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Wine & food

Artisnal or Over The Top

Columnist: Christina Julian
Sep, 2019 Issue

Since I moved to Napa Valley more than a decade ago, I’ve seen many changes. One of the more dramatic, has been in the tasting room. Gone are the days when you could roll into a winery unannounced to swirl and sip, oftentimes for free, alongside tourists who stood gobsmacked by the Napa Valley lifestyle. A time when casual was “in” and public tasting rooms were the norm.

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Chinas Wine Tariffs Result in US Disadvantage

Columnist: Tim Carl
Sep, 2019 Issue

In 2000, the market share of U.S. wines in China was 10 percent. In 2018, it had dropped to less than 3 percent, and it’s still shrinking. California accounts for roughly 90 percent of U.S. wine production, which means our fine state is feeling the brunt of this decline.

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Willis Wine Bar

Author: Karen Hart
Sep, 2019 Issue

Willi’s Wine Bar is a restaurant that completely captures the magic of Sonoma County. Casual and low-key, it’s the sort of place where you can celebrate special occasions, or stop by on your own and enjoy a spectacular plate of food with a glass of vino and run into your neighbor.

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Flowers Vineyards and Winery

Author: Karen Hart
Sep, 2019 Issue

Did You Know? Founded in 1991, Joan and Walt Flowers pioneered the growing of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir on the rugged coastal ridges of the Sonoma Coast to capture its spirit and wild beauty. Known as the “wilderness winemakers,” Flowers Vineyards & Winery began as a Chardonnay House. Over the years, it developed a reputation for its Pinot Noirs, but for winemaker Chantal Forthun, reintroducing their Chardonnays to guests is a passion project. “Chardonnay is a blank canvas,” says Forthun. “It lends itself to maximum transparency of the site where it’s grown.”

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Wine and Weed Tours

Author: Mallorie Kerrigan
Aug, 2019 Issue

  Whether you’ve heard of them or not, been on one, or know someone who has, wine and weed tours are a growing trend in Wine Country, drawing visitors from around the world to experience not just wine sipping, but weed smoking, too. With the excitement over California’s recreational cannabis laws, the cannabis culture is evolving, with several entrepreneurs jumping on the opportunity to start a tour business. But strict regulations and many gray areas to work within can make for a confusing day of tasting.

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Why Support a 15 Dollar Citywide Minimum Wage

Columnist: Martin J. Bennett
Aug, 2019 Issue

Cities across the North Bay are considering legislation to establish a $15/ per hour minimum wage by 2020—three years earlier than the state minimum wage is gradually phased in to $15 for all employers.

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Seven Stones

Author: Michael Barnes
Aug, 2019 Issue

Seven Stones Winery prefers the minor brush strokes of artfully-crafted wine. The winery refers to itself as a “jewel box winery,” meaning high-quality wines but small-production releases. All of Seven Stones’ wines are a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with Cabernet Franc, and the property itself is a blend of a private estate, art installation and winery.

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Russian River Vineyards

Author: Luke Straub
Jul, 2019 Issue

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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Distilling Winemakers

Columnist: Tim Carl
Jul, 2019 Issue

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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Best Sparkling Wine

Author: Luke Straub
NBB Best Of, Jun, 2019

Gloria Ferrer, namesake of the 2019 Best Of winner in NorthBay biz magazine’s Sparkling Wine category, has an unrivaled collection of champagne flutes, but that didn’t stop her from creating her own design. In collaboration with Sonoma artist, Alex Leader, she took a classic feature—a wide bowl to enhance the wine’s scent—and combined it with a modern, sleek neck to showcase the wine’s bubbles.

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Best Zinfandel

Author: Karen Hart
NBB Best Of, Jun, 2019

If you’re from Sonoma County, then chances are you know a bottle of A. Rafanelli Zinfandel isn’t easy to come by. A fourth-generation, family-owned operation, A. Rafanelli Winery is well regarded for its reds, so it’s not surprising it was voted Best Zinfandel for the fourth time in NorthBay biz magazine’s annual readers’ poll.

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The Mutt of the Wine World

Columnist: Christina Julian
May, 2019 Issue

When it comes to dogs, I’ve always been a mutt lover. Gravitating to those adoring mix-breed hounds with grateful eyes, perfect temperament and always-be-wagging tails. This choice has been an instinctual one, that was less about settling and more about one-of-a-kind originality. Decades of pet ownership later, my stance on blended breeds remains unchanged. As for my wine drinking preferences, the same tendency has not always applied.

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A Pot-Loving Friend\\\'s Point of View about Wine

Columnist: Tim Carl
May, 2019 Issue

Recently, I had a conversation with my cannabis-loving friend, a pot-smoking Silicon Valley entrepreneur whom I’ll call Bob. He’s preferred weed over wine for years. I mentioned how the world of wine is changing, including massive competition, a slowing of growth and shifting from the view that wine is healthy.

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Food For The Soul

Author: Cerrissa Kim & Petter Westby
Apr, 2019 Issue

International flavors from around the world right in your own backyard

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ZO Wines

Columnist: Michael Barnes
Apr, 2019 Issue

Did You Know? The word “Zo” is Japanese for elephant. Owner and Winemaker David Eckert, who spent most of his career in Asia in the finance industry, met his wife, a Japanese woman, in Tokyo. The two married in Japan and share a love of elephants. The ZO Wines’ logo is made up of a single line that creates the elephant image. “Elephants are interconnected to sustainability and the entire world,” Eckert says. And in this sense, ZO Wines wants to be the elephant in the room. The winery allocates 1 percent of net sales for elephant preservation and requires that 1 percent of all employees’ time be donated to working with local charity outreach.

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Gender And Wine

Columnist: Tim Carl
Apr, 2019 Issue

Will there ever be equanimity between genders within the world of wine? Hopefully, but it won’t happen without a lot of change. I’ve been in the wine industry for years as both a writer and a vintner, and I’ve worked with both male and female winemakers, viticulturists, marketing and sales professionals, and a host of other roles.

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Airbnb Hosts-Wine Countrys True Ambassadors

Columnist: Sandy Metzger
Apr, 2019 Issue

What does one do with an empty cottage? Create a vacation rental.

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New Adventures in Wine Country

Author: Jean Saylor Doppenberg
Mar, 2019 Issue

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, among other activities. Members-only wine clubs began popping up, offering a whiff of exclusivity for aficionados who agreed to spend good money to receive regular shipments of a producer’s wine, sometimes available only to members. Today, nearly every local winery offers a wine club, and the days of free tastings are long gone, with a few exceptions.

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Beyond The Bottle

Author: Judith M. Wilson
Mar, 2019 Issue

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.

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Small Wonders

Author: Stephanie Derammelaere
Mar, 2019 Issue

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.

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Wine Country Weddings

Author: Mallorie Kerrigan
Mar, 2019 Issue

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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V.Sattui, St Helena

Columnist: Mallorie Kerrigan
Mar, 2019 Issue

If you’ve ever visited V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena, you’ve likely been wowed by the lengthy wine selection, artisan deli and quaint picnic grounds. What you might not know is V. Sattui Winery is celebrating 134 years in business, a milestone that all began with a bread maker, a breadwinner and delicious homemade wine.

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Rustics—a tavola

Columnist: Karen Hart
Mar, 2019 Issue

The heartbeat of Italian life occurs around the dinner table. And though Francis Ford Coppola was born in Detroit, Mich., his grandparents emigrated from Italy, and young Francis grew up with traditional values, which included Sunday night dinners with family. Coppola’s vision was to create a dining experience reminiscent of his childhood at the winery’s restaurant, Rustic. Every Tuesday night, Rustic offers a tavola (pronounced a TAH-voh-la), which means “to the table.”

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Work/Life/Wine

Mar, 2019 Issue

Wine drinkers may soon be sipping wine from bottles made with sugar, with no label and delivered via drone, according to a report by Armit Wines and food futurologist, Morgaine Gaye. Here’s a look at what may be the next big trends in wine.

