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Dreams of Home

Making home ownership a reality for the North Bay’s workforce.

Welcome to Kellerfornia

Keller Williams is a real estate company that moves to the beat of its own drum.

A new noun has entered the local lexicon: Kellerfornian, a person who has been—here comes a new verb—kellerized.

This Bud's For You

Great wines start in the vineyard. Great vineyards start at the North Bay's grapevine nurseries.

A Community Divided

How Angwin’s urban bubble has torn a community apart.

Lending a Hand

How businesses of all sizes make a difference in the nonprofit world.

Road Rage

Small and large solutions for Highway 101's traffic problems.

Green Acres

How much open space is enough?

A Taxing Situation

Tax law changes that may affect your business in 2008.

Pooling Resources

The CommonBond Foundation is working to unify Sonoma's diverse communities.

Think Global, Eat Local

Organic farmers are bringing the North Bay's bounty to tables everywhere.

Living Green
Developers all across the North Bay are working to make their green practices perfect.

Buying into Biodiesel

This not-so-alternative fuel source is gaining fans among North Bay businesses.

Taking the LEED
Fireman's Fund customizes policies for green businesses.

Help Wanted
As the North Bay workforce dynamic changes, employers need new ways to attract and retain key employees.

Flower Power

Everything’s coming up…orchids?

Full Steam Ahead

Geothermal energy is green, renewable and ripe for industry growth.

Zap: Watts Up?

Refocusing on electric vehicles is ZAP's strategy to truly power up.

Leading By Example

Roy Moss can inspire us to make a difference.

Stick to It

In a world of high-tech treatment and prescriptions for every malady, sometimes the old ways are still the best.

Place Your Bets

California’s horse racing industry is struggling, but local enthusiasts are keeping the horses on the track.

The Green Team

Friedman’s Home Improvement and Plan-It Hardware are making it easy for both builders and do-it-yourselfers to go green.

For What It's Worth

Blakeslee & Crain is committed to making sure an agricultural property’s price is right.

Time For a Change

Napa's booming new construction signals a renaissance on the horizon.

Barrels of Books

Looking to get your hands on some wine information? It's a Healdsburg's Wine Library.

A Matter of Taste

Impressions of the legendary paris tasting of 1976 are coming to theaters in 2008.

Right Place, Right Time

Kerry Damskey is only happy when he’s making wine—even if he has to go to India to do it.

Big Red

You probably drink more Petite Sirah than you think.

Art For Wine's Sakes

How art plays a leading role in wine marketing and sales.

Place is Paramount

The legislation of wine brand identity is a growing concern for producers worldwide.

Retail Therapy

Napa and Petaluma offer shopaholics an outlet for their obsessions.

Get in Gear

Bicycle touring companies promise a sweet ride.

Hostess with the Mostest

DeLoach Vineyards' Cyndicy Coudray can make Sonoma County visitors feel right at home.

King of the Castle

Daryl Sattui's 13-year odyssey brings a medieval fantasy to fruition.

Listen Up

Zone Recording is giving voice to the North Bay.

100 Years

Sonoma County business leader Lee Evans becomes a centenarian.

Hiring Right

Recruitment professionals weigh in with their secrets to making the perfect choice.

The M Word

Tamalpais Bank’s efforts to teach kids about money will pay dividends down the line.

Friendly Competition

Matt and Zach Hyman are twin brothers who, at age 31, have already created two very successful businesses.

The Online Grapevine

Savvy North Bay wine companies are going online to get people talking about their brands.

It's All About Choice

Employee benefits are becoming more consumer-driven.

Having It All

Six North Bay leaders share their recipes for success and happiness.

Simons Says

Architect Larry Simons is honored for his body of work.

Stop or Grow?

What no–growth and slow–growth policies mean to the North Bay business community.

Cultivation a Wine Country Village

Don and Rhonda Carano’s transformation of Vintners Inn, John Ash & Co. and the Vintners Inn Event and Conference Center.

Homegrown Banking

The changing face of community banking in Napa.

Growing Old Gracefully

Caring for aging parents replaces childcare as the top workplace concern.

Just What the Doctor Ordered

Direct-to-consumer drug advertising is putting a different spin on doctor/patient relationships.

For Eyes

Medical and technological advances may make glasses a thing of the past.

Real Estate Gets Real

North Bay realtors reveal the upside of a downturn.

The Butterfly Effect

Napa Valley’s Gaia Hotel is changing the way we perceive “green” construction.

Mr. Rogers' Neighborhoods

One man's buiding projects are touching the lives of two distinct communities.

Constant Crush

“Harvest” is a relative term for winemaker Guy Davis; he’s up to something every season of the year.

Multiple Winners 2002-2008

Here’s a glimpse of the companies that have been able to repeat the distinction of being voted the BEST in the North Bay in their respective categories.

I Want My DVD!

Sonic Solutions makes it easy to download movies and play them on any DVD player—not just on a computer.

Taking Care

As the need for nonmedical home care grows, a new wave of companies is forming to fill this all-important role.

Oxbow Public Market Comes to Life

Townies and tourists explore Napa’s tastiest attraction.

All You Can Eat

Food festivals combine fun and business with a showcase of the North Bay’s bounty.

Get Well Soon

Dr. Barry Silberg’s groundbreaking surgical technique can save recovery time, health care money…and patients’ lives.

Everything Old Is New Again

Why minimizing waste products and recycling is good for business.

Merlot Doesn't Suck

Local producersexplain why this varietal deserves more than just a "Sideways" glance.

Teach Your Children Well

Environmental education organizations are working with schools to create a cleaner tomorrow.

It's a Wrap

La Tortilla Factory has a strategic plan to ensure family ownership as well as continued growth and success.

The Gift of Giving

Baby Boomers are realizing the rewards of Philanthropy

Knowledge is Power

Santa Rosa Junior College's New library ia a clear winner.

A Well Kept Home

Explore your options before considering foreclosure—you’ll likely be surprised.

The Cost of Living

Santa Rosa’s efforts to create ample affordable housing aren’t without their limits, but they’re getting noticed throughout the Bay Area.

Wide Open Spaces

Penngrove’s SoCo Depot brings coworking to the North Bay.

Starting From Scratch

Looking to create a new winery? Here's your checklist for succes

Across the Board

Napa is working to create city wide green building standards.

Cheers to the Cup

The Charles Schwab Cup Championship hits the Sonoma Golf Club this month, promising excitement, beauty and philanthropy.

Dessert First

Late harvest and port-style wines can take your taste buds for a sweet ride.

Master of the House

Geoff Kruth of the Farmhouse Inn is Sonoma County's first master sommelier

Raise Your Glass: A Tribute to Robert Mondavi

When Robert Mondavi passed away on May 16, the California wine industry lost a pioneer, and the Napa Valley lost one of its truest supporters. What’s more, the entire North Bay community lost a man of vision and integrity.

Something Smells Fishy

West Marin’s Lunny family struggles to keep Drakes Bay Oysters afloat.

Where Credits Due

To combat power disruption, data crashes and general malaise caused by unexpected circumstances, Northern California credit unions have joined forces to create Credit Union Service Resources (CUSR).

Hospitalitys Hot Spot

Independent companies are on the road to becoming major contenders in the hospitality industry, and Marin’s Larkspur Hotels and Restaurants is at the forefront of the Bay Area movement.

Pipe Dreams

Napa Redevelopment Partners’ proposed multi-use development at the old Napa Pipe site shows real promise, but is not without controversy.

North Pole biz

An insider’s view of Santa Inc.

Commercial Real Estate December 2008

Commercial Real Estate December 2008

Algae: America's Next Super Fuel?
As the world’s oil supply moves closer to extinction, alternative fuel sources have become a top priority for research scientists. Algae production, an exciting newcomer to the field, has pushed its way
into the national—and North Bay—spotlight.




Everybody Wins

North Bay businesses are giving back to their communities through various nonprofits and finding the rewards both ethically and fiscally satisfying.

The Plane Truth

North Bay professionals are taking to the skies, alleviating the aggravation of long-distance driving and having fun while doing so.

Joining Forces

An exploration of the wine associations that represent the terroir of Napa and Sonoma counties.


Fair Is Fair
Fair trade practices have permeated the ideologies of numerous North Bay businesses, which are in turn reaping the numerous benefits of this innovative, electrifying movement.

Gold Standard
NorthBay biz profiles Napa’s Cade Winery, which aims to be California’s first LEED Gold certified, solar-powered winery.

Change Is in the Air
AB32’s far-reaching mandates will impact businesses throughout California—and, as always, NorthBay biz has the local angle.

The Three "E"s

Rick Theis’ Leadership Institute strives to create a more sustainable community.

Money in the Bank?

The financial crisis hits locally.

The Gospel of the Grape

Successful wine bloggers share their tips for unseasoned newbies.

Room to Breathe

A glimpse into the ever-evolving world of wine gadgetry.

When In Rhone

Local wine and food purveyors are spreading the word about Rhone varietals—and it’s catching on quickly.

Make It Local

Santa Rosa MFG plans to grow into Marin and Napa counties as it beefs up local support for manufacturers.

Letting Go

A changing of the guard at Sonoma Country Day School.

Rocking The Foundation

Marin Community Foundation’s Dr. Thomas Peters won’t take NIMBY for an answer.


Travel Smarts

Local tourism promoters make it easy to get what you want out of Wine Country travel.

Winning in Wine Country

Middletown’s Twin Pine Casino proudly opens its new hotel.

Fish Out of Water?

The commercial fishing industry is being hit hard by dwindling salmon runs and a fishing ban now two years running.

Wooly Weedeaters

Whoever thought weed whackers could be so cute? Sheep herds are becoming popular for grooming vineyards and beyond.

Financing a Greener World

The Sonoma County Energy Independence Program benefits businesses, homeowners and the planet.

On the Mend

For community hospitals, change is the new stability.

The Sweet Stuff

Michael Powell’s wildly successful Powell’s Sweet Shoppe franchise has North Bay candy lovers rejoicing.

Quality Downtime

Staffing companies are working to give displaced workers—and themselves—an edge.

No Place Like Home

North Bay housing and construction professionals sound off on their concerns and hopes for the state of their industry.

Law of the Vine

Three wine law experts talk about the top issues facing the industry today.

Givers Gain

Successful networking draws on basic human relations.

A Healing Touch

Complementary medical treatments aren’t just for people anymore.

Man of the Land

Andrew Hoxsey goes to great lengths to promote sustainable grapegrowing practices—with the vision of a better tomorrow.


Seeking Fulfillment

Third-party direct wine shippers are helping wineries increase sales—a trend that only promises to grow.


Vineyard Vignettes: Claypool Cellars, Gustafson Family Vineyards and Ramey Wine Cellars

NorthBay biz visits Claypool Cellars, Gustafson Family Vineyards and Ramey Wine Cellars.

System Check

Have investment advisers changed their tune over the last four years?

Good With Numbers

Years after scandals brought down more stringent government regulations, demand for CPAs remains strong.

The Sky Is the Limit

San Rafael’s Northgate mall is completely revamped and revitalized.

Box of Rain

Rainwater harvesting in the North Bay is still in its infancy, but is gaining momentum overall.

A Place in Time

The third stop in our Hidden Gems series is historical Knights Valley.



Do You Remember?

As NorthBay biz celebrates its 35th year, we take a look back at its milestones and those of the world surrounding it.

35 Years of Law

The law of the land has seen big changes since 1975.

35 Years of Banking and Finance

Local banks and credit unions have remained our trusted financial partners during good times and bad.

The Quiet Man

Patriarch of Charles Krug Winery and CK Mondavi Family Vineyards, Peter Mondavi is a quiet giant of the California wine world.

Whistling Past the Graveyard

This time, it’s Forever.

What's for Lunch?

A growing number of companies and individuals are working to give North Bay schoolchildren healthy food choices.


Local blood centers are keeping a pulse on the North Bay.

Homeless in Marin

Agencies are working together to create a full-spectrum line of help for Marin’s thousands of homeless.

The Other Shoe

Commercial real estate woes could further delay our economic recovery.

The High Valley

The fourth stop in our Hidden Gems series is Napa’s Chiles Valley district.

Vineyard Vignettes: GTS Vineyards, Graton Ridge Cellars and Dark Horse Wine

NorthBay biz visits GTS Vineyards, Graton Ridge Cellars and Dark Horse Wine.

Keeping the Promise

Gary Finnan and his DNA Marketecture collaborators bring business goals and client expectations together to create an impressive reality.

A Woman's Touch

North Bay manufacturing companies aren’t limited by traditional gender roles.

Technically Speaking

Companies are using a high-tech approach to provide superior customer service and improve their bottom line.

Healthy and Happy

Healthy Kids Sonoma County provides immediate access to health care and comprehensive health insurance for children of low income families.

Some Like It Raw

The North Bay is home to a growing living foods community.

When the Music Stopped

The rise and free fall of Clement Carinalli

Here's the Beef

Spring Hill Ranch & Vineyard in Petaluma produces cool climate Pinot Noir grapes, heirloom tomatoes and top-of-the-line American Wagyu (Kobe) beef.

Clandestine, Covert & Confidential

The hush-hush tale of how Tamalpais Bank failed.

Fair Play

Ross Liscum, vice president of the board of directors of the Sonoma County Fair, hits the highlights of this year's events.

The Waiting Game

Has the real estate market recovered? That depends on who you are, where you are and how much time you have.

Good to the Last Drop

Recycled water systems become a necessity as North Bay water sources become more restricted.

Ballot Blues: How to Choose
A close look at three propositions that could influence North Bay businesses.

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
The Marin General/Sutter Health split has been difficult indeed.

Healthy Growth
Kaiser Permanente’s new North Tower expansion in Santa Rosa doubles its ability to provide quality health care.

Lots of Lots

Wine Country’s two largest auctions are experiencing an upswing—for a good cause.

Taste for Adventure

Unusual wine bar venues can add a fun twist to your tasting experience.

Bring the Family

Francis Ford Coppola creates a winery destination that’s fun for all ages.

Vineyard Vignettes: Ehlers Estate, Mueller, Remick Ridge Vineyards/Smothers Winery, Viader

NorthBay biz visits Ehlers Estate, Mueller, Remick Ridge Vineyards/Smothers Winery and Viader

Your Vote Matters

The North Bay Jobs & Prosperity Project aims to get your employees to the polls

Who Will Take Care of You?
The case for long-term care insurance is a strong one.

The View from Here
Buena Vista Carneros' rich history continues to inspire in Wine County—and San Francisco.

Live Local
Can Marin County accommodate expected growth through 2035 and still maintain a green lifestyle?

Sound Counsel
Bruce Goldstein, Sonoma County’s new counsel, cut his legal teeth in child welfare and juvenile justice and now thrives on public interest law.

A Sense of Worth
Buckelew Programs creates jobs, homes and hope for people with mental illness.

Navigating Nonprofit Technology
How nonprofits can unlock technology’s potential to help them be more effective in their missions.

Profitable Green
Is it still possible for businesses to be profitable and green?

Things Are Looking Up(scale)
Restoration Hardware has revamped itself toward an even more exclusive clientele.

The Missing Piece
A growing shortage of lab workers increasingly threatens the health care system.

Living in the Moment
Amorosa Bella is about improving your quality of life by engaging all your senses.

The Fix Is In
Downtown Novato seeks to reinvent itself.

Diamond Mountain's Jewels
The sixth stop in our Hidden Gems series is Napa Valley’s Diamond Mountain District, where small-production, mountain-grown Cabernet Sauvignon is king.

No Whining, Just Wine
Growers and vintners are cautiously optimistic about the state of prices, contracts and a manageable inventory of wine for 2011.

From the Ground Up
Marv Soiland and his family are embracing a sustainable future.

Taking the Lead
Kathleen Heitz Myers takes the helm of Napa Valley Vintners with style and know-how.

Planting a Seed
A new business plan competition hopes to draw investor eyes to the North Bay.

Booming Investments
As the first baby boomers reach traditional retirement age, it’s time to rethink, revise and redefine.

Living Their Dream
Cait and Albert Woodbury have found a second career as B&B owners in the south of France.

