Sonoma Valley Events for March 1-4

A selection of upcoming Sonoma Valley events for Thursday March 1st through Sunday March 4th. Full details and more events at

Thursday March 1st:
Sonoma Valley Redevelopment Advisory Committee meeting, 7:00 pm, Boys and Girls Club. If you are interested in what is going on with the Springs Redevelopment, this is the meeting to attend!

Valley of the Moon Garden Club, 7:00 pm, Vintage House.

Anglea Pneuman author of the short story collection “Home Remedies”at Reader’s Books, 7:30 pm

Friday March 2nd:

Live Music at the Lodge at Sonoma, 7:00pm

Wanted: Greg Grabow, Local Singer and coffee roaster Greg Grabow sings at the Boyes Springs Barking Dog, 8:30 pm

Saturday March 3rd:

Spirituality, Faith and the Environment at First Congregational Church of Sonoma. Discussion of the movie An Inconvenient Truth. 9:00am

Center of the Universe Cafe at the Sonoma Community Center, 6:30pm

Live music at the Lodge and another performance by Greg Grabow

Sunday, March 4th:
Live music at Murphy’s Irish Pub, 6:00 pm

Doug Bauer, accompanied by Sue Miller, will read from “Death by Pad Thai,” a collection of the favorite food experiences of a number of well-known authors at Readers’ Books 7:30pm

Interview with Phillip Torres about Wine Tasting in Sonoma

I sat down with Phillip Torres of Epicure Wine Tours to get the scoop on an upcoming Sonoma County wine tasting event:

What is the upcoming event?

This year is the 29th annual Russian River Wine Road Barrel Tasting event, and there’s a new twist to it this year; it’s going to be held for TWO consecutive weekends rather than just one. It will be March 2, 3, 4, and March 9, 10, 11. There will be over 100 wineries participating in the Dry Creek Valley , Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley, and the town of Healdsburg.

If I can’t visit all the wineries, which of the wineries should be on my
‘must visit’ list?

Let me break that down into categories so that I can more effectively answer. For instance, a couple of great spots in downtown Healdsburg are Selby Winery and Rosenblum Cellars. They are both very close to the Plaza which makes it convenient if you’d like to stroll through historic Healdsburg and do some shopping. If you’d like to find a great location to have a picnic, I recommend Armida Winery. They have a nice selection of wines and a beautiful picnic area overlooking the valley AND they have a bocce ball court. If you’re interested in seeing a real CAVE while you’re out wine tasting, then I recommend Alexander Valley Vineyards. Again, they have great wines and they will (usually) be able to have one of their staff members take you into the caves for a short tour.

What is the difference between wine tasting and barrel tasting?

Typically, when you visit wineries to go wine tasting you will be simply what they call their “current releases”. That simply means that you will be tasting wine poured from the bottle, and those are the wines that they have available for purchase. When you go “barrel tasting” it means that you are sampling wines directly from the oak barrels that they store the wine in during the aging process. They put a long, glass cylinder (called a “thief”) into a hole at the top of the barrel. The thief fills up with wine, then they extract it from the barrel and VOILÀ! They pour some into your glass and you get to taste a wine that’s not yet finished with its aging process. This gives you the ability to taste of these “barrel” wines and compare them to the same “current release” wine that they pour for you in the tasting room.

If I like the wine, can I buy it?

ABSOLUTELY! Not only that, but during this barrel tasting event many of the wineries will allow you to purchase “futures”. That is, the wine that you taste in barrel is usually sold at a discount, and when the wine is finished aging and they bottle it, you can return to the winery to pick it up or have them ship it to you. Of course, you are always able to purchase their current release wines.

Tell us about your company (and you).

My company, Epicure Wine Tours, is geared toward small, intimate wine tours (seven people or fewer). I get to know my clients on a very personal level, which allows me to take them to the wineries that I know they will enjoy based on their level of wine knowledge, likes, dislikes, prior wine tasting experience, etc., etc. Having conducted wine tours in Europe as well as Northern California wine country, it allows me to share my experiences and wine knowledge in a way that simply cannot be matched by someone who’s just a “limo driver”. I’m going on my second decade as a tour guide/wine aficionado. This is not just a job…. it’s my PASSION!

I understand that you use Bio Fuels in your vehicle, why?

I am a VERY strong advocate of doing all that we can to minimize any negative effect we may have on this planet. That includes eating organic foods, supporting sustainable, pesticide-free farming methods (particularly in the wine world), and generally employing environmentally sound practices in every aspect of my life. So, it was a logical choice for me to purchase an SUV with a diesel engine SPECIFICALLY so that could run bio diesel, which minimizes greenhouse gases, eliminates the need for fossil fuels, and reduces carbon-based emissions to zero. For me, it’s a no-brainer.

Any tips for the first time visitor to wine country?