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Wildcatting, Pharmaceuticals & the Business of Wine

Columnist: Lawrence Amaturo
Mar, 2019 Issue

Along the dusty, oil-soaked towns of northern Texas, most folks are on what they refer to as the “upstream” or “downstream” ends of the petroleum industry. Thousands are either wildcatting for oil, supplying the necessary drills, rigs, pipes or chemicals to make a go of it, providing food and shelter for residents and wanderers alike, or merely living high off the success of those who preceded them.

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California Wine as an Investment

Columnist: Tim Carl
Mar, 2019 Issue

When investors in the stock market become uncertain, they often switch to safer investments such as gold, silver and bonds.

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George Christie, Founder & CEO, Wine Industry Network

Author: Mallorie Kerrigan
Mar, 2019 Issue

George Christie is the founder, president and chief executive officer of Wine Industry Network (WIN). The company keeps industry professionals informed about current trends and industry news, as well as the latest products, services, jobs, and innovations in the production, viticulture, sales, marketing and management categories.

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Wine Producers Shift from Exclusivity to Inclusivity

Columnist: Tim Carl
Feb, 2019 Issue

The increase of U.S. wine consumption over several decades has flattened. The top 30 U.S. producers sell 90 percent of the wine sold in America, but there’s an ever-increasing number of wineries, with every state in the country having at least one. (And yes, even Alaska has about half a dozen wineries, the oldest of which is Denali Winery, located in Anchorage.) This dynamic—flat growth and an increasing number of producers—has resulted in strong competition for existing wine consumers and even pushed some wine companies to begin shifting their marketing focus from exclusivity to inclusivity.

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Freeman Vineyard and Winery

Columnist: Karen Hart
Feb, 2019 Issue

Nestled along a quiet, country road west of Sebastopol and surrounded by Redwood trees, you’ll find Freeman Vineyard & Winery, known for its critically-acclaimed wines. To the left of the winery’s cellar is the Gloria Estate Vineyard and above the wine cellar doors, surrounded in stone is a small, modest sign that reads: “Freeman 9-28-85.” These two elements are part of the winery’s charm and a nod to its owners, Ken and Akiko Freeman, and their serendipitous encounter more than 30 years ago.

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David Goodman

Author: Mallorie Kerrigan
Jan, 2019 Issue

When David Goodman made a career change in 1994, he interviewed with the San Francisco Food Bank. Asked why he wanted the job, he replied that he wasn’t there to feed hungry people, but to work hard, and if hungry people benefited, it would be a job well done. Today, he’s the chief executive officer of Redwood Empire Food Bank in Santa Rosa—a nonprofit organization with a mission to end hunger in the community, serving one in six people in Sonoma County. 

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J Rickards Winery

Columnist: Mallorie Kerrigan
Jan, 2019 Issue

Jim Rickards is not your average grape grower. He takes chances, regularly tests new grape varietals in “the cradle” (his experimental plot), and works as a registered nurse in the intensive care unit at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital when he’s not in the vineyards. His boutique winery, J. Rickards, is nothing short of a success, with award-winning wines and a loyal fan base enjoying what Rickards calls, “Darn Fine Barn Wine."

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Wine Trends To Watch In 2019

Columnist: Tim Carl
Jan, 2019 Issue

The world of wine is changing, and 2019 is poised to be a year full of both opportunities and challenges for Northern California winemakers and growers alike. Here are the trends to watch.

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The Demand for Non-alcoholic Wine Expected to Increase

Columnist: Tim Carl
Nov, 2018 Issue

There has been a recent uptick in the sale of non-alcoholic wines and beers, according to Global Market Insights. The estimates are that this trend will increase in the coming years, reaching a compound annual growth rate of 7.6 percent in 2024. If this is accurate, what in 2017 was a $16 billion global market could grow to more than $26 billion by 2024. Why the sudden interest in non-alcoholic wine? Health, generational changes and alternatives?

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Emeritus Vineyards

Author: Bonnie Durrance
Nov, 2018 Issue

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.

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Twomey Cellars

Columnist: Mallorie Kerrigan
Nov, 2018 Issue

Twomey Cellars was founded around the winery’s Napa Valley Merlot. But in 2007, the first wine from the Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Maria kick-started the Pinot program. Driven by unique vineyard acquisition opportunities and key grower relationships, they evolved into a Pinot Noir house, producing eight distinct Pinots from Central California to Oregon.

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Reap or Sow?

Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2018

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

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Uncorked

Author: Judith M. Wilson
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2018

A gleaming bottle of fine wine with a perfect, natural cork has a special mystique. And while the wine within is the primary focus, the cork has a vital role, too. The distinctive pop that goes with opening a lovely effervescent sparkling wine is synonymous with special occasions, and uncorking a bottle of a still varietal is part of the ritual that goes with the first sip. And so, as small as a cork might be, it adds immeasurably to the experience, as well as fulfilling its most important purpose—sealing a bottle to preserve a wine while allowing its qualities to develop.

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The Mondavi Legacy

Author: Jean Saylor Doppenberg
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2018

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.

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First Glass

Author: Karen Hart
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2018

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.

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Vintage 2017

Author: Jessica Zimmer
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2018

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.

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Canned Wine—A Blast from the Past

Columnist: Tim Carl
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2018

Wine in glass bottles is so yesterday, it seems. Whereas wine sales in the United States have been flat in the last year, sales of canned wines have jumped an impressive 43 percent, with younger drinkers driving the trend, Forbes reports. Many of these wines have additions to them, such as lemonade or other fruit juices, making them more like alcoholic sodas than expressions of terroir. And although the category remains small, I expect the selection of wines coming in tinned six-packs and the range of flavorings to increase in the coming decade.

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The Fine Art of Bubbly

Author: Jennie Orvino
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2018

“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.” 

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Sonoma Countys Place in the Global Wine Market

Columnist: Karissa Kruse
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2018

Recently, I was invited to attend a global wine think tank—Fine Minds 4 Fine Wines (FM4FW). The three-day conference in Champagne, France, engaged experts from around the world representing different disciplines of wine and grape growing. The goal of the conference was to find ways to collaborate to support an on-going successful wine community and business. It was inspiring, thought-provoking, and exactly what a data- seeking, collaborating, ag-loving nerd like me lives for!

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Mauritson Wines

Author: Karen Hart
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2018

The Mauritson family story began 150 years ago when S.P. Hallengren, known for his enterprising spirit, staked claim to a parcel of land and planted vines. Later, he expanded the family acreage piece and parcel by working the land of other area homesteaders, eventually paying them $1 an acre.

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Adobe Road Winery

Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2018

At Adobe Road Winery, their competitive edge stemming from a history of exotic sports car racing along with relationships developed with local wine growers, gives them a high-speed advantage. Kevin Buckler, owner of the winery and The Racers Group (TRG) in Petaluma, knows what it takes to build a winning team.

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VASO Cellars at Dana Estates

Author: Karen Hart
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2018

The property at Dana Estates was founded in 1883 by H.W. Helms, a German viticulturist who built a winery at the northern edge of what is now known as the Rutherford appellation. During Prohibition, the winery was left to ruins for years and became one of the notable ghost wineries of Napa Valley.

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The Sonoma Coast: 42 Miles of Heaven

Columnist: Monty & Sara Preiser
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2018

For so many of us who live here, and to the hundreds of thousands who choose to visit, life in the Bay Area comes about as close to paradise as one can imagine. One distinct region of beauty is the Sonoma Coast, which ranges north to south about 42 miles from Bodega Bay to Sea Ranch, and includes about six miles inland, where charming towns and villages such as Occidental, Jenner, Forestville, Monte Rio, Sebastopol and Valley Ford are located.

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Steve Dutton

Author: Mallorie Kerrigan
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2018

Steve Dutton is a fifth generation Sonoma County farmer and a life-long resident of Sebastopol. He is partners with Dan Goldfield in Dutton-Goldfield Winery, and is also partners with his brother, Joe, operating Dutton Ranch and Dutton Bros. Farming. The brothers farm more than 1,200 acres of grapes and 200 acres of organic apples within the Russian River Valley appellation.