An Ounce of Prevention
Visiting your local hospital now may keep you healthy and active for a lifetime.

Whole Hog
The snout-to-tail movement is bringing pork consumption to a higher level—in more ways than one.

Green Getaways
How North Bay businesses and visitors are finding fun and opportunity in local eco-tourism.

The Building that Teaches
The Environmental Technology Center at Sonoma State University is a living classroom of green building and sustainable community planning.

High Tech, High Hopes
High-tech works for top-end wine brands.

The American Dream
In today’s world, you can still immigrate to America with nothing, work hard and build a successful business.

Built Right
Santa Rosa’s Ragle Ranch community is attracting new home buyers with promises of energy efficiency and long-term savings.

Conquering the Summit
SSU’s Executive MBA program prepares the North Bay’s future leaders to make a difference.

Quarry Quandary
Can a bug-eyed amphibian with a long tail (that’s on the endangered species list) quash the Roblar Road Quarry?

Hit or Miss?
The face-off over professional baseball in San Rafael has gone into extra innings.

A Sense of Place
Local wine regions use clever marketing strategies to promote themselves among the masses.

Movie Magic
The inaugural Napa Valley Film Festival promises to please locals and visitors alike with wine, food and film.

Fast Cars and Fine Wine
Prominent auto racing enthusiasts make their mark in the wine industry.

Vineyard Vignettes: Korbin Kameron Estate & Winery, Gracianna, Ovid Napa Valley, Terra Valentine
NorthBay biz visits Korbin Kameron Estate & Winery, Gracianna, Ovid Napa Valley, Terra Valentine

The Swinging Pendulum
Local mortgage professionals speak on the changing industry and what the future may hold.

The Not-So-Great Bank Heist
“A man with a briefcase can steal more money than any man with a gun” (lyrics to “Gimme What You Got” by Don Henley)

On the Chopping Block
California’s redevelopment agencies may be eliminated to help balance the state budget—but at what cost?

Mom-owned businesses find success and support through networking groups.

How Not to Be a Scrooge
Your employees will love you if you follow these simple holiday gift-giving rules.

Preserving Hope
Community Action Marin cooks up a new recipe for fund-raising.

Comfort Food
The Meals on Wheels program gets revamped to feature locally produced menu items.

The Rainbow Connection
Sonoma County embraces the LGBT community.

Opportunities for All
Hispanic chambers of commerce bolster growth potential for local enterprises.

Treat You Right
Innovations in medical technology put North Bay businesses on the map.

The Myth of Job Creation
If you were going to create jobs, what would you do?

Reinventing the Barlow
A unique redevelopment plan hopes to draw both tourism and industry back to an aging canning district in Sebastopol.

The North Bay's Top 500 List for 2012
The North Bay's Top 500 List for 2012

Bound and Determined
Gerhard and Linda Reisacher of Delectus Winery would like to build a winery on their Knights Valley property—but for now their hands are tied.

Takin’ It to the Streets

Gourmet food trucks deliver on-demand delicacies to a growing number of discerning diners.

The Business of Art Gordon Huether's artistic and entrepreneurial spirits are two sides of the same vision.

Wheels in Wine Country
Cycling in Sonoma County is becoming big business.

Making the Grade
Walls Street loves them, but feds say for-profit colleges need to go back to school.

It Takes a Village
How to age in place with ease and grace

The Road to Well Being
North Bay hospitals tailor health care services to meet seniors’ needs today.

It’s a Go
How one development project is beating the odds in Corte Madera.

Cream of the Crop
Local dairy farmers are going organic to better market their products.

Foie Gras Food Fight
Chefs take a stand to create standards and return foie gras to the menu.

Indian Summer Fun
Here are some upcoming events in all three counties, many of which are free or come at a low cost, and all of which promise a top-quality experience.

Taste of the Town
Santa Rosa’s Wineyard and Heritage Public House are bringing small-batch beer and wine producers to a new audience.

Fearless Farmers
Natural-process, sustainable farming at Green String Farm and Institute produces healthier food.

Generating Jobs
Business incubation and job creation organizations work to keep North Bay communities thriving.

It’s a Dog’s Life
Many North Bay pets are living in the lap of luxury.

Justice for All
Pro bono support is crucial to North Bay legal aid.

A Healthful Alliance

Examining the intersecting roles of attorneys and health care professionals.

Above the Fog
Our eighth installment of the Hidden Gems series ventures to the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA, where magic happens every day.

A Voice for Small Wineries
Family Winemakers of California is now in its 22nd year of advocating for the needs of smaller-scale wine producers.

Drink Up!
A crash course on how to know, purchase and drink wine

2012 Harvest Fair Guide
Welcome to the 38th annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair

Working Together
Moss Adams and Rabanal & Smith combine to expand services and better serve clients in Wine Country and beyond.

On Tap
The business and craft of artisan breweries in the North Bay.

Back on Track

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) train gets ready to roll.

Banking with a Difference
Umpqua Bank has acquired North Bay’s Circle Bank.

Cool and Unusual
The Treasure Island Flea Market is unlike any other around.

Breaking New Ground_
New nonprofits and innovative programs aim to improve life for the disadvantaged.

Helping Families Heal
WillMar Family Grief and Healing Center provides support to children and adults experiencing loss or trauma.

How to Give a Great Print Media Interview
How to Give a Great Print Media Interview

How to Evaluate a Commercial Printer
How to Evaluate a Commercial Printer

Why the World Can't Get Enough of Webinars
Why the World Can't Get Enough of Webinars

E-Commerce Businesses Stand to Lose More Without Asset Protection
E-Commerce Businesses Stand to Lose More Without Asset Protection

How to Plan Successful Events
How to Plan Successful Events

What Value Does a Retained Search Offer?
What Value Does a Retained Search Offer?

Six of Tomorrow's Top Engineering Fields
Six of Tomorrow's Top Engineering Fields

Breathing Easy
By getting to the root of allergies and asthma, doctors are better equipped to offer a wide range of treatment options.

Second Time Around
Enrolling in school for retraining keeps older workers relevant to today’s workforce.

Catch of the Day
What sustainably farmed salmon means to the future of fresh seafood

Creativity Abounds
At Charter Oak Winery, the Fanucci family follows multiple muses.

Cheesemakers' Paradise
North Bay farmstead creameries are rising to the top by producing world-class artisan cheese.

Invest Local
Financial planning and investment through a local lens

The Chosen One
Now that Disney’s bought Lucasfilm, what will become of George Lucas’ North Bay empire?

Something New
Today’s wedding planners keep an eye on trends so couples can celebrate their individuality on their special day.

Guest Column: Five Steps Local Government Can Take to Help Local Economies Thrive
The only constant in business is change, and how local economies thrive has changed.

Living It Up
As real estate prices begin to recover, NorthBay biz looks at where the luxury home market stands and peeks inside some exceptional properties.

Teaching Success
Keiretsu Forum Academy offers aspiring entrepreneurs a path toward success.

2013 Best Fine Jewelry Store: E.R. Sawyer Jewelers
E.R. Sawyer Jewelers has been voted Best Fine Jewelry Store in the 2013 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2013 Best Luxury Car Dealer: Smothers European
Smothers European has been voted Best Luxury Car Dealer in the 2013 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2013 Best Office Equipment: Discovery Office Systems
Discovery Office Systems has been voted Best Office Equipment in the 2013 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2013 Best Accounting Firm: Moss Adams
Moss Adams has been voted Best Accounting Firm in the 2013 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2013 Best Business Bank: Exchange Bank
Exchange Bank has been voted Best Business Bank in the 2013 NorthBay biz readers poll.

2013 Best Chamber Event: Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce
Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce has been voted Best Chamber Event in the 2013 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2013 Best Consumer Bank: Summit State Bank
Summit State Bank has been voted Best Consumer Bank in the 2013 NorthBay biz readers poll.

2013 Best Credit Union: Redwood Credit Union
Redwood Credit Union has been voted Best Credit Union in the 2013 NorthBay biz readers poll.

2013 Best Job Placement Service: Nelson
Nelson has been voted Best Job Placement Service in the 2013 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2013 Best Real Estate Company: Frank Howard Allen Realtors
Frank Howard Allen Realtors has been voted Best Real Estate Company in the 2013 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2013 Best Company to Do Business with in Marin County: Frank Howard Allen Realtors
Frank Howard Allen Realtors has been voted Best Company to Do Business With in Marin County in the 2013 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2013 Best Company to Do Business with in Sonoma County: George Petersen Insurance Agency
George Petersen Insurance Agency has been voted Best Company to Do Business With in Sonoma County in the 2013 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2013 Best Golf Course: Santa Rosa Golf & Country Club
Santa Rosa Golf & Country Club has been voted Best Golf Course in the 2013 NorthBay biz readers poll.

2013 Best Place to Work: Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente has been voted Best Place to Work in the 2013 NorthBay biz readers poll.

2013 Best Wine Tasting Room: Rodney Strong Vineyards
Rodney Strong Vineyards has been voted Best Wine Tasting Room in the 2013 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2013 Best Catering Service: Park Avenue Catering
Park Avenue Catering has been voted Best Catering Service in the 2013 NorthBay biz readers poll.

2013 Best Sparkling Wine: J Vineyards & Winery
: J Vineyards & Winery has been voted Best Sparkling Wine in the 2012 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2013 Best Chardonnay: La Crema
La Crema has been voted Best Chardonnay in the 2013 NorthBay biz readers poll.

2013 Best Merlot: St. Francis Winery & Vineyards
St. Francis Winery & Vineyards has been voted Best Merlot in the NorthBay biz 2013 readers poll.

2013 Best Cabernet Sauvignon: Silver Oak Cellars
Silver Oak Cellars has been voted Best Cabernet Sauvignon in the 2013 NorthBay biz readers poll.

A Fish Story
Swimming to find the bottom of the Drakes Bay Oyster debacle

The Beat Goes On
A music evolution in Marin County

Partners in Agriculture
How American AgCredit supports farmers and ranchers across America.

Feeling Fine
Community health centers are a vital link to the well-being of our population.

Finding Your Place in the Mobile Space
Businesses from wineries to auto repair shops are accelerating with the times.

Today's Special
Local restaurants find unique ways to attract new customers.

A Fine Pair
Wine and food experiences that take you beyond the tasting room.

Go with the Grain
Bug Deakin’s Heritage Salvage in Petaluma gives reclaimed wood new life.

A Place to Call Home

Of the 41.4 million Americans aged 65 or older, 8.7 percent are living in poverty, according to 2011 U.S. Census data. With the number of older Americans projected to climb to 92 million by 2060, communities across the country are going to be faced with housing a rising number of low-income seniors.

Overcoming Obstacles
Bankruptcy is sometimes a proactive move that can open the door to new opportunities and future success.

On Location
How wineries are adding some sizzle to life and creating memorable experiences for club members.

Pound for Pound
The new trends, programs and procedures for weight loss in the North Bay

Iron Horse Arrives
The Sterling family puts Green Valley on the map.

2013 Harvest Fair Guide
Welcome to the 39th annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair

Swirl, Sniff, Sip, Savor
Exploring the art and science of tasting wine

What's in Store?
Brick-and-mortar retailers must adapt to new technologies to remain viable in today’s marketplace.

Flying High
Why struggle to reach an airport in San Francisco or Oakland when you can fly directly from the North Bay?

Community News: The David R. Brown Scholarship at SRJC
Nicholas Daniels is the first recipient of the David R. Brown Scholarship.

A Dream Proposal
Social Advocates for Youth hopes to turn a hospital into housing.

The Wild Ones
Specialized nonprofit organizations in the North Bay respond to problems of sharing our space with other creatures.

An Open Door
Napa’s Puertas Abiertas Community Resource Center helps Latino families reach their full potential.

Campus Care
School-based health centers are delivering health care right where it’s needed most.

A Formula for Success
Many people have the desire to improve their job performance and find personal satisfaction through learning, and many employers are ready to help them to reach their goals.

Here to Help
Small business supporters are working hard to help entrepreneurs succeed.

The Business of Medicine
How Joel Criste became a leader of change in health care

Shopping for a Cause
Catholic Charities’ ReStyle Marketplace in Santa Rosa offers both a new sense of style and a new sense of community.

Other People's Money
Financing new wine ventures can be challenging, but there are a few new models to consider.

Tiny Bubbles
A handful of local vintners are making an impact with small-scale production of sparkling wines that marry innovation and tradition.

The Day Before
Wedding couples are redefining the rehearsal dinner.

Housing Renaissance
A revival of housing developments is bringing a new generation of subdivisions to the North Bay, but improvements are necessary if growth is to continue.

The Legacy of DNA
The latest in genetic screening for a predisposition to cancer, why the tests aren’t as simple as they seem—and what to do with the results.

2014 BEST Chardonnay: Benziger Family Winery
Benziger Family Winery has been voted BEST Chardonnay in the 2014 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Luxury Car Dealer: Smothers European Volvo & Mercedes-Benz of Santa Rosa
Smothers European Volvo & Mercedes-Benz of Santa Rosa has been voted BEST Luxury Car Dealer in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Office Equipment: Trope Group Inc.
Trope Group has been voted BEST Office Equipment in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Accounting Firm: Moss Adams
Moss Adams has been voted BEST Accounting Firm in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Business Bank: Exchange Bank
Exchange Bank has been voted BEST Business Bank in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Chamber Event: Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce
Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce has been voted BEST Chamber Event in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Consumer Bank: Bank of Marin
Bank of Marin has been voted BEST Consumer Bank in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Credit Union: Redwood Credit Union
Redwood Credit Union has been voted BEST Credit Union in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Insurance Brokerage: George Petersen Insurance Agency
George Petersen Insurance Agency has been voted BEST Insurance Brokerage in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Law Firm: Shapiro, Galvin, Shapiro & Moran
Shapiro, Galvin Shapiro & Moran has been voted BEST Law Firm in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Wealth Management Company: JDH Wealth Management, LLC
JDH Wealth Management Company has been voted Best Wealth Management Company in the 2014 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Company to do Business with in Sonoma County: George Petersen Insurance Agency
George Petersen Insurance Agency has been voted BEST company to do business with in Sonoma County in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Business Community Leader: Brett Martinez
Brett Martinez has been voted BEST Business Community Leader in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Hotel for Business: Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel & Spa
Hyatt Vineyard Creek has been voted Best Hotel for Business Guests in the 2014 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Spa/Resort: Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa has been voted Best Spa/Resort in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Catering Company: Ray's Catering & Marin-Sonoma Picnic
Ray’s Catering has been voted Best Catering Company in the 2014 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Local Brewery: Lagunitas Brewing Company
Lagunitas Brewing Company has been voted BEST Local Brewery in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Sauvignon Blanc: Sbragia Family Vineyards
Sbragia Family Vineyards has been voted BEST Sauvignon Blanc in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Pinot Noir: Balletto Vineyards
Balletto Vineyards has been voted BEST Pinot Noir in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Zinfandel: Seghesio Family Vineyards
Seghesio Family Vineyards has been voted BEST Zinfandel in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

Keeping Dollars Local
Buying locally made products creates a “multiplier effect” for the economy.

The Show Must Go On
Now that BottleRock is about to hit the Napa Valley Expo for the second year in a row, it’s armed with an entirely new way of doing things.

Variety Is the Spice of Life
How North Bay specialty farmers are tickling our palates with more choices.

Farm Fresh
Napa is still a breadbasket of everything you can grow.

It's a Living…
What was your first job?
What’s the worst job you ever had?

The Gluten Free Biz
North Bay businesses geared toward gluten free customers are thriving.

The Art & Sciene of Healing
How sustainable building practices for the new Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital support the environment and human health.

Seeing Is Believing
Sausalito’s Glassdoor offers true transparency for job seekers.

At Your Service
Summit State Bank is all about community and customer service.

Machine Man
The art and alchemy of Mark Pauline

Creating a Sanctuary
The new Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, designed to promote healing and infused with heart, opens October 25.

2014 Harvest Fair Guide
Welcome to the 40th annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair

All in Good Fun
NorthBay biz seeks out interesting moments in the tasting room.

