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Reap or Sow?

Harvest—the season of bounty! Isn’t this why so many of us either came to this beautiful area, or can’t bring ourselves to ever leave? The visual beauty created by rows of grape vines, apple trees and olive groves can’t be matched. The topsoil, often 20-feet deep, is dense with nutrients fit for the most colorful flowers, juiciest heirloom tomatoes, heartiest roses and sweet fruit. The mild weather, varied topography and access to the seaside are as much factors in the creation of our spectacular harvest as they are magnets that attract and bind us to this region.

This issue is a celebration of the harvest season and a NorthBay biz tradition. Our editors, writers, photographers and even the marketing folks love knitting each page of this issue together. This year’s creation is filled with history, facts, latest trends and the insights of leaders in the wine business.

You’ve no doubt enjoyed Mondavi wines over the years. Grab a bottle as you savor Jean Saylor Doppenberg’s story of this multi-generational family. From a modest start in one of Italy’s tiniest towns to one of the grandest American success stories, the Mondavis have carved out a rich heritage. Four dynamic sisters are now forging ahead with Mondavi-inspired brands of their own.

On the lighter side, Napa and Sonoma winemakers reminisce on the first glass of wine that captivated them in the feature, “First Glass.” And chances are you’ve heard of Dutton Ranch, one of Wine Country’s most recognizable vineyards. In this issue, fifth generation farmer Steve Dutton is featured in “Beyond the Boardroom.” Learn more about what he likes to do when he’s not farming and the superhero power he wishes he had and why.

A more serious tone is struck regarding our post-firestorm in the story “Vintage 2017.” How will it fare with consumers? Growers and producers are keeping a calm demeanor, yet experts are mixed on the effect of smoke taint on winegrapes.

When it comes to other sorts of “harvesting” decisions, there are few more pressing these days than those associated with the investment decisions we make in the U.S. stock market. As of this writing, the Dow sits at record highs, is it time to reap our gains, or sow more into the market? Pat Regnier of Bloomberg Businessweek magazine recently edited a comprehensive analysis of how—and when—this bull market so many enjoy will come to its end. It’s a critical review on this matter that should give pause to those invested in U.S. and International equities.

By some measures, we’re in the longest bull market on record. It’s been 10 years since the global economic meltdown began—well beyond the time span our economy typically enjoys year-over-year growth. Nonetheless, U.S. investors are plowing upwards of $12 billion a month into those ubiquitous, computer-driven “Exchange Traded Funds” since President Trump took office. That’s five times the amount from just seven years ago and is showing no signs of slowing. Nearly $3 trillion is now invested in these ETFs, funds that for the most part, mirror the market in general rather than being pegged to the success or failure of a handful of equities. In other words, these ETFs will succeed or fail in lockstep with the entire U.S. market, one that’s battered each day from worries of a Chinese economic bubble, the antics of North Korea, inflation fears and President Trump’s acknowledgment (and often harsh push back) of the tariffs Europe and Asia have levied on U.S. goods for decades.

Hope you enjoy this issue. In the meantime, keep those letters coming! Your thoughts are always welcome at




In this Issue

Are You Covered?

It’s one in the morning and you wake to see the red glow of fire through the window, or you’re driving in rainy conditions, and your car skids toward an oncoming car. Are you covered? Ca...

Family Roots

One of the oldest wineries along West Dry Creek Road in Sonoma County is A. Rafanelli Winery. Nestled on a knoll that offers a sweeping view of the valley, the rustic winery is still family-owned an...

Harvest Tunes

For those in the business of wine, music can be essential to the winemaking process. This year we asked a number of notable winemakers in Napa and Sonoma counties to share their music playlist prefe...

See all...



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