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2016 Banquet, March 20th - How We Came to Make Such Fine Wines

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It’s no accident that the Sonoma County Historical Society modestly boasts of what we like to think is our skill at putting together interesting annual banquets. This year is no exception. The big show Sunday, Mar. 20 at the Flamingo Hotel includes a round-table discussion on wine, a fine luncheon, awards, raffles, a look at History Day activities, conversations with old friends, and who knows what else.

The program for this year’s annual luncheon is a panel discussion titled “How We Came to Make Such Fine Wines”. We hope to present a wide-ranging panel discussion, featuring distinctly different voices, to tell the grand and fascinating story of how— throughout our history— Sonoma County wines have become so well known throughout the world.

Five speakers are taking part, according to coordinator Jim Shere: Michael Topolos, who will speak on the history of winemaking in Sonoma County since its beginnings with the mission padres; John Burdick, who will speak about the evolution of the appellations, terroir, varietals, vintages, marketing and presentation of the fine wines of Sonoma County; Frank Pastori, who worked the vineyards and cellars near Geyserville since Prohibition, and will talk about the wines of the North County from a personal perspective; George MacLeod, who will talk about his personal experiences establishing and developing a quality vineyard and winery in Sonoma Valley; and special guest George Webber, impersonating Count Agoston Haraszthy de Mokesa, who will act as moderator.
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Burbank Gardens seeking helpers

Calling all gardeners and garden lovers. The Luther Burbank Home and Gardens is looking for docents, gift shop works and gardeners, to work at the historic site on a volunteer basis.

Gardeners volunteer two morning shifts per month year-round while docents and gift shop workers commit to three shifts per month from April through October. Training begins Saturday, Feb. 27. No experience is necessary. To apply call 524-5445 or email

LeBaron: Fountaingrove's forgotten winery disappearing into history

Fountaingrove WinerySean Bressie | Sonoma County Historical Society

Fountaingrove Winery from the air - c1930s

  There's been a lot of talk around town lately about historic buildings. St. Rose Church, the Cannery and, always on our mind, the Carrillo Adobe, oldest of them all. But not a lot is said about what's left of the Fountain Grove Winery .... More at Press

ElMo Students participate in bittersweet event of the west county's apple industry

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GOOD APPLES: What do you suppose all those El Molino High ag students were doing the other day in the fruit-laden old organic apple orchard across Covey Road from the school? They picked their hearts out as part of a special day's focus on the bittersweet history of the west county's apple industry and how the 90-year-old Manzana Products processing plant has survived. The highlight of the day, organized by retired teacher Steve Griffith and El Mo ag teacher Marilee Mazur, was filling crates with several varieties of gorgeous apples. The bounty went to the school's culinary program, to elementary schools and to the St. Vincent de Paul lunch kitchen. The school “orchard trip” brought home some of the complexity of agriculture in Sonoma County. Sophomore Joshua Wright and his classmates learned that the historic orchard, managed by Lee Walker, will be converted to vineyard by one of their hosts for the day, Lynmar Estate. “I like seeing the orchard,” Joshua said amid the apples. “But that's the way it is.” Chris Smith - Press Democrat - October 5, 2013

DeTurk Round Barn open to the public Oct 5th for tours.

Deturk Round BarnThe Sonoma County Historical Society (SCHS) continues to have its weekly booth at the new West End Farmers Market on Donahue Street in Santa Rosa. The market is held on Sundays from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. and is located next to the historic DeTurk Round Barn, now restored and available for rent.     On Sunday, October 5th, the Round Barn will be open to the public so market attendees can see how beautiful it is inside.  Come visit us and see the round barn! Jeremy Dwight Nichols President - Sonoma County Historical Society  

Call for Historic Photos of the Carrington Ranch

Carrington Ranch
The Sonoma County Ag Preservation and Open Space District, is looking for historic photos of the Carrington Ranch a 335 acre parcel along Highway 1 just  a few miles north of Bodega Bay (where Coleman Valley Road forms a T with Highway 1). The two-story ranch house was built between 1857 and 1862 and may be the second oldest structure on the Sonoma County coast, save Ft. Ross.  The house, along with its outbuildings and the windbreak foliage that surrounds it, are eligible for inclusion on the federal National Register of Historic Places. Read more

Sheep return to central Cotati

The city of Cotati, which purchased the Veronda-Falletti Ranch in 2008, has recently partnered with Split Rail Family Farms of Penngrove to reintroduce a flock of sheep to the old farm on West Sierra Avenue. City officials say the animals are a reminder of Cotati's agricultural past...  Read full Story on

Yes! Jack London was a farmer too.

Check out this video on Jack London...

Jack London's Pig Palace from Scott Mitchell on Vimeo.

The West County Museum opens with the Earl Carrillo Collection

Earl CarrilloSSU Library
The West County Museum opens with the Earl Carrillo Collection and A brief history of the Museum's 20th years in operation on Feb. 1. A reception will be held for the public and Carrillo family members On Saturday February 16, 1 to 4 pm. Drop by and have a cup of tea and find out about Earl Carrillo's Life (101 years)   and family history.

Agricultural Commissioner looks back at 84 years of Crop Reports

From the Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner
  • Historical Crop Reports As the new year begins, we share a look back at the history of Sonoma County agriculture through 84 years of Sonoma County Crop Reports from the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office. This vast and significant base of knowledge is available because of farmers’ participation in crop report surveys over decades. (Note to Growers: Please complete your crop report surveys and return them to our office by March 1, 2013. You may mail in your envelope, or you can fax your surveys to our office at (707) 565-3850. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Andrew Smith at (707) 565-2371.) >> See the reports!