Vineyard Vignettes: Tedeschi Family Winery, Desmond Estate Vineyards, William Cole Vineyards, Frost
Vineyard Vignettes: Tedeschi Family Winery, Desmond Estate Vineyards, William Cole Vineyards, Frostwatch Vineyard & Winery

Shop Around
A lackluster shopping center in Larkspur is reinvented as Marin Country Mart, a community and retail destination.

Delivering Results
A new concept in deliveries counts on crowdsourcing to find drivers.

Guest Column: Say
The world—and Sonoma County—has changed tremendously since Measure A was passed 12 years ago.

In the Pipeline
Smart strategies and recycled water stretch North Bay supplies.

Worth the Wait
Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital has made its emergency department into the best it can be.

Shelter from the Storm
North Bay organizations are striving to help the homeless population.

On the Spectrum
Anova works to ensure children with Autism and other neuro-developmental impairments receive the education they need.

Big Wines, Big Hearts
North Bay wineries give back in many ways.

Cool Water
Fred Water aims to make this basic beverage hip.

Career Ready
Local educators are finding new strategies to help kids bridge the gap between high school and the high-growth careers of the future.

Dining Over Time
Coming of age in the world of wine and food

Modern Moves
The evolution of the North Bay real estate and construction industries

Guest Column: Sonoma County Alliance: Celebrating Its 40th Year of Stewardship, Intention and Leader
How Sonoma County Alliance advocates for a strong local community.

Blending Art and Science
A look at trends in the world of wine

The Perfect Day
Wine Country is the ideal place to say, “I do.”

Guest Column: Veterans Transportation Program
Let’s help veterans get to their health care appointments safely and affordably.

Brown Is the New Green
Water-wise landscaping in the North Bay

A New Start
Palm Drive Hospital reopens as Sonoma West Medical Center.

Now and Then May 2015
Here are some of your clients and colleagues in all their 1970s glory.

The Biological, Economic and Political Case Against Vaccination
In response to “The Vaccination Debate” [Feb. 2015], here’s another viewpoint.

On the Water
From the rivers to the coast and beyond, the North Bay contains many opportunities for aquatic fun.

Ready to Roll
Kid Scoop News and Sonoma Raceway are getting students fired up about science.

Now and Then June 2015
Here are some of your clients and colleagues in all their 1970s glory.

Vineyard and winery sales are on the upswing.

Fun Fitness
Add a dose of play to your workout with a visit to one of these local businesses.

Guest Column: Computer Vision Syndrome
Taking steps to ensure healthy vision is a must for computer users.

Guest Column: Affordable Housing Is Good for Business
The housing crisis has business-related repercussions.

It is Showtime
A growing list of local music venues is bringing both big-name acts and homegrown talent to a stage near you.

Commitment to Community
Service clubs such as the Lions, Elks and Moose organizations work for the benefit of both members and community.

Guest Column: Let's Get Saralee and Richard's Barn Built
Saralee McClelland Kunde’s dream of a center for local agricultural education can become a reality with your help.

Guest Column: Your Business Name in the Clouds
Supporting our local air show will help in many ways.

A World Apart
Value and ideals add up to national success and local respect for a small Novato investment firm.

Make a Memory
North Bay businesses help parents sneak creativity and learning into their child’s birthday celebration.

Guest Column: 10th Annual Sustainable Enterprise Conference
A review of the annual sustainability event.

2015 Harvest Fair Guide

Welcome to the 41st annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair

Signature Wines
GrapeSeed partners iconic winemakers and passionate vino lovers for a unique wine club experience.

Wine Tasting Made Easy
Debunking wine myths

People You Should Know: Heidi Kuhn
Replacing mine fields with agricultural crops across the globe.

The Hydroponics Boom

Once relegated to commercial or closet cultivators, hydroponics has blossomed into a booming local industry with a global reach.

Guest Column: Innovation, Gender Diversity And Wage Equality
It's time for women to be more represented in STEM fields.

Get That Job!
If you’re on the search for a new job, the field is open and it’s a sellers market.




California's Regulations Are Harming Small Businesses
While regulations are an impediment to economic growth, they’re particularly problematic for small businesses.

Embracing the Arts
North Bay umbrella organizations support all forms of art while strengthening the community and stimulating the economy.

Now and Then October 2015
Here are some of your clients and colleagues in all their 1970s glory.

Water Worries
Hopes are high for significant rainfall this winter, but counting on El Niño to remedy four years of drought is taking a risk.

Life's Work
These local leaders in the worlds of business and the arts prove that meaningful careers don't need to end at retirement age—or ever.

Neighbor to Neighbor
Stories of how many in the North Bay find ways to champion causes that are important to them.

Making an Impact

Bonny Meyer is putting her money where her mouth is in an attempt to leave Earth a better place than it was when she arrived.

A Place to Heal
Stories of how many in the North Bay find ways to champion causes that are important to them.

Safety First

North Bay institutions train candidates for careers in public safety.

Injury Prevention: The Importance of Job Related Employment Testing
Employment testing provides an objective means of determining which essential duties an individual can safely perform.

Working with Mother Nature
Growers are combating threats to vineyards in Napa and Sonoma counties.

Exquisite Events
Event rental businesses make the magic happen for brides and beyond.

There Goes the Neighborhood

Times are changing, just ask Dick Blakeley. In 1961, his dad started a little construction business in the hills on the northern end of Calistoga on Franz Valley School Road. From this remote, forested location, the family has run the business, serving northern Napa clientele—new wineries, private homes and, occasionally, the county of Napa, without incident—until the neighborhood started to change.

Leaders of Tomorrow

 Millennials poised to make their mark.


The Right Spot

North Bay companies need to be awesome places for millennials to work.

Trouble Brewing

“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Benjamin Franklin supposedly said that, but he really didn’t. Still, beer does make quite a few folks happy, which explains the 4,656 microbreweries in the United States. Mr. Franklin is also credited with “A penny saved is a penny earned.” And while he was a noted economic geek—how else do you think he got his mug on the $100 bill—even Ben would struggle making sense out of the craft beer industry.

The Art of the Fight

Combat sports in the North Bay improve both physical and mental fitness.

When faced with challenges in business and in life, it helps to have a positive attitude and the confidence to address tough situations head-on. Across the North Bay, many professionals are building these skills through combat-based exercise, including fencing, boxing and various martial arts. Participating in any...

Jack DeMeo Memorial

It didn’t make a lot of sense to me at first. I’d recently seen him and his wife, Judy (whom my sister and I lovingly call tante, or great aunt, in Indonesian), at the opening day of the horse races at the Sonoma County Fair. He was shaking hands and smiling from ear to ear in classic Jack fashion, lighting up the VIP lounge with his laughter. It was not the behavior of a man fighting a terminal illness.

Down and Out In San Rafael

After decades provided needed services to Marin Countys homeless population, the Ritter Center may soon find itself seeking shelter.

The Worth of Work

California’s new minimum wage law comes into effect on January 1, 2017, and while its goal is to help the working poor, it falls short of a living wage in the North Bay.

Business 101

Boomerang Plus provides internship opportunities to North Bay students, providing real-world work skills and encouraging entrepreneurship.

A few years ago, the national goal for secondary education moved away from the idea of “preparing students for college or careers” and adopted the goal of college and career readiness for all students.

Building Bridges

North Bay educational foundations help public schools fund vital learning and enrichment programs.

A volatile economy over the past decade has led to drastic reductions in government spending, which has all led to severe cuts to California’s public schools. Resulting budgetary adjustments relentlessly impacted the academic offerings, services and extra amenities that school districts can provide to their students. Even though government reductions have stopped (for now), funding to our local schools has not yet returned to earlier levels, and educational foundations—whether for a single school or an entire district—have been crucial in bridging the funding gap between what parents and teachers want for their children and what school districts can provide.

Out of the Dark

North Bay nonprofits help the blind and visually impaired lead safe, independent lives.

At some point in life, I think most everyone wonders what it would be like to be blind: You turn off the lights and try to navigate around your house or close your eyes and try to pour a bowl of cereal and milk. Even the simplest of tasks becomes time-consuming and tricky. 

Encouraging Economic Development

Business growth is esential for a strong economy, and local resources to make it possible are one other North Bays biggest secrets to success.


Environment Setting Priorities

Preserving agriculture and coastal areas is a top priority for North Bay leaders.

The natural beauty of the North Bay is pure poetry, inspiring artists and drawing tourists from around the world with its hushed redwood forests, lush rolling hills, rugged coastline and verdant vineyards.

Its All About the Fitness

Over the last few years, those looking for alternatives to standard exercise have found themselves presented with a growing number of choices, thanks to the increasing popularity of “boutique fitness.” A boutique fitness studio is, generally, a facility that focuses on group exercise in one or two nontraditional fitness areas.

Middle Ground

In the ever-evolving world of business, middle skills are earning new respect. Once known as blue-collar jobs, hands-on positions today often require a high degree of technical expertise, and workers with that kind of knowledge, plus training relevant to the workplace, can find satisfying careers with good wages and benefits. Employees are in demand and play an essential role in the local economy, but qualified workers aren’t easy to find.


A reality craze was born on “Celebrity Apprentice” the moment “The Donald” barked out “You’re fired!” No one could’ve predicted the landslide of expose-style film and TV that would follow (nor the creator’s ascent to the White House). While the state of the nation remains uncertain, the future of reality TV is not. With the proliferation of streaming film and television through service providers like Amazon and Netflix, the accessibility of original content feels boundless and the time ripe for wine-related programing to go mainstream. Here’s a slice of what’s coming your way.

Sitting Pretty

Architects, designers, contractors, and all those involved in the construction trades are breathing a sigh of relief in seeing an upturn in remodeling projects. Homeowners too, who either do not want to or cannot move in our tight housing market, are elated to finally have money in equity again and feel confident enough in our economy to spruce up their homes, complete necessary repairs, and generally make their home work for them.

Napa Takes The Next Step

Responding to a severe lack of affordable housing in Napa County, several developers are moving forward to help build living spaces for those who need it most. The Valley View senior housing project at 31 Theresa Avenue in American Canyon, expected to start construction this month, will set aside 22 of its 70 units for veterans and homeless veterans 55 years of age and older. The rental subsidy for homeless veterans is being provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program.

The Science of Terroir
“Terroir” is one of the most controversial words in the vocabulary of wine. For many, it holds within the ultimate meaning of wine, whereas for others, it represents an overused marketing tool with roots in mysticism and pseudoscience. Regardless of your position—and precisely because of the fervor surrounding it—terroir is a fascinating entry point into the world of wine, as well as to human physiology and psychology.

All Eyes on Sonoma
Karissa Kruse leads Sonoma County Winegrowers toward 100 percent sustainability, bringing international attention to the region. (SCW) has long been advocating for the county’s winegrape growers, while educating the community on the importance of protecting and preserving Sonoma County as a winegrowing region.

Passage: 10,000 Degrees

By bringing new opportunities to underserved youth, this local nonprofit is changing lives, one college degree at a time.

East Meets West

Wineries take the lead welcoming an expected increase of visitors from China.

Catalyst: Marc and Brenda Lhormer

Bringing communities together and redefining Wine Country tourism.

The New Pioneers

A new breed of farmer is finding success through innovation and hard work.

Betrayal: Point Reyes National Seashore

A lawsuit against the National Park Service endangers a way of life in West Marin.

Cultural Treasures

There's a wealth of opportunities to experience symphony and opera performances in the North Bay.

Living the Dream

Innovative design, breathtaking views and the casual elegance of an enviable lifestyle make the North Bay’s luxury homes some of the best in the world.

Era of Change

What's happening in local real estate during a time of historically low inventory.

Dog Days

Bonnie Bergin originated the service-dog concept and today operates the nationally acclaimed Bergin University of Canine Studies in Rohnert Park.

Raise Your Glass
Women of the Vine provides women in the alcoholic beverage industries an opportunity to network, share knowledge and support each other.

Building Community

With low- and middle-income residents shut out of home ownership in much of the North Bay, self help housing development is one way to open more doors.

True Bu

A California-based, high-end prefab builder committed to the green cause is revolutionizing the home-building industry.

Partnering for the Greater Good

In today’s team oriented culture, the classic idiom of two heads being better than one applies to everything from schools incorporating group assignments to workplace teams collaborating on projects. As businesses, organizations and government agencies have seen the benefits of blending complementary strengths—some have attempted to take the team approach a step further in partnering with other agencies and groups for mutual benefit. This can apply to the nonprofit sector as well. When charitable organizations partner with government leaders and the private sectors, their goals and objectives are more successfully met.

Wine Women

In 1886, Josephine Tychson founded and built a winery and made vino in St. Helena, making her the first woman to own and operate a winery in California. Today, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon producer Freemark Abbey resides in Tychson’s former winery. By 1890, 10 percent of lead winemakers were women in California and surprisingly, that percentage hasn’t changed, according to a 2015 report from Santa Clara University.

Street Eats

America has a long history with mobile food. Some might say it started in the 1860s with chuck wagons traversing the Old West. The 1950s brought ice cream trucks, followed by the 1960s “roach coaches.” Taco trucks, more closely resembling the food trucks we’re familiar with today, become popular in the Los Angeles area in the 1970’s. About 10 years ago, when the recession hit hard, a demand for cheap eats, and more affordable venues over brick-and-mortar sites spurred a movement. By around 2008, food trucks started to take off, with social media playing an instrumental role in the rapid growth and success of this unique business endeavor.

2017 BEST Business Restaurant: John Ash & Co.
The Best Restaurant award for 2017 goes to John Ash & Co. Or perhaps better said, goes to John Ash & Co. again. Since the inauguration of NorthBay biz’s awarding of the Best Business Restaurant honors, John Ash has earned the top spot for restaurants every year.

2017 BEST Nonprofit/Charitable Organization: American Heart Association

Located in Santa Rosa and serving six counties, has made it their mission to promote heart healthy lifestyles and educate the community they serve about the warning signs of heart attack and stroke. No doubt their efforts are working because NorthBay biz readers voted the American Heart Association Best Nonprofit for 2017.

Budding Business

The legalization of the cannabis market is predicted to generate more than $20 billion in U.S. sales, but rules and regulations are still in a state of flux.

The Space Race

For a small county on Northern California’s Pacific coast, Sonoma has a remarkably diverse economy. Alongside pastures and vineyards, technology spurs medical advances, and makers are thriving. It’s an environment where manufacturing has the potential for growth, creating jobs and contributing to a strong economy, but finding space for businesses to expand is a challenge.

Balancing Work & Health

Once considered an added perk to offer employees to boost morale, reduce stress, and increase productivity, corporate wellness programs are evolving as the state of health in the American workforce continues to decrease significantly. Today, 86 million adult Americans have pre-diabetes and 34.6 percent are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health, Happiness & Prosperity

Let’s be honest, Marin carries a reputation. From the outside, it’s chock full of drum circles, versions of yoga that haven’t been invented yet and aura readings. The county just north of the Golden Gate is credited with knowing the difference between chi and chai and snuggling New Age culture so close to its bosom it’s practically old hat.
And while some Marinites might chafe at a status linking their hometown with a sacred journey to find a state of Zen, others take those organic free-trade lemons and make lemonade.
Hello, Marin General Hospital.  

All in the Family

Twenty-one years ago, Gurcharan Singh Chandi left Punjab in his native India for America, searching for a more prosperous life. By 2000, he had saved enough to bring his wife and four children from India to join him.

North Bay Construction: What is Driving Costs?

If construction is the indicator of the economic health of a place, then the North Bay is booming. Just about everything is going up—value, cost, demand as well as effort to contain the impact of that demand. Business, if possible, is almost too good for people in the construction industry. There is such demand and so much work, that those in the industry are doing exceptionally well, but, some, because of the rising costs, are losing out.

Gorgeous Getaways

Whether perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, or tucked away amongst mountain top vineyards, there is no shortage of luxury hotel offerings in Napa and Sonoma. For those seeking a more intimate and unique experience, boutique luxury hotel and resorts are plentiful.