This is such a beautiful part of the world. I have lived in South America, Europe, Mexico, and other parts of the world, but nothing compares to this. So it may seem counterproductive for me to steer people AWAYfrom doing wine tours, but I recommend to my clients that they try to do other things in addition to wine tasting while they’re visiting this area. Take a drive to the ocean, play one of our fabulous golf courses, stroll through the Sonoma Plaza and be taken back in time.

How about one ‘insider secret’ for Sonoma Valley wine?

Well, my secret isn’t really a “secret”, but here’s what I recommend: when you’re out wine tasting, if you like it…. buy it. So many of our wineries in this corner of the world are small, family-owned businesses that don’t produce a lot of wine. They simply cannot distribute their wines to a lot of markets outside of this geographical area. You don’t want to get home and kick yourself for having to say, “Darn! I should have bought that zinfandel that I really liked.” Buy it, take it home, open it, share it with friends. I GUARANTEE you won’t regret it.

Anything else you want to add?

This is a bit self-serving, but it is relevant and it is VERY important. Above all else, PLEASE don’t drink and drive. It’s just not worth it. And when you hire a knowledgeable driver, you get so much more than just transportation. You’ll get an insider’s perspective, a local’s point of view, and (hopefully) a new friend.

Phillip Torres of Epicure Wine Tours

A Photo Tour of the Sonoma Plaza with George Webber Part 2 of 2

Click on this link to see part one of our photo tour of the Sonoma Plaza with our guide George Webber. Learn more about George’s tours by visiting his website.

Here is a picture of General Vallejo AKA: George giving a tour.

George Webber as General Vallejo in front of the Sonoma Mission


This tall brick building houses Steiner’s Tavern. This turn of the century building was built by Masons. Steiner’s is a popular local watering hole.


“Sonoma’s brand new duck pond, subject of a year long renovation, will soon be open for the enjoyment of Sonoma’s younger set. While the pond was being renovated, the ducks were tagged and moved to a resident’s pond, the location of which seems to be a closely guarded secret.” We look forward to our ducks returning!

These two photos were taken from First Street West.


One of two playgrounds in the Plaza, for children of all ages.


“Sonoma Cheese factory on the North side of the plaza. The home of Sonoma Jack Cheese. Over 30 types of cheese can be tasted here on a daily basis.”

We have turned the corner now and are on the North side of the plaza on Spain Street.


“In these barracks, General Vallejo, kept his regiment. He never had more than 40 men at a time staying here this was however, the single largest military force in Northern California except for the Russians on the Sonoma Coast. There are many historic exhibits inside. It is a California State park (as is the Mission seen in the far right of this photo). Admission is $2 for adults, kids are free, and these tickets are good for the Mission and the Vallejo Home State Park as well.”

“The Vallejo home is three blocks West of the Mission down Spain Street (the same street that the Mission is on). This home was purchased from a kit in 1851 by General Vallejo. The pre-fabricated home went around Cape Horn and was reassembled on this spot. It was the first home in Sonoma County to have that most modern of conveniences, indoor plumbing. As the richest man in California, General Vallejo could afford this $50,000 home. In 1844 alone, he received $70,000 from his hide and tallow trade.”

Thank you George for a wonderful tour of the plaza. I learned a lot and had a great time!

A Photo Tour of the Sonoma Plaza with George Webber Part 1 of 2

I sat down with George Webber, Sonoma’s Professional Multiple Personality Artiste, to get his unique insight on the Sonoma Plaza and Sonoma History. Visit George’s website to learn about the walking tours he offers of the Sonoma Plaza


This first picture is the North East corner of the plaza. This is the San Francisco Solano Mission. Founded in 1823 by Father Jose Altimira. It is the last in a line of 21 missions that began in San Diego in 1769 and stretch all the way here to Sonoma. George is quick to tell us that, “it is a common mis-perception that this mission was named after St. Francis. Actually, this mission was named after a Spaniard named Francisco from Solano. He founded a mission in Peru in the 1580’s. In the incident for which he was canonized in 1710, he converted several thousand hostile Indians when he spoke to them in their own languages.” George is full of information like that! Let’s continue around the plaza and learn more!


Diagonally across from the Mission is one of the Bear Flag monuments. George continues,”The Bear Flag revolt on June 14, 1846 ended Mexican rule over California. Thirty-three American adventurers from the Sacramento Valley seized General Vallejo and took over Sonoma.”

George’s acting troupe, the Sonoma Historic Re-Creation Society, will re-enact this event on June 10, 2007 at 1:00 pm in the Plaza’s amphitheater. Here is a photo from one of their previous performances.

