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  • Solving Chronic Homeless

    Helping homeless members of the North Bay community find housing or shelter may seem impossible at times, but one national initiative has flipped the process on its head—and it’s working. The initiative is called Housing First, and it means just that.


    » read more

  • The North Bay Rental Market

    Each North Bay county has unique advantages and challenges in the rental market. Sonoma County has a central location and access to the 101 corridor, but is struggling to rebuild housing lost in the October 2017 fires. Marin County is balancing residents\\\' interest in minimal construction and strict environmental restrictions against a need for local labor. Napa County is meeting many of its goals, but facing the limits of agricultural restrictions.


    » read more

  • The Barlow After the Flood

    When an atmospheric river began dumping rain on Sonoma County in late February, no one at The Barlow was too concerned. The City of Sebastopol received frequent updates on potential flooding from Sonoma County’s Emergency Operations Center, and city staff passed the information to the upscale shopping district and its management. Additionally, a city-approved disaster plan designed to protect the property was ready to implement—the expected deployment of water barriers at The Barlow reassured tenants the most. The plan went awry, however, and by the early hours of Wednesday, Feb. 27, it was clear a flood was in control.


    » read more

  • Moving Home

    It has been almost two years since the devastating firestorms hit the North Bay in 2017, burning down 5,143 homes and leaving nothing but ash and debris in its wake. While to many the incident leaves behind memories of confusion and devastation, for the thousands who lost everything their journey is anywhere but over.


    » read more

  • Hubs for Hops

    The number of breweries that opened in the U.S. during the past 20 years has skyrocketed, as the popularity of craft beer has grown. As of 2018 there were 7,450, and another 2,500 are expected to open in the next two years. Before the National Prohibition Act of 1919, breweries dotted the landscape, but the act temporarily abolished the commercial market for alcoholic beverages. Without access to drinkers, the tradition of making specialty beers faded and verged on extinction. Today, there’s a renaissance, and it began in Sonoma.


    » read more

  • Outrunning Cancer

    The fear of breast cancer can cast a dark shadow over a woman’s life. It’s one of the most common types of cancer in females, and it’s the rare person who doesn’t know someone who’s received a diagnosis. The National Cancer Institute expects 271,270 new cases in the United States in 2019, so it’s a valid concern. Women can be proactive, however, by learning about the risk factors and taking steps to protect themselves.


    » read more

  • Targeting the Future

    “Being informed won’t help you design a competitive benefit program. Being advised will.” That’s the mission of Arrow Benefits Group, a rapidly growing employee benefits consulting firm that has won multiple awards and become a thought leader in the industry. More importantly, it helps employers and employees navigate the world of company benefits with a flexible approach.


    » read more

  • Are You Covered?

    It’s one in the morning and you wake to see the red glow of fire through the window, or you’re driving in rainy conditions, and your car skids toward an oncoming car. Are you covered? Catastrophic loss is what too many people have suffered, but many still don’t think it can happen to them. But it could, and in the world of insurance, it’s best to be prepared.


    » read more

  • Refreshing a Brand

    Why does a company rebrand itself? For Santa Rosa-based Summit State Bank, it was a desire to update a “tired” image, says Roni Brown, the bank’s senior vice president and marketing director, and a veteran of the banking industry.


    » read more

  • Banking on Cannabis

    At any time of day, the average looking car or van driving near you on a city street or zipping past you on Highway 101 could be filled with a half-million dollars of legal cannabis industry cash. Stacks and stacks of bills gathered from cannabis retailers and manufacturers zigzag here and there, being transported from one private safe haven to another because the typical federally-insured consumer bank will not accept large amounts of paper money from this industry.


    » read more

  • Family Roots

    One of the oldest wineries along West Dry Creek Road in Sonoma County is A. Rafanelli Winery. Nestled on a knoll that offers a sweeping view of the valley, the rustic winery is still family-owned and operated. And though it operates by appointment-only reservations and there’s a gate at the bottom of a hill that requires a code, it has remained true to its family traditions and heritage.


    » read more

  • Ghost Wineries

    By all accounts, Napa Valley’s fledgling wine industry was thriving in the 1800s during th peak of the Gold Rush. While creating new fortunes, the thrill of winemaking beckoned. It was a pioneering era, and by the turn of the century, more than 140 wineries were established and thriving — but it didn’t last. Prohibition forced all but a handful of wineries to close, and many owners simply abandoned their property. The wine industry was debilitated, leaving little more than ghost wineries and memories.


