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Taking the redwood out of wine country

Not to be outdone by the upcoming State of the Union and State of the State addresses, Sonoma County has its own State of the County address. Next Friday, Economic Development Board director Ben Stone and his team will talk shop about the economic bounty of the county at Rohnert Park’s DoubleTree Hotel (full disclosure: the EDB is a client of CMedia for which I’m executive director).

All bodes well as Sonoma County seems to be continuing its decade of unprecedented change. But then, all change is unprecedented otherwise it wouldn’t be change.

Remember when Sonoma County used to be branded the “Redwood Empire?” I’m presuming this was because of trees or something. Or maybe that was just its color. According to paint store Kelley Moore, which proffers a redwood-hued paint, we could just as easily have been the Sierra Brown or Driftwood Empire. We chose well.

But now, the woodsy name hasn’t the same cachet. Sonoma County equals wine country. Unless you’re in Napa County, then it’s Wine Country and the further east one goes the more capital letters it picks up. In Virginia, I believe, it’s WINE COUNTRY, only because they have to shout it to get anyone to believe it. (Incidentally, some of their terroir is a distinctly redwood color – go figure).

But, Sonoma isn’t merely wine country, it’s also an epicurean epicenter. I hear there’s a movement afoot to have gustatory great and erstwhile Glen Ellen resident M.F.K. Fisher sainted.


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