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Work/Life/People

Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2018

After more than 45 years in the business of wine, Bruce Cohn, founder of B.R. Cohn Winery in Sonoma County and former manager of several famous Bay Area music groups, sold Olive Hill and B.R. Cohn in 2015. Today, Cohn is back for an encore, launching his passion project—a new estate wine from Trestle Glen Vineyards with his friend and B.R. Cohn winemaker of 15 vintages, Tom Montgomery.

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Cheap Wine: Hack or Worthy?

Columnist: Christina Julian
Oct, 2018 Issue

Before I moved to Napa Valley, I was a dreamer. I fantasized of a life that did not involve LA gridlock, gawking at celebrities, nor navigating around red carpet struts on my way to the supermarket. Perpetually stuck in traffic, my dreams of a creative career illuminated—me squirreled away and writing in an idyllic spot, birds tweeting outside my window with a vineyard view, as I sipped artisanal coffee by day and sublime affordable wines by night.

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Treating Smoke Taint: The New Normal

Columnist: Tim Carl
Oct, 2018 Issue

In 2010, California saw 6,502 wildfires that consumed 108,742 acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. In 2017, the numbers jumped to 9,560 fires and 1,266,224 burned acres. This year might be higher. Wildfires are a threat to lives and livelihoods—and also to wine. Because smoke from fires can impart unpalatable flavors to wine, scientists are working on solutions for removing “smoke taint,” but as of yet there are few good options.

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Bacigalupi Vineyards

Columnist: Mallorie Kerrigan
Oct, 2018 Issue

In the northern corner of the Russian River Valley lies a petit tasting room, tucked between acres of vineyards and old oak trees. Quaint and serene, Bacigalupi [Bah-ChEE-ga-Loop-EE] Vineyards on Westside Road is old school Healdsburg.

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Tailored Tastings

Author: Stephanie Derammelaere
Sep, 2018 Issue

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.

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Avoiding the Discount Trap in Wine Pricing

Columnist: Tim Carl
Sep, 2018 Issue

Because the wine industry is now oversaturated with brands that have followed the “premiumization” bubble, some experts are extolling the virtue of discounting wine to increase sales. But don’t be too quick to take the bait because once price becomes your key value proposition, it’s nearly impossible to do anything more than chase your tail into the discount bin at your local supermarket or online flash-sale site.

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Pongos Kitchen & Tap

Columnist: Karen Hart
Sep, 2018 Issue

Pongo’s Kitchen & Tap 701 Sonoma Mountain Pkwy C8 Petaluma, Calif. (707) 765-9800 Thai-Inspired Cuisine Wine/Beer/Cocktails Entrees $12.95-$18.95

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Armida Winery

Columnist: Karen Hart
Sep, 2018 Issue

2201 Westside Road Healdsburg, Calif. 95448 (707) 433-2222 www.armida.com Hours: 11a.m.-5 p.m. daily, except holidays

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Gamble Family Vineyards

Columnist: Karen Hart
Aug, 2018 Issue

Farming first isn’t just a platitude for Tom Gamble, the man behind Gamble Family Vineyards, located off St. Helena Highway in Napa Valley. It’s a philosophy and a way of life. A third-generation farmer, Gamble has been influenced by his ancestors since childhood. “My most lasting memory of childhood is dirt,” says Gamble.

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Madrona Manor

Columnist: Karen Hart
Aug, 2018 Issue

Nestled at the top of a hillside on Westside Road, Madrona Manor was once the home of John Paxton, a successful businessman, who was involved in numerous enterprises and his wife, Hannah. During the 1880s and 1890s, it was known as Madrona Knoll Rancho and was considered the grandest of homes in Healdsburg. Bill and Trudi Konrad purchased the manor in 1999 and made extensive renovations to maintain its elegant charm.

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Amys Drive Thru

Author: Stephanie Derammelaere
Jul, 2018 Issue

Fast food is synonymous with greasy, unhealthy, fat and sodium-laden food, but Petaluma-based Amy’s Kitchen is aiming to change that perception single-handedly with “healthy fast food.” Though it may be an oxymoron, healthy fast food is quickly serving the likes of consumers, and Amy’s Drive Thru is the shining light in the dark vast sea of national-chain fast food competitors. And if one company can change an industry, Amy’s can.

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Napa Valley Wine Train

Author: Jane Hodges Young
Jul, 2018 Issue

The Napa Valley Wine Train (NVWT) was formerly owned by the DeDomenico Family, former owners of Golden Grain Pasta, Rice-A-Roni and the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. Three years ago, the NVWT was a tired business model. It mostly offered the same tour and the same food as it had for the past 27 years. The cars were the worn. The energy level was low. Since then, it’s been a runaway train of creative ideas, new partnerships and a whole new bandwidth of community investment—not only in money, but also in personal involvement.

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An Overabundance of Wine Professionals

Columnist: Tim Carl
Jul, 2018 Issue

In the last couple of decades, the number of formally trained wine professionals has exploded. Each year more than 2,000 winemaking students have earned degrees—a bachelor’s, master’s or Ph.D.—and graduate from top-tier programs in the United States alone. Thousands more, through dozens of accredited colleges and hundreds of internships and apprenticeship training programs, are provided some sort of certificate of winemaking. Beyond the burgeoning numbers of winemakers (enology), vineyard (viticulture) programs also continue to expand, as does the popularity of programs for becoming a certified sommelier.

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Vineyards as Firebreaks

Author: Tim Carl
Jul, 2018 Issue

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.

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VML Winery

Author: Mallorie Kerrigan
Jul, 2018 Issue

The drive along Dry Creek Road, with its picturesque vineyards in the Dry Creek Valley, is an experience in itself. An added treat to the region is VML—a whimsical winery nestled in the valley that is both playful and amusing and feels like a different land altogether.

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The Power of Education & Challenges in the Skilled Labor Market

Columnist: Lawrence Amaturo
Jun, 2018 Issue

Welcome to our “Education and Jobs” issue! This year, Santa Rosa Junior College celebrates its centennial—100 years of service to the community. Many accomplished people in every profession started their academic careers at a community college. Steve Jobs started Apple Computers in the Jobs’ family garage with a fellow student from De Anza College (Cupertino, Calif.). Eileen Collins, a retired NASA astronaut, was the first female pilot and first female commander of a Space Shuttle, graduated from Corning Community College (Corning, New York) in 1976. And two-time academy award winner, Tom Hanks, studied theater at Chabot College (Hayward, Calif.), before transferring to California State University, Sacramento.

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One Glass of Wine a Day?

Columnist: Tim Carl
Jun, 2018 Issue

Recent headlines suggested that drinking much more than one glass of wine per day can have negative health effects for both males and females. That would be very bad news for an industry that has pinned much of its marketing efforts on the view that drinking wine has positive health benefits. But looking more deeply into the science behind these headlines actually suggest that drinking a glass or two of wine may be better than drinking no alcohol at all. So what gives? First a little background.

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Dining Al Fresco

Author: Bonnie Durrance
Jun, 2018 Issue

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.

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St. Francis Winery & Vineyards

Columnist: Karen Hart
Jun, 2018 Issue

On a mild afternoon in the heart of Sonoma Valley, the first signs of spring are starting to show in the Wild Oak Vineyard, just outside the tasting room door at St. Francis Winery & Vineyards. The hills are lush and green, and the vines are starting to bloom again. “We call it the ‘bud break’ on the vines—the birth of a new vintage,” says Katie Madigan, winemaker.

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2018 BEST Sparkling Wine: Korbel Champagne Cellars

Author: Judith M. Wilson
NBB Best Of, May, 2018

Planting grapes in Sonoma County in the late 1800s was a stroke of good fortune for Francis Korbel. He was an immigrant from Czechoslovakia experienced in making cigar boxes, but he had property in the Russian River Valley and wanted to know what would grow well. One of the crops he tried was grapes. When he discovered that grapes from the area were perfect for making wine, he took the leap, planted vineyards and went into business. More than 100 years later, Korbel Champagne Cellars in Guerneville is still going strong and continues to please palates with its lovely effervescent wine.