How To Protect Your Small Business

Your small business is humming along smoothly, providing a service or product that’s keeping your bottom line—and your customers—happy. Suddenly, a serious issue arises with an employee, a vendor, or a business partner. Chances are it will lead to a thorny legal problem you’d prefer to avoid but forced to confront.

Now what?

Its The Law

The state legislature seems to be working overtime to write, revise, refresh and get bills passed that secure the trend toward better pay, benefits, equality and hiring practices for employees—which could be bad news for employers. Currently, five new pieces of legislation have been working their way through the state legislature this year and are at various stages of approval or revision.

Napa vs. Sonoma

Napa and Sonoma counties are remarkably similar on paper. They appear as next-door neighbors sharing a mountain range on the map, and rivers, valleys and fertile agricultural areas define the topography of both. Yet each has its own distinct character, drawing visitors from around the world, seeking a taste of an enviable lifestyle. The big question for travelers is which one to choose.

Wine Trends

Thirteen years ago on October 4, the movie “Sideways” was released, dramatically changing the course of wine consumption for two varietals—Merlot and Pinot Noir—and underscoring the fact that there are, indeed, trends in wine just as there are trends in fashion.

Growing Together

When companies support community service activities, everyone benefits

Leaders of Tomorrow: Courtny Conkle

Courtny Conkle, acting chief executive officer of the Sonoma-Marin Fair and exhibits manager of the Lake County Fair started in the state institutions early in life. In fact, it was about as early as early can be.

“I was born at a fair,” she says. “My mother went into labor, and the fair manager did everything in their power to get her comfortable and safely deliver me. I’m a fair child!”

This wasn’t the point where Conkle was recognized the youngest CEO of a state operated fair; that accolade would come when she accepted the post at just 21 years old.

Leaders of Tomorrow: Adrien Halpin

Winery growth is symbiotic between the vines and the ones planting them. Enologists, winemakers and their field staff monitor soil conditions, weather, moisture and a myriad of other variables all year long, giving the vines their best chance to produce fruit worth the effort poured into them. As the staff tucks more harvests under their belts, the knowledge goes a long way to making vineyard improvements. That’s the track for Adrien Halpin, assistant winemaker at Odette Estate in Napa’s Stag’s Leap district. In 2012, when Halpin was hired, the winery itself was getting used to some new management.

Helping People, Changing Lives

How Substance Abuse Counselor Angie Coleman offers hope to those struggling with addiction in Sonoma County

Leaders of Tomorrow: Marco Montanez

Sixteen-year-old Marco Montanez of Healdsburg has a passion for heifers and hogs and all things livestock. As a cattle shower, Montanez has come a long way in the two years he’s been in the livestock industry. In 2015, Montanez dedicated his summer to helping a friend feed and care for his cattle in preparation for showing at the Sonoma County Fair.

“He taught me how to care for a heifer named Lucky and how to show her,” says Montanez. When it came time to show Lucky, Montanez took the bull by the horns and showed her in the ring for his friend.


Cycling Nirvana

 The North Bay is a mecca in the cycling world. And while locations such as Dry Creek Valley, Los Carneros, and Alexander Valley evoke certain images in the minds of wine connoisseurs the world over, places like King Ridge, Coleman Valley Road and “The Geysers” stir up images in the minds of cyclists around the globe.

Marin Rebalancing

Marin County is in an enviable location, boasting mountains, coastal waters and rolling hills, close proximity to one of the world’s great cities and easy access to California’s north coast and Wine Country. At first glance, it seems ideal, but nothing is perfect. Sometimes the characteristics that are most appealing have a downside that an area has to address, if it is to grow sustainably and thrive.

The Power of Love

Diversity is one of a community’s strengths and makes it richer, and yet it can be difficult to be inclusive and give everyone the opportunity to participate fully. In Marin County, nonprofit organizations play a crucial role in identifying unmet needs of underserved residents, while finding ways to reach out to them. And with more than 1,500 nonprofits working to give residents opportunities to better their lives better while making their own contributions, they’re at the core of a countywide spirit of altruism. The resources philanthropy provides are essential and support the good work, but it takes more than money. It requires a feeling of satisfaction on both sides if a mission is to succeed, and so creating meaningful liaisons that benefit everyone is a worthwhile endeavor.

NorthBay biz

More than 40 years ago, three local journalists shared the belief that the North Bay, specifically Sonoma County, was poised for growth and change. In 1975, they joined forces and founded Sonoma Business, and for the next 25 years they reported on the business of doing business in the North Bay.

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.

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.


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.

Todays Working Moms

For working mothers today, much of the stigma previous generations dealt with such as being viewed as unstable, unreliable, or not loyal in the workplace, are gone—having been replaced with employers attempting to retain this significant part of their workforce. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, working mothers are the norm today. In fact, 71 percent of mothers with children under the age of 18 participate in the labor force, with more than 75 percent employed fulltime. This is up from 45 percent in 1975. Mothers are the primary or sole earners for 40 percent of households with children under age 18 today, compared to 11 percent in 1960.

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?

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.

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.

Women Creating Wine

Only 12 percent of winemakers in California are women, but these winemakers are unfazed working in a male-dominated field.

Moving Forward

A cherished familiar setting can help children and youth feel secure, and a positive environment is conducive to learning. What happens when all of that gets taken away? The October 2017 wildfires destroyed thousands of family homes, ruined hundreds of businesses, and damaged or destroyed numerous schools. Students ranging from three to 18 years old lost access to their regular campuses when the Tubbs fire devastated their regular learning environments. But thanks to the dedication of administrators, teachers, and the community, new sites were quickly established, where both learning and healing could take place. Here’s a brief overview of some of the schools impacted by the firestorm.

Vision for the Future

A store in urban Oakland and the president’s office at rural Sonoma State University are worlds apart, and yet they have something in common. Both appear on the career trajectory of Judy Sakaki, Ph.D., president of Sonoma State (SSU) in Rohnert Park, who has a passion for education and helping young people succeed. Sakaki grew up in Oakland, the daughter of Nisei—second-generation Japanese Americans—and got her first experience in the working world at age 16. Her high school counselor told her that she’d be good at retail sales. “My first job was at Newberry’s in downtown Oakland,” says Sakaki. It was not, however, a path she considered pursuing further. “When you’re young, you’re not sure what you want to do or what the options are,” she observes.

Crisis Management & Lessons Learned

Deborah Yount received the first call at 4 a.m. on October 9. A massive wildfire was raging through north Santa Rosa and the Fountaingrove area, where Medtronic operates a facility that employs 600. Two hours later, Yount, the vice president of human resources for the cardiac and vascular group, together with other leaders mobilized a team to account for and ensure the safety of its large workforce. A lifelong Sonoma County resident who lives in Petaluma, Yount was fortunate to be in a position to help instead of needing to be evacuated.

Tailored Tastings

The wine tasting excursion remained relatively unchanged for decades when consumers would drive to a winery and sally up to a bar. Depending on how busy the server was at the moment, the consumer may or may not get additional information about the wine, choose to buy a bottle or perhaps a case, and then move on to the next winery. A typical day of wine tasting could consist of visiting five or six wineries, and sometimes more. Over the past decade or so, however, this one-size-fits-all approach to wine tasting has slowly changed and consumers, especially serious wine aficionados, are no longer satisfied to roam with the masses moving through Wine Country. Wineries have taken note, and tasting rooms are now often built with an emphasis on providing personalized experiences to guests.

The Gentrification Paradox

Gentrification is a mixed blessing. While the process, raising a blighted area to upper- or middle-class standards, may appeal to the affluent, the benefits are often at the expense of displacing the culturally diverse businesses and residents, which gave the place its unique character. In the North Bay, with a desperate housing shortage made even worse by the 2017 fires, displacement can mean homelessness—often of the very people that made the area attractive to developers in the first place—the artists and diverse population. The resulting up-scale homogeneity is not only consequential for the displaced, but for the neighborhood itself since it loses its creative vitality.

Labor of Love

Growing olives to make premium extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) seems to be more of a calling in the North Bay than a lucrative venture. For those who pursue it, however, producing quality olive oil is its own reward.

An Everyday Effort

While communities rely on food drives to feed the hungry during the winter, hunger does not end after the holidays. Unfortunately, local food banks must secure enough donations during the outpouring of holiday generosity to last year-round.

The Science of Hope

Rare diseases are one of medicine’s big challenges. The number of people that any one disease affects is small—fewer than 200,000 nationally—and patients are scattered across the country, so it’s unusual for most physicians to ever encounter a case. And when the few doctors who do see them are able to make a diagnosis, it can be difficult to find an effective treatment, since so few exist. The dearth of treatments is the result of a market that is too small to generate big profits, thus providing little incentive for large pharmaceutical companies to produce what are known as “orphan drugs.”

The Old Silk Mill

The residents of Petaluma have always had a soft spot for their old silk mill, looming large at the corner of Jefferson and Wilson streets. For decades, it manufactured fine sewing products, including silk threads and embroidery silks. Standing since 1892, no Petaluman alive today can recall when it didn’t exist. In 1986, the building was successfully nominated for National Register of Historic Places status through the U.S. Department of the Interior. But when the last manufacturer moved out in 2007, the imposing brick structure began a slow decline that lasted years despite its historic significance.

Sonoma County Strong: The Rebuild Team Speaks Out

Twelve months ago, on October 8, 2017, Sonoma County was on fire and thousands of residents fled their homes in the dark of the night. The Nuns Fire started in Napa and Sonoma counties and burned more than 55,000 acres, becoming the largest Wine Country fire. The Tubbs Fire started near Tubbs Lane in Calistoga and was the most destructive fire in Santa Rosa, resulting in 24 civilian deaths, burning 34,000 acres. Collectively, the Sonoma Complex Fires destroyed 5,300 homes in the area, including Fountaingrove, Coffey Park, and unincorporated areas of Sonoma County such as Larkfield, Mark West Springs, Glen Ellen and a number of rural neighborhoods.

Identity Theft

When Santa Rosa resident Lexie Pence received a notice in the mail from Cream’s Towing Company with information about how much it would cost and where to pick up her truck that was towed, she thought it was some kind of mistake. She didn’t have anything towed, and she didn’t even own a truck. She called Cream’s and was informed that the truck in question indeed was registered to her. All of a sudden, she put two and two together. She had lost her license a couple weeks earlier. At the time, she thought she had simply misplaced it, but later discovered she had accidentally dropped it, as well as a debit card, in a store parking lot.

The Price of Freedom

The key to keeping the cost of divorce down is reducing conflict. The North Bay is home to many qualified attorneys, mediators, and mental health professionals who have a goal of helping parties find points on which to agree. Most divorce-related professionals in the North Bay adopt the attitude that parties “win” by fully informing themselves about the financial and mental health-related consequences of their decisions. Parties who understand how their agreements will affect them in the future do not return to the table to reargue their case.

First Glass

Do you recall the first glass of wine that captured your heart?

This is the question NorthBay biz posed to some notable winemakers in Sonoma and Napa counties. Here, they candidly share the intimate details of that first glass of wine that captivated them, revealing their passions and personalities.

The Fine Art of Bubbly

“Sparkling wine is probably the most exciting wine to the human senses. You hear the pop of the cork and the frothy sound as it is poured,” says Ludovic “Ludo” Dervin, winemaker for Mumm Napa. “You see the tiny bubbles rising and feel the breath of the wine when you smell it. Even before you taste, the palate is primed for a sensual experience.” 

A Winning Combination

Great ideas have a way of catching people by surprise, especially when a missing piece suddenly emerges, putting what was previously just a good thought on the path to reality.

Such was the case with Eckhoff and Company (EAC) Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and advisors in San Rafael, which launched a strategic joint venture with an all-new business, Eckhoff Wealth Management (EWM), in June 2017.

Business As Usual

One year after the Wine Country wildfires, both Sonoma and Napa are still suffering afterburn when it comes to tourism.

The old adage is that “perception is reality,” and that is keeping tourism officials busy as they work to convince tourists that Wine County didn’t evaporate in the fires and, despite what they might see on the news, not all of the state is on fire.

New advertising campaigns are being launched. Additional funds are being budgeted, and tourism teams are feathering out nationwide (and internationally) to spread the word—Wine County is open for business.

Catholic Charities

Since last year’s wildfires, Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa has been instrumental in helping displaced residents find secure housing in Sonoma and Napa Counties. The nonprofit has adopted a model to meet county-specific approaches for the two areas. The majority of the need is concentrated in Sonoma County. Here Catholic Charities helped triage 901 people in a long-term recovery group that’s served 1,407 people.

Spirited Libations

Prohibition was once known as a “noble experiment.” President Herbert Hoover described it as “a great social and economic experiment, noble in motive and far-reaching purpose.” Under the 18th Amendment, the “manufacture, sale and transportation of intoxicating liquors” was forbidden from 1920 to 1933, but consumption was not considered illegal. By law, any wine, beer or spirits that Americans had stashed away as of January 1920 were theirs to keep and enjoy in the privacy of their homes.

Skilled Professionals Wanted

In the North Bay, many jobs remain unfilled, spanning a variety of industries. Health care and hospitality industries can’t find qualified professionals, and county government and school districts are having trouble filling any kind of jobs. At any level, more jobs are available than there are skilled professionals to fill them. What’s going on?


Gut Bugs

What has 100 trillion members, can make you feel exuberant or depressed, are as unique to you as a fingerprint and weighs less than four-and-a-half pounds? Give up? The colony of microorganisms, or “microbiota,” as they’re properly called, that live in our gut. These are colonies of microorganisms living in your intestines, and as medical science is learning, these microorganisms have a lot to do with your health. Gut bugs facilitate digestion, influence your metabolism, strengthen your immune system and maintain your mental well-being—when they’re happy. But as medical scientists are learning, when they are not happy, our microbiota play a key role in a surprising array of illnesses ranging from general un-wellness to rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), allergies, asthma, headache, fatigue, anxiety and even depression.

Connecting the Dots

If you’re an employer, you know the hiring process for a new employee is complicated. Being a good judge of character and sealing a job offer with little more than a handshake served most employers well for a long time. Now, more regulations exist that employers must follow to the letter when they’re considering job candidates.

Small Wonders

The modest entrance of Passalacqua winery in the heart of Dry Creek Valley offers sweeping vineyard views and an inviting patio lounge seating area underneath the shade of coastal redwood trees, surrounded by maples ablaze with fall colors. A selection of wines is leisurely poured and the nuances of each wine is explained; where the grapes were grown, how each cluster was hand selected by the owner and winemaker, and lastly, how all the wines were produced on site and cannot be purchased elsewhere. What are missing are throngs of crowds elbowing each other at the tasting bar and huge tour buses parked outside. At Passalacqua, visitors are encouraged to savor and linger.

Luther Burbank: A Natural History

One step through an enchanting brick entryway leads to the refreshing sounds of a mesmerizing waterfall, preceding a luscious, flowery wonderland that resembles only what children read about in fairy tales. However, this nature-filled estate is in no part a fairy tale, but captures one very real story. This is the Luther Burbank Home & Gardens, an estate located in the heart of Santa Rosa Avenue that preserves the legacy of one man that not only helped put Sonoma County on the map, but changed the history of plant science. And this year, Sonoma County will celebrate the 170th anniversary of Luther Burbank’s birthdate.

Beyond the Glass

More and more wineries are using food to take the tasting experience to the next level.

To Bee Or Not To Bee

The local honey industry is abuzz with challenges.

Go Fish

Alcatraz Seafoods supports sustainable fishing, which doesn’t just help the environment, it also makes good business sense.

Have Patients

Sonoma County's district hospitals are working together to provide residents with better care closer to home.

Surf n' Sip

Online wine communities give wineries and consumers a chance to make a match.

The Family Business

At Traverso’s in Santa Rosa, it’s all relative.

Predictions for The New Year

[Or how to be dead wrong in public.]

First Class
New Technology High in Napa is a prototype and proving ground for national education reform.

Say Cheese!

The North Bay’s artisan cheesemakers can put a smile on any face.