Bear Flag Revolt Re-enactment, Sonoma CA


“The gentleman on the rock is a representation of a Bear Flag revolter, the curious part of the story is that although these men were Americans, they did not claim California for America. They essentially, claimed it for themselves. They called it the California Republic and raised a flag with a crude bear drawn upon it and began making a general nuisance of themselves. All of this was taking place against a backdrop of the US and Mexico on the verge of the Mexican American war. In fact, the war had already begun in Texas when the Bear Flag was raised. When this news finally reached the West Coast on July 7th, the US Navy sailed in to Monterey and raised the American Flag. Two days later, on July 9th, the Stars and Stripes were raised in Sonoma and the Bear Flag came down. The Bear Flag Republic had lasted for 25 days.”

Note that Dogs are not allowed in the Sonoma Plaza. However, it is a lovely picnic spot!


“The brick building on the left is the Pinelli building built in the 1890’s. In 1904, Sonoma was threatened by a huge fire. The town was saved when Mr. Pinelli allowed firefighters to attach their hoses to 8000 gallons of wine stored in the basement as the water mains had run dry. When looking at the building, notice the square metal washers 2/3 of the way up the side of the front. These washers were state of the art earthquake prevention technology of the 1890’s as they were the bolt for a building-long steel rod that held the masonry together. It worked as this building survived the 1906 quake.”

These buildings are on the East side of the plaza on….drum roll please….First Street East!


“The alley between these two buildings (on First Street East) leads to Murphy’s Irish Pub a popular community center featuring live music four nights a week. Across from Murphy’s is the restaurant, Taste of the Himalayas, (Veronica’s favorite restaurant in Sonoma). If you appear in this alley from 9:00pm to around midnight you will smell the wonderful aroma of freshly baked Basque Boulangerie bread cooling outside in racks.”

During business hours, you enter the Boulangerie under the red awing in the picture. The front walk has tables and chairs and is a popular place for locals and tourists to hang out, quite often with their dogs.


Still on First Street East, one of the last remaining single screen movie theaters in the Bay Area the beautiful Sebastiani Theatre is also the home of small town theatrical events.


“Across the street from the theater is the Sonoma Valley Vistor’s Bureau. It was originally a Carnegie Library and dates from the early 1900’s. It is one of 12,000 Carnegie Library’s built in America and Western Europe. Andrew Carnegie was the first person to use matching funds and would give a town whatever they raised themselves. In this building, friendly locals dispense information about the beautiful Sonoma Valley.”


“Many delightful hours can be spent strolling the pathways of the beautiful Sonoma Plaza. The largest Plaza in California.” (eight acres)

This picture was taken standing on the corner of First Street East and East Napa Street. That is City Hall in the distance.


“This bell, at the end of the wide street leading into the plaza (Broadway), marks the end of the Mission trail. The other end of the Mission trail is in Mexico City, Mexico.”

We have turned the corner now and are headed west. I turned back and this picture was taken facing East and looking down East Napa Street.


“General Vallejo laid this street out to be 110 feet wide because he marched his regiment up this wide avenue.”

Standing in the same spot as the previous picture, I turned 90 degrees to my right and took a shot looking up Broadway near sunset.


This directional sign is located in front of City Hall (seen in the background on the left) near the Mission Bell. My back is to Broadway as I take this shot.


“This building, Sonoma’s City Hall, was begun in 1904. It was severely damaged in the 1906 earthquake and was not finished until 1908. It still houses City of Sonoma workers to this day.”

You can tell when I took these photos by the Christmas tree atop the building. Again, my back is to Broadway as I take this picture.

This is the South West corner of the plaza looking down West Napa Street.

We have come half-way around the Historic Sonoma Plaza.
Our walking tour of the Sonoma Plaza continues at this link.

Sonoma Valley Events for Feb 16-18

Here are a selection of events taking place in the Sonoma Valley this weekend. Further details can be found at

Friday, February 16th:

  • Friday Farmer’s Market
  • Exhibit in the Gatehouse Gallery at the di Rosa Preserve: Graphic: New Bay Area Drawing
  • Vigil for Peace and Justice at that Sonoma Plaza (see this link for an interview about this vigil which has been held weekly for over 5 years)
  • Live music at the Lodge at Sonoma, Murphy’s Irish Pub, and the Little Swiss

Saturday, February 17th:

  • Puppetry 101 a workshop for Teachers at the Community Center
  • Public Solar and Night observing at the Observatory (see this link for an interview about the observatory)
  • Introduction to Grafting Fruit trees at the Community Garden
  • VinOlivo at the Lodge
  • Live music at the Lodge and Murphy’s Irish Pub
  • Tommy Thomsen Band at the Little Swiss!


  • Free admission to the Sonoma Valley Museum
  • Healers Will and Connie are in town
  • Family Day with puppets at the Community Center
  • German Mardi Gras Dance
  • Live music at Murphy’s Irish Pub

Get details on these and other events at

Sonoma Valley Calendar is a free site for events taking place in the Sonoma Valley. Feel free to add your events and please spread the word.