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2018 BEST Sauvignon Blanc: Sbragia Family Vineyards

Author: Stephanie Derammelaere
NBB Best Of, May, 2018

The Sbragia family’s history in Sonoma County dates back to 1904 when the grandfather of Ed Sbragia first came to the area from Tuscany. He worked in many wineries in the area and grew prunes on his own farm in Dry Creek Valley. In the 1950s, Ed’s father, Gino Sbragia, replanted the fields on their property to wine grapes which Ed grew up tending. Most of the grapes were sold to other wineries, with a small amount left over to make wine for their own personal use. It was Gino’s dream to one day start a family winery, producing wine from their own grapes under their own family label. Ed became winemaster at Beringer Vineyard in Napa Valley for 32 years but made a promise to his father that he would fulfill his dream. In 2006, a little over a century after his grandfather first came to Sonoma County, Ed opened the doors to Sbragia Family Vineyards.

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2018 BEST Rose: St. Francis Winery and Vineyards

Author: Karen Hart
NBB Best Of, May, 2018

Though the French have been drinking rosé for centuries, it’s popularity gained momentum only a few years ago in the United States. Not one to follow trends, St. Francis Winery & Vineyards has been making rosé for 10 years now—long before it became fashionable in the U.S.

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2018 BEST Pinot Noir: Balletto Vineyards

Author: Mallorie Kerrigan
NBB Best Of, May, 2018

It’s no wonder Balletto Vineyards won Best Pinot Noir. The Balletto family has been growing primarily Pinot Noir in west Sonoma County since 2001. Owner and founder, John Balletto, began what was the largest vegetable farm north of San Francisco, with more than 70 different vegetables on 700 acres of land in the late 1970s. In 1995, Balletto planted his first vineyards in Sebastopol, which led him to the start of Balletto Vineyards and first vintage in 2001. Today, the family-run estate produces more than 22,000 cases of wine from estate-grown vineyards.

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2018 BEST Cabernet Sauvignon: Kunde Family Winery

Author: Cerrissa Kim and Petter Westby
NBB Best Of, May, 2018

Congratulations to Kunde Family Winery for winning Best Cabernet Sauvignon in the North Bay. Kunde Family Winery is not a stranger to winning medals and earning high praise, but this is the first year NorthBay biz readers have voted Kunde Family Winery into the top cabernet spot. “It’s tremendous to know that our consumers are appreciating and enjoying the results of our efforts when they taste a glass of Kunde Cabernet,” says Marcia Kunde Mickelson, chief operating officer at the family winery. She contributes the award to their family of employees. “We truly are a family winery where all our employees have a voice in how we continue to move forward as a company—from the creation of our wines to the customer service in our tasting room.” Both the Estate and the Reserve Cabernets are available as part of Kunde’s tasting room experience as well as distributed nationally. Perhaps to be enjoyed with a juicy grilled ribeye steak. 

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2018 BEST Zinfandel: Seghesio Family Vineyards

Author: Mallorie Kerrigan
NBB Best Of, May, 2018

What is it about Seghesio’s Zinfandel that has landed them a winning spot seven times in the NorthBay biz Best Of?  “Our Sonoma Zinfandel is made from fruit that is either estate grown or sourced from distinguished growers throughout Sonoma County, considered to be the premier region for Zinfandel production,” says Ted Seghesio, general manager and winemaker at Seghesio Family Vineyards in Healdsburg. Low-impact grape growing and wine practices combined with a marine influence, yet warm growing region to help maintain a fine line between acidity and ripeness resulting in a balanced and delicious Zinfandel.

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2018 BEST Business Restaurant: John Ash and Co

Author: Mallorie Kerrigan
NBB Best Of, May, 2018

Percy Brandon, general manager of John Ash & Co. & Vintners Inn, celebrates the 20th Best Of win for the restaurant. “It’s the best setting to do business if you want to impress guests,” he says. And he’s right. The dimly lit restaurant is delicately decorated with tile, wrought iron, high-end Dom Perignon magnums and perfectly polished glassware throughout. It’s both private and open, with vineyard views and indoor-outdoor seating.

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2018 BEST Hotel For Bussiness: Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country

Author: Stephanie Derammelaere
NBB Best Of, May, 2018

This year is not the first time the Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country has been awarded “best hotel for business.” Located on Railroad Square in Santa Rosa, the recently renovated hotel has claimed the title again this year. The extensive renovations completed in 2017 include a brand new lobby and newly transformed guestrooms.

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2018 BEST Tasting Room: Kendall Jackson Wine Estate and Gardens

Author: Bo Kearns
NBB Best Of, May, 2018

At the Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens in Fulton, visitors walk from the parking area along a path bordered with bright blue and white flowers, passing through a courtyard and the soothing sounds of a bubbling fountain. And on entering the stately chateau, they’re greeted by a friendly, knowledgeable tasting room staff.  Many who visit are familiar with Kendall-Jackson’s Vintner’s Reserve, the most popular Chardonnay in America. They’re surprised to discover the Jackson Estate wines, which are limited production made from grapes grown in select California coastal vineyards, many of which and are only available at the winery or online.

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2018 BEST Nonprofit: Redwood Empire Food Bank

Author: Karen Hart
NBB Best Of, May, 2018

Though Sonoma County is known for its rich agriculture and bounty, 82,000 people including children, seniors, families and individuals in need count on the Redwood Empire Food Bank. “We serve one in seven people in Sonoma County and 170 nonprofits [such as pantries and local shelters] and faith-based organizations. When we’re supported, we support all the people,” says David Goodman, chief executive officer. The REFB is the largest hunger-relief organization serving those living with food insecurity from Sonoma County to the Oregon border. It provides fresh produce and staple groceries to anyone in need of help—that adds up to 36,000 meals a day, or $40 million in groceries a year. Its mission is focused—to end hunger in the community. No doubt their efforts are working because NorthBay biz readers voted Redwood Empire Food Bank Best Nonprofit for 2018.

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The X, Y and Z of Wine

Columnist: Tim Carl
May, 2018 Issue

By 2021 Generation X (born approximately between 1965 and 1979) will consume more wine than any other generational group in America. Five years later, the Millennials (born approximately between 1980 and 1994) will take over that spot, according to Silicon Valley Bank. Years later, sometime in the future, Generation Z (born approximately between 1995 and 2014) will take over the most prominent wine-drinking position.

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Women Creating Wine

Author: Bonnie Durrance
May, 2018 Issue

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

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Calamity or Commerce?

Columnist: Christina Julian
May, 2018 Issue

I recently came across James Conaway’s new book, Napa at Last Light: Americas Eden in an Age of Calamity. Calamity is not a word to toss around lightly, especially to someone like me, who has, on more than one occasion, been called a Calamity Jane. Not many could get away with speaking about Napa Valley as an agrarian ideal in one breath and a viticultural Disneyland in the next. In the forward alone, his tale goes from adoration to what feels like a eulogy to the Napa Valley that once was. A time before our humble valley became a mecca of wine, commerce—and if you’re talking to Conaway—a calamity in the making.

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Wine Country Events & Preserving Agriculture

Columnist: Reuben Weinzveg
May, 2018 Issue

In October 2016, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution tasking the permit department to develop and implement protective guidelines, policies, and standards to address promotional events and overconcentration of tasting rooms in certain rural areas. Since that resolution, the board has delayed taking action to implement an effective and enforceable Winery Event Ordinance. However, Sonoma County officials continue to approve new winery and event center use permits, exacerbating the negative cumulative impacts they had committed to address.

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Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery

Author: Karen Hart
May, 2018 Issue

Perched on the top of a hill in the Russian River Valley, Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery offers an intimate wine tasting experience. The winery opened its new tasting room last summer after seven months of renovation and construction. The salon offers indoor-outdoor seated tastings in a modern, relaxed atmosphere where you can sink into the experience, learn about the fine art of winemaking and enjoy panoramic views of the forested valley below.

