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Taste the Vineyard

Lodi vintners are taking a minimalist approach to create all-natural Zinfandels from heritage vines

You might say the old grapevines look otherworldly. With their contorted limbs and thick trunks, these Zinfandel vines look more like squat alien-trees, twisting up out of a sandy 3-acre spit of land in southwest Lodi. “Look how this vine is growing here,” says Stuart Spencer, owner of St. Amant Winery. He’s standing in the dirt at nearby Marian’s Vineyard, pointing to a vine with a hole as big as a fist. “The vine just splits over time.”

Dec 9, 2014 Russell Nichols
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Wine Tunes

Family-owned and operated Harmony Wynelands in Lodi is musically motivated

The wine tasting room at Harmony Wynelands in Lodi was built with a far different purpose. Bob Hartzell, an aficionado of old-fashioned theater pipe organs and former president of the California Winegrape Growers Association, built the hall to house his pride and joy – a 1921 organ that was once installed in the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. The room’s acoustics are specially designed to show off the organ’s commanding sound.

Dec 8, 2014 Lisa Renner
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Drop by Drop

After 81 years, microdistillers are gaining ground against Prohibition-era laws

In a makeshift distillery tucked  into a Rancho Cordova business park, Greg Baughman mashes and ferments batches of his Wheel House American Dry Gin using a still he designed and built himself, a gleaming vision of stainless steel and copper. But actually sell you a bottle? For that he needs to hire a middleman due to regulatory hurdles dating back to Prohibition.

Dec 5, 2014 Michelle Locke

Shaken or Stirred?

Cocktails with local flair

Bartenders around the region have provided us with their best bets for holiday cocktails featuring gin, rye and bourbon — spirits that are now being produced locally by craft distillers.

Dec 5, 2014 Shannon Haslinger
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Speed Isn’t Everything

Snail of Approval Awards celebrate local business and the slow food movement

Sacramento is America’s Farm-to Fork capital for many reasons: fresh, seasonal food available year-round, almost 8,000 acres of boutique farms, and the largest Certified Farmers’ Market in California. Last month, Slow Food Sacramento recognized seven local businesses for their commitment to providing products and services that use regionally grown seasonal produce, honoring them with the Snail of Approval award and decal.

Nov 19, 2014 Shannon Haslinger
Seriously Jim? It's April.  

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Come On, Confess!

We want your holiday party horror story

Tis the season for sharing! In the spirit of the holiday season, tell us your office holiday party horror story (anonymously, of course). Next month we’ll share the most cringe-worthy as well as advice on damage control — in case anything goes awry this year. 

Don’t be a Scrooge … You know you’ve got one.  

Nov 17, 2014 Allison Joy
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Dream On

10 tips for the sleep-deprived, one of which might ruin your life

Let me take a wild guess: You feel like you don’t get enough sleep. Too much to do, you’re stressed out and you think getting eight hours of sleep is about as realistic as keeping current on Oprah’s Book Club. Or maybe you’re annoyed that your body needs too much sleep? Think of all the workouts you could get in, books you could read and emails you could return with a few extra hours in each day. Wouldn’t we all love to train our bodies to require less sleep?

Nov 4, 2014 Jeff Wilser
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The Upside of the Downturn

3 ways the sharing economy is a better economy

The sharing economy is a collaborative economic movement inspired by the efficiency of loaning and sharing existing resources on a fee-for-service model. It reduces environmental waste while supporting financial sustainability and building stronger communities, and it’s having a bigger impact than you might realize. 

Nov 3, 2014 MaryJayne Zemer

How Do You Brew?

Make sure you get the best out of every beer festival

Pick your poison, find a pairing, and let us know your favorite local brewery in the Capital Region. 

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Oct 30, 2014 Lily Therens
Berryessa Brewing Co. is as much a community center as it is a taproom. Patrons can regularly find fresh produce for sale near the food truck and pickup Wiffle ball games.

Winters Brew

Berryessa Brewing Co. reaps the benefits of committed regulars but may soon face growing pains

On hot summer weekends, a 20-barrel brewery west of Winters overflows with patrons. They flood the taproom and crowd around shaded picnic tables, sipping beer while soaking in live music. A few kids play baseball in the gravel lot. Others pull wooden blocks from an oversized Jenga set by the food truck. Some are locals, but many come from Davis, Sacramento and beyond to get a taste of whatever Berryessa Brewing Co. has on tap for the week.

Oct 20, 2014 Russell Nichols

David and Anna Sobon’s Vegas Glam Wedding

A veritable who’s who of Sacramento’s business, philanthropic and arts communities came together to celebrate the marriage of David and Anna Sobon in grand style. The spectacular “Vegas Glam” wedding featured an Elvis officiating the nuptials, and the finest food, brew (Hoppy), wine (Sobon Estate), décor and entertainment one could possible hope for. Congrats to the happy bride and groom.

Sep 23, 2014 Tia Gemmell
Todo un Poco co-owner Marie Mertz is an art lover and collector. All of the restaurant’s paintings are original works she commissioned.

A Little Bit of Everything

Delightful global fusion in a faceless Elk Grove bistro

Todo un poco means “a little bit of everything,” and that’s exactly how co-owner Marie Mertz describes her strategy. She runs the bistro’s operations, cooks, builds menus, chooses the daily specials, buys fresh produce, trains staff, handles community relations and hand-selects her wines. She’s proud of being in business for so many years, but “who’s counting when you’re having fun?” she says.

Sep 9, 2014 Laura Coyne Steel