factors behind delayed construction projects, artificially inflating construction pricing and contributing to the stampede of skilled talent driving from the North Bay to San Francisco and Silicon Valley for more lucrative work, despite the oppressive commute.

Batten Down the Hatches

It’s a cheap shot when a columnist says “I told you so.” It’s especially unattractive when the issue in question is particularly bad news. If, for example, I’ve been saying for the last year that you’d better get cracking when it comes to nailing down your grape- and wine-sales strategy, you might scoff and tell me, “What’s new?” And that’s when I’d sit back and go down the list.

Driving Your Business with Technology

I just looked at the “10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018” from Gartner (formerly the less-impressive-sounding Gartner Group), who makes their money by being smart about technology for big companies who can afford their subscriptions and consulting services.

John Farrow

North Bay native, John Farrow, acquired a love for building during childhood, creating entire cities with Legos. Today, he is president and chief executive officer of Farrow Construction—a nationwide company specializing in green building, sustainability, permit and planning and various residential and commercial building projects. In his 27th year of business, Farrow’s grown from a small company that started from scratch, with no loans or financing, to a business generating more than $20 million annually. Farrow’s current focus is on helping rebuild the residential homes of those affected by the October wildfires.

Sears Closes, Black Bear Growls, Sams Sells & Burgers Go Big

 It was only a matter of time. Sears in Marin is toast. Anybody who spent time in the Sears store at San Rafael’s Northgate Center knew the retailer wasn’t long for the world, the Sears brand has been on the ropes for years. It was taken over by hedge funder Eddie Lampert in 2005, who failed to invest in the retailer allowing the stores to become outdated as retailers were going digital. Lambert controls ESL Investments, the hedge fun he founded. ESL and Lambert own close to 30 percent of Sears and Lambert is chief executive officer.

Claudia Vecchio

President and chief executive officer of Sonoma County tourism, Claudia Vecchio is an industry veteran with more than 30 years experience and a zest for travel that lives in her DNA. “From an early age, I heard tales of my grandparents traveling to far away countries,” she says. Born and raised in the Midwest, she eventually went on to Nevada where she was director of the state’s tourism and cultural affairs department, launching the statewide brand for Nevada. Vecchio currently lives in Cloverdale where she is spending time visiting local wineries and exploring the many wonders Sonoma County has to offer. 

Should You Hesitate Before Reaching for the Pinot

We’re at a nice restaurant, and the couple sitting at the table next to ours is clearly enjoying their dinner, but especially their wine. They’ve spent at least 10 minutes poring over the wine list, and when the waitress brings over the bottle of Williams-Selyem 2014 Pinot Noir to their table, their eyes light up. They savor every aspect, commenting on the hints of dark cherry, nutmeg, and faded rose—the power, the finish, the polish and grace of the wine.

Do You Have Enough to Retire

During a recent conversation with my wife’s friend, she mentioned that her financial planner advised her to work three more years before retirement. Since she doesn’t particularly like her current job, I asked if she would like to retire now and she said she hadn’t acquired a large enough nest egg based on what her adviser told her. I asked her how much income she needed and she didn’t know.

Helping Women Cross the Million Dollar Threshold

A study of women-owned businesses conducted by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board last year, revealed that 90 percent of these businesses listed the firm’s proprietor as the sole employee. While many of these business owners are content to maintain their business at this level, others are looking to grow.

Calistogas Drinking Problem

Last year I received multiple notices that read: “Important Information About Your Drinking Water.” These notices detailed all the ways in which Calistoga drinking water is polluted. The data stings, but it’s not news. I’ve known our water stinks, metaphorically and literally, for years. Ever since I was pregnant with the twins, I’ve been unable to stomach the stench of our tap water. On a good day, it smells musty and moldy. On moderate ones, more like swamp water. And on the worst of days (often), poopy diapers.

Reviewing Your Homeowners Policy

The firestorm that began burning through Sonoma County on the night of October 8 last autumn has affected everyone in our community in some way. By now, most people with homeowners and renters insurance should have received significant advances on their insurance policies.

Advice and Consent

When you stop to look closely, there are lots of technologies in use at your business. There’s a computer, your Internet connection, maybe a computer network and various types of servers. There are also printers and copiers as well as your phone system. For retail operations, there are point-of-sales systems. There’s credit card processing, word processing and spreadsheets. There’s accounting software, scanners, document storage and retrieval, computer security. The list goes on and on. (In all the excitement, I forgot to mention email, text messaging and social media.) Frankly, it’s overwhelming.

Economic Booms and the Haves and Have-Nots

It looks like we’re in for a great ride this year. Who knows for how long, but the North Bays economic engine is roaring on eight cylinders. Roadblocks lie in wait—employment obstacles, natural disasters, partisan disputes and often stifling regulatory hurdles—but our areas strongest companies are as vigorous as theyve been in a decade. Youll see for yourself as you review this years long anticipated NorthBay biz Top 500 data.

Roots Run Deep

At the end of a long, tree-lined driveway on Kirkland Ranch Road in Napa Valley, Roots Run Deep Winery is an oasis. Set amongst more than 300 acres of the property’s own Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards, as well as the original owners cattle that graze in the distance, the tasting room and lush grounds share a rural and refined ambiance.


Thousands of North Bay residents learned first-hand how important it is to have a go-bag packed and ready in the event of a fire in October. Pack an emergency supply kit ahead of time, and keep it accessible so you’re prepared if you have to evacuate. Backpacks work well for storing items (except food and water), and are quick to grab. Storing food and water in a tub or an ice chest on wheels will make it easier to transport, but keep it light enough so you can easily lift it into your car.


In 2017, Texas was leading America’s homebuilding race with Austin, Dallas and Houston collectively on track to build 130,000 new homes by the end of the year, according to a report by Trulia.

Of Marijuana, Painting the Town & the Rat Squad

Marin is taking a cautious approach when it comes to the cannabis business. San Anselmo is a great example of how a slow the pace is and what the issues are.

Beer to Busts

Recently, craft beer has been one of the hottest new trends to hit what is being now referred to as the “relaxant market,” which includes alcoholic beverages and cannabis products. In the last 10 years, there’s been a mad rush of new entrants, as everyone and his brother seems now to be making beer. But like all booms, this one is coming quickly to a bust, where only the strong, lucky or steady will survive.

Do You Need a Multivitamin

If you take a multivitamin every day, then you’re part of multi-billion dollar industry that has been marketing various health claims. As consumers, we spend an average of $14 billion a year on tablets that contain vitamins and minerals. Many people take a multivitamin because they believe it gives them more energy, or makes them feel better. Others take multivitamins to supplement what they believe is a poor diet. Still others believe taking a daily multivitamin is a preventive measure against the common cold or flu or to prevent chronic diseases.


Dust off your boots, because Country Summer is getting down and dirty this year for its fifth annual, three-day concert series at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. And this year, it’s gonna be huge.


In this Issue

Rebuilding Better

Building a new house can be challenging—especially if it’s something you didn’t plan for or expect. It’s a scenario facing thousands of families in Northern California who lo...

Starting Over

Last October, Sonoma County experienced a natural disaster of epic proportions. Many people perished when tens of thousands of acres were ravaged by a firestorm. At least 4,655 homes were destroyed ...

Getting Back to Business

The October fires blew in on gale-force winds devouring with little discrimination thousands of homes both humble and grand and numbers of businesses large and small. Burning to the ground with equa...

See all...



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