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Do You Need a Multivitamin

Columnist: Rajina Ranadive, M.D.
Apr, 2018 Issue

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

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Beer to Busts

Columnist: Tim Carl
Apr, 2018 Issue

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

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Roots Run Deep

Author: Mallorie Kerrigan
Apr, 2018 Issue

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

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Lets Resolve Construction Barriers Together

Columnist: Lawrence Amaturo
Apr, 2018 Issue

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

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Of Marijuana, Painting the Town & the Rat Squad

Columnist: Bill Meagher
Apr, 2018 Issue

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

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Economic Booms and the Haves and Have-Nots

Columnist: Lawrence Amaturo
NBB Top 500, Mar, 2018

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

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If Old Vines Could Talk

Author: Cerrissa Kim and Petter Westby
Mar, 2018 Issue

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

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Batten Down the Hatches

Columnist: Tim Carl
Mar, 2018 Issue

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

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The Arts

Author: Judith M. Wilson
Mar, 2018 Issue

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

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Gundlach Bundschu Winery

Author: Karen Hart
Mar, 2018 Issue

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

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Click and Sip

Author: Stephanie Derammelaere
Mar, 2018 Issue

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.

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Calistogas Drinking Problem

Columnist: Christina Julian
Mar, 2018 Issue

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

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The Wine Label and Your Finances

Columnist: Monty & Sara Preiser
Mar, 2018 Issue

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

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Work/Life/Wine

Mar, 2018 Issue

Work/Life/Wine Petaluma Gap: The New AVA, Go-Wine in a Can, Ribbit Ribbit- a Toad Exhibit, Fire & Vintage of 2017 and Fancy RayZyns.

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Should You Hesitate Before Reaching for the Pinot

Columnist: Peter Brett, M.D.
Mar, 2018 Issue

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

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Acacia House

Columnist: Karen Hart
Mar, 2018 Issue

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

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February Picks

Feb, 2018 Issue

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Trione Vineyards and Winery

Author: Mallorie Kerrigan
Feb, 2018 Issue

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

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Comstock Wines

Columnist: Karen Hart
Jan, 2018 Issue

Located on Dry Creek Road, Comstock Wines is a family-owned boutique winery that opened its doors for business in 2015 and is gaining a reputation for its elegant wines. Comstock is passionate about producing mostly single varietal wines, sourced from the finest Sonoma County grapes to showcase the true essence of the growing region.  

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For Now No Pot Infused Wine Allowed in California

Columnist: Tim Carl
Jan, 2018 Issue

Recently, three California agencies released rules on growing and selling cannabis. The regulations, devised by the state’s Department of Health, Department of Food and Agriculture, and the Bureau of Cannabis Control—who knew that even existed? Together, these agencies offer the first glimpse into how things have changed since the sale of recreational marijuana became legal on January 1. 

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Benovia Winery

Columnist: Karen Hart
Dec, 2017 Issue

Driving through the entrance of Benovia Winery on a warm autumn afternoon after the wildfires, you’d never guess this part of the country was making news around the globe 15 days earlier. The sky is wide and blue, the grapevines lush and golden, and the sweet smell of harvest lingers in the air.  The last of the 2017 vintage was harvested a week before wildfires, and the three proprietors of Benovia are grateful for that, but this harvest season was bittersweet.

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Wine Country Will Survive

Columnist: Tim Carl
Dec, 2017 Issue

The fires in Northern California Wine Country are tragic beyond comprehension and resulted in an obscenely too-high number of people losing their lives. Beyond the loss of life, thousands of families’ homes and hundreds of businesses were damaged or destroyed, and countless animals and forests have been decimated.

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Leaders of Tomorrow: Jacqueline Balletto

Author: Mallorie Kerrigan
Nov, 2017 Issue

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.

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Leaders of Tomorrow: Colleen FitzGerald

Author: William Rohrs
Nov, 2017 Issue

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.

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Leaders of Tomorrow: Adrien Halpin

Author: William Rohrs
Nov, 2017 Issue

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.

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Leaders of Tomorrow: Christopher Jackson

Author: William Rohrs
Nov, 2017 Issue

“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.

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Cycling Nirvana

Author: Stephanie Derammelaere
Nov, 2017 Issue

 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.

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John Jordan In Focus

Author: Karen Hart
Nov, 2017 Issue

On a cool autumn day during harvest, John Jordan, chief executive officer of Jordan Vineyard & Winery, steps away from meetings with staff at the winery to talk politics. Not with the Jordan staff, or family and friends, because when it comes to his personal life, he has no interest in debating politics. Instead, Jordan takes the stairs to his second-floor office, where he prepares to talk live on Fox News.

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Work/Life/Picks

Nov, 2017 Issue

Grape Seed, Cookie...take a bite! and Rons Red.  Take a Bite! When Tracy Mattson started COOKIE... take a bite! five years ago, she wanted to share a bit of happiness with people, one cookie at a time. “It was important to demonstrate to my son that with hard work and determination, you can do anything you put your mind to,” says Mattson. “Plus, who doesn’t love a good cookie?" Starting out at local farmers markets in the North Bay, the popularity quickly grew, winning several GOLD and DOUBLE GOLD medals from the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.

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Wine and Weather

Author: Jean Saylor Doppenberg
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2017

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.

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Keeping It 100

Author: Mallorie Kerrigan
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2017

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.

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Wine Trends

Author: Karen Hart
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2017

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.

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Life and Death Decisions

Columnist: Tim Carl
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2017

Picture this: You’re driving with your son and daughter down a particularly precarious section of Highway 1 on California’s coastline. On the left are stone cliffs and to the right is a sheer chasm to the ocean below. As you start down a steep section of road your brakes go out and, as you turn a corner, tires screeching, a group of 20 schoolchildren are crossing the road. There are only two options: Drive through the crowd of kids, or plunge you and your own children to your deaths. You have one second to make your decision.

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Joseph Swan Winery

Author: Mallorie Kerrigan
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2017

When Swan retired from a career as a World War II pilot in Europe as well as a commercial pilot for Western Air, he developed a passion for fine food and wine. In 1967, he purchased the property and began making wine from the property’s remaining Zinfandel vines.

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Martinelli Vineyards & Winery

Author: William Rohrs
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2017

Giuseppe Martinelli was only 19 when he eloped with his 16-year-old bride, Luisa Vellutini. Young Giuseppe came from a lineage of Italian winemakers, but that pedigree didn’t satisfy Luisa’s parents, who grew and sold apples in Tuscany. But status didn’t matter to the star-crossed lovers, who escaped their families’ wrath and landed in the Russian River Valley in the 1880s. On a single hill 60 degrees steep, Giuseppe planted Zinfandel and Muscat Alexandria vines. This plot became the heart of Martinelli Vineyards & Winery, which continues to produce for the fifth generation of Martinellis.

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Wine 2017 People

Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2017

Dating Insider, sonoma county in focus

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Wine 2017 Cheese

Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2017

Wine and cheese are a great duo, but creating the perfect combination on your own can be challenging. Here are six pairing tips to guide you in the right direction.

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Wine 2017 Wine

Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2017

California is the leading wine producing state in the United States, making about 90 percent of all American wine. The size of the state and diversity of its soils and climates mean that a vast array of fresh, seasonal crops thrive here. Winegrapes are one of 400 agricultural products produced in California, and more than 110 varieties of winegrapes are grown in the state. What’s more, the California wine community has the most widely adopted green winemaking and winegrowing program in the world and one of the few that measures and reports statewide performance. Here are few fascinating, at-a-glance facts about California wine.

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Rebranding

Author: Jane Hodges Young
Oct, 2017 Issue

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.