    » read more

  • Cabernet Season

    “Grapes are promiscuous,” says Liz Thach, distinguished professor of wine and management at Sonoma State University. “They like to breed with one another to create new varietals. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon is the offspring of Cabernet Franc. In Bordeaux, as a result of vintage variation, they frequently blend Cabernet to enhance flavor and complexity. In cooler years, it’s sometimes difficult to ripen Cab, which is another reason why they blend.”


    » read more

  • Wine and Food Pairing

    When all of us first began enjoying wine in adulthood, we heard the same old chestnut: white wine with fish, red wine with meat. It was a rule destined to be broken, if not seriously twisted like a corkscrew.


    » read more

North Bay News and Stories

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Novato Cannabis, BioMarin Expands and Marin IJ Woes

 When it comes to cannabis, Marin’s cities are in a quandary, putting those in that sector and those wishing to open a business in a holding pattern.

Almost 69 percent of voters in Marin approved adult-use of cannabis legalization in 2016 via Prop 64. But as of this writing, mid-May, there is exactly one place in Marin to buy cannabis, Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, the oldest dispensary in the country. That said, the Fairfax outlet is only allowed to sell medical cannabis. Voters there recently said “yes” to allowing drivers from Marin Alliance to deliver recreational cannabis within the town limits.

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How your Agribusiness Can Benefit From Mergers and Acquisitions Activity

Agribusiness is the business of agricultural production. Private equity investors, family offices and agribusiness management funds are increasingly investing in agribusiness companies—and for good reason. Several factors make it an opportune time for investment in the space: record fundraising levels and the need to deploy capital; a fragmented industry facing opportunities with capital investment; technology innovation; and growing food demand.

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Russian River Vineyards


Did You Know? Russian River Vineyards’ origins date back to 1890. The site was used primarily as family farmland. In 1930, new owners took control and started to offer food at an eight-seat roadhouse restaurant. There was a ready clientele from travelers using a nearby railroad. The restaurant remains and is still used today to provide local cheeses, charcuterie plates and vegetarian options for wine tasters. The spirit of sharing freshly prepared hot food is still a tradition at the winery. Today, a brick oven is used to churn out pizzas on Sunday afternoons starting in June.

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Work/Life/In Focus

Why did Sebastiani saddle a high-end wine with an onerous name like Gehricke? “What I loved about the name is that it’s a mouthful, difficult to pronounce and read. Gehricke is an old family town [in Sonoma County] from the 1800s to 1900s,” says Sebastiani, who spent time exploring the local countryside as a young boy. “There was also a street, Gehricke Road, named after them. They were just a family that owned a piece of dirt, and no one knows what happened to them. I was intrigued by the name—a gritty Sonoma County back road name.” For Sebastiani, Gehricke wine is a tribute to one such road.

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Float the Boat


I will caveat this rant with the proclamation that I love living in the Napa Valley. There is no place I would rather live and raise my family. That being said, I feel like the area has gotten more overpriced and exclusionary than ever. I have to wonder if in catering to the all mighty tourist, have we overlooked the very people who live in our communities. Those that make the Napa Valley what it is today—one of the most amazing wine regions in the world.

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Fern Bar


During the late ’70s and early ’80s, a “fern bar” was American slang for an upscale tavern, known for its cocktail selections. They were popular meeting places for young singles and were typically decorated with ferns, retro sofas and faux Tiffany lamps. The new Fern Bar, located at The Barlow in Sebastopol, offers a hip, sophisticated nod to that era, complete with a modern space, hanging foliage and a selection of inventive garden-to-glass cocktails.

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Aseem Das

As the founder of World Centric, a producer of compostable food service and tableware products, Aseem Das has the future in mind, just as he did when working on artificial intelligence for NASA before founding his Petaluma-based company.

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Sue Conley and Peg Smith, Cowgirl Creamery

Sue Conley and Peg Smith didn’t always live in the Bay Area—they had to migrate west, like true cowgirls. The co-founders of Cowgirl Creamery and Tomales Bay Foods met at the University of Tennessee after Conley’s upbringing in Washington D.C. and Smith’s formative years in the southern U.S. Before becoming artisan cheese pioneers, Peg spent 17 years at Berkeley’s visionary restaurant, Chez Panisse, and Sue co-owned Bette’s Oceanview Diner, also in Berkeley.