Homeward Bound

How a nonprofit human services program came up with a fun-raising effort that will raise the roof in more ways than one.

High Five
Tasting through Chateau St. Jean's vintages of Cinq Cépages.

The Nose Knows
Santa Rosa's Assistance Dog Institute offers a sweet solution to vineyard pest woes.

Work Happier, Not Harder
Setting reasonable goals is an important step toward personal success.

The New Codding

A family’s evolution from homebuilding to shopping centers to environmentally friendly development.

Fine Feathered Friends

Environment-friendly abatement of pest wildlife by falconry.

Home Style

Live Oak Estates proves eco-friendly can be ultraluxurious.

Greener Learning

Dominican University's green MBA program shines a new light on business school.

Full Circle

Grgich Hills Cellar uses Old World methods to create new, world-class wines.

Eat Your Fork

Excellent Packaging & Supply provides biodegradable and recyclable products for food service and beyond.


All Good Things

The Aging of a Vintage Bank as Told by Two Founders.

Driving Force

Infineon Raceway surges ahead with fast cars, community outreach and a top-notch recycling program.

Clas$ Act

Investing in education provides both immediate and future rewards.

Hope, Hype and Hearsay

The truth about the real estate market in your neighborhood.

One Time, At Wine Camp...

Experiential Tourism comes to Wine Country.

What Women Want

Is there a gender differnce when it comes to wine appreciation?

Straight Shooter

Duff Bevill oversees hundreds of vineyard acres with a sharp eye and a steady hand.

Wine With A Cause

Donating proceeds toward fighting breast cancer is one way local wineries are making a difference.

American TonerServ, Makin Copies

How a Santa Rosa company intends to corner the toner market through consolidation and innovation.

2008 NorthBay biz 500

List of the Top 500 companys of the North Bay in 2007.

All Inn the Family

Catherine and Joe Bartolomei have turned the Farmhouse Inn Restaurant and Spa into the career of their dreams.

A Pathway to Excellence

Tamalpais Bank puts excellent customer service first.

Blurring the Lines

Expanded treatment options are changing the face of spas.

Talkin' 'bout Mill Valley

The struggle between facing change and maintaining its original feeling is hitting this Marin town hard.

Making It

Trinity Engineering is a one-stop design and manufacturing shop.

The Northbay's Changing Face

El Rostro Cambiante De La Bahîa Norte
(The North Bay's Changing Face)

How should companies react to the major demographic shift that's coming?


Gettin Bizy With It

Everything you always wanted to know about the Best of the North Bay… but were too chicken to ask.

Strings Attached

A short review of techniques for parents to make monetary gifts to their minor children.

Whats Cooking?

Culinary schools in the North Bay are sizzling.

In the Blood

What it takes to maintain business success through multiple generations.

New School

Sonoma Academy's new digs are a dream come true.

Rockin' Rick

Rick Bartalini keeps the stars coming to the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.

Engineering for the Future

Iver Skavdal has reengineered Winzler & Kelly into a firm with national expertise and a local feel.

Seal of Approval

Businesses across the North Bay are making their green practices official.

Another Door Opens

How Stephen Flemming lost a job and built a bank.

Keep on Rolling

Gordon Holmes’ Lookout Ridge Winery makes great wines and changes lives—one wheelchair at a time.


Fitting In

Concerns about weight and wellness propel fitness outlets across the North Bay to target children.

This is Your Life

A videographer’s quest to rediscover the true soul of film.

Nature's Bounty

When it comes to organic winegrowing, the health benifits are largely felt by someone we all know and love: Mother Earth.

Elevation of the Spririt

Frank Gehry Comes to Napa

Picture Perfect

Primefilmsites is putting picturesque North Bay locales in the spotlight.

The Green Scene

More than the color of your favorite signal light—green is the way to go.

2008 Best of Winners List

View the full list of Best of and Gold Medal winners.

The Matchmakers

Santa Rosa’s award-winning Venture Communities Program is like speed dating  for entrepeneurs and investors.

Cutting-Edge Conferences

Bringing high-end technology to corporate meetings.

Beer Bellies

Local restaurants team with beer makers for a new twist on gourmet pairings.

The Land of Wine and Food

Top Chefs and winemakers are taking part in a national campaign to bring tourists to California.

Gardens of Eatin'

Some North Bay restaurants have planted gardens so they can bring produce straight from the land to the table.

Holy Cow!

Marin County's development debate comes to a head at St. Vincent's / Silveira.

Work In Progress

How collaborative community efforts can ensure the future of the North Bay workforce.


Buying Power

Marin Clean Energy’s plan is to deliver 50 percent renewable energy—without raising rates.

The Color Of Money

Scott Muldavin is showing bankers how to be green…sort of.

A Change For the Better

Local wineries’ environmentally conscious efforts are making a positive difference in many ways.

What Bubble?

Mortgage pros assess the North Bay's housing market

In Vines We Trust

The noted investment guru Mark Twain once offered this advice, “Buy land. They’ve stopped making it.”Alas, Twain wasn’t in the midst of a cable infomercial, nor sharing a stage with the likes of Donald Trump and his hair in a sold-out hotel ballroom filled with what Twain himself would surely have referred to as “rubes” looking to learn to make a fortune in real estate with no money down.

Perfect Landing

Hamilton Landing’s latest incarnation is bustling with all sorts of activity.

From Vine to Class

Napa Valley wineries adopt local schools to enhance public education.

Liberating the Law

Activist Carl Malamud’s drive to make legal records available to all

The Little Train That Just Might...

The SMART train is back on the ballot for 2008. Will voters be more receptive this time around?

A Shared Tradition

The Sonoma County Meat Buying Club brings locally raised and managed beef, pork and lamb back to the table.

If the Shoe Fits

Tim Hanni’s revolutionary ideas make it OK, once and for all, to drink the wine you like.

The Goode Life

Confessions of a tasting room imposter

Heritage Harvests

The ongoing success of three long-established wine families

Walking the Line

Two local companies are finding a sweet spot at the center of the wine industry.

Business Unusual

Insuring your nontraditional business requires a few nontraditional steps.

Fun and Games

River Rock’s transformation into a world-class destination resort

In the (Re)Zone

Redevelopment in Sebastopol’s Northeast area is still being conceptualized—and debated.

Way To Go

How to take advantage of alternative transportation in the North Bay

Artistic Vision

An investment in the arts reaps rewards for the surrounding community.

A Taste for Technology

Winemakers weigh in on the industry’s technological advances.

Be Advised

Mentoring organizations like SCORE and TAB coach businesses through tough times—and often see them prosper.

Take It Slow

An in-depth look at the Slow Food movement, which espouses knowing where your food originated, understanding how it came to your plate, and appreciating its goodness with family and friends.

A Body in Motion

Physical therapist Teri Burk and dietitian Chris Berman dole out some prudent advice for staying healthy and refreshed while working in an office environment.

Building Green goes mainstream

Why environmentaly friendly, energy– and water–efficient green building is becoming more the norm than the exception.

The Greener Good
Policy makers, business leaders and others are working together to green Santa Rosa’s Airport Business Center, and NorthBay biz has the inside scoop about ABC’s plans for the future.

The Girl and the Foodies

NorthBay biz profiles Sonoma County restaurateur Sondra Bernstein (of The Girl & the Fig fame) and the opening of her new restaurant, Estate.

Hometown Luxury

Yountville’s Bardessono Inn & Spa promises comfort, sustainability and a true sense of place.

The Green House

Even if you can’t afford your “dream” home, anyone can make changes to live green.

The Architecture of Paradise

Quixote Winery is one of Napa Valley’s most unique destinations.



Up Close and Personal

Some wineries sell most of their product directly to consumers—and you can, too!

Living on the Edge

The first installment of our “Hidden Gems” AVA series focuses on Sonoma County’s Bennett Valley.

Vineyard Vignettes

The North Bay is home to many of the finest wineries and vineyards in the world.

Banking On Community

How Marin-based banks are thriving—even in today’s economy.

Hollywood and Vine

Former movie mogul Charlie Meeker finds his happy ending in Wine Country.

Friends and Followers

Establishing a presence on the top online social networks can be good for business.

Music to Our Ears

The annual wave of summer festivals is upon us—with an economic ripple effect that will be felt in local communities year-round.

Gourmet to Go

Local businesses are making it easy for you to enjoy convenient, delicious and healthy meals at home—without always having to cook.

Bucking the Trend

Long-time family farms in the North Bay have the will and the know-how to survive.

Cinderella Story

Russian River Vineyards is going through a renaissance of sorts, thanks to new owners Chris O’Neill, Barbara Sattler and Art Ibleto.


The Spitfire Agency promotes events and helps market everything from nonprofits to big-name companies and celebrities—all with a green bent.

Healthy Kids are Good for Biz

North Bay organizations are making healthy children their business.

Built to Last

Builders Exchanges are standing their ground to help keep the construction industry solid.

Bayside Denied

After more than 30 years, Jack Krystal won’t give up on his dream of a hotel at Whaler’s Point.

Rebirth of the Cool

The second installment of our Hidden Gems series travels to Napa Valley’s beautiful, remote and forested Mt. Veeder.

Going Local

The economics of a living local economy depends on—and feeds—a vibrant community.

Education Innovation

New, green-focused community college programs offer access to 21st century careers.

Party Time

How to make your Wine Country event a profitable success.


A Blended Family

The Meritage Alliance is working to promote greater understanding and acceptance of high-end blended wines.


There Once Was a Winery Called Limerick...

If wine is bottled poetry, consider Michael Collins the William Butler Yeats of the vineyard.

The Good Stuff

Some say a wine’s price is a matter of availability rather than quality. We say, as long as it’s available, who cares?


Wine: The Next Generation

Passing the wine bottle might not always be easy—but family succession planning sure isn’t rocket science.

Cover Your Bases

Creative insurance companies can craft a policy suited to your specific business needs.

In Land We Trust

Land, brand and growth compete in North Bay counties.

A Work in Progress

Downtown Napa seeks to revitalize its core.

A Toast to TAPAS

TAPAS means more than delicious Spanish food—it also stands for Tempranillo.

35 Years of Real Estate and Construction

Through highs and lows, the North Bay is still home sweet home.

35 Years of Wine

From a few visionary vintners to a thriving North Bay industry, the wine community continues to evolve.

Save the Gravensteins!

Sonoma County’s heirloom apple gets a boost from the Slow Food movement.

Green Pinstripes

Bringing sustainability to the executive suite

Make It Green

Local manufacturers are discovering ways to profit from sustainable business practices.

Monkey Business

It’s a jungle out there in the naming game for A Hundred Monkeys.

Creating the Future

Family-owned manufacturing creates unique opportunities as companies transition through the generations.

Shovel Ready

The Construction Coalition intends to get things moving faster in the North Bay’s construction industry.

Best of Class

Local learning institutions are preparing students for careers in the wine industry.

Opportunity Knocks

The North Bay has the chance to become a regional manufacturing powerhouse—but will we seize it?

A Touch of Advice

NorthBay biz talks to some of the industry’s most coveted consulting winemakers.

Milkin' It

At Clover Stornetta Farms, the cows’ vision is 20/20.

RX For Success

Novato’s BioMarin Pharmaceutical is filling a niche by targeting rare diseases.

A Really Goode Story

Winner of the Really Goode Job contest, Hardy Wallace talks about what he learned as the social media voice for Murphy-Goode Winery during his six months on the job.

Age of Understanding

Novato’s Buck Institute is expanding its reach into age research with the construction of its new Regenerative Medicine Center.

Back to the Land

Connecting today’s students to agriculture will help preserve this important element of the North Bay economy.

Horse Power

Beyond the racetrack, there’s big business in the equine world.

Water Into Wine

Vineyard owners and managers can use high technology to monitor soil moisture while saving water and improving grape quality.

Built to Sell

How Che Voigt and his partners designed a business model that encourages rapid growth and high value acquisition—and he’s ready to do it again.

Trading Up

Middle-skill jobs represent the backbone of California’s economic recovery, and local trade schools help fill that need.

This Old House

Two significant mansions, both built in the late 1800s, get complete makeovers in an aim to restore them to their former glory.

Hire Ground

North Bay staffing agencies weigh in on current employment trends and growing industries.

Ready, Set, Learn!

Where will businesses find healthy, well-prepared employees for the future? In North Bay Children’s Center’s Garden of Eatin’.

A Path to Empowerment

WHEEL, a partnership between the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce and local companies, pays big dividends in productivity, morale and the bottom line by teaching employees English.

Community Roots, Community Care
The St. Joseph Health System has nurtured its Sonoma County neighbors for more than 60 years.

Stroke of Luck
Palm Drive Hospital’s Stroke Center works fast to save lives.

Cool in Every Way

Our fifth stop in the Hidden Gems series is Green Valley, the coolest region of Russian River Valley, where food is as bountiful as wine.

Mountain Men

The brothers of Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery talk candidly about winemaking and the industry as a whole.

Chocolate on Top

North Bay chocolatiers are making the world a sweeter place, one delectable treat at a time.

Small Business Smarts
Six lessons the current economy has taught small businesses—and how to succeed anyway.

State of the Union

Union Bank makes a bold move into the North Bay banking arena.

Investing in Interesting Times
Wealth managers weigh in on how to make the most of your money—today.

Almost Perfect
The St. Regis Napa Valley resort awaits a low-cost housing resolution.

Where Do We Go From Here?

When two prominent developers accused Petaluma city officials of dragging their feet—adding up to millions in lost opportunities—questions arose about what the city's future should hold.

Growing Strong
Three small nonprofits that are making a big difference in the North Bay.

Creative Partnerships
Building relationships between businesses and nonprofits is beneficial to everyone involved.

Sensible Beauty
Passive House ushers in the ultimate sustainable shelter.

Bringing Home the Bacon

John Stewart and Duskie Estes incorporate sustainable living into their work, home and community.

It's a Zin
Founding Napa Zinfandel Trail members share why Zinfandel is the pick of the bunch.

Working in Harmony
Santa Rosa Memorial and Healdsburg District Hospital team up to provide North Bay residents access to quality care.

Code Green
New CALGreen Building Standards aim to cut California’s carbon emissions by requiring energy efficiency in all new buildings.

It Takes Two
Strategic marketing partnerships help boost wine brands.

All Together Now
The real party starts when music and wine join forces.

Vineyard Vignettes: Passalacqua Vineyards, Ceja Vineyards, Clif Family Winery, Westwood Winery
NorthBay biz visits Passalacqua Vineyards, Ceja Vineyards, Clif Family Winery & Farm and Westwood Winery

One-Stop Shopping
G&G Supermarket offers quality and value from a family passionate about food.

Banking on Growth
How “little” Circle Bank plans on getting bigger but staying small.

Special Report: Economic Prosperity Outlook
Sonoma State University’s School of Business and Economics provides data-driven information to help decision makers improve the North Bay’s economy.

Let the Games Begin
Sonoma Wine Country Senior Games isn’t just for seniors—it’s fun for everyone.

My Generation
North Bay baby boomers reflect on the times that raised them.

Sowing the Seeds
Women farmers find the secret of living a life off the land.

Truffle Dreams
Some North Bay farmers are gambling below ground.

The Sound of Silence
North Bay hot air ballooning companies offer a refreshing perspective on our beautiful surroundings.

Sonic Boom
Sonic.net is keeping California and the world connected.

How will SMART get back on track?

A public/private partnership aims to generate Sonoma County job growth.

Target Practice
The debate over building a Target in San Rafael has deeply divided the community.

Blue Highway
Widening Highway 101 has obvious long-term benefits, but in the short-term, nearby businesses must bite the bullet to make it through.

Swimming With Sharks
What would small businesses face is the Small Business Administration is forced to merge with the U.S. Commerce Department?

Healing Hands
As scientific research on the benefits of massage therapy grows, so does its popularity as an alternative therapy and career path in the North Bay.

Down to Earth
Our seventh installment of the Hidden Gems series visits Calistoga, a place as unique in character as it is in food, wine and relaxation.

Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) celebrates 20 years of California’s heritage varietal.

