Local Attractions & Things To Do

Ultimate Guide: Wine Caves

Posted on December 10, 2018 by Admin

Visiting wineries in Napa and Sonoma Counties is a bucket list experience that draws wine enthusiasts from all around the world, but wine tasting is really just the tip of the iceberg. Top your visit off with a visit to a wine cave for a truly memorable—even magical—experience.

The cave is where perfect temperature and humidity allow wines to age gracefully and transform from goodto award-winning. Caves provide the ideal storage environment for wine. The temperature remains constant—usually around 58℉ in California—and the humidity is relatively high. This, in turn, minimizes evaporation of the wines as they age.

The Soul of the Wine

There may be something intangible that caves add to wine as well—this is where the magic comes in. Martha McClellan, the winemaker at Sloan Estate, suggests the caves add to the soul of the wine. In her own words… “The cave’s purpose is to provide a tranquil, peace-filled atmosphere for the wine to rest and age for two or more years. In the end, this beauty contributes tothe soul of the wine, nurtured from vine, to tank, to barrel and ultimately to bottle.’”

Benefits of Caves

The constant temperature and humidity is not only good for the wines, it is good for the wineries and our world at large. By utilizing the stable cave climate there is no need to use expensive and energy intensive equipment to store wine. And by building underground, wineries leave the valuable real estate above ground available for planting.

Then to Now: The Evolution of Gourmet Caves

Caves were constructed in Sonoma and Napa Counties beginning in the 1870’s, but the caves that are built today are a far cry from their predecessors. Today’s caves are used for much more than just storage—they are designed to play a vital role in the hospitality of the wineries. Caves are used for tasting rooms, retail shops, office space, special events, private dinners, and even music venues.

This diversity of functions is great news for visitors, because the magic of being in a wine cave is an experience that you will not want to miss!

Go Deeper

Check out this fabulous guide to caves in Northern California that you can visit today!

Want a cave of your own? We are offering a well established winery off the iconic Silverado Trail with a 4500± sq. ft. cave of its own. LEARN MORE

 

*Quote from Martha McClellan courtesy of californiabountiful.com

*Featured image courtesy of Far Niente Winery

 

 

Art Trails of Sonoma County – Like a Treasure Hunt (but better!)

Posted on October 10, 2018 by Admin

Sonoma County Art Trails goes onto my schedule, every year, twice a year, without fail.  And this isn’t just because I live next door to the talented Carole Watanabe.  Well, that could be part of it… but more so, Art Trails creates a great excuse to get out & about to new places in Sonoma County.  As we are driving down numerous hidden back-country roads toward our next stop on the Art Trails, we have the perfect excuse to stop off at a nearby winery or restaurant for refreshment and sustenance.  After all, looking at so much great art is sort of like an endurance race, requiring (delicious) food & hydration……

I am proud to call Sebastopol my home of many years. I love its progressive attitude and upscale down-to-earth vibe, among other things. So its no surprise that my town is home to the largest Art Center in California, north of San Francisco—Sebastopol Center for the Arts—responsible for creating this fun adventure known as Sonoma County Art Trails.

If you’re new to Art Trails, here’s a great way to take advantage of this event: Go to the Sebastopol Center for the Arts at 282 S High St, Sebastopol, CA 95472. They are open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10-4 pm and have extended hours over the weekend from 10-5 pm (10/13 & 14 and 10/20 & 21). Once there, you can pick up the Art Trails Catalog and Map, plus view the participants’ paintings throughout the gallery (each artist has one piece hanging in the gallery).  Or simply CLICK HERE for a digital version & print at your leisure.

Meanwhile, enjoy rambling around all the open art studios throughout Sonoma County….and have a great, art-filled weekend!

— Mark

 

Schedule for Sonoma County Art Trails

Sundays and Saturdays, October 13, 2018 – October 21, 2018

Upcoming Dates:

~ Saturday, October 13, 2018 – 10:00am to 05:00pm
~ Sunday, October 14, 2018 – 10:00am to 05:00pm
~ Saturday, October 20, 2018 – 10:00am to 05:00pm

Cost: Free

Location:

Various Sonoma County Art Studios
Sebastopol Center for the Arts
282 S. High Street
SebastopolCalifornia 95472

For More Information:

Contact: Sebastopol Center for the Arts
Local: 707-829-4797
Email: info@sebarts.org

 

*Featured image courtesy of sonomacountyarttrails.org

Sebastopol Highlight: The Barlow

Posted on October 02, 2018 by Admin

With the holidays around the corner, you may be looking for inspiration and specialty gifts for your loved ones. Look no further than The Barlow in Sebastopol. First opened in 2013, The Barlow is almost a town unto itself, filled with premier shops, tasting rooms, breweries, and restaurants. Set aside a few hours to drink, eat, picnic, walk and shop in this beautiful outdoor shopping center featuring some of the best products Sonoma County has to offer.

Shops

Scout West County has been called “The Barlow’s new modern general store.” They have a wide selection of clothes, homegoods, and gifts focused on sustainability and craftsmanship.
Sonoma Flower Mart brings wholesale flowers to the public. They work with 15+ local farms to source high quality flowers year-round.
Community Market is a full-service grocery store featuring organic and health foods. Stop in to fill your kitchen larder or enjoy prepared food from the deli.

Also check out: Adele Stoll, Tamarind Clothing, Gallery 300, Elsie Green, California Sister Floral, The Passdoor, and Soap Cauldron.