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On The Road To Driverless Cars

So, I bought a new car. My new ride is 2019 Lexus ES 300h (for hybrid), though the all-electric Chevy Bolt was tempting, in this day of four-buck gasoline, as was the new Tesla Model 3. It’s also crammed with new technology.

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Distilling Winemakers

Making wine is no simple task. Wine grapes are only harvested once a year, whereas beer and spirits—which are mostly grain based—can be made just about whenever the mood strikes the producer. While a winemaker can hope to make 40 or 50 vintages of wine over a lifetime, a brewer of beer or a distiller of whiskey can potentially make thousands of batches.

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Cannabis: Is It Safe


If you need a reminder about the “target market” for drug sales, try watching an episode or two of The Price is Right. Two recent episodes included 13 ads for pharmaceutical products, including Humira, Jardiance, Dupixent and Farxiga. Equally impressive were the warnings about possible side effects, including muscle weakness, trouble breathing or swallowing, blurred vision, bruising, stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, nervousness, yeast infection, respiratory tract infection, skin rash, pink eye, oral herpes, keratitis, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, ear infection, nosebleed, constipation, changes in urination, low blood pressure, high blood potassium, anemia, hair loss, kidney failure, and, oh yes, death.

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Work/Life/Green

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) compiles data each year from the USDA to provide a quick cheat sheet, listing produce that has the most—and least—pesticide residue. Following is EWG’s 2019 shopper’s guide to the dirty dozen and clean 15.

Targeted Advertisements on the Internet

We’ve all had the experience of visiting a website about, say, the best patio furniture to buy, and then seeing advertisements for patio furniture as we visit other websites. I recently visited the Wealthfront website (www.wealthfront.com) to learn more about their cash account, which currently pays 2.51 percent. Now I see ads for Wealthfront when I’m on Facebook and other sites that display ads. Most people find ads that follow them around the Internet either magical or creepy.

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Solving Chronic Homeless

Helping homeless members of the North Bay community find housing or shelter may seem impossible at times, but one national initiative has flipped the process on its head—and it’s working. The initiative is called Housing First, and it means just that.

img
The North Bay Rental Market

Each North Bay county has unique advantages and challenges in the rental market. Sonoma County has a central location and access to the 101 corridor, but is struggling to rebuild housing lost in the October 2017 fires. Marin County is balancing residents\\\' interest in minimal construction and strict environmental restrictions against a need for local labor. Napa County is meeting many of its goals, but facing the limits of agricultural restrictions.

img
The Barlow After the Flood

When an atmospheric river began dumping rain on Sonoma County in late February, no one at The Barlow was too concerned. The City of Sebastopol received frequent updates on potential flooding from Sonoma County’s Emergency Operations Center, and city staff passed the information to the upscale shopping district and its management. Additionally, a city-approved disaster plan designed to protect the property was ready to implement—the expected deployment of water barriers at The Barlow reassured tenants the most. The plan went awry, however, and by the early hours of Wednesday, Feb. 27, it was clear a flood was in control.

img
Moving Home

It has been almost two years since the devastating firestorms hit the North Bay in 2017, burning down 5,143 homes and leaving nothing but ash and debris in its wake. While to many the incident leaves behind memories of confusion and devastation, for the thousands who lost everything their journey is anywhere but over.

Bollywood Bar and Clay Oven

Bollywood is the Indian-Hindi language film industry, based in Mumbai, formerly Bombay. The term “Bollywood” is a portamanteau of “Bombay” and “Hollywood.” It’s also a haute spot in downtown Santa Rosa, bringing a different vibe to the restaurant scene with the exotic flavors of India.

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Hubs for Hops

The number of breweries that opened in the U.S. during the past 20 years has skyrocketed, as the popularity of craft beer has grown. As of 2018 there were 7,450, and another 2,500 are expected to open in the next two years. Before the National Prohibition Act of 1919, breweries dotted the landscape, but the act temporarily abolished the commercial market for alcoholic beverages. Without access to drinkers, the tradition of making specialty beers faded and verged on extinction. Today, there’s a renaissance, and it began in Sonoma.

img
Outrunning Cancer

The fear of breast cancer can cast a dark shadow over a woman’s life. It’s one of the most common types of cancer in females, and it’s the rare person who doesn’t know someone who’s received a diagnosis. The National Cancer Institute expects 271,270 new cases in the United States in 2019, so it’s a valid concern. Women can be proactive, however, by learning about the risk factors and taking steps to protect themselves.

img
Targeting the Future

“Being informed won’t help you design a competitive benefit program. Being advised will.” That’s the mission of Arrow Benefits Group, a rapidly growing employee benefits consulting firm that has won multiple awards and become a thought leader in the industry. More importantly, it helps employers and employees navigate the world of company benefits with a flexible approach.

