Wine Country Living

What’s new in the wine country this month!

With summer winding down, the call of the outdoors still beckons.  This month we're celebrating the opening of a new Healdsburg hidden gem and one of our new restaurants in Sebastopol by the Michelin Guide. Outdoor Activities (Besides Wine Tasting) to Try in Sonoma County: Yes, Sonoma County is a world-class wine and food destination, but we have so much more to offer than the sum of our wineries and restaurants. The natural largesse of the land provides stellar outdoor recreational opportunities in the air, on land and at sea. So get out there. Burn some calories, get the heart pumping and stimulate the senses by exploring the Sonoma you may not know. Forager, a Modern Mercantile Store Opens in Healdsburg: Congrats to our clients and friends who recently opened their new store, Forager, located on the historic Healdsburg Plaza. We stopped by to check out their eclectic mix of objects for the home that elevate practical, everyday living and picked up a few great pieces! Merchandise includes curated, artisanal products that are not seen everywhere else, alongside thoughtfully chosen vintage home goods and decor. To learn more, click here.                       Sebastopol Restaurant Honored by Michelin: Inspired by the “resilience and creativity of chefs” during the pandemic, Michelin inspectors have named Sebastopol’s Khom Loi as one of 10 notable new San Francisco and Wine Country restaurants in its online guide. [caption id="attachment_21320" align="alignleft" width="839"] (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)[/caption]                                          ...

Lavender Fields

Sonoma County Summer Fun ☀️

Summer in the wine country brings with it scenes of lush vineyards, blooming meadows of lavender, and long, warm sunny days perfect for a beach day, outdoor wine tasting, or dining al fresco. Below discover more of what’s new this summer in Sonoma County!   Live Music Returns to the Wine Country:   In yet another welcome sign of a slow return to normalcy, the music is back, more intimately yet just as exuberantly, at these tuneful Sonoma County wineries. Reservations are required and physical distancing is factored into concert setups.   Camp in Style this Summer:   Let’s face it: Camping it a lot of work. It’s also a lot of fun. If you’d like to maximize the latter and minimize the former, consider booking one of these six “glamping” destinations in Sonoma County in which the shiny Airstreams, towering treehouses, and luxury canvas tents are awaiting—no assembly required....

Sonoma Wine Month 🍇

Happy Wine Month! As vineyards bud and come to life, April is the perfect time to showcase the world’s most sustainable and diverse wine region. All month long, wineries will be offering special in-person and virtual experiences as well as shipping promotions. Learn more here. Making headlines, Sonoma was recently named among the top 10 towns in the Golden State by Travel + Leisure magazine, adding to its recognition as a world-class destination. And on a lighter note, now that Sonoma County has moved into the less restrictive Orange Tier, we are seeing more local businesses open their doors and expand their offerings for the spring/summer season. Below we've shared a list of local happenings and things to do to celebrate the season.   Given the beautiful, expansive, and outdoor setting, wine tasting has become arguably a more popular and important pastime than ever during the pandemic. The SF Chronicle’s top wine critic just dropped this timely and useful list of the best 25 local wineries to visit. With many wineries releasing new vintages in spring, it's a great time to visit one of these local spots. Click here to visit: The Bay's Top Vino-Sipping Destinations   Sunny weather and ample outdoor space make Sonoma County an ideal destination for those seeking to ditch the fog (and their light sweaters) for wine, snacks, and vineyard views. Here are some of the most interesting restaurant openings in Napa and Sonoma over the last six months, as well as a few to watch out for in the coming year. Click here to visit: Notable Newcomers - The Wine Country's Food Scene...

The Magic of Mustard in the Vineyards

The Magic of Mustard in the Vineyards: Every year, towards the end of winter, many Sonoma County vineyards come alive with a brilliant carpet of mustard beneath the bare grapevine trunks. The first time someone sees the landscape, it's mesmerizing. Mustard is more than just a feast for the eyes, it's a feast for the vines. It thrives just until bud break, when it is turned under to mulch and provides valuable nutrients to the emerging grape plants. To view the mustard, simply pick an area that's deeply populated with wineries and vineyards, and look out your car window. [embed]https://youtu.be/5r5Foh6uga4[/embed]...

