Friday, November 27, 2009

Northern California Wine Country and the Russian River Valley

After our contact period in Pasadena was over, I headed to San Francisco to meet up with J. We rented a car and drove North up through Sonoma to the Russian River Valley. We took a short trip to see where the Russian River empties/meets the Pacific Ocean...kind of took our breaths away when we finally got there. Just fantastic!! Next day we drove down through Napa Valley stopping at Healdsburg of course and the famous Oakville Grocery and Cafe Gratitude. Best wine tasting we had was at Porter Creek, a small organic ( one of only a few) vineyard in the Russian River Valley. Best was their 2006 Pinot Noir Reserve, 2008 Viognier, and their 2006 Syrah was wonderful. We were especially impressed with the Quivira Vineyards which practices biodynamic farming.

" keeping with our goal for a balanced farm, in the spring of 2008, Quivira broke ground on a Biodynamic and organic garden designed to educate visitors on farming and viticultural practices as well as supply local markets with fresh produce. The garden includes 120 raised beds, growing a wide variety of produce, a Biodynamic prep tower, pond, greenhouse and chicken coop." (from their website)

The air actually smelled green, fresh green...I think it was all the arugula and parsely, rosemary, lavender and swiss chard growing...pure aromatherapy:) Local restaurants rent plots to grow their own greens for their kitchens and their signs were in their respective plots. They even keep honeybees on the property to pollinate orchards and vegetables and as a way to harvest honey. There is more info about their practices on their website.

With Thanksgiving fini it is full speed ahead now to the work of my thesis, some freelance assignments, and feeling very inspired by all the illustrators we met. Oh yes, there is Christmas too,.....ahhhhhh.

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