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“A Taste of Two Sonomas”
by Judy Jacobs
The August meeting of BATW was called to order at 10:30 in the Baylands Center at Sonoma’s Sears Point Ranch by President Ginny Prior, who returned in her usual fine form after being out of town for the past two meetings.
After addressing some computer glitches with registration for monthly meetings, she reminded everyone to either print the confirmation out and bring it to the meeting or make sure that it can appear on their cell phone. A proper count is necessary, especially for meetings that involve lunch, and those who don’t bring confirmations may have to be turned away in the future, she warned.
After reminding members of upcoming meetings, Ginny opened the floor for announcements.
Laurie McAndish King shared what she learned from Bill Petrocelli at the Book Passage Travel Writers Conference about a new Ingram self-publishing program that will have a setup fee of just $61, with books available to every bookstore in the nation.
Diane LeBow announced that she will lead a writing and photography trip to Turkey next May 10-22.
Associate member Catherine Boire said she represents The Pines Resort on Bass Lake near Yosemite and has started to branch out into winery work with two private winery accounts that she can’t announce until they “go public.”
Suzie Rodriquez, who along with Lee Daley organized the meeting, introduced Bob Neale, the stewardship director of the Sonoma Land Trust, and praised the Trust’s efforts in preserving 25,000 acres of the county’s land for generations to enjoy.
Neale, who manages SLT’s 19 properties and 40 conservation easements, gave a brief history of the organization, which began in 1976 as an all-volunteer operation and now has a staff of 21.
He addressed the challenge the Trust faces in coming up with the funds to acquire land and to manage it now that they can no longer turn it over to cash-strapped state parks.
Neale then went on to explain how the Trust’s Sears Point Restoration Project will help ameliorate the effect of the rising waters expected as a result of climate change by turning 1,000 acres into a tidal marsh that will reduce flooding. He then led the group on a hike to a section of the land that has already been converted to marsh for a vision of what the future will look like.
From there, attendees moved on to Cline Cellars, which specializes in Rhone varietals, for a bring-your-own picnic on the winery grounds and a tasting of three reds and two whites. BATW members showed particular enthusiasm for the winery’s Cashmere White and Marsanne Roussanne.
Nancy Cline, who owns the winery with her husband Fred, told the stories of why and how they acquired the various wineries and hotels they own – Cline Cellars, Jacuzzi Family Vineyards, Dillon Beach Resort, Villa Laura and Guest House Villa in Italy and Mizpah hotel in Tonopah, Nev.
Members then had a chance to tour the winery’s Missions Museum, which houses a collection of models of all the California missions originally created for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition (World’s Fair), along with two stained-glass windows from Mission Dolores and a life-sized figure of Father Junipero Serra.