Moving? We’ve Got You Covered!

Posted on April 24, 2014 by Mark Stevens

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Moving can be stressful for anyone involved and even the thought of beginning the process is daunting to most! We’ve compiled a simple moving checklist to help ease the stress and keep the weeks leading up to the big move organized.

Four Weeks Before Moving

  • Aquire the floor plan of your new home and determine what furniture you want to keep.
  • Start a list of all household goods that you want to keep. Have a garage sale or donate the items that you do not want anymore.
  • If renting, give notice to your landlord.
  • Cancel any monthly services. (Many require at least 30 days notice or you will billed for an extra month)
  • Seek estimates from several moving companies and choose a mover or reserve a moving van.
  • Request time off of work if need be. 
  • Start collecting boxes, collect all other packing supplies (tape, bubble wrap, newspaper for wrapping, labels, box cutters.)

Three Weeks Before Moving

  • Start packing! Remember to label your boxes so you can move and un-pack with ease. Plan on carrying irreplaceable and hard-to-replace items with you.
  • Arrange for utilites at your new location.
  • Service any vehicles you are using in the move.
  • Give out forwarding address.

Two Weeks Before Moving

  • Make lodging arrangements if traveling a long distance or if your new home is not in move-in condition.
  • Verify move-in date.
  • Arrange for a babysitter or petsitter for the day of the move.

One Week Before Moving

  • Close or transfer bank account if needed.
  • Change address for banks, credit card companies, magazines and newspapers.
  • Start cleaning your house throughly or arrange for a house cleaner to come after your move.
  • Contact utilites to cancel or transfer accounts. You’ll want utilites on moving day, so arrange to disconnect them after your move date.
  • Make arrangements to pay for your move. (For interstate moves you must pay the driver before your goods can be unloaded.)
  • Deforst and dry refirgerator and freezers to be moved.
  • Put together a box filled with moving day necessities including toiletries, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, some dishes and utensils, snacks, medications, tools, and bedding.

Moving Day

  • Be available to answer any questions and give directions to the movers and stay until they are finished.
  • Do a final walk through of your old residence, checking closets, drawers, etc. for missed items.
  • Give your old house keys to the real estate agent or landlord.
  • Once at your new house, make note of any damages.
  • Test all utilites to make sure they are up and running.
  • Begin to upack.
  • Lastly, enjoy your new home!

Monterey Area Winery for Sale

Posted on April 04, 2014 by Mark Stevens

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This special property offers a unique opportunity for a prospective buyer interested in purchasing a historic estate ideally suited for growing high-quality Pinot Noir.  Located just East of Monterey Bay and a short distance from Silicon Valley, the property includes approximately 120 acres of planted vineyards, a state-of-the-art facility, an established ultra- premium Central Coast wine brand, and an architecturally significant guest house. 

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The Winery includes pressing, fermentation, aging, and bottling capacity and production is in excess of 50,000 cases per year.  A 15,000± square foot warehouse provides on-site storage, and caves can be found on one of the hillsides of the estate.

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The site includes a myriad of options for hospitality and entertaining including a picturesque tasting room, landscaped grounds, mature gardens, and two separate residences.  Price upon request. 

If you would like more information about this exclusive Winery and Vineyard Estate, please contact me at or 707.322.2000.  

Small Businesses, Big Hearts

Posted on November 27, 2013 by Mark Stevens

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If anyone has ever visited my wonderful hometown of Sebastopol, they would probably leave feeling a very prevalent sense of community throughout the small town, which in my opinion is a testament to the idea that a community can thrive on charming, family-owned, “mom-and-pop” businesses that have a lot more than just products to offer.  

This Saturday, November 30, 2013 will be just like any other Saturday that the local Sebastopol residents will spend, but it will be slightly more exciting for local small businesses in my town, because it is Small Business Saturday.  It is on this day, that we honor the businesses that have made their mark in the small business world, in a very large way. 

With a vast and eclectic variety of small businesses in Sebastopol to choose from, it has been very difficult to pick just a few to recognize.  I truly feel that Sebastopol is Sonoma County’s hub of small businesses; these local businesses have shaped the integrity and character of this town, so I would like to take a moment to recognize all of them for their success and all of the good that they bring to Sonoma County!

 Whether dining out at some of the restaurants, shopping for local produce or needing a special service, Sebastopol always has what I’m looking for.  If you would like to visit a small business restaurant, I recommend trying one of these:  

K & L Bistro

Peter Lowell’s

Sushi Hana 

If it’s shopping on Saturday that you are interested in, check out some of these Sebastopol favorites sure to delight: 

Copperfield’s Books

Andy’s Produce Market

People’s Music

If you’re looking to extend your stay in Sebastopol, get your spa serviced for winter, or mail Holiday gifts early, I recommend these local businesses:

Sebastopol Inn

Roger Pool and Spa

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And finally, we can’t forget about the wineries!  A robust and successful day of wine tasting can be had just in nearby Sebastopol; here are a few that I enjoy:

 Balletto Vineyards and Winery

La Follette

Hook & Ladder Winery

I hope you enjoy our Holiday weekend and support local small businesses on Saturday!



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  

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.