West Sonoma County is Home to Outstanding Plant Nurseries

[caption id="attachment_1859" align="alignleft" width="300"] Go Ahead Stop and Smell Them![/caption] Last night I had an impromptu dinner with clients (now friends!) at the lovely estate property we found for them a couple ofyears ago near the Laguna de Santa Rosa, in the heart of the Russian River Appellation. I remarked how fabulous the landscaping looked, particularly the new raised beds they added. The perennial garden. lavendars and olive trees were looking really lush and healthy. And of course the four acres of vines are happily heading towards the harvest a few months from now. With ten acres total and a green thumb or two, one is always open to collecting new plant treasures. But where to find them? My client bemoaned the plant choices she saw at the big box and hardware stores. You mean you don't know about Emerisa Gardens Retail Nursery I cried? I have made several good friends by frequenting them, and learned enough about a lot of plants to be dangerous! Every once in a while I go by for a good plant fix! Emerisa's retail nursery in NW Santa Rosa is only open from March through October, but it is a great place to learn about and see interesting perennials, grasses and interesting plants for both sun and shade. Their demonstration garden shows you what the plants look like when full grown and the STAFF are incredibly knowledgeable and very helpful. Chances are, if you hire a landscaper, they buy a good portion of their plants on the wholesale side. They have whimsical pots and garden "objet" plus very good gardening gloves too! And what about Harmony Farm Supply nursery? Besides a really nice and thorough nursery near Graton in West Sonoma County, including a great selection of bare root trees and berries in winter, Harmony is where you might find me picking up the spare irrigation parts that always seem to be needed, even though my collection in the garden shed is growing! Also very helpful staff and a good selection of veggie starts and various soil amendments and garden tools. Plus they install solar systems! I have learned more than i ever thought I would about drip irrigation in the aisles of Harmony Farm Supply. And little Fulton, California is home to two of the best nurseries you will ever find. Cal Flora and Urban Tree...

Happy Valentine's Day! Where to Find your Sweetie Some Sonoma County Chocoate

We set out to learn about chocolate in Sonoma County this month in honor of Valentine's Day, Chocolate style. There are a number of specialty candy and chocolate shops here, from Sonoma to Cotati, Petaluma to Healdsburg. We found two that were willing to offer friends and clients a special Valentine's Day discount! For a coupon or special discount code, email me for details and I will be happy to share! Did you know that Sonoma County has it's own manufacturer and online purveyor of fair trade, organic and even Vegan chocolates? I did not until our chocolate investigation team got to work and found Sjaak's Organic Chocolates in Petaluma! Besides buying some chocolate this month to celebrate Valentine's Day, be sure to visit Sjaak's site and read their story, which stretches from Holland and Spain to Eureka and finally Petaluma, here in Sonoma County. Sjaak's has graciously offered our friends a 15% discount through February 28, 2013, so please email us for a discount code! Recently I had lunch in downtown Petaluma with a friend. Afterwards we had a sweet tooth so we wondered in to Viva Cocolat at 110 Petaluma Blvd. North. We went straight for the salted caramels but were entranced by the variety of gourmet chocolates from around the world. Next time I am going to stay for a hot chocolate! Or maybe I will take on chocolate appreciation class. Not that I need help in that department. The lovely folks at Viva Cocolat offered our friends a coupon worth 10% off on purchases between now and April 30th. Email me and I will send you a coupon! Happy Valentine's Day from Sonoma County! ...

Silicon Valley Says Unplug from Technology–One Way? Stop and Smell the Roses in Sonoma County

[caption id="attachment_1859" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Go Ahead Stop and Smell Them!"][/caption]   Today in the New York Times, one of the most widely shared articles talks about the search for work life balance in Silicon Valley, and the virtues of unplugging from your iPhone, iPad and laptop from time to time, to enrich your life and achieve some balance. The incessant call of technology can distance us from what is real and important, whether you work in Silicon Valley or just have technology so embedded in your life it can be difficult to break away. That thinking is a FAR FAR cry from the world of Silicon Valley startups I used to inhabit, when I still found it important to duck out for a quick sail or to go horsebackriding. At those unstructured moments, I would often come up with my best ideas. Meanwhile one CEO of mine would boast about how he gamed his email to make it appear that he was on the job at 2 or 3 am. (This was a long time ago so forgive the quaint technology reference!) My first thought upon reading today's story was that so many people I know, including me of course, found one solution to this challenge. I just moved someplace so beautiful and interesting that I am forced to have balance every day. I moved to the countryside of Sonoma County! It's true--heads up Silicon Valley! Come on up. You can still work from here. ! Many of my clients telecommute. Or we can find you a fabulous retreat for getaway weekends and holidays now, something that might be your full time home one day. So many people I work with on the buying side are doing just that. Coming up most weekends (it is not a long drive to the Bay Area) from SF, or Mountain View, or Oakland. Their plan is to live here full time in one or two or three years. Some of my clients bought homes here and live out of state. The home of one is a very successful vacation rental that they can only visit a few times a year but it will be a toehold for when they come here full time in a few years. I have other clients looking to do the same thing. One set has a home in France and a home in Healdsburg. Most of them tell me their second home helps them...

Not Quite Summertime but the Living is Easy…

[caption id="attachment_1793" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="It's easy to take it easy with Mom keeping watch"][/caption] It's not quite summertime but it's going to be very hot this weekend. You might want to take it easy like these two-week old foals at my neighbor's place. [caption id="attachment_1799" align="alignleft" width="430" caption="Courtesy of Crissi Dillon of the Press Democrat newspaper"][/caption] Or there is plenty to keep you occupied if you want to get up and go! Tomorrow morning at 6:30 am the Hot Air Balloon Classic begins at the Sonoma County Airport. There are tethered balloon rides and you can get up close to watch them launch and land for a six dollar admission fee. ...

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