Orange You Glad….

Having lately emigrated from northern California, I still keep up on the news from my previous home. Other parts of the country, or even other parts of northern California, deal with raucous town hall meetings or rioting in the streets over speakers invited onto campus. Sonoma County, by contrast, is mired in controversy over Superior […]

Pliny the Younger… and More

After twenty-plus years in northern California’s wine country, I recently returned to Oregon. I got out just in time. (In time for ice and snow in Portland.) Five years of drought has given way to rain, lots of rain, bringing landslides, flooding and washed-out roads. When I arrived in Sonoma County, its transformation from a […]

Sign of an Improving Economy

The economy in California has been getting better. Californians are increasing their production of trash: 33.2 million tons in 2015, compared to 31.2 million tons the previous year. That’s 4.7 pounds per person per day, up from 4.5 pounds in 2014. Here in Sonoma County, we did much better, swelling our output to 4.3 pounds […]

When the Civil War Came to Sonoma County

Sonoma and Napa have an ongoing rivalry. Sonomans like to make fun of Napa: “Sonoma makes wine; Napa makes auto parts.” The affluent sophisticates in Napa County respond… well, they don’t respond. They scarcely acknowledge the existence of the bumpkins in Sonoma County. But that’s not the civil war this is about. 00

Country Hardball

During the Independence Day weekend, the downtown plaza in Sonoma (population 10,600) was filled with people enjoying the holiday entertainment and browsing the surrounding shops and restaurants and wine-tasting venues. Two blocks beyond the plaza, three hundred baseball fans watched the Sonoma Stompers take on the San Rafael Pacifics. The finale was a Sunday double-header: […]

God’s Wine Country

Living in California’s wine country is living in God’s country. That’s what we tell ourselves. Obviously, God’s plan was to pull out all the peaches and apples and hops and prunes and pears, and plant grapes in their place. In wine country, the price of grapes, especially the price of grapes in Napa versus Sonoma, […]