Another beautiful day in Sonoma County, set among the vines…

As in years past, Pure Luxury Limousine was the official shuttle for the day, parking one’s car in the fields just off Westside Road in Healdsburg, and being shuttled in luxury to the waiting tents.

The above image is of Doug and Karen Bardoff of Dallas, Texas, who were just arriving as I was leaving. Their enthusiasm for being there was so infectious it made me wonder if I was leaving a bit early… But then, I remembered why it was time to leave. I wanted to take enough images, taste responsibly, then drive myself home. It was now their event to enjoy, as they reminded me, “We came all the way from Dallas!”

This year, Cheryl Lewis of Wine Spectator made it easy for me to move around through the entire event. This gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of finally getting inside of the MacMurray ranch house…

[Above image is of Susan Foppiano-Valera pouring her family’s famous Foppiano Petite Sirah.]

The MacMurray Ranch is a place I’ve been driving past for the last 15 years, and wondering about what seems to be a pretty magical place, from a distance. I grew up watching My Three Sons, and I now know that in real life, Fred has a daughter Kate MacMurray, who’s the ranch’s ambassador under the auspices of the Gallo Wine Company.

[The above image is of Miro Tcholakov, Trentadue’s winemaker, and winemaking proprietor of Miro Cellars.]

In Sonoma County, there’s a refrain that we – who live here – all quietly chant… “The Bounty of the County.” Sonoma County is so prolific, encompassing the Pacific Ocean to the west (and all that that bears) to the Mayacamas Mountains as the eastern Sonoma-Napa divide. Marin County is to the south, with Mendocino County to the north… both also produce wine, but not the fruits, nuts, vegetables, cheeses, lamb and angus offerings, etc. that defines Sonoma.

Sonoma County is an edible cornucopia, and this all adds to the “Showcase” aspects of the annual event that draws thousands of people. It’s not just a wine event; although, there’s plenty of it. The above image is of Richard Robinson, president of Sonoma Organics, Inc., located in Sebastopol. My first trip to California from Maine in the late 80s, brought me to Sebastopol, California, where a Farmers’ Market was in full swing, and I was amazed. There was nothing close to this in Maine, and it was a convincing factor for me to move from one side of the country to the other.

It’s about a prolific lifestyle that many of us are enjoying in an everyday way, but that draws people like the Bardoffs who are quick to say, “We’ve come all the way from Dallas,” and you just know how exciting it is for them, too, for a blink in time.