Heal Thyself or at the Very Least Rebrand

It is all about the brand these days, just ask that guy living in the White House. And the lesson is not lost on Marin General Hospital, which has become MarinHealth Medical Center.

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Are You Covered?

It’s one in the morning and you wake to see the red glow of fire through the window, or you’re driving in rainy conditions, and your car skids toward an oncoming car. Are you covered? Catastrophic loss is what too many people have suffered, but many still don’t think it can happen to them. But it could, and in the world of insurance, it’s best to be prepared.

img
Refreshing a Brand

Why does a company rebrand itself? For Santa Rosa-based Summit State Bank, it was a desire to update a “tired” image, says Roni Brown, the bank’s senior vice president and marketing director, and a veteran of the banking industry.

Water and Land Use Wars

In a land that lives and dies by its grapes and the luxury gourmet food and wine scene, there has been a lot of moving and shaking, as if foreshadowing what feels like the beginning and end of certain Wine Country eras.

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Banking on Cannabis

At any time of day, the average looking car or van driving near you on a city street or zipping past you on Highway 101 could be filled with a half-million dollars of legal cannabis industry cash. Stacks and stacks of bills gathered from cannabis retailers and manufacturers zigzag here and there, being transported from one private safe haven to another because the typical federally-insured consumer bank will not accept large amounts of paper money from this industry.

Nature is Calling About Your Health

On weekends, leisure time often involves indoor activities, especially in the winter months. What may not seem obvious to us as we pursue our busy schedules is that being indoors and spending more time under artificial light can have a negative effect on our health over time.
 

Remote Control

I’ve recently joined the roughly 3 percent of the American workforce who work remotely more than half the week. In my case, I’ve traded my daily bus commute to San Francisco’s Financial District for a walk down the hall to the converted bedroom that my wife and I share as a home office. But, why are there so few remote workers?

Amazons New Push Into Wine

In August 2017, Amazon purchased Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion and gained a mainstream grocery brand with more than 430 physical stores, a well-oiled supply chain and 330 liquor licenses across 41 states. In December 2017, Amazon ceased their dedicated online Amazon Wine program to focus their alcohol sales toward more on-demand services such as Amazon Fresh, Prime Now and Whole Foods Markets.

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Family Roots

One of the oldest wineries along West Dry Creek Road in Sonoma County is A. Rafanelli Winery. Nestled on a knoll that offers a sweeping view of the valley, the rustic winery is still family-owned and operated. And though it operates by appointment-only reservations and there’s a gate at the bottom of a hill that requires a code, it has remained true to its family traditions and heritage.

img
Ghost Wineries

By all accounts, Napa Valley’s fledgling wine industry was thriving in the 1800s during th peak of the Gold Rush. While creating new fortunes, the thrill of winemaking beckoned. It was a pioneering era, and by the turn of the century, more than 140 wineries were established and thriving — but it didn’t last. Prohibition forced all but a handful of wineries to close, and many owners simply abandoned their property. The wine industry was debilitated, leaving little more than ghost wineries and memories.

Harvest Tunes

For those in the business of wine, music can be essential to the winemaking process. This year we asked a number of notable winemakers in Napa and Sonoma counties to share their music playlist preferences and habits that keep them and their crews going this harvest season.

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Cabernet Season

“Grapes are promiscuous,” says Liz Thach, distinguished professor of wine and management at Sonoma State University. “They like to breed with one another to create new varietals. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon is the offspring of Cabernet Franc. In Bordeaux, as a result of vintage variation, they frequently blend Cabernet to enhance flavor and complexity. In cooler years, it’s sometimes difficult to ripen Cab, which is another reason why they blend.”

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Work/Life/Biz

There are the meetings that drone on and on, the meetings where everyone is fiddling with their smartphones, and the meeting that someone hijacks and leaves you wondering why you’re even there. According to a survey of professionals by Salary.com, meetings ranked as the No. 1 productivity killer. (Dealing with office politics was No. 2.) But there are strategies for running an effective meeting. Here are seven tips to make them more productive.

 

 

In this Issue

Are You Covered?

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

Family Roots

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

Harvest Tunes

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

See all...

  

 

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