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Chasing Grapes

Columnist: Christina Julian
Oct, 2017 Issue

Nine years ago, I moved to the Napa Valley, and left a grueling job in advertising (and Los Angeles gridlock) behind me. Soon after I landed, I met winemaker Kirk Venge at a Cheers St. Helena social, and regaled him with my dreams of becoming a wine writer. He smiled that wide- mouthed grin that only a man of Kirk’s stature and size can conjure, and offered to help. A few days later I was on the trail to “chase grapes” with him. This translated into me running to keep up as we traversed hundreds of vineyards, tasting and testing for levels of ripeness and acidity, so he could determine the precise moment to pick. A couple days would turn into a season as his official grape sampler, where each day would end, hands stained, eyelids sagging, and a body beaten to the core—but ready to rinse and repeat the next day.

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Markham Vineyards

Author: Karen Hart
Oct, 2017 Issue

Located along St. Helena Highway, Markham Vineyards is one of the oldest wineries in Napa Valley, established by Jean Laurent, an immigrant from Bordeaux, France. Laurent came to California seeking gold during the rush, but instead found his way into the winemaking business.

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October 2017 Chocolate

Oct, 2017 Issue

 While Americans consume roughly 12 pounds of chocolate each year, the benefit, unlike the chocolate, shouldn’t be in the dark. Yes, dark chocolate may be good for your teeth, and may even prevent cavities.

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October 2017 Picks

Oct, 2017 Issue

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Gorgeous Getaways

Author: Sarah Stierch
Sep, 2017 Issue

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.

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Lowell’s

Columnist: Karen Hart
Sep, 2017 Issue

Dining at Lowell’s is both a culinary adventure and a beautiful surprise. Located on Gravenstein Highway in Sebastopol, Lowell’s is part café, deli and wine bar with a neighborhood feel, indoor-outdoor seating and a tranquil vibe. Proprietor Lowell P. Sheldon first opened for business in 2007, and the restaurant will celebrate its 10-year anniversary in October.

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Zialena Winery

Author: Karen Hart
Sep, 2017 Issue

Located in the heart of Alexander Valley in Geyserville, Zialena Winery is nestled in a field surrounded by vineyards and sweeping views of the Mayacamas. The winery opened its new tasting room in February and offers a study in contrasts. The tasting room features modern cabinetry, wood floors and smells of new construction, but Zialena is a fourth generation winery, rich in history and tradition.

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The Amazon Now Flows With Wine

Columnist: Tim Carl
Sep, 2017 Issue

Amazon’s recent purchase of Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion will decimate small wine and beer retail shops across the country and hasten the consolidation of wineries and distributors.

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Of Lawsuits, Pies, Supermarkets, Eateries and Hypocrisy

Columnist: Bill Meagher
Sep, 2017 Issue

The Bard once suggested the smart thing to do was to kill all the lawyers. And while this seems a little violent, in the words of Bill Clinton, “I feel his pain.” So do the ranchers and farmers in Point Reyes National Seashore.

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September 2017 Oysters

Sep, 2017 Issue

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Truffles

Author: Tim Carl
Jul, 2017 Issue

In February 2017, a dog named Ilsa discovered the first-ever cultivated European Tuber melanosporum, or the Périgord truffle, in Sonoma County.

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Wine, Women & Shoes

Author: Bonnie Durance
Jul, 2017 Issue

Imagine you’re at a fancy ladies’ soiree, enjoying wine, food, shopping and wearing your most glamorous shoes, while learning about the people you’ll help each time you open your wallet. You’re immersed in an atmosphere of fun, fashion and compassion. Welcome to the world of Wine Women & Shoes (WW&S), and a new kind of fundraising event. (Gentlemen are welcome, too, of course.)

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The Ancient Practice of Biodynamic Farming

Author: Jane Hodges Young
Jul, 2017 Issue

Seeking stronger relationships with the Earth and ways to express truly unique terroirs, winemakers and vineyard owners across Napa and Sonoma are embracing biodynamics —“organics on steroids”—in record numbers. In fact, Sonoma County has more than 20 certified Biodynamic farms and vineyards—more than any other county in the United States.

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Rocking the Wine World

Author: Jean Saylor Doppenberg
Jul, 2017 Issue

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.

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Look for Winery Acqusitions to Continue

Columnist: Tim Carl
Jul, 2017 Issue

Over the last year or so, the number of winery and vineyard acquisitions has been surging at a breakneck pace. Jackson Family wines has been on a tear, purchasing many wineries, including Penner-Ash Wine Cellars. GI Partners bought Far Niente Wine Estates, TSG Consumer Partners purchased Duckhorn Wine Co., E. & J. Gallo bought Orin Swift Cellars, Constellation Brands purchased the Prisoner Wine Co., Francis Ford Coppola purchased Silverwood Vineyard and the owners of Silver Oak purchased Ovid Winery. This is only the tip of the iceberg, with many more deals that have been completed or are near completion.

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July 2017 Tastes

Jul, 2017 Issue

The Olive Press, located in Sonoma, was the only U.S. artisan olive oil producer to take home four gold medals at the prestigious New York Olive Oil Competition in May. This year there were more than 900 entries from 27 countries. The Olive Press received gold medals for their Arbequina, Picual, Italian Blend and Mission Extra Virgin Olive Oils.

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Bucher Wines

Jul, 2017 Issue

“NorthBay biz is a great resource for seeing what is on the horizon.”

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2017 BEST Business Restaurant: John Ash & Co.

Author: Petter Westby and Cerrissa Kim
NBB Best Of, Jun, 2017

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.

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2017 BEST Business Event Venue: Vintners Inn

Author: Petter Westby & Cerrissa Kim
NBB Best Of, Jun, 2017

Vintners Inn has been a staple name and event venue destination at the highest level, since they opened their doors 37 years ago. Once again, Vintners Inn was voted the best business event venue in the North Bay for 2017. How does the inn manage to meet such a consistent level of excellence year-after-year? “We take great pride in constantly reinventing ourselves, and we never rest on the successes that we have achieved in the past,” Percy Brandon, general manager of Vintners Inn and John Ash & Co.

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2017 BEST Wine Tasting Room: Armida Winery

Author: Sarah Treseler
NBB Best Of, Jun, 2017

Brothers Steve and Bruce Cousins, owners of Armida Winery, have been working together for more than 20 years. Upon winning the award for Best Tasting Room, they knew the award wasn’t just for them.

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2017 BEST Sparkling Wine: Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards

Author: Sarah Treseler
NBB Best Of, Jun, 2017

Eva Bertran, vice president of marketing at Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards, knows that the company’s win for Best Sparkling Wine didn’t come from one aspect alone. “Our vineyard and winery teams have three decades of experience grafting, farming, studying and blending Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Carneros,” Bertran says. “This depth of knowledge, combined with more than 30 years of vineyard maturity, is why Gloria’s wines are keenly better than ever.

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2017 BEST Sauvignon Blanc: Dutcher Crossing Winery

Author: Sarah Treseler
NBB Best Of, Jun, 2017

Voted Best Sauvignon Blanc in the 2017 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

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2017 BEST Chardonnay: La Crema Winery

Author: Karen Hart
NBB Best Of, Jun, 2017

Voted Best Chardonnay in the 2017 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

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2017 BEST Rosé: Balletto Vineyards

Author: Jean Saylor Doppenberg
NBB Best Of, Jun, 2017

Balletto Vineyards has been voted Best Rosé the 2017 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

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2017 BEST Cabernet Sauvignon: Benziger Family Winery

Author: William Rohrs
NBB Best Of, Jun, 2017

Benziger Family Winery has been voted Best Cabernet Sauvignon in the 2017 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll.

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2017 BEST Zinfandel: Mazzocco Winery

Author: Mallorie Kerrigan
NBB Best Of, Jun, 2017

Mazzocco Winery has been voted Best Zinfandel in the 2017 BEST Of the North Bay readers poll

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March On

Columnist: Christina Julian
May, 2017 Issue

While the future of our country feels uncertain, some things remain unchanged: we live in a time and country where we can rally when we need to. Raised alongside a brother who revered Ronald Regan and maintained membership in The Young Republican Federation until he could no longer claim the title of “young,” and reared by parents who were equally committed to the right side of the fence, I misspent my youth and adulthood being apolitical for nearly four decades.

