I’ll never forget the day… Last Thanksgiving was about to arrive and I wanted an Iron Horse Sparkling. When Iron Horse is just minutes away from where you live, it’s a quiet ride that allows for thinking and exploring, besides a wine purchase.

I had sent Joy an Email the morning before Thanksgiving that read, “I’m coming out to the winery to buy some wine for Thanksgiving. Any chance you’re going to be around?”

Yes, she was. I arrived just before she did… Rushing in much the way I would, shaking her hand through her hair to dry, like I’ve done so many times before. I thought, “Got wash n’wear hair, just like me. My kinda gal.”

This was my first meeting with Joy Sterling. She gathered a few of us and took us off to tour her winery. I had the time… I took the time… and off we went. During that walk and talk, I learned as much about her production as I did about Joy, catching the inflections in her voice, the pleasure she takes in all they accomplished in the vineyards and in the winery… Just all of it.

At her tasting room bar I was amazed at what she’s accomplished with National Geographic. This is one woman who aims high and hits her target’s bulls eye. For me, it’s another reason to really like her. She’s down to earth, so down to earth , in fact, that I easily give her my Mother Earth Winemaker award. She’s earned it and is so deserving.

So, her day. Remember, she thinks BIG.



Celebrate Earth Day in Green Valley serves up food, wine, and Ted Turner at this fifth annual “Eat, Drink & Be Green” festival held at Iron Horse Vineyards, Sunday, April 17.

It promises to be an especially delicious eco- event with a walk around food and wine tasting, showcasing the spring releases from the aptly named Green Valley, represented by DeLoach Vineyards, Dutton-Goldfield, Freeman Vineyard & Winery, Hartford Family Winery, Iron Horse, Marimar Estate and Sequana, and others who source Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the region. In deference to Ted Turner, who owns 50,000 heads of bison across 12 ranches, the main food station will be 6-oz. grilled bison filets along with Sonoma’s finest, fresh, local, seasonal produce, cheeses, breads and an array of heavenly chocolates.

The star attraction and speaker is Ted Turner, Planet Green’s second favorite billionaire, one of GQ’s 25 “Coolest Athletes of All Time, and nominee (with Bono & Steven Spielberg) for the Mikhail Gorbachev’s “Man Who Changed the World Award” to be awarded in London March 30, celebrating Gorbachev’s 80th birthday. Ted prefers to be interviewed rather than deliver a talk, so Iron Horse enlisted National Geographic’s Boyd Matson to do the honors. Ted has agreed to entertain a few questions from the audience.

The focus of the day is The Future. There will be a one-day exhibit in a 1920s redwood barn turned temporary art gallery, curated on the theme “Vintage Future: What the Future Used to Look Like” (Think The Jetsons, the 1964 New York World’s Fair, Future Shock.). Other highlights include a time capsule with bottles of vintage Iron Horse 2010 Sparkling that will be “buried” in the cellar for 15 years to be ready for Iron Horse’s 50th anniversary, vineyard tours, which in Green Valley is where the real future lies, and there will be a tasting and debate of “future food” – like sous-vide eggs (cooked “under vacuum”) cracked over asparagus or spring peas centrifuged into green butter.

Attendance is limited to 300 people, including 100 VIPs who will attend a one-hour Sparkling and sustainably farmed California caviar reception with Ted at the Victorian home of Iron Horse founders Audrey & Barry Sterling. Tax-deductible contributions go to The Green Valley Foundation, a 501 c (3) non-profit organization. Net proceeds will benefit Ted Turner’s Captain Planet Foundation, which supports hands-on environmental education programs for youth around the world.

Ted Turner is perhaps best known as the founder of CNN and for his billion dollar gift to the United Nations. He is the second largest land holder in North America with approximately two million acres. He has five active foundations addressing some of the world’s most pressing issues – from improving air and water quality and developing sustainable energy solutions to his Captain Planet Foundation, which educates children on how they can make a positive impact and the Nuclear Threat Initiative launched in 2001, which works to reduce nuclear dangers. Ted won the America’s Cup in 1977. He drives a Prius with a bumper sticker that says “Save the Humans.”

Green Valley lies entirely within the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County. Just 13 miles from the coast, it is distinguished as the coolest, foggiest part of the Russian River area, known for clean, crisp, bright, focused Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.

Iron Horse is a pioneer of the Green Valley appellation. Their Sparkling wines have been served at the White House for five consecutive presidential administrations, beginning with the historic Reagan-Gorbachev Summit Meetings in 1985, which ended the Cold War. Most recently, Iron Horse created a new Sparkling in partnership with National Geographic called Ocean Reserve, a limited production, vintage Blanc de Blanc, to help restore the health and abundance of the ocean. $4 of every bottled purchased goes to National Geographic’s Ocean Initiative, establishing marine protected areas and supporting sustainable fishing practices around the globe. The Obama administration has chosen Ocean Reserve to serve at White House receptions.

Boyd Matson is a leading on-air journalist for National Geographic with the coveted job of traveling to exotic locations and joining thrilling expeditions. Matson currently hosts a weekly radio show called NG Weekend, reaching out around the world by satellite phone to talk with some of the greatest explorers in the world as they conduct their work. Matson also writes a monthly column for National Geographic Traveler magazine, called Boyd Matson Unbound.

Our growing list of sponsors includes the following: The Charmer Sunbelt Group, Glazer’s Distributors, Riedel Crystal, Dwell Magazine, Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, California Caviar Company, Bay Laurel Culinary, Jess Flood Design, Post Carbon Institute.




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