Wine Country Welcome
CANVAS (Concierge Alliance Napa Valley and Sonoma) is bringing the North Bay hospitality community together.

Going the Distance
North Bay financial planners offer tips to older investors for staying on track during turbulent times.

Branching Out
Community involvement gives Bank of Marin a leg up on its competition.

Puppy Love
Dairydell Canine’s Camilla Gray-Nelson teaches dogs and owners how to communicate.

What's in Store?
A recent renovation at Santa Rosa’s Coddingtown Mall aims to bring new life (and tenants) to the once-thriving shopping center.

Deep Roots
The Bacigalupi family, long known for its Russian River Valley winegrapes, shares its newest vision and venture.

No Child Left Offline
Business, education, philanthropy and community come together to support Napa County school kids.

Inspiring the Next Generation
After years on the move, the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County finds a permanent home.

Inside the Millennial Mind
Local marketing professionals connect with the newest generation of consumers.

In It for the Kids
Active 20-30 clubs are helping children through hard times.

Amazing Savers
Redwood Credit Union challenged five families to change their financial habits—and changed their lives in the process.

Ancient Inspiration, Modern Thinking
North Bay facial plastic surgeon Stanley Jacobs creates face serum from an ancient Egyptian recipe.

Deep Green
Barbara Buck’s newly built solar mansion in Cazadero is one of Sonoma County’s most impressive—and greenest—houses.

Make It Quick
Rapid Remodel promises complete custom kitchen or bathroom remodeling in three weeks or less.

Meeting of the Minds
A group of like-minded wine professionals have joined together to make great wine and market it well.

Palate Pleasers
Finding your favorite wine might mean visiting your favorite restaurant.

The Inside Scoop
Artisan ice cream entrepreneurs dish about their products.

Memory Lane

Take a ride with some well-known car collectors as we explore a few of the best classic car events taking place this summer.

Educating a Workforce
How San Rafael City Schools became an educational pilot program for the entire nation.

Deal of the Day
Social coupons hit the North Bay.

Staying the Course
Many baby boomers are putting off retirement—either by choice or by circumstance.

A Gathering Place
Senior Centers provide an outlet for people to learn new things and make new friends.

The Joys of Summer
Welcoming back visitors during the sunshine season is big business in the North Bay.

Promised Land
North Bay land trusts make it their mission to protect and steward the land.

All Natural
Amigo Bob and his amazing organic balancing act

How Green Is Napa Valley?
The Napa Green Business Program illustrates how sustainability pays.

Special Delivery
A dramatic increase in direct-to-consumer wine sales brings the bounty of California to 39 states—despite a complex network of state laws.

Welcome Home
Local nonprofits, governments and developers still face a variety of challenges bringing affordable housing to the area.

Tea Time
Move over wine, beer and coffee. Local tea companies are brewing success.

Made in the North Bay
There’s a lot more manufacturing going on in the North Bay than most people think.

Homebaked Dreams
The California Homemade Food Act makes it legal (with certain restrictions) to sell foods prepared in your home kitchen.

Feeling Better

Dr. Richard Shames and his wife, Karilee, use a mind/body connection to successfully treat thyroid patients.

Taste the Difference
Unusual varietals are gaining favor, especially among younger drinkers.

Great Whites
High-end Chardonnays: Everyone wins when the wine is this good.

Vineyard Vignettes: Scribe Winery, Ramazzotti, Amapola Creek, Madonna Estate, Cimarossa
NorthBay biz visits Scribe Winery, Ramazzotti, Amapola Creek, Madonna Estate and Cimarossa

For Everyone's Benefit
Why companies are redesigning employee benefit plans to meet everyone’s needs affordably.

The Place to Be
Unconventional dining experiences are all the rage.

Perfect Pairing
Ancient Oak Cellars teams with Corrick’s to bring the first wine tasting room to downtown Santa Rosa.

Architects of Change
AIA-certified architects are transforming how we live, work and learn in the North Bay.

Beautiful Music
SSU’s Green Music Center’s long road to completion was well worth the wait—and there’s more to come.

Safe at School
Community Matters wakes up the courage of a nation.

Mental Health Matters
Area-wide nonprofits work on the whole spectrum of treating mental illness.

Expression of the Land
Mayacamas Vineyards has a long history and loyal following for its mountaintop wines.

Architecture and Permaculture: A Seamless Partnership
Architecture and Permaculture: A Seamless Partnership

Principles for Success in Commercial Real Estate
Principles for Success in Commercial Real Estate

How to Ensure You'll Get Paid for Residential Construction
How to Ensure You'll Get Paid for Residential Construction

401(k) Savers: Who Makes Money (You or the IRS)?
401(k) Savers: Who Makes Money (You or the IRS)?

How to Choose the Best Eco-Friendly Office Cleaning Services
How to Choose the Best Eco-Friendly Office Cleaning Services

How to Write an Engineering Project Proposal
How to Write an Engineering Project Proposal

Workforce Wellness
Innovative strategies to improve employee wellness and manage the cost of health care benefits

The Mud King
Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort offers natural, simple relaxation—just as it has since 1951.

Artists at Heart
Lifelong passion leads to new careers for North Bay artists.

Awaiting Rediscovery
Mendocino County is committed to attracting visitors.

Deep Purple
Graton’s Purple Wine Company knows that violet just isn’t good enough.

The Top 500 North Bay Companies 2013
The Top 500 North Bay Companies 2013

Seeking Understanding
Attorneys and banks sometimes clash over trusts, but effective communication can ease the process.

Here Comes the Biz
Wedding season in the North Bay ushers in millions of dollars.

Guest Column: Napa Valley Vintners' Amazing Premiere Napa Week
Napa Premiere showcases Napa’s winemaking talent and supports NVV’s efforts.

A Silver Lining
At long, long last, North Bay home sale prices are on the rise and real estate appears to be making a comeback.

Education for the Future
High school students are flocking to innovative “schools within schools” programs in the North Bay.

Guest Column: The Third Act
Tackling the sensitive issues surrounding aging can actually be fun if you look at them the right way.

2013 Best Green Business: Marizco Landscape Management
Marizco Landscape Management has been voted Best Green Business in the 2013 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2013 Best Office Services: Trope Group
Trope Group has been voted Best Office Services in the 2013 NorthBay biz readers poll.

2013 Best Nonprofit/Charitable Organization: Council on Aging
Council on Aging has been voted Best Nonprofit/Charitable Organization in the 2013 NorthBay biz readers poll.

2013 Best Architecture/Design Firm: Carlile • Macy
Carlile • Macy has been voted Best Architecture/Design Firm in the 2013 NorthBay biz readers poll.

2013 Best Chamber of Commerce: Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce
Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce has been voted Best Chamber of Commerce in the 2013 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2013 Best Commercial Real Estate Company: Keegan & Coppin
Keegan & Coppin has been voted Best Commercial Real Estate Company in the 2013 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2013 Best Contractor/Builder: Ghilotti Bros., Inc.
Ghilotti Bros. has been voted Best Contractor/Builder in the 2013 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2013 Best Insurance Brokerage: George Petersen Insurance Agency
George Petersen Insurance Agency has been voted Best Insurance Brokerage in the 2013 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2013 Best Law Firm: Geary, Shea, O'Donnell, Grattan & Mitchell, P.C.
Geary, Shea, O’Donnell, Grattan & Mitchell, P.C. has been voted Best Law Firm in the 2013 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2013 Best Wealth Management Company: Private Ocean
Private Ocean has been voted Best Wealth Management Company in the 2013 NorthBay biz readers poll.

2013 Best Company to Do Business with in Napa County: Dickenson Peatman & Fogarty
Dickenson Peatman & Fogarty has been voted Best Company to Do Business With in Napa County in the 2013 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2013 Best Business Community Leader: Bill Friedman
Bill Friedman has been voted Best Business Community Leader in the 2013 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2013 Best Hotel: Vintners Inn
Vintners Inn has been voted Best Hotel in the 2013 NorthBay biz readers poll.

2013 Best Spa/Resort: Kenwood Inn & Spa
Kenwood Inn and Spa has been voted Best Spa/Resort in the 2013 NorthBay biz readers poll.

2013 Best Restaurant: John Ash & Co.
John Ash & Co. has been voted Best Restaurant in the 2013 NorthBay biz readers poll.

2013 Best Local Brewery: Russian River Brewing Co.
Russian River Brewing Company has been voted Best Local Brewery in the 2013 NorthBay biz readers poll.

2013 Best Sauvignon Blanc: Benziger Family Winery

Benziger Family Winery has been voted Best Sauvignon Blanc in the 2013 NorthBay biz readers poll.

2013 Best Pinot Noir: Graton Ridge Cellars
Graton Ridge Cellars has been voted Best Pinot Noir in the 2013 NorthBay biz readers poll.

2013 Best Zinfandel: Mauritson Family Winery
Mauritson Winery has been voted Best Zinfandel in the 2013 NorthBay biz readers poll.

Make It Custom
Three area artisans make objects out of desires.

Full Steam Ahead
Local happenings embrace the steampunk genre in a festive way.

Down on the Farm
Agritourism is all over the map.

In Full Bloom
The team at Bloomfield Farms is determined to cultivate healthy foods and a more balanced lifestyle.

All About Her
Local hospitals are reaching out to women to bring them better health education.

Growing Trends
A new crop of grape growing technologies is improving quality and sustainability in local vineyards.

A Spirited Revolution
Craft micro-distilleries are booming in the North Bay.

At Long Last
Plans are officially underway for a mixed-use development at the Napa Pipe site.

The Time Is Now
Sustainable Napa County is both an organization and a mindset that work toward a common goal.

Doing the Triangle
How United Market, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods coexist in San Rafael.

Private Eyes
They’re watching you—online.

High Anxiety
Fighting back against stress on the job

Guest Column: Exercise Can Make You Smarter—And More Successful
It’s time to get moving—for more reasons than one.

Beyond the Bottle
Quality boxed and other alternatively packaged wines are gaining increased acceptance among consumers.

Press On
North Bay craft cidermakers are riding a new wave of popularity and finding contentment at the core.

Vineyard Vignettes: Ten Acre Winery, Adler Deutsch Vineyard, Hunnicutt, Pech Merle, Acorn Winery
Vineyard Vignettes: Ten Acre Winery, Adler Deutsch Vineyard, Hunnicutt, Pech Merle, Acorn Winery

Open For Business
An aging canning district in Sebastopol has been transformed into a meeting ground for local artisans and those looking for a taste of West County.

Going in Style
There are many unique ways to experience Wine Country.

Guest Column: The Key to Business Longevity
Adaptability is the key to business longevity.

Nurturing Nonprofits
For the last decade, MarinLink’s idea of success has been helping other nonprofits succeed.

Fostering Support
Valley of the Moon Children’s Foundation provides housing, support and education to Sonoma County’s foster children.

The Gift of Healing
Local hospitals are adapting to the world of 21st century health care through fund-raising and philanthropy.

Cooking Up an Education
Culinary schools cater to diverse groups.

A Great Escape
Unique retreat centers in the North Bay provide businesses and individuals a chance to unplug, disconnect and regroup.

Reinventing the Village
Women’s support groups enrich North Bay business.

Green Mary
Mary Munat has created a growing business that fulfills her ambition to help save the planet.

The Top 500 North Bay Companies 2014
The Top 500 North Bay Companies 2014

Cultivating the Club
Wine clubs can mean profitable results for wineries that build lasting relationships with members.

More Than Words
Evoking emotion and intrigue with wine label art

Gimme Shelter
The battle over affordable housing in Marin County rages on.

A Place for Us
Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove Lodge is the first LGBT-friendly retirement community that offers continuing and progressive care.

Shedding It
You never know what might work to get in shape.

2014 BEST Green Business: Solar Works
Solar Works has been voted Best Green Business in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Office Services: Healdsburg Printing, Inc.
Healdsburg Printing, Inc., has been voted Best Office Services in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Nonprofit/Charitable Organization: Redwood Empire Food Bank
Redwood Empire Food Bank has been voted BEST Nonprofit/Charitable Organization in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Architectural/Design Firm: TLCD Architecture
TLCD Architecture has been voted BEST Architectural/Design Firm in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Chamber of Commerce: Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce
Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce has been voted BEST Chamber of Commerce in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Commercial Real Estate: Keegan & Coppin Company, Inc.
North Bay, northbay, business, biz, commercial real estate, real estate, Keegan & Coppin Company, Keegan & Coppin, Santa Rosa

2014 BEST Contractor/Builder: Ghilotti Bros., Inc.
Ghilotti Brothers, Inc. has been voted BEST Contractor/Builder in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Health Care Provider: Kaiser Permanente Marin-Sonoma
Kaiser Permanente Marin-Sonoma has been voted BEST Health Care Provider in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Job Placement Service: Star Staffing
Star Staffing has been voted BEST Job Placement Service in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Real Estate Company: Coldwell Banker
Coldwell Banker has been voted Best Real Estate Company in the 2014 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Company to do Business with in Marin County: Marin County Federal Credit Union
Marin County Federal Credit Union has been voted BEST company to do business with in Marin County in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Company to do Business with in Napa County: Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley
Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley has been voted BEST Company to do Business with in Napa County in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Golf Course: Santa Rosa Golf & Country Club
Santa Rosa Golf & Country Club has been voted BEST Golf Course in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Place to Work: George Petersen Insurance Agency
George Petersen Insurance Agency has been voted BEST Place to Work in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Wine Tasting Room: Kendall-Jackson Winery
Kendall-Jackson Winery has been voted BEST Wine Tasting Room in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Business Restaurant: John Ash & Co.
John Ash & Co. has been voted BEST Business Restaurant in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Sparkling Wine: J Vineyards & Winery
J Vineyards & Winery has been voted BEST Sparkling Wine in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Fine Jewelry Store: E.R. Sawyer Jewelers
E.R. Sawyer Jewelers has been voted BEST Fine Jewelry Store in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Merlot: St. Francis Winery & Vineyards
St. Francis Winery has been voted Best Merlot in the 2014 Best Of the North Bay readers poll.

2014 BEST Cabernet Sauvignon: Groth Vineyards & Winery
Groth Vineyards has been voted Best Cabernet Sauvignon in the 2014 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

Breaking the Mold
How a handful of local ceramics companies have survived through changing markets.

Summer After Sunset
Take advantage of the North Bay’s vibrant arts and music scene and natural air conditioning at some of this summer’s best outdoor events after dark.

Directory of North Bay Farmers Markets
A directory of Farmers Markets in Napa, Marin and Sonoma counties

The Sutter Impact
How a hospital construction project helped save a community.

A Full Plate
Entrepreneur Nino Rabbaa is making a mark in Santa Rosa’s dining community.

Going the Distance
North Bay triathlons are good for personal, economic and philanthropic health.

Golden Years
With good habits and thoughtful planning, the retirement you want may be well within reach.

Countdown to Moving Day
At Sutter Health, more than two years of planning comes down to one day in October—and the excitement among staff members is readily apparent.

Process of Elimination
Lawyers and consultants develop strategies to optimize jury selection.

Making Tracks
The Fun Bike Unicorn Club is a local group encouraging people to get serious about building bikes, all while not taking themselves too seriously.

Stories in the Glass
When you’ve been in the wine business this long, you have a few tales to tell.

Liquid Art
Small, independent winemakers are doing it their way.

One for All
Winery alliances build brand awareness and enhance customer experience.

Drink Up!
NorthBay biz asks for some true confessions.

Shopping with a Smile
Locally owned gift shops have found that keeping customers laughing is the best business plan.

KEYS to the Future
Newly independent Keysight Technologies will continue to deliver world-leading test and measurement solutions from its Santa Rosa headquarters.

Shake It Off
Napa earthquake shakeup shows city and county strength.

Staying Connected After 50
It may feel more difficult to meet new people as we age, but it’s not impossible if you know where to look.

Guest Column: After the Napa Earthquake, Federal and State Tax Relief for Wineries
Businesses and individuals affected by the Napa earthquake may be entitled to some financial help.

Guest Column: Common Ground
How Private Ocean found its path surrounding partnering with nonprofit organizations.

