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News This Week: Coastal Getaway and 2019 Garden Goals

Posted on December 28, 2018 by Mark Stevens

DISCOVER THIS WEEKS  EXCITING LOCAL NEWS AND TOP REAL ESTATE STORIES

1) Sonoma and Mendocino Coast Weekend

Locals know that winter is one of the best times to enjoy the our coastline. This guide will give you the perfect itinerary for a weekend enjoying a few highlights that the Sonoma and Mendocino coast has to offer.READ MORE

2) Habitat for Humanity Plans Local Factory

Habitat for Humanity is planning to open a facility that will build components for prefab homes. The space will help the nonprofit to reach their goal of constructing 600 new homes in Sonoma County in the next eight years. READ MORE

3) Be The Best Gardener You Can in 2019

This list of ten garden goals for 2019 will get you inspired to get back outside. From going non-toxic to teaching kiddos to love to garden, these are some resolutions that we can get behind. READ MORE

4) Your Chance to Own an Amazing Treehouse.

o2 Treehouse, based in Oakland, built an amazing pinecone shaped getaway that could be yours for $150,000. With 64 windows in the 102 sq. ft. space, you will truly feel like a part of the forest. READ MORE

 

Ultimate Guide: Wine Caves

Posted on December 10, 2018 by michelle_magnus

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

 

 

News This Week: New Michelin Guide and Holiday Gifts

Posted on November 30, 2018 by Mark Stevens

DISCOVER THIS WEEKS  EXCITING LOCAL NEWS AND TOP REAL ESTATE STORIES

1) Three Stars for Single Thread

Michelin just announced their rankings for bay area restaurants, and Healdsburg’s Single Thread continued its success by gaining its third star. The Michelin Guide’s Bay Area list has eight restaurants with three stars, six restaurants with two stars and 43 with one star. READ MORE

 

2) Burying Electrical Lines May Prevent Wildfires

PG&E is installing power lines underground in West Sonoma County to better understand the costs and benefits of burying power lines for wildfire prevention. READ MORE

 

3) Sonoma County’s Natural Resources Are Worth Billions

A new report assigns a dollar value to the “nature” resource of Sonoma County that is approximately $6.6 billion per year. READ MORE

 

4) Guide for Local Holiday Gifts

#Buy Local and discover one-of-a-kind gifts for anyone on your list this year. READ MORE

News This Week: Election Results

Posted on November 09, 2018 by Mark Stevens

EACH WEEK WE COLLECT TOP LOCAL NEWS AND RECENT REAL ESTATE STORIES. 

 

1) Sonoma County Voters Approve Funds for Parks

Voters approved Measure M by an overwhelming margin on Tuesday. The Measure increases sales tax in Sonoma County by one eighth of a percent. Revenues will be used to maintain county and municipal parks. READ MORE

2) Butte County Fire Darkens Sonoma County Skies

Smoke from the Camp Fire, burning over a hundred miles to the north east of Sonoma County, is reminding many residents of the devastation that we experienced 13 months ago during the Tubbs Fire. READ MORE

3) Mixed Success for Affordable Housing Ballot Measures

There were seven measures on the Napa County and Santa Rosa ballots that aimed to address affordable housing issues. Of the seven measures, three failed to get the necessary votes. READ MORE

4) Prop. 6 Defeat Allows Infrastructure Improvements in Sonoma County to Continue

The defeat of Proposition 6 means that local projects such as SMART train expansion and Highway 101 widening will continue to receive funding. READ MORE

featured image courtesy of pressdemocrat.com

My Simple Guide to Creating Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Posted on October 17, 2018 by Mark Stevens

This past weekend I made a nesting box for the Western Bluebird. This species is a one of my favorites—their color is stunning and they are a pleasure to watch as they swoop and dive to catch insects. Over time, I have found that creating and/or preserving space for wildlife in my own backyard isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Putting out bird feeders and making nesting boxes are just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some simple steps that my family and I have taken to make sure that the birds, bees, and all the other critters that live alongside us have safe, welcoming homes of their own.

My Western Bluebird nesting box.
Create Shelter

Most birds want a nest that feels just right. For those birds that are comfortable nesting in a box that someone else made, the dimensions and opening size are important. An opening that is too big may allow predators or competitors to use the box. A great resource for region specific nesting box plans and placement is NestWatch. To support the natives bees in your area you can make nest blocks or other types of tunnel nests.

Plant Natives and Provide Food

Using plants that are native to your area will provide habitat and food resources for a variety of animals. Plant a varied selection of plants, which will give birds many options to build their own nests and find food. Choosing plants that flower at different times will ensure that there is a steady supply of food for native bees. For information on California’s native plants, visit the California Native Plant Society. Placing bird feeders throughout your yard will also attract and sustain wildlife. For help choosing the right bird feeders check out Wild Birds Unlimited.

Manage Wisely

One of the simplest ways to ensure that your yard is wildlife friendly is to leave some of it untouched. Whether you plant natives or have more exotic landscaping, try letting them grow wild for most of the year. It may end up looking less tidy than you are used to, but the insects and animals like it that way.

Want to go further? You can get your yard certified as a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Foundation. Check out the checklist here.

*featured image courtesy of effectivewildlifesolutions.com

News This Week: Wildfire Recovery One Year Later

Posted on October 05, 2018 by michelle_magnus

EACH WEEK WE COLLECT TOP LOCAL NEWS AND RECENT REAL ESTATE STORIES

 

The Fear That Keeps Napa Winemakers up at Night

One year after devastating wildfires, Napa winemakers confess that they are worried about much more than the threat of fire in the future. READ MORE

New Homes for Wildfire Survivors

Homes for Sonoma—an organization that makes tiny modular homes that are approximately 500 sq. ft.—is creating new housing in Sonoma County for displaced fire survivors. The first 5 homes will be in Windsor, CA with plans to create an additional 40 in the upcoming months. READ MORE

Graton Gets its First Park

Last Saturday was the ribbon cutting ceremony for a new park that will open in Graton. The park has been a longtime dream for the town, which currently has no public space. READ MORE

The Future of Homes

Leaders and visionaries in the home-design community describe what home design will look like in the year 2039. READ MORE