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Modern Matriarchs

Author: Judith Wilson
May, 2017 Issue

Matriarchs have been a force since biblical times, but these days, they do more than head families and lead tribes. They’re creative thinkers and innovators who face challenges and take advantage of the opportunities that come their way to build successful businesses. Their worldview includes family, friends and relationships as well as the bottom line. And in the North Bay, they’re resourceful women who are racking up some impressive accomplishments.

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Sharing the Secrets of Success

Author: Bonnie Durrance
May, 2017 Issue

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.

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The Law of Unintended Consequences

Columnist: Tim Carl
May, 2017 Issue

What could possibly go wrong?—Source Unknown Love him or hate him, President Donald Trump is already having an impact. His proposed budget would slash funding for—or completely eliminate—many aspects of the government and shift much of the focus to military spending. Many of the changes he advocates will not make it through Congress. But the ones that do, will create an impact that will be felt throughout the economy and perhaps especially in luxury goods such as wine.

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Protea, Yountville

Columnist: Karen Hart
May, 2017 Issue

Protea (pronounced pro-tay-yuh) is the genus of South African flowering plants, and in local tradition the flower represents hope and change. It’s also the inspiration behind Protea, a fast casual restaurant in downtown Yountville that opened in April last year, and is quickly gaining a five-star reputation for Latin-inspired street food.  

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Schug Carneros Estate Winery Sonoma

Columnist: Karen Hart
May, 2017 Issue

Schug Carneros Estate Winery 602 Bonneau Sonoma, Calif. 95476 (707) 939-9363 www.schugwinery.com Hours: Open Daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tasting Fees: $10 for five people or under Wines Offered: 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma Valley; 2014 Carneros Chardonnay Estate Grown; 2015 Pinot Noir, Carneros; 2013 Carneros Pinot Noir, Estate Grown; and the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Heritage Reserve. (Subject to change.) Reservations: Required for groups of six or more; call (800) 966-9365 Picnics: In the courtyard  (Starting in late April, Fri.-Sun. only.) Pets: No

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Brasswood Bar and Kitchen St Helena

Columnist: Karen Hart
Apr, 2017 Issue

If you’re looking for a romantic day-trip getaway and a fine-dining experience, Brasswood Bar+Kitchen located at Brasswood Estate in St. Helena, is the perfect place to melt into the day and enjoy the bounty of Napa Valley. I ventured there on a Sunday afternoon with three friends to experience Brasswood Estate, which opened in February last year. We began in the tasting room, sampling a few signature wines—the 2013 Estate Cabernet Franc, the 2013 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2013 Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, poured by Gretchen Jensen, tasting room associate. Made with sustainable grapes, their wines are soft and ...

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The Ten Percent

Columnist: Tim Carl
Apr, 2017 Issue

Got competition? There are 9,091 wineries in the United States and 4,202 are in California, reports Wine Business Monthly, What’s more, nearly 39 percent of those are “virtual,” meaning they don’t have a physical place to call home and instead make wine at a custom-crush facility or through some other arrangement. What this means is there are wine producers with significantly different cost structures, all trying their best to sell wine to an increasingly saturated market

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Vanity Projects

Columnist: Christina Julian
Apr, 2017 Issue

The wine industry has its own breed of vanity projects, what I like to call celebrity winery syndrome.  As a writer on the cusp of having my first novel published, I’ve gained insight into the good, bad and underbelly of the publishing world. On the one hand you have the elusive brass ring of a writer’s world—the Big Five publishers (Harper Collins, Penguin Random House and the like). On the furthest rung from the top there exists a shady side—vanity publishers—where writers pay to play. These houses bill themselves as real publishers but in reality, are anything but, charging authors for what any reputable publisher does as part of doing business.

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Trefethen Family Vineyards Napa

Author: Sarah Treseler
Apr, 2017 Issue

1160 Oak Knoll Avenue, Napa, California 94558 www.trefethen.com 866-895-7696    Hours: 10am to 4pm daily Tasting Fees: $25 Classic Tasting ($35 Reserve Tasting) Wines currently offered:  Dry Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Dragon’s Tooth (Red Blend)

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April 2017 Tastes

Apr, 2017 Issue

New items from the North Bay to delight the tastebuds

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A Conversation From 2057

Columnist: Tim Carl
Mar, 2017 Issue

“I miss all the old vineyards,” she said quietly. “Remember when there were vines and we didn’t drink synthetic wine, but it came from actual grapes?"

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Custom Crush 2

Author: Sarah Stierch
Mar, 2017 Issue

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

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Dream Weaver

Author: Jane Hodges Young
Mar, 2017 Issue

For 18 years now, Cary Gott, founder and owner of St. Helena-based Vineyard & Winery Estates, has been helping wannabe winery owners, “Cross the highways of fantasy…to the bright side of the moon,” as the song goes in Gary Wright’s 1975 hit song “Dream Weaver.”

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Showtime

Author: Christina Julian
Mar, 2017 Issue

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.

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Sonoma Cider Taproom and Restaurant Healdsburg

Columnist: Karen Hart
Mar, 2017 Issue

Located in Healdsburg, Sonoma Cider opened its doors in October last year and is gaining a reputation for its craft ciders. Founded by David and Robert Cordtz, a father-son team who’ve mastered the art of cider making, the taproom showcases their small-batch ciders with gourmet pub cuisine, created by Dominique Rooney, executive chef and granddaughter of the late actor, Mickey Rooney. What’s a hard cider company doing in Wine Country? Says Cordtz, “Cider is a segway. It’s for people who want something different.” I planned to try the crab mac n’ cheese, and being a vino lover, I usually scan the wine list first. But at Sonoma Cider it’s all about the apples, and I was curious what cider would pair well with my favorite comfort food. 

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Something to Wine About

Columnist: Christina Julian
Mar, 2017 Issue

As my time in Napa Valley wears on, I’ve caught myself tossing around some hoity-toity wine talk of my own. I’ve also stooped to swirling and sniffing my glass with the best of them. Over Christmas I went as far as uttering the words “malolactic fermentation” in front of my parents, who laughed at me, then cornered my husband to see if he was to blame for my not-so- flattering-metamorphosis into a “wine snob.” 

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Deerfield Ranch Winery Kenwood

Author: Karen Hart
Mar, 2017 Issue

Located in the heart of Sonoma Valley, Deerfield Ranch Winery is nestled amidst 14 acres of Kenwood Wetlands and offers a striking view of the Mayacamas Mountains. Owned by PJ and Robert Rex, there’s a sense of tranquil timelessness at Deerfield Ranch, and perhaps that’s why the Pomo Indians once settled there, and why the endangered Kenwood Marsh Checkerbloom plant is now thriving, along with a 400-year-old oak tree at the husband-wife team’s hilltop retreat. “Deerfield Ranch is truly a piece of heaven. It’s magical,” says PJ. Deerfield Ranch is an award-winning boutique winery known for CleanWine, which is low in sulfites and histamines.

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March 2017 Art

Mar, 2017 Issue

New products and places in the North Bay.

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Guest Column On the Fly in Wine Country

Author: Geoff Smick
Mar, 2017 Issue

This is an exciting time for vineyard operators. For those with access to an off-the-shelf Global Positioning System (GPS) unit, they can collect data in the field, upload the coordinates to a data viewer, and then visualize the data overlaid on a high-resolution drone aerial photograph in the office. The result of all this innovation is more precise and sophisticated data, which makes for healthier and more productive vineyards.

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Its All About the Fitness

Author: Sarah Treseler
Feb, 2017 Issue

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.

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Sauced BBQ and Sprits Petaluma

Columnist: Alexandra Russell
Feb, 2017 Issue

I grew up in west Petaluma, and every time I go back I’m amazed at how much my hometown has changed—especially the then-sleepy downtown, which is now a vibrant, bustling destination. Count among the now-varied dining options Sauced BBQ & Spirits, a boisterous, family-friendly joint offering Southern-inspired barbecue and smoked meats, as well as a variety of creative sides and specialties (including four housemade sauces).

