Italy in Sonoma County @ DaVero

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Sonoma County’s climate and soil are the closest to that of Italy than any other area in the world. So, it’s no wonder we’re known for our fine food, wine and other unique libations. There are plenty of wineries and restaurants doing things “Italian,” but there is only one Farm+Winery that is truly living the “Italian Way,” and that’s DaVero in Healdsburg, CA.

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Ridgely Evers bought this gorgeous piece of land in 1982. It was mostly planted with vines at the time, but Ridge had bigger dreams. His partner, Colleen McGlynn, came on to the scene in 1993 with a passion for farming and culinary creativity passed down from her family. They wanted to produce the greatest olive oil Sonoma County had ever tasted, so they traveled to Italy and brought back cuttings from the best olive trees in the whole country. Before planting anything on the land, Ridge and Colleen discovered that the soil had been abused for many years, and they knew they needed to replenish the earth before they could plant the dream farm that they both had in mind. As a result of their soil amendment efforts, DaVero is now a certified biodynamic farm. Click here to learn more about the origin and definition of Biodynamics.

When referring to his land Ridge will say, “Look at what God has done here. She has done some amazing work. And if you’re wondering about the gender I have assigned to her, just look around. There’s no way a man could have created this beauty.”

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Ridge was kind enough to invite me, and staff and guests of Rosso Pizzeria + Wine Bar for a tour and tasting on July 2nd, 2015. We toured the property and ate fresh strawberries off the vine. I got to practice using my new camera to take some pretty cool pictures. After the tour, we sat at a long farm table under a trellis of recycled Wisteria vines and tasted their wines. Colleen served us plates of fresh veggies and dried fruits, all from the garden, as well as some incredible cheeses. Winemaker and cellarmaster, Evan LaNouette schooled us on traditional Italian winemaking while Ridge helped pour and tell stories.

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Evan and Ridge were destined to work together. Sagrantino is the wine that brought them together and they are making an amazing vintage of their own. My personal favorite was the 2011 Carignano from Testa Family Vineyard in Mendocino. I keep discovering that the wines I tend to love the most come from that area. I am a sucker for foggy climates and earthy undertones. You can learn more about their current releases here.

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The most enjoyable part of the whole experience was seeing the passion behind everyone who works there. Ridge and Colleen are living the dream in every aspect of the phrase. Winemaker, Evan came to Sonoma County to do one thing, make reputable Italian wines with people whose love, passion and drive met his, and that’s exactly what he found in Ridge and Colleen. Each person working on the farm is rocking a beautiful smile on their face. Even the ones making fertilizer are passionate.

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The Rosso Family is so proud to serve DaVero olive oil and wine in our restaurants. We are looking forward to hosting them this time for our Winemaker Wednesday event at 53 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa, CA on July 8th at 4:30pm. All are welcome to join us! We will be serving freshly picked ingredients from their garden, pouring DaVero wines and making Dry Creek peach lemonade prosecco cocktails. Gotta love summer!

Cheers!

I’ll Never Grow Old

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Most days I have a grumpy old man, “back in my day” attitude about my generations’ taste in…well mostly everything, but especially music. The past decade has been scary and disappointing for me in regards to what was considered popular music, and I truly thought all hope was lost for the future.

Let me explain. Pop.

Never mind, no need to explain that one. We all know it sucks and is void of quality.

And I don’t want to get into the techno argument because I’ve had it a million times with my Dj friends who have tried to convince me that people who construct sounds on their lap top and make techno music have an equivalent amount of musical talent as someone who shreds on the guitar or belts ballads like Whitney. We will never agree.

However, over the past few years, I have observed an increase of young fans that are getting into Americana, Folk, Bluegrass and good ole, well written singer/songwriter music. This makes me happier than I can even explain.

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I’ve been going to music festivals with my dad since I was old enough to stand on my own two feet and dance. It’s become our tradition, and now every summer we have our own little musical adventure. We camp, drink, jam, dance and discover new music to get us through the year until its time to return again. The last few years have been all about Strawberry Music Festival. We’ve made friends we only see at this festival, but stay in touch with all year. I’ve met musicians that have changed my life and opened my world to music I would have never discovered on my own.

