The Wine Country

It’s early March and rain has fallen in the wine country. In fact, we have been quite wet for the past several weeks. There is little doubt, that for the weeks to come, the hillsides will reflect the lush green that has been cultivated in the first quarter of the this new decade.

The trees around town began their colorful symphony in late January with the blooming of the Crape Myrtles. Lush pinks, whites and violets sprung up all over the landscape. Yellow, pinks and purples abounded throughout February as others joined the chorus of color. Now March has arrived, so did a new tone to the symphony. Cherry blossoms are exploding everywhere like an Asian dreamland through the landscape

By the end of March the vineyards will be a buzz with new growth. Busy laborers will be clearing dead growth from the grape vines and tying up Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Syrah in neat little rows as motorists zoom up and down the highway. The smell of grapes will soak up the air as the warm sun of April begins to beats down on Sonoma County. You can't walk in a downtown district without passing a wine related specialty store. Even those of us not sophisticated enough to enjoy wine no doubt has at least one vine inspired motif somewhere in our homes.

Yet wine does not define us here, it only adds to our rich culture. Petaluma is a city where aging chicken coops stand alongside modern buildings in which high tech industries push the envelope of what we can do with information. Wrist wrestling, butter & eggs and telecom have all called Petaluma home at one time. In many ways they all still do. In a town that is consistently redefining itself, it also clings to its history and past. It is a testament to all of us that we can survive whatever comes our way.

As fall descends on Sonoma I find my heart pulling me out on a winding cruise up the coast to the town of Bodega Bay. Is there a more moving experience than a day trip to a Sonoma coastline? Nothing like the sound of powerful waves crashing the rocks as otters and sea lions play in the bay. With your belly full of chowder you can stand on a high cliff-side and just feel how small you are in comparison. The wind in your face and salt in your lungs transports your mind to heaven. There is no more humbling view for me than this.

I cherish many fond memories of winter romps through Sebastopol in search of the perfect Christmas tree, a fruit pie or just a detour for a gallon or four of sweet apple cider. It makes you feel like a kid again to see the many cars with evergreens tied to their roofs, parading through the colorful countryside. Can there be any place as gorgeous as Sonoma County California?

The economy in California has hit on troubled times. In contrast the economy in Texas is growing. But then, if you move to Texas, you have one disadvantage. You don't live in Sonoma County. As one co-worker put it to me years ago, "I'd rather eat peanut butter sandwiches in paradise." I had to second his opinion.

What a perfect place to call home.

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