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Tight Job Market

Columnist: Tim Carl
Feb, 2017 Issue

The problem with wine distributors is out of control, but that\'s not likely to change anytime soon.

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Bust, Pot, Boom

Columnist: Christina Julian
Feb, 2017 Issue

As I know all too well, one person's yellow is another's red.

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Good Deeds

Author: Jean Saylor Doppenberg
Jan, 2017 Issue

Giving back to their communities is an important part of the work culture at many North Bay companies. Formal giving committees, mentoring programs and widespread participation in Human Race events and other fundraisers make sizable impacts in the meager budgets of many local nonprofits and charities.  

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LaVier Latin Fusion San Rafael

Columnist: Alexandra Russell
Jan, 2017 Issue

From the moment you enter LaVier, it’s apparent careful thought was put into every detail, from the large, leafy plants that separate small dining areas for more privacy (and add a tropical feel to the space) to the spicy Latin jazz playing in the background and the uniquely crafted cuisine. Husband and wife owners Guillermo Lara and Gabriela Vieyra opened the restaurant in July 2016 after establishing their culinary reputation with LaVier Catering (which they’ve operated since 2007).   

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Hobby Loss

Columnist: Tim Carl
Jan, 2017 Issue

I don’t really envision the wholesale removal of vineyards in favor of cannabis, but I can imagine adding a marijuana crop to existing operations will be too attractive to pass up for many.

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Cork This

Columnist: Christina Julian
Jan, 2017 Issue

An informal phone conversation went from cordial to curt when I learn corkage is no longer free and ask the simple question: Why?

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There Goes the Neighborhood

Author: Bonnie Durrance
Dec, 2016 Issue

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.

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Petalumas Next Phase

Author: Stephanie Derammelaere
Dec, 2016 Issue

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.

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Synthetic Wine

Columnist: Tim Carl
Dec, 2016 Issue

As wine businesses continue to evolve, it's important to know what the value proposition of wine actually is for most consumers.

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Village Inn and Restaurant Monte Rio

Columnist: Alexandra Russell
Dec, 2016 Issue

Village Inn & Restaurant 20822 River Blvd. Monte Rio, CA 95462 (707) 865-2304 www.villageinn-ca.com Upscale comfort food Winter hours: Fri.-Sun. 3-6 p.m. (Happy Hour); 5-9 p.m. (dinner) Entrees $16-$26 Full bar; Sonoma County wine and beer  

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Managing Growth

Columnist: Christina Julian
Dec, 2016 Issue

Despite all the turmoil swirling around the wine industry, our restaurant and hospitality scene soldiered on.

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Heibel Ranch Vineyards, Calistoga

Author: Alexandra Russell
Dec, 2016 Issue

Heibel Ranch Vineyards 1458 Lincoln Ave., #12 Calistoga, CA 94515 (707) 341-3351 www.heibelranch.com Hours: Open Thurs. through Mon., noon to 5 p.m.; or daily by appointment Tasting fees: $15 per person, two different options (waived with qualified purchase) Wines offered: Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Lappa’s and Captain Bubba (red blends) and Etzio (Zinfandel dessert wine) Reservations: See hours above Picnics: No Pets: Yes

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Tasca Tasca Sonoma

Columnist: Alexandra Russell
Nov, 2016 Issue

Tasca Tasca 122 West Napa St. Sonoma, CA 95476 (707) 996-TAPA www.tascatasca.com New Portuguese cuisine Noon-midnight daily Plates $15, $24 or $32 Portuguese wine, Port and Madiera; some beer, cider and cocktails

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Hedging the Future

Columnist: Tim Carl
Nov, 2016 Issue

Up until recently, hedge funds and private equity typically stayed away from wineries and vineyards. There just wasnt enough profit potential.

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Kat Doescher

Author: Sarah Treseler
Nov, 2016 Issue

Kate Doescher, Madrone Estate Winery, Lake Sonoma Winery

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So InClined

Author: Alexandra Russell
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2016

Fred and Nancy Cline lead a life full of agriculture and adventure.

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The Science of Terroir

Author: Tim Carl
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2016

“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.

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The Down Under Influence

Author: Bonnie Durrance
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2016

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.

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A Food and Wine Revolution

Author: Jane Hodges Young
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2016

Consumers are demanding more from their wine tasting experiences, and wineries big and small are ready to serve.   

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All Eyes on Sonoma

Author: Juliet Porton
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2016

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.

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Vineyard Vignettes: GlenLyon Vineyards & Winery, Gamble Family Vineyards, Monticello Vineyards, Merr

Author: Sarah Treseler, Christina Julian, William Rohrs
Oct, 2016 Issue

NorthBay biz visits GlenLyon Vineyards & Winery, Gamble Family Vineyards, Monticello Vineyards, Merriam Winery.  

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2016 Harvest Fair Guide

Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2016

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.

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Hidden Gems: A World Away

Author: Julie Fadda Powers
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2016

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.

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Pete Downs

Author: Sarah Treseler
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2016

Pete Downs, Family Winemakers of California

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Guest Column: Wine Country’s New Owners: What Do We All Really Think?

Author: Monty & Sara Preiser
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2016

So many of us are, on some level, disturbed about the continued disappearance of the traditional family winery in favor of the conglomerate.

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Wine Along with Me

Columnist: Norman Rosinski
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2016

This is the 18th year that NorthBay biz has been the official print publication of the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.

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Capp Hertitage Vineyards, Napa

Author: William Rohrs
Special Wine Issue, Oct, 2016

Capp Heritage Vineyards 1245 First Street Napa, CA, 94559 (707) 254-1922 www.cappheritage.com Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tasting fees: $20 for 6 tastes; waived with a two-bottle purchase Wines offered: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec Rose, Muscat, Sangiovese, Merlot, Barbera, Meritage, Cabernet Sauvingon Reservations: Not required Picnics: no Pets: Yes, on leashes

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Share the Air

Author: Karen Hart
Oct, 2016 Issue

Small unmanned aircraft are on the fly and finding ways into daily life.

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Secret Sauce

Columnist: Tim Carl
Oct, 2016 Issue

I remember getting high scores and a feature story on my wine in Wine Spectator. I was thrilled and waited for the phone to ring off the hook.

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Basalt, Napa

Author: Alexandra Russell
Oct, 2016 Issue

Basalt 790 Main St. Napa, CA 94559 (707) 927-5265 www.basaltnapa.com Seasonal California Cuisine 5 p.m.-10 p.m. (Monday-Thursday), 5 p.m.-10 p.m. (Friday), 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. (Saturday), 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. (Sunday) Entrees $16-$35 Nice wine and beer list, craft cocktails

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Casa Nuestra, St. Helena

Author: Alexandra Russell
Oct, 2016 Issue

Casa Nuestra 3451 Silverado Trail North St. Helena, CA 94574 (707) 963-5783 www.casanuestra.com Hours: Open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tasting fees: $30 for five wines Wines offered: Changes seasonally. Summer 2016: Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Meritage and Tinto (red blends) Reservations: Required Picnics: Wine club members only Pets: No

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The Growth Bender

Author: Christina Julian
Jun, 2016 Issue

As is often the case with any addiction, I have to ask myself if this latest binge is really worth it considering the hangover that’s sure to follow.

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Trek Wine, Novato

Author: Alexandra Russell
Jun, 2016 Issue

Trek Wine 1026 Machin Ave. Novato, CA 94945 (415) 899-9883 trekwine.com Hours: Wednesday and Thursday noon-8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday noon-10 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m.-7 p.m. Tasting fees: $5 for five tastes Wines offered: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, petite sirah, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, sparkling Reservations: No Picnics: Yes Pets: Yes

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Peter Mondavi, Sr. (1914-2016)

Author: Alexandra Russell
May, 2016 Issue

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.

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Working with Mother Nature

Author: Karen Hart
Mar, 2016 Issue

Growers are combating threats to vineyards in Napa and Sonoma counties.

Read More

 

 

In this Issue

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 leave...

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 leave...

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 So...

See all...