Dining and Drinking

Kosho is a new addition to The Barlow. They offer modern Japanese cuisine utilizing fresh, high quality ingredients.
Golden State Cider (coming Spring 2019) uses the finest west coast apples to make a selection of high quality hard ciders.
Barrio: Fresca Cocina Mexicana serves gourmet Mexican street food in a contemporary style.
Pax Wines is focused on making wines from Syrah, Chenin Blanc, Gamay, Carignan grapes with as little intervention as possible.

Also check out: Seismic Brewing Company (coming soon), The Farmer’s Wife (coming soon), Crooked Goat Brewing, Friedman Wines, Guayaki, Kosta Browne Winery, MacPhail Tasting Lounge, The Nectary, Spirit Works Distillery, Two Dog Night Creamery, Taylor Lane Coffee, Village Bakery, WM Cofield Cheesemakers, Woodfour Brewing, Zazu Kitchen + Farm.

The Barlow also has an event center that is available to host weddings, corporate events or private events celebrating any special occasion.

*images courtesy of thebarlow.net and www.fdc-comp.com

2018 Wine Country Harvest Celebrations

Posted on September 18, 2018 by Admin

We are thrilled grape harvest is in full swing—full of anticipation for spectacular 2018 vintage. To celebrate the harvest and honor the hard work that goes into turning the excellent fruit of our region into world class wines, check out our favorite events in the area.

Valley of The Moon Vintage Festival
September 28 – 30, 2018
Cost: Varies

The oldest festival in California, this gathering offers a variety of events that appeal to all interests. Enjoy live music, dancing, local food and wines, grape stomping, a “light parade,” and various running races.

Kendall-Jackson
September 30, 2018, 11:00 – 4:00 PM
Cost: $150, $120 for wine club members

Join Kendall-Jackson for their second annual harvest celebration. Enjoy live music, exquisite wine and delicious food from local restaurants—including Single Thread and Two Birds/One Stone. Benefiting the UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County, this unmissable event offers educational seminars and demonstrations that highlight local food and the local wine industry.

Sonoma County Harvest Fair
October 5-7, 2018
Cost: $5 for Gate Admission, $60 for Grand Tasting, $125 for Harvest Fair Dinner

The Sonoma County Harvest Fair is an excellent showcase for some of the stunning products that are grown and made in Sonoma County. The multi-day event celebrates the region’s top winemakers, growers, microbrewers, and artisans—plus it includes opportunities to taste award winning wines, craft beer, and excellent regional cuisine.

Seghesio Home Ranch
October 6, 2018, 10 AM – 1 PM
Cost: $75 General Admission, $60 Wine Club Member

Begin your day with a guided hike through Seghesio’s 120 year old vines up to  Rattlesnake Hill overlooking the beautiful Anderson Valley. With the most delux views in the region, you will be treated to a lunch featuring wines exclusively from Seghesio’s Home Ranch Estate.

 

News This Week: Wine Country Charm and Environmental Leadership

Posted on September 14, 2018 by Admin

EACH WEEK WE COLLECT TOP LOCAL NEWS AND RECENT REAL ESTATE STORIES HOT OFF THE PRESS FOR YOUR WEEKEND CLICKING PLEASURE.

Short & Beautiful Ride to Small Vines Wines
Try this 7.5 mile bike ride around Sebastopol to taste some great wine, and take in some of West Sonoma County’s charm. READ MORE

Open Space Protected Forever!
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors have approved an agreement to protect nearly 1000 acres of land adjacent to Tolay Lake Regional Park. READ MORE

Kitchen Design Details
Small details can make all the difference in your kitchen design. This guide will help you turn your kitchen into a stunning success. READ MORE

Carbon Free California
Governor Jerry Brown has signed a new law committing California to a carbon-free power grid by the year 2045. The law is one of part of California’s ambitious plan to fight climate change. READ MORE

 

Late Summer Hikes in Sonoma County

Posted on September 12, 2018 by Admin

There aren’t very many days of summer left, but there are still plenty of hot days ahead in Sonoma County. Here are some hikes that will help get you outside and beat the heat.

Sonoma Coast

The Kortum, Pomo Canyon, and Red Hill trails are all located in the same area of the Sonoma Coast, each trail offers something unique. For an easier stroll, try the Kortum—the flat trail offers 8.9 miles of hiking on the bluff above the Pacific. For expansive views hike to the top of Red Hill. From the summit you can see Napa County as well as the Farallon Islands on a clear day. Pomo Canyon is a showcase of the cooler forest ecosystems that can be found in Sonoma County, with bay trees, redwoods, and hillside streams that provide refreshing contrast to the open coastal hills.

Santa Rosa

Annadel and Spring Lake have a variety of trails to suit different hiking levels. The trail around Spring Lake is paved and offers views of the lake and wetlands along its length. Spring Lake features a swimming lagoon, a boat ramp, and boat rentals. For the more ambitious, head up through Annadel to Lake Ilsanjo. Swimming in it’s water provides a haven for hot hikers and mountain bikers.


Forestville/Healdsburg

Located on Eastside Road amongst vineyards and wineries is Riverfront Regional Park. The park is located at site of a former gravel mine, and the two abandoned gravel pits are now large ponds. The trail that loops around the second pond is mostly shaded, and has plenty of access for those who want to try their luck fishing. The Russian River forms the western border of the park and has a several good swimming holes, perfect for cooling dips. A redwood grove near the parking area is a great place for shaded picnics.

*images courtesy of parks.ca.gov