To receive an email with updates to this blog, click here.

Yes on Measure B – Parcel tax for the current Hospital

In March of 2002, Sonoma Health Care District voters approved a $130 per parcel tax to support the hospital and keep it open. That parcel tax is set to expire in June of this year.

On Tuesday, March 6th, there will be a special election asking the Health Care District voters to approve a $195 per parcel (per year) tax for up to five years as a ‘bridge’ of support for the current hospital as a new hospital is researched and built.

The consensus among those folks that have been following this situation is that without the parcel tax the hospital will be forced to close.

Using $500,000 as a property value, $195 is 0.039% of the property value. I would imagine that NOT having a hospital in the Valley would reduce the dollar value of a home by at least that much and would certainly lower the perceived value of a home even more.
It seems clear to me that we need a hospital in the Valley. It it also clear that we need a new parcel tax to pave the way to that new hospital.

I will be voting yes on Measure B.


Measure B did pass!!!  Now we can all come together to support the vision of a new hospital.  The Health Care Coalition should be announcing their recommendation soon.

Children of Today meeting, Tuesday Feb. 20th

The next Children of Today meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 20th. These meetings are wonderful. Here is the announcement. Further details can be found at

These gatherings are designed to provide information and support to the parents of The Children of Today (children who may not “fit” into the traditional systems possibly labeled ADD, ADHD , Autistic, Disruptive, Incorrigible, etc. and are viewed as “different”, “special”, and/or “psychic”) as well as introduce ideas and processes to help support our amazing children.

Every month on the third Tuesday, families gather to help support one another in today’s society with “tomorrow’s” kids.

Location: Kenwood School, 230 Randolph Avenue, Kenwood, Ca 95452
Date: Tuesday February 20, 2007
Time: 6:30pm-7:30pm

Please bring the kids, art supplies are available for their enjoyment. Everyone’s always welcome!

Donations always appreciated, never required.

Upcoming Events for the weekend

Hello everyone,

Here is a summary of this weekend’s events from our sister site

Saturday is a HUGE day of events in the valley. Here are a few selections. Further details can be found at

At the top of the list for Saturday are the two meetings offered by the Health Care Coalition . One will be at 10:00 am and the other at 2:00 pm. After 8,100 hours of study, the coalition wants to share their findings and answer your questions. Don’t miss this important opportunity.

Chris Elms will be teaching a workshop on improving communication with your partner.

Sonoma Country Antiques is having a big arrival of new items from Europe and is making a fun day out of it with wine tasting and door prizes.

Ken Brown, Sonoma Bear Flag Social Club, 938-8623 is offering ‘Lush Life- an evening of Love songs with Allen Roland and Stan Pappas at the Plaza Bistro resturant.

Flamenco guitarist Eric Symons is in Concert at Gloria Ferrer

22nd Annual Sweetheart Ball to benefit the Boy’s and Girl’s Club (707) 938.8544

On Sunday:
EAA Young Eagles – In order to promote the pleasures of flying to our youth, the local chapter of the EAA, Sonoma SkyCrafters, fly children free at Sonoma Skypark Airport, ages 8-17. Rich Coope 938-5587

About Bordeaux: Wine Lecture & Tasting with Master of Wine Geoff Labitzke at the Sonoma Community Center

Sunday’s are always free admission to the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art

Check for all the details on these and plenty of other events. Please feel free to add your events!

Assemblymember Jared Huffman in Sonoma Feb 21st


I just received this email from Yannick Phillips. Yannick’s name is familiar to those who read this blog as she was recently elected a 6th assembly district delegate.

Sonomans, please come to the next City Council meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 21st, 7:00pm ,located on 175 1st West . Our Assemblymember Jared Huffman, will be there to introduce himself and is looking forward to meeting his constituents-you! You might want to ask him what he is working on in Sacramento and mention what issues you consider important to Sonoma. All are welcome, including age appropriate students.

I spoke with Mr. Huffman about the sidewalks in the Springs when I attended the delegate voting. He is easy to talk to and seems genuinely interested in our concerns for the Sonoma Valley.

Important Meetings about the Hospital Situation, Feb 10th

I just received this email from the Health Care Coalition. The Coalition has invested over 8000 hours into researching the Hopsital situation. Please try and make one of their meetings to learn about their findings.

Gossip and rumors on the grapevine aren’t going to fix the Hospital
situation. Come to a friendly meeting where the Sonoma Valley
Health Care Coalition can give you the best thinking we’ve come up
with, we promise it won’t be biased. We’ll share our 8100 hours of
research and do our best to answer your questions and listen to
your concerns as we move forward. So, please join us to get the
straight scoop and enjoy a glass of good old Sonoma wine!


10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
19355 Arnold Drive at Petaluma Blvd
Goehring Hall

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
252 W. Spain Street
Burlingame Hall

Further information? • 707.935.3420 •