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Wine Spectator’s 2013 Winners

Posted on November 20, 2013 by Mark Stevens

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This year, Wine Spectator celebrates its 25th Anniversary of the Top 100 list; in other words, the wine connoisseur bible, where Wine Spectator editors choose the “most exciting” wines from all around the world to put together into a list of their top choices for 2013.  With more than 20,000 new releases reviewed, I am very proud to showcase the Sonoma County and Napa Valley winners!

With prices averaging about $50 per bottle, I am looking forward to getting my hands on some of these incredible wines and perhaps making a list of my own personal favorites among the Napa and Sonoma county winners.

My friends at Wine Spectator have perfected their judging system, as they score each wine on quality, value based on release price, availability and excitement.  The way Wine Spectator editors describe “excitement” is that something extra that makes each wine unique and authentic (which us northern California folks have the pleasure of experiencing very often, right!?)

Congratulations to all of the incredible wineries for your Top 100 achievement; I am looking forward to what next year will bring.  Until then, the holidays will be filled with winning wines and happy guests!

For the full list of the 2013 Top 100 Wine Spectator winners, please visit http://2013.top100.winespectator.com/list/.  

Sonoma County’s Finest

Posted on October 31, 2013 by Mark Stevens

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There were many incredible wineries represented at this year’s Sonoma County Harvest Festival (too many to get to taste them all!) but I am proud to shine some light on the amazing awards that Wellington Vineyards won this year.  Not only does Wellington Vineyards produce an impressive amount of varietals, but also, the awards that they won do a lot more than give the winery a pat on the back, these much-deserved awards validate the continued quality of the brand.

With first-class competition in Sonoma County, it is admirable that 13 Wellington wines found a spot on the winning podium for all Sonoma County natives and guests alike to see and enjoy.  And as for Wellington’s humble winemaker, Peter Wellington, over 25 years in the industry and a devoted following has earned him his just reward and for great reason.

Congratulations Wellington Vineyards and we’re looking forward to what next year has in store.  Take a look at the 2013 awards that Wellington Vineyards took home below.  Contact me if you would like more information about Wellington Vineyards or to set up a tour of the winery!Wellington Vineyards Awards 2013 resized 600

Love of the Land

Posted on July 26, 2013 by Mark Stevens

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On Thursday, July 18th I had the pleasure of attending the Love of the Land event hosted by the Sonoma County Farm Bureau. This particular event was organized to recognize and honor the Stewards of the Land, and it did just that.

The evening began with a wonderful reception in which Sonoma County wineries shared tastings of their award winning wines, and local restaurants served delicious hors d’oeuvres. This event, out of the many wonderful events that the Sonoma County Farm Bureau hosts, was especially near to my heart, as it inducted not only a cherished friend, but also a pioneer of Sonoma County Agriculture into the Farm Bureau Hall of Fame. This incredible woman, whom received a standing ovation upon just the mention of her name, is Saralee McClelland Kunde. Earning this distinctive place in Sonoma County’s history could not have happened to a more dedicated and enthusiastic leader.

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Saralee sets a stage for Sonoma County ranchers and winemakers, which conveys a high level of quality and class, all while setting a powerful example for Sonoma County’s youth; she also joins her husband, Richard Kunde, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008. They continue to nurture the future of Sonoma County’s agricultural prominence.

Aside from being an agricultural goddess, Saralee’s bravery shined as she calmly (and with a smile no-less) sat on her entry wagon while the two horses pulling it bucked rambunctiously!

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The evening ended with a beautiful sunset looking out over Saralee’s Vineyard and Richard’s Grove, a picturesque culmination of all that is to be cherished in this place that I call home. Congratulations, Saralee. This honor was very much deserved and Sonoma County would not be the same without you.

Saddening News for a Local Landmark

Posted on July 16, 2013 by Mark Stevens

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Our quaint, charming town of Sebastopol was hit with some saddening news on Saturday. Frizelle Enos Feeds, the town’s main Feed store and oldest established business in Sebastopol caught on fire and burned down. As a local of this town for over 30 years and a loyal customer of Frizelle Enos, I am speaking for our community when I say that it is such an unfortunate incident for the owners, friends, family and customers of the store. I am relieved to know that there were no injuries or harm done to the folks involved in the fire or to the animals in the building.

I want to thank the firefighters from Sebastopol, Gold Ridge, Cal Fire, Graton, Santa Rosa, Forestville and Rincon Valley that responded to this fire; these amazing firefighters worked tirelessly to put Saturday’s fire out, and contain the fire without further damage to the neighboring establishments.

My two daughters were active members of 4-H, the nation’s largest youth development program that focuses on building revolutionary opportunities and implementing community-wide change at an early age. Frizelle Enos has been a large part of our community’s local 4-H program and for that, my family, as well as our community will be forever grateful.

It is my sincerest hope that Frizelle Enos will reconstruct their store and therefore reinforce their history, positive influence and strength within the town of Sebastopol and West Sonoma County. This business can use all of the support that this town can give, and I have no doubt that the West County residents will be there.

Bridging the gap between wine country and the concrete jungle

Posted on June 28, 2013 by Mark Stevens

 

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Nearly five acres in the heart of the famed Russian River Valley, lies a very special property that prides itself on 3± acres of certified organic Pinot Noir vineyards.  This Morelli Lane property in Occidental is adjacent to some of the more well-known boutique wineries around Sonoma County and offers a unique opportunity to own a Premium Pinot Noir vineyard, as well as plans for a dream Wine Country retreat on a beautiful home site.

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Not only is there an incredibly constructed concept by Blu Home with complete plans for a residence in the midst of Sonoma County’s Wine Country, but these vineyards are also establishing a name for themselves in Sonoma County’s closest “little, big city” San Francisco.  Honoring Bluxome Street Winery, the producer of the wine that comes mostly from the Morelli Lane vineyards, San Francisco has awarded the winery and its co-owner, Matt Reidy, the SFMade New Maker Award of 2013. 