Most recently, I took my dad to BottleRock Music Festival in Napa, CA. He hadn’t seen Robert Plant perform since the 70’s and I felt so lucky to have shared the experience with him.

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The thing that made me so happy about this festival was the size of the crowds and amount of fans that came out to see bands like the Avett Brothers and Brothers Comatose. And these “kids,” (aka people my age and younger) had as much energy and excitement as crowds I’ve seen at Raves, listening to horrible pop, techno and offensive rap. They knew all the lyrics, they jumped up and down and cheered for killer fiddle solos. It was moving. It restored my faith in them and their taste.

When Brother’s Comatose performed “I’ll never grow old,” I witnessed a whole new generation of modern day peaceful hippy kids, dancing around in circles and holding their hands up high singing “I’ll never grow old,” along with the band over and over again. I felt less old than I usually do at these big festivals because it actually felt like I was at Strawberry. I felt like I could relate to everyone there, like we all belonged there together.

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It could be just wishful thinking, but I’d like to think that this generation isn’t getting enough out of techno, MDMA and repetitive lyrics about partying all the time anymore. I think music is evolving along with the rest of the world. Minds are opening slowly, but they’re opening, and that’s enough for me.

I could go on and on with a list of bands that I love but I’ll try and just focus on the best and most influential.

The Steeldrivers

The Avett Brothers

The Brothers Comatose

Patty Griffin

The California Honeydrops

Audra Mae

Alabama Shakes

Aubrey Debauchery

Chris Stapelton

Punch Brothers

Gary Clark Jr.

Lake Street Dive

The Easy Leaves

E Minor and the Dirty Diamonds

The Lone Bellow

The Record Company

Carolina Chocolate Drops

The Jompson Brothers

Devil Makes Three

Trampled by Turtles

If you have any interest in this type of music at all, I can promise you this list will convert you completely. These are bands that are current, making music for today’s generation, with old school roots. Enjoy!

A Social Media Girl In A Wine Country World

It’s hard to talk about who I am and where I’m from without sounding like I’m bragging. That is not my intention. But I did grow up in the wine country, my parents are still happily married, I’ve been lucky enough to do a handful of traveling, I went to college for free, I have the love and devotion of a great man, and the coolest friends a girl could ask for.
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Now before you make the assumption that I am a spoiled, rich girl, dining at French Laundry and buying my groceries at Dean & Deluca, I can assure you that I have never been to a Thomas Kellar restaurant, and even though Dean & Deluca is around the corner from my parents’ house, we don’t shop there.

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I was born in Los Angeles, where my parents were raised. We made the move to the Napa Valley in the early 90’s when the housing market was affordable and their businesses were doing well. In our 20 years in the wine country, we have watched property value triple. It’s impossible to live in the wine country on an average American salary these days. I don’t know how I make it work, but I do because I couldn’t see myself living anywhere else.

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I’ve been a restaurant kid since I was 15. I started out as a hostess at a local brewery and worked my way up to bartender by 21 at several fine-dining restaurants all over Napa and Sonoma County. The restaurant industry gave me the freedom to do full time school and pursue my love for music. But as most restaurant industry people know, it’s harder to get out of it than it is to get into it. The flexible hours, the cash in your pocket every night, the free food, and of course the friendships that you form with your co-workers are often the strongest bonds.

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Nowadays, when I’m not waiting tables at THE BEST slow food movement restaurant in Sonoma County, I’m working on building my social media business, working for Spoiled To Perfection, a webseries about fermentation, working out, hanging with friends and family, watching the Giants, cooking, making music, playing dress up, drinking wine and exploring the most beautiful place to live in all of California, The Wine Country.

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I’m a loud, whiny, hyper, and passionate person with only child and little person syndrome. My friends and family are insane.

Our stories are so bazaar. I struggle on a daily basis with the decision to spend the day being a productive professional or a total weirdo, artistic maniac. I cry all the time, from laughing just as much as from sadness. I truly believe in my heart that almost any problem can be solved with tacos and Netflix.

My blog is all over the place, waiter rants, marketing, cooking experiments, reviews of my favorite places and products, funny stories and more. I try to stay as objective and appropriate as possible. (That’s a total lie) Follow me on IG and Twitter @emmysomple.

Cheers!