For the Kids
North Bay nonprofits work to benefit our youngest residents.

Growing the Culture
Fermentation fervor inspires startups that make healthy food the old-fashioned way. 

The Dark Side of the Web
The Internet is a valuable resource that we’ve come to depend on, but unwary users risk putting personal information in the wrong hands.

Inkwells to Icons
Change is inevitable, but the North Bay financial industry’s commitment to the community is a consistent value and an integral part of its success.


Better With Age
How North Bay’s Wine Country has changed since its early days

Living Well
The challenges and milestones of health care for the past 50+ years

Unique Territory
Sonoma County's newest AVAs are as diverse as the stories behind them.

Instant Gratification
Who knew wine tasting and technology would make such a perfect marriage?

Can Ya Dig It? April 2015
Here are some of your clients and colleagues in all their 1970s glory.

Our Roads, Our Business
It’s time to take action regarding Sonoma County’s crumbling roads.

Gift of Life
The promise and challenge of organ transplantation in the North Bay

Worst Roommate Ever
Haunting housing situations remind us of how far we’ve come.



Guest Column: Mindful Awareness
Your guide to bringing yourself into the present moment.

At Home in Paradise
Where do you go when you’re already here?

Super Sonic
Sonic is growing faster than ever.

People You Should Know: Dr. Lynn Cominsky
Furthering science and inspiring young minds

Manage Industrial Storm Water Now
The deadline is here for implementing mandatory storm water management changes.

The Art of Charcuterie

Local chefs embrace traditional techniques while creating their unique cured meats.

Good to Go
North Bay hospitals work to minimize patient stays.

Now and Then July 2015
Here are some of your clients and colleagues in all their 1970s glory.

Making a Comeback
What’s happening in real estate development throughout the North Bay in the aftermath of the housing bubble

The Biz of Burlesque
This time-honored art form rises in popularity in the North Bay and beyond.

People You Should Know: Bruce Johnson
Natural sculptor reaches new audiences

Now and Then August 2015
Here are some of your clients and colleagues in all their 1970s glory.

Health Care Checkup
What’s happening with employer health plans and the Affordable Care Act

Pet Project
Sometimes, taking good care of your pets means finding a pet care service you can trust.

Now and Then September 2015
Here are some of your clients and colleagues in all their 1970s glory.

Wine and Waves
Surfing vintners see a connection between the sport they love and the wines they make.

A New Perspective
Wineries with onsite lodging give guests a chance to experience Wine Country lifestyle up close and personal.

Vineyard Vignettes: Kobler Estate Winery, Benovia Winery, Rocca Family Vineyards, Tayson Pierce Wine
Vineyard Vignettes: Kobler Estate Winery, Benovia Winery, Rocca Family Vineyards, Tayson Pierce Wine

Guest Column: Your Wine Is Great, Now What About Your Team?
Paying attention to the people side of your business has big rewards.

Building Trust
The Lytton Band of Pomo Indians’ development plans shake up Windsor.

From The Ground Up

Windsor is in the retail spotlight again with Bell Village.

Living Proof

 Proof Lab at Tam Junction is a thriving retail community that embraces education, outdoor living, sustainability and community.


Dry Creek Vineyard

Dry Creek Vineyard
3770 Lambert Bridge Rd.
Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 433-1000

10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily

In the Cards
EMV technology and chip cards will bring consumers enhanced security when shopping.

A Neighborhood Transformed
Santa Rosa’s once-forgotten SOFA (South of A Street) district is growing strong, thanks to an influx of artists, eclectic businesses and events.

Another Palette for the Colors of Fall
 We talk a lot about the pink ribbon, but not the purple one.

Moment to Moment
What we know about Alzheimer’s disease today

Odette Estate Winery

Odette Estate Winery, Napa
5998 Silverado Trail
Napa, CA 94558
(707) 224-7533

Open daily 10:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. by appointment
Tasting fees:
$60-$165, depending on experience
Wines offered:
Odette Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (when available); Adaptation Chardonnay, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon; Cade Estate Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon; PlumpJack Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay

A Strong Start

Local Boys and Girls Clubs work to give North Bay youth the tools for success.

More than a Game

The Bay Area gears up to host Super Bowl 50 and shares the ways the event will benefit various businesses in the North Bay.

A New Chapter

Marin General Hospital's new building is designed to meet upgraded seismic standards, and it's also a new opportunity for a new approach to healing and wellness

Seeing Red
Why many of the biggest and most successful companies in Marin pack up and leave.

Guest Column: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the ACA

The ACA has extended affordable medical coverage to tens of millions of Americans for the first time.

Dreams and Ideas
Katie Hamilton Shaffer is feasting it forward, one glass, fork and fund-raiser at a time.

Sonoma Celebration

 Cornerstone Sonoma on Arnold Drive offers the new Sunset Gardens + Marketplace, as well as other businesses and venues where you can shop, sip, eat, play and explore.

So Happy Together

Multigenerational living arrangements are on the rise.

Sasha Oaks lives upstairs in the vintage Victorian home in Petaluma that her parents bought in 1971, the year she was born. Her 70-year-old father and 68-year-old mother still live there, too. Sasha’s 23-year-old son rents a room on the top floor and shares a bathroom with her, while her son’s great-grandmother, 88, occupies a bedroom and bathroom on the first floor.

Future Focus

 Keeping homegrown millennials in the North Bay.

Naming Names

NorthBay biz asked business and community leaders to share their picks for young people making a difference. 

Petalumas Next Phase

Petaluma has come a long way since its early days as the egg capital of the world. For well over a decade, the city and residents have been proactively working to revitalize the downtown area while preserving as much of its historic charm as possible. Exciting developments continue to be in the works in and around downtown Petaluma – projects that will not only continue to revitalize the city aesthetically, but also meet the needs of businesses, tourists, residents and the general public.

Fun Starts Here

Sports, games and surprises about at Epicenter in Santa Rosa.

The Key to Home

Realtors in the North Bay agree its a good time to buy a house—if you can afford it.

The Crowd Jewels of Petaluma

Local crowdfunding lends to the creation of three unique Petaluma businesses.

Out of the Shadows

Legalizing recreational marijuana could alter the North Bay landscape.

Custom Crush 2

If you’ve ever dreamt of having your own winery, or you’re a winemaker without a winery, a custom crush might be the right facility to achieve your winemaking dreams. Starting out in the wine industry can be overwhelming for new winemakers and producers, especially given the cost of land, the process of building a winery, the complexity of permits, zoning, and other requirements and regulations

The Power of 100

The Giving Circle concept is gaining steam in the North Bay.

The 100 Who Care movement originated in Jackson, Mich., when (late) founder Karen Dunigan, who was working with the Center for Family Health in the city, learned it would cost about $10,000 to provide a number of new mothers with proper cribs.

Guest Column: Run An Effective Meeting Using the Principals of Improvisation

Meetings are essential to facilitate group communication in our business lives, yet many of us see them as the bane of our workplace existence. We’ve all been there: wondering why we’ve been asked to interrupt our productivity to sit in a room filled with our colleagues in (what seems to be) a free-for-all with no specific agenda and unclear expectations. Are we there just so the boss feels like he or she is doing their job?

Zoning for Success

North Bay counties work to balance sustainable growth with timeless quality of location. 

Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties share one overriding concern: how to encourage a healthy economy while maintaining the qualities of life that make each of them individually iconic both locally and throughout the country—if not the world. 

Friendly and Effective Permitting

Case studies of cities doing it right

Some say it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission. But if you’re planning on opening a new business or expanding an existing one, that’s not a good idea. Indeed, one of the hardest aspects of launching a business is maneuvering through the tangled web of permitting, which varies from municipality to municipality. Understanding that the process can be daunting, several North Bay communities have taken steps to ease the pain without bending the rules as they continue to work to expand their economic growth after the Great Recession debacle—and let’s just say they’re now a lot more “user friendly.”

Stepping Up for the Cure

We all know someone who’s battled or been lost to cancer. We’ve all felt the desire to do something—anything—to help fight this horrible disease? In the North Bay, sympathetic businesses are finding creative and natural ways to support nonprofits that are dedicated both to fighting cancer and aiding those who suffer from it.

The Curious Case of Charles Augustus Banks IV

\"\"Banks came from money, literally. A successful wealth manager with CSI Capital, he worked in the world of famed basketball stars like Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan. But he was bitten by the wine bug. Wine Country lore is full of those who made their fortunes starting at the bottom, working the land, walking the vineyard and carefully seeking the perfect grapes.

Not Charles Banks.

Glorious Wine Country Venues

In the North Bay, there are many wineries and restaurants, world-class resorts, country clubs and hotels, but those aren’t the only venues for your perfect wedding or business event. The area is an eclectic, quirky mix of foodies and artists; humanitarians and nature lovers; and more. Whatever your own desire and imagination can dream up, there is an ideal spot in the North Bay to help you bring that vision to reality. Here's a sampling of great local event venues, which prove it:

The State of Section 8

The biggest difference, though, isn’t just climate. Marshall is now living in Pennsylvania. She moved away from the North Bay—her home since childhood—because her mother can’t afford to live there anymore. Marshall’s mother is unable to stand for hours at a time due to a physical disability, so they have been assisted by a Section 8 voucher, a program of the National Department of Housing and Urban Development that assists with rent payments because the family falls at or below 30 percent of the county’s average income.


A New Path To Help Veterans

The Pathway Home, after a period of intense research and program development, is accepting applications from post 9/11 veterans working on their college and vocational programs. The program, designed specifically for the needs of student veterans returning after one or more deployments, offers a full-professional staff and a mission focused on providing educational, professional and clinical support to help returning veterans complete their education and build successful lives

The Down Under Influence
Here in Wine Country, we love to hear winemakers talk about their craft—about generations of vintners making wine on their particular patch of land. And if you talk to enough people, particularly in Sonoma County, you may discover a distinct accent in the voices of winemakers who do, indeed, come from generations in the business, but in a place a world away from here, where the land, climate, seasons, soils, people and even the stars are different. They’re from Australia or New Zealand, and you may taste a bit of an accent in their wines, too, for they typically bring a powerful tradition of winemaking in some of the world’s great wine regions. How they came here and what they do are tales as individual as their wines.

2016 Harvest Fair Guide

Welcome to the 42nd annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair

Pick up a copy of NorthBay biz at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair (Sept. 30-Oct. 2) and you'll find this schedule beginning on page 44.

Providence: Dr. Emil Kakkis

For this Marin-based geneticist, it’s all about the patients.

Bounty: CropMobster

How a husband-wife team took the idea of “flash mob” and started an online community to support agriculture and take a bite out of hunger.

Enlightened: Sonoma Clean Power and Marin Clean Energy

Community choice aggregation is making its mark in the North Bay, increasing the use of clean energy and exceeding expectations.

Innovator: Free Flow Wines

Wine on tap is changing the delivery model for by-the-glass service at hospitality outlets across the country.

Let It Grow

SRJC’s Shone Farm teaches agricultural practices and related skills to a community of eager learners.

Local Luxury

Artisan crafters and luxury retailers in the North Bay.

There's No Place Like the North Bay

Natural beauty, world class food and wine, top-notch entertainment and the North Bay’s unmistakable style and ambiance—there’s a reason people say we’re “living the dream.” Here, North Bay business leaders tell us what they love about the place we all call home. 

Peter Mondavi, Sr. (1914-2016)

In February, Peter Mondavi died at the age of 101. It’s safe to say the California wine industry would be very different without him, but many may not know how far-reaching his contributions were.

Under the Night Sky

Too often, the extraordinary nightlife of the North Bay’s outdoors escapes its residents.

Fast Food Revolution

A new breed of North Bay restaurants are out to prove that eating fast food doesn’t have to mean sacrificing quality—or your values.

Fun, Fit and Fifty Plus

Keeping active, both physically and mentally, is key to healthy aging.

The Secret Life of Guns

The North Bay firearms business

In the Name of Love

Women get stuff done. Some receive high-profile recognition for their efforts, while others work under the radar, quietly making a difference in the lives of people who can use a little help. Here are three North Bay women changing the world around them.

Sharing the Secrets of Success

What’s special about women-owned businesses? Do certain businesses—and not others—lend themselves to female proprietorship?  NorthBay biz takes a look at six local businesses that have something special about them—something you can’t see, or won’t find on a ledger. But chances are you can feel the difference when you walk in the door. Whether it’s a clothing boutique or a sheet metal company, we found an essential set of qualities that these diverse business women share. These qualities, in new and well-established careers, bring forth success, customer loyalty and employee dedication. Here are six women, in six very different businesses, who offer insight into their success.

Hidden Gems: A World Away

Located just a 10-minute drive from downtown Napa, Coombsville feels much more far removed than it actually is. It’s an area made up of small, family ranches and vineyards dotted throughout its oak-studded, rolling hillsides. It borders the Napa River to the west, Mt. George to the north, Imola Avenue to the south and the Vaca Range to the east, encompassing 11,000 acres of largely untouched land (only about 1,400 acres are planted to vines). Its elevation ranges from near sea level to close to 2,000 feet at its highest mountain peaks.

2017 BEST Local Brewery: Russian River Brewing Company

There are many flavors in a beer. There are toasty beers, skunky beers, hoppy beers and citrus-y beers. The list goes on forever. But at the end of the day, nobody comes back if they don’t think it’s a tasty beer. And nobody knows how to brew tasty beers better than Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo, the husband-wife pair who own Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa.

2017 BEST Business Community Leader: Judy Coffee

As a young girl, Judy Coffey dreamed of being a nurse, and helping others is a value she learned growing up in Chicago, where she pitched in at fundraisers with her family. Her father, Anthony, led by example and taught Judy and her siblings the value of giving back to community.

Rocking the Wine World

Sonoma Cast Stone in Petaluma has been making concrete fermentation tanks for eight years. Owner Steve Rosenblatt started his company 20 years ago to create concrete for custom walls, countertops and sinks––what he refers to now as the “architectural” side of his business.

Marins Farmers Market

On a cloudy Sunday, the Marin Civic Center Farmers Market is jammed by rows of booths, with farmers and ranchers side by side. Brewers of the bean are doing a conspicuous business as couples walking hand-in- hand and chefs shopping for inspiration and fresh ingredients hold steaming cups, as if Saturday night and Sunday morning landed closer together than the clock suggests.

Breast Health Update

Marin County hit a dubious milestone in 2001. It reached its peak as a hot spot for breast cancer, cementing its reputation as the county with the highest rate of the disease in the nation. The following year the Women’s Health Initiative released results from a long-term national study that showed a strong correlation between hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer, and doctors responded quickly to find alternatives, causing the rate to drop.

Say Cheese!

While California is known worldwide for its wine, in recent years it has gained increasing attention for its cheese. Claiming to be “America’s Dairyland,” Wisconsin proudly led the dairy industry for years, placing California in the number two spot. In 1994, the torch was passed. California along with our happy Holstein cows obtained the number one spot in dairy production, to become an artisanal cheese haven undoubtedly on the rise. Here’s a look at a few of the local cheese companies along the North Bay cheese trail.

Reunited: Santa Rosa Courthouse Square

NorthBay biz went to several businesses around the square to assess business owner’s opinions now that the square is finally open after a six-month delay for rain and construction.

Going Solar

The solar industry had a $154 billion impact on the U.S. economy in 2016, according to data released in March 2017 by The Solar Foundation. The Solar Energy Industries Association reported the average installation costs have dropped by more than 70 percent since 2010, providing the opportunity for the industry to expand into new markets and set-up thousands of solar systems throughout the nation.


The fear of getting stale has many businesses looking at freshening up their brand—a process that requires much more than a simple logo redesign or new tagline, according to Trini Amador, managing partner of BHC Consulting. BHC is a Healdsburg-based brand strategy team that develops, refreshes or consults on global brand strategy or research projects for hundreds of global, regional and local brands.

Balancing Act

Striking a balance between work and home life is a challenge for today’s workers. A Pew Research Study conducted in 2012 showed that half of all working parents with children under 18 found juggling competing priorities difficult, and one-third thought they were spending too little time with their children. Work tends to occupy the greatest part of the day, and it’s the way many people define themselves, so job satisfaction is important.