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This award is given to a company that “exemplifies the value of SFMade: Manufacturing a quality product, exhibiting innovation, showing potential to create jobs for the local community and making a significant and positive contribution to the SFMade community.”  A non-profit organization like SFMade is established to assist local businesses operating in San Francisco and with this award has made known to the public that Bluxome Street Winery is, indeed a leader in the urban winemaking movement in San Francisco.  Reidy and his partners strive to support other local “makers” through the community events and he says that his overall vision is to “become one of the top ten places to visit in San Francisco.” 

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Morelli Lane vineyards, among Bluxome Street’s designated vineyards in Sonoma County, have been an integral part of the growth of the winery and the merit it has recently incurred.  Reidy, who is a driving force of innovation and leadership in both San Francisco and Sonoma County, has dedication to both the winery and the Morelli Lane vineyards.  Aside from the coveted SFMade “Maker of the Year” award, Bluxome Street has recently been featured in Wine Enthusiast Magazine as one of five must-try urban wineries, as well as the Global Traveler Magazine (http://www.globaltravelerusa.com/san-francisco-california-boomtown/) and the Touring and Tasting Magazine (http://www.touringandtasting.com/destinations/san-francisco-bay/tasting-in-the-city-by-the-bay/). 

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Bridging the gap between Sonoma County Wine Country and our nearest concrete jungle is no easy feat, but with dedication and involvement in the community, Matt Reidy and his team are not disappointing.  Grapes from Morelli Lane vineyards have a place to call home in Bluxome Street Winery and as we can see, the charming partnership is definitely paying off.

If you are interested in learning more about my 14310 Morelli Lane property, or Bluxome Street Winery, please feel free to contact me at 707.322.2000 or mark.stevens@sothebysrealty.com.  I would love to show you around!

 

 

1,400 Realtors, 27 sessions, 4 days, 1 extraordinary brand: Sotheby’s International Realty Networking Event

Posted on June 17, 2013 by Mark Stevens

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What better way to get rejuvenation of information and inspiration than to attend an annual networking conference?  I had the pleasure of making my way to the Artisan Sotheby’s International Realty Global Networking Event at LA Live.  Upon our arrival, we got greeted with a package of information on what great resources we would be exposed to throughout the event, and a small blue box with a white ribbon.  So, not only is the Sotheby’s brand extraordinary to be associated with due to its incredible clout in the real estate world, they also know how to bring some style to the table.  I opened the Tiffany’s box to find a ballpoint pen in ruthenium (because us Sotheby’s folks wouldn’t be expected to take notes with anything else, right?!)  Gratefully, I accepted my welcome gift and made my way up to my room to organize my suits and get ready for the networking dinner. 

 

With a buzz of excitement surrounding every square foot of the venue, I thought about how imperative it is to come together as a company, a group, a team to meet with people that not only have similar life and career goals, but are also eager to share the ways that they have reached them.  So, on Monday, I was ready to dive head first into what this conference had to offer.  We began with a welcome presentation from the President and CEO of Artisan Sotheby’s International Realty, Philip White.  With incredible grace, he spoke of the foundation of the company and the excellence that we will strive to produce for the next year. 

 

There were a few speakers that preceded Philip, two very memorable ones being Erik Wahl and Joe Calloway.  Erik wears many hats as a well-known graffiti artist, author, entrepreneur and philanthropist.  His words were filled with inspiration and unique to his presentation was a set of on-stage paintings that he did, each in 90 seconds while adrenaline pumping music played in the background.  The message that was delivered: think outside of the box and do something completely unconventional to gain results that are just as original.  The next speaker, Joe Calloway, managed to capture every ounce of our group’s attention.  Joe is the author of several books; his most recent titled, “Becoming a Category of One.”  He emphasized the importance of taking risks to gain maximum reward, making a point that what each of us had done successfully yesterday may not be successful tomorrow.  In order to maintain productive and thriving business, whatever that business may be, daily improvement needs to be at the forefront of our minds.  As a side note, Joe was seemingly born to be a public speaker; I’m sure my Sotheby’s colleagues would not disagree.

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With a list of fantastic breakout sessions to choose from, each member of the event was able to focus on what he or she wanted to experience and attend sessions that related to those topics.  Honored, I was asked to be a part of a panel in one of these breakout sessions as a vineyard and winery market specialist.  I am always eager to learn more about specialty markets and share with my colleagues the ideas, stories and struggles that got them to where they are, but in this instance, I had the opportunity to share my experiences with a larger group.  Sitting among a group of experts in a variety of unique specialty markets was incredible.  The response and questions from the group were meaningful and I am looking forward to continuing the relationships that were formed from being a part of that panel. 

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So, as I’m sure you are all sitting on the edge of your seats waiting to read, comes the fun part!  Well, all of it was fun, but they do make time for everyone to grab a cocktail after all sessions have ended and mingle with the group.  There is a lot to do in a few days, so having some time to meet people and chat for a few minutes was much needed by the end of each day.  And I have to say, Sotheby’s International Realty did not skimp on the food, snacks and beverages during the event.  We were all kept well fed and happy. 

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We concluded the event in black tie outfits, as we were formally invited to a closing dinner complete with an array of amazing desserts and entertainment.  Overall, the experience of the networking event for Sotheby’s International Realty was one that reenergized the drive and motivation it takes to be a better Broker Associate every day.  I am committed to making the experience of finding the right real estate for every individual a priority, and am proud to say that the Sotheby’s brand along with many of my colleagues have become part of that.  My hat is off to a wonderful event and I am already looking forward to great times next year!

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