Wine and Weather

There’s no argument that the wine in your glass showcases the skill of the winemaker. Yet it was Mother Nature who engineered the growing season that made it all possible. Rain at the right time and in the right amount, the absence of damaging frost, the welcome cooling from the marine layer after a string of hot days––these fluctuations of the weather all contributed to the flavors in the bottle.

Keeping It 100

Scribe Winery, located at the end of a palm tree-paved Dresel Road in Sonoma, has found a way to attract the seemingly ever-elusive Millennial market. The winery, both rural and trendy, is often frequented by young wine enthusiasts, eager for Rosé all day. The relaxed vibe at Scribe removes the intimidation factor of wine, making it a popular stop for the 20- and 30-something crowd.

Leaders of Tomorrow: Noah Block

 Noah Block knows what it’s like to feel helpless and disconnected. A victim of bullying that began when he was in fourth grade, Block, 18, developed emotional problems that left him angry and depressed. That changed when he was 14 and had to do community service for school. He discovered YMCA Marin County Youth Court and began to feel that he could make a difference in the world. Since then, he’s helped scores of young people get back their power and reclaim their lives. 

Leaders of Tomorrow: Jacqueline Balletto

At 25 years old, Jacqueline Balletto is the tasting room and direct-to- consumer manager at her family winery, Balletto Vineyards. Was it her lifelong dream to join the family business? “No, not at all,” says Balletto. “I wanted to prove myself and go in my own direction, but everything kept leading me back to Balletto Vineyards.” 

Growing up in a farming family is a way of life, not just a part of life, says Balletto. She attended Fresno State university with a focus on agriculture business.

Leaders of Tomorrow: Colleen FitzGerald

The pursuit and mastery of enology doesn’t start or end in the vineyard. For Colleen FitzGerald, enologist at Pine Ridge Vineyards in the Stags Leap District American Vineyard Appellation in Napa, enologists need sharp taste buds, long conversations with their winemakers and a heftily stamped passport to prove they have what it takes to become a master in their field.

Leaders of Tomorrow: Jose Gomez

When Jose Gomez resurrected Novato High School’s chapter of Friday Night Live (FNL), he took on a challenge—convincing local liquor storeowners to make alcohol less attractive to teenagers. Gomez, 19, was a freshman, when he discovered FNL at a school club fair. FNL’s focus on developing leaders and encouraging healthy lifestyles, impressed him, so he joined and spent time raising awareness of issues related to teenage alcohol consumption and conducting a survey to find out if stores were aware of the laws. FNL disbanded after difficulties with a transition in leadership and the coordinator’s reassignment and was dormant for a year. However, Gomez and his friend, Jack Anderson, revived it when they were juniors, recognizing that alcohol and drugs are a majort part of teenage social life, and FNL could convince young people that booze and drugs aren’t the only way to have a good time.

Leaders of Tomorrow: Christopher Jackson

“I came back because I love the industry I’m in. Wine is biblical. It’s agricultural, scientific, business, legal and multicultural.”

These are the words of Christopher Jackson, proprietor of Stonestreet Vineyards in Alexander Valley. Son of legendary wine pioneers Jess Jackson and Barbara Banke, Jackson grew up in a family inundated by the wine industry. With so much exposure to the winemaking process, it perhaps came as a surprise when Jackson announced he would be going into law school and become a lawyer.

Recruiting Millennials

 Defying stereotypes and seeking job satisfaction 

After the Fire

Recovery is only the beginning as Sonoma County and the North Bay looks towards a long period of hazard removal and rebuilding.

Napa Rebounding

 Ask Napa County officials and community stakeholders what keeps them awake at night and they might cite the county’s lack of affordable housing, together with traffic congestion and desperately needed road repairs and upgrades. In October, out-of-control wildfires also added to their unease. 

Living on Edge

During the October fires, North Bay residents—with every smoky, noxious breath—were reminded that, our friends and neighbors were losing their homes. For the 5,152 people already homeless in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties—as counted in the 2017 nationwide Point-In-Time Count performed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—such fear is nothing new. They face it all the time. For them, and for the local agencies who struggle to help them find shelter, jobs and housing, the fires meant a horrifying catastrophe with an overwhelming aftershock: a new wave of residents suddenly competing for the already scarce housing available. Women are particularly vulnerable, and agencies in all three counties are struggling to help in the face of near overwhelming need.

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!” 

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.”


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.

9-1-1 What is Your Emergency

Until there’s an emergency, you don’t give much thought to the trained professionals who work in our local dispatch centers. Dial 9-1-1 in the North Bay and you can count on reaching a highly-skilled dispatcher who will calmly and thoroughly take your information and arrange for help. More often than not, that dispatcher is a woman.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

Corporate Retreats

Move over corporate retreats of yesterday. Gone are the days of being stuck with awkward icebreakers and brain-numbing flip charts, during which the only escape from the four walls of the boardroom was a steakhouse dinner. Today, it’s all about intimate, unique experiences that emphasize team building with the ultimate goal of long-term company success. It’s time for spa treatments to melt away employee stress; farm-to-table cooking classes for team building; and a bocce game, complete with vineyard views and winetasting, to perfect strategizing skills.

Help Seriously Wanted

As the North Bay begins to emerge from the most destructive natural disaster in its history––the deadly October firestorms––rebuilding lives, homes and businesses is front and center.

It’s a staggering challenge, to say the least. On the personal level, many reckon with losses remembered on a daily basis. Something you see that you remember you had; and now don’t. A sock in the gut, but you move on.

Dining Al Fresco

One of the most primitive pleasures is to enjoy a meal outside in the fresh air, where you get to feel a sense of the place where you live or have come from afar to visit. The North Bay offers a rare abundance of choice when it comes to dining out-of-doors, with its diverse geography featuring sea coast, farmland, vineyards and forest. Depending on the season, the weather or the county, you can dine outside on a shady patio, lounge on a terrace with a commanding view, lunch in an urban or pastoral setting or dream of romance on a cozy deck overlooking a harbor. Now that summer is about to begin, it’s a great time to discover some new dining spots, or visit some favorite al fresco venues around the North Bay. All await your pleasure, whether for a dining experience close to home, or one that, within a reasonable drive, lets you feel you’ve taken a plane to a romantic destination.

Gun Reform

Earlier this year on February 14, the Parkland High School massacre took the lives of 17 students and faculty, and wounded more than 20, making it one of the deadliest school shootings in history. On April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre, tens of thousands of students participated in organized walkouts from all corners of the country, raising their voices and looking for solutions to stop violence in schools, now. NorthBay biz asked local students, parents and leaders in education to share their thoughts.

Vineyards as Firebreaks

When the phone rang at 11 p.m. on October 8 last year, Lyall and Karen Fahden did not yet smell smoke. A friend from nearby Calistoga had called to warn them that a fast-moving fire was heading toward their home and winery. They dressed quickly and drove through their vineyards toward the nearby ridge. As they neared the top, they noticed the silhouette of the mountain was edged with an eerie red glow that pulsed and grew in intensity as they approached. By the time they reached the top and gazed down, it appeared that the entire valley was in flames.

The Search for Seasonal Workers

The long days of midsummer are quiet in the vineyards and orchards. The winter pruning and spring suckering are long past, and now it’s nature’s turn to do its part. The next big round of activity is the harvest, but North Bay growers are facing a challenge. It’s increasingly difficult to find enough agricultural workers. The attrition that comes with an aging labor force is one reason, and the high cost of housing in a tight market is another. In addition, immigration issues are having a significant impact, and competition from other industries has the potential to be a factor. The result is a complex problem with no easy answers.

Delivering on Promises

The night of October 8, 2017, will be forever etched in the minds of Napa and Sonoma County residents. In the most destructive fire in California’s history, 5,000 homes burned and 44 people lost their lives. While still trying to cope with the reality of what had happened, stunned homeowners would begin the insurance claim process. Their experiences would vary considerably. Here’s a look at how a few homeowners are contending with the insurance claims process.

Integrative Medicine

A 40-year old Santa Rosa mom with common, everyday life stress was suffering from migraine headaches so disabling that she would lose work several times a month. “Ordinary medications hadn’t worked,” says Catherine Gutfreund, M.D., “Alternative medicine is the old term for anything that was not Western medicine. Integrative medicine is now the term to use because alternative medicine gives the impression that it’s something other than traditional or Western medicine,” she adds.

Now Trending

Americans spend plenty of time on the job. From tech engineer to CEO, accountant to graphic designer, those working the usual nine to five spend plenty of time on the job. All of us deserve a workplace that fits. A typical scenario, say 40 hours a week (with no overtime and two weeks vacation) results in 2,000 hours a year, or 22.8 percent of someone’s life, transpiring at work. If some of that time is spent in pain resulting from the office environment such as computer-related eye strain, back pain or carpel tunnel syndrome—overwork can transform into outright disability. Even minor complaints can result in fatigue, dangerous loss of alertness and decreased productivity.

KSRO News Talk

On the night of October 8, 2017, Pat Kerrigan of KSRO News Talk awoke at her home in Kenwood. Outside, the wind howled. Across the street 30-foot high flames threatened. A fireman told her to get out. Kerrigan and her wife, Michele, grabbed their dog, Chance, jumped in the car and headed west on Bennett Valley Road. She sensed this was more than a neighborhood fire and headed for the radio station in Santa Rosa. Driving dark circuitous back roads, they arrived just after midnight.

The Great Gravenstein

The drive to Walker Apples in Graton is as picturesque as Sonoma County gets. What were once miles of apple orchards along Graton Road are now seemingly endless views of vineyards. West County looks more like Wine Country than apple country today, but 100 years ago, if you were visiting Sebastopol, you would see apple orchards lining the roads, not vineyards. And amongst them, one of the county’s most celebrated crop—the Gravenstein apple.

The Journey to Retirement

When people first meet with Ylisa Sanford, a private wealth advisor with Spectrum Private Wealth Advisors in Santa Rosa to discuss retirement planning, they’re typically full of questions and concerns. “They don’t know if they’re saving or investing enough, or making a return that’s appropriate,” she says. “They have a lot of disparate goals they may not feel are connected—college, education for children or grandchildren, retirement or estate planning, tax reduction. Then, they think about their portfolio. Are they saving in the right locations, in the right amount? Are they paying more or less than they should be for advice and investments? What happens if they’re disabled or pass away? What if the market crashes?” Add all that to the thought of advancing age and approaching retirement and you could develop a case of anxiety.

The Mondavi Legacy

The name Mondavi has been woven into the fabric of Napa Valley lore for as long as anyone can remember. The story begins more than 100 years ago, when Cesare and Rosa Mondavi moved to Minnesota from Sassoferrato, Italy in 1908. Cesare worked in the iron mines while Rosa turned their home into a boardinghouse for other immigrant miners. Cesare left the mines when he and Rosa started their family, and entered into a partnership with another Italian immigrant to open a small grocery store. The young couple had four children, and Cesare eventually sold his share of the store.

Vintage 2017

For the majority of North Bay wine grape growers, 2017 was a good year, with a wet spring that encouraged growth, summer hot spells that hastened ripening, and almost all grapes in the tanks before the firestorm. Quality was also ensured by growers’ cooperative efforts to power through the labor shortage.

Employee Owned

Thirty years ago on a November day, Steve Maass opened the first Oliver’s Market in Sonoma County, in Cotati. Like most successful companies, it started small, with only 13 employees. Growth was slow but steady, and as the grocery store gained a loyal following, it unveiled its second location in 2000, in the former Molsberry Market on Santa Rosa’s Montecito Boulevard. The Stony Point Road Oliver’s in Santa Rosa opened in 2007 in what had been a Ralph’s Market. In 2016, Oliver’s opened its fourth store, in Windsor––the first designed and built for the company.

Emeritus Vineyards

The story of Mari Jones and Emeritus Vineyards begins long before she was born. It began during the Vietnam War, when a general introduced Brice Jones, a young Air Force fighter pilot, to a fine French red wine. Brice, like most Americans, believed good red wine was bottled by the jug. The general had been introduced to fine French wine when his plane was shot down during World War II, and he shared his passion for French wines with young Brice.

Building A Better Path

Gangs were a given in the Santa Rosa community of Roseland, when Vicente Tlatilpa was growing up. It would have been easy for him to fall in with the wrong crowd, but instead, he found Conservation Corps North Bay (CCNB), which provides year-round job training and education services for disadvantaged youth. It turned out to be a life changer.

Age Friendly Cities

Marin and Sonoma counties have official Age-Friendly status, and Live Healthy, an initiative of Napa County’s Livable Communities, is incorporating the same elements to develop new strategies for meeting the needs of its aging population. 

Open for Business

One year after the Wine Country wildfires, both Sonoma and Napa are still suffering afterburn when it comes to tourism.

Cannabis As Medicine

In the pop culture of the ’60s, tie-dye attired hippies gathered in San Francisco’s Haight-Asbury district to smoke pot, protest the war in Viet Nam and advocate for civil rights. And though activism continued, attire evolved to faded denims, the preppy J. Crew look and Mad Men suits. Over the next two decades or so, cannabis, though still illegal, became socially acceptable replacing the martini at cocktail parties.    

The Dark Side of Sugar

This might be hard to swallow, but humans didn’t always possess such a sweet tooth for sugar. Sugar was once considered a “fodder” crop, which meant very little of it found its way into human diets. It’s presumed that in ancient times people chewed on sugarcane stalks occasionally. In the 1960s big sugar paid off scientists to downplay the effects of sugar on heart disease, and instead convinced them to place the blame on saturated fat as the nutritional scapegoat. These deceptive efforts persist to this day. In 2015, The New York Times found that “big sugar” behemoth Coca-Cola funded scientists who downplayed the link between sugar and obesity. The following year, The Associated Press revealed that “big sugar” companies funded studies claiming that children who eat candy weigh less than those who don’t. Fortunately, today’s scientific research on sugar isn\\\'t as artificial as it was a few decades ago.

Beyond The Bottle

Fine wine comes with certain expectations, and finding it in a bottle with a natural cork and an attractive label is likely to be close to the top of the list. Bottled wine undoubtedly has a certain allure. However, premium wines now come in containers other than glass and add convenience and sustainability to the sensory pleasure while maintaining its quality. As more consumers discover the benefits, alternative packaging is a trend on the upswing.

Wine Country Weddings

Scott and Yasmin Taylor met for the first time at a mutual friend’s birthday party in San Francisco in 2016. He asked her out on nine consecutive dates. “He wanted to make sure no one else had a chance to take me out in between,” says Yasmin. His plan worked, and the two fell for each other—often leaving the city to spend weekends in Sonoma County touring vineyards, tasting wine, and falling in love along the way. A year after they met, Scott proposed to Yasmin in the Healdsburg Plaza, one of their favorite places. She said yes, and the search for the perfect wedding venue began. “We wanted to find a venue that would tell our story—a place that made our guests feel as if they were whisked away to Wine Country heaven,” says Yasmin. “It was important for us to offer our family and friends a weekend to celebrate our wedding, but also to make a vacation out of it.” 


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In addition to our 12 monthly issues, NorthBay biz produces four special bonus issues during the year. A annual perspective on the North bay county by county, The NorthBay biz 500, a compilation of the top 500 revenue producing companies is published in February. In May our annual readers' poll of the best companies doing business in the North Bay hits the newsstands. And Finally our special NorthBay biz Wine/Harvest Fair issue is published in October.
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NorthBay Perspective



In this Issue

New Adventures in Wine Country

As each new generation of tourists arrived, they sought out wineries that offered something different from a standard tasting at the bar. Along the way, cave tours and blending seminars were offered...

Beyond The Bottle

Fine wine comes with certain expectations, and finding it in a bottle with a natural cork and an attractive label is likely to be close to the top of the list. Bottled wine undoubtedly has a certain...

Small Wonders

The modest entrance of Passalacqua winery in the heart of Dry Creek Valley offers sweeping vineyard views and an inviting patio lounge seating area underneath the shade of coastal redwood trees, sur...

See all...