Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Part VI of VII: My Sonoma Wine Country Tour

Part VI of VII: My Sonoma Wine Country Tour, without touring one vineyard or tasting a drop of wine—what a concept!


Finally! We arrived in Healdsburg.

What makes Healdsburg such a great place is that it is surrounded by several of Northern California's finest regional wine appellations, including Alexander Valley, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek Valley, and Russian River Valley.

Appellation? What?

Okay, I admit I'm not always clear on that terms exact meaning, so I Googled it: An appellation is a geographical indication used to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown.

Who says?

Okay, this is the last thing I'm googling for you tonite!:

The American Viticultural Area (AVA) is a designated wine grape - growing region in the United States distinguishable by geographic features, with boundaries defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), United States Department of the Treasury. The TTB defines AVAs at the request of wineries and other petitioners.
An AVA specifies only a geographical location from which at least 85% of the grapes used to make a wine must have been grown. American Viticultural Area designations do not limit the type of grapes grown, the method of vinification, or the crop yield.

Viticultural? Vinfication?

Stop it already, you'll have to look those up on your own! This is a design blog for gosh sakes!

Now, about the photo above: The charming Healdsburg Town Square

Where to Stay: The only hotel I toured was the Hotel Healdsburg (remember this was just a day trip!) http://www.hotelhealdsburg.com/, considered to be the Sonoma Valley's best luxury hotel. Located on Healdsburg’s historic Town Plaza, the hotel is also home to Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen (Phone: (707) 431-0330 for reservations, and your going to need them well in advance).

The Front Desk, with stained concrete floors and desk, and a table from Sutherland Teak


Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen Restaurant at the Hotel Healdsburg


Wade Hoefer Paintings in the Lobby Living Room and in the Central Hallway


The beautiful interiors feature paintings by the highly collected artist Wade Hoefer (http://www.wadehoeferstudio.com/), husband of famed Interior Designer and "Francophile" Myra Hoefer (see Myra Hoefer Design, below); furnishings from Sutherland Teak by David Sutherland (http://www.sutherlandteak.com/) was used in the interior and exterior of the project.


Where to Shop: For such a small town, there was an abundance of interior design talent, recognizable even from the windshield from our car!

Erickson Fine Art Gallery, Inc- (http://www.ericksonfineartgallery.com/).

We met the gallery owner, Sandra Ericson, and her able assistant Daniele, who showed us through the galleries on two floors, the "back room", and entry sculpture courtyard.
We were reacquainted with work by the highly collected and highly aged California artists Jerome Kirk (of kinetic stainless steel and aluminum sculpture fame), and introduced to the sculpture of artist Paul Van Lith, that I had not seen before, but loved his work. They also had a couple of choice paintings from artist Wade Hoeffer (see listing in Hotel Healdsburg, above).

The work of California artist Jerome Kirk, known for kinetic sculptures made of stainless steel or aluminum; some painted, some are polished steel. Available at the Ericson Gallery


The sculpture of artist Paul Van Lith.


Shots of the third floor showing the breadth of the gallery's offerings; A large Wade Hoefer painting


Lime Stone- (http://www.limestonehealdsburg.com/) Owned and operated by Charlie Palmer and his wife, Lisa. Lime Stone is in the Hotel Healdsburg, and next door to Mr. Palmer's famed restaurant, the Dry Creek Kitchen.
The store's focus is "around the table", including teak and iron farm tables and dining chairs. Also find tabletop linens, china, stemware and flatware.
They sell a big selection of home fragrance and candles, and soft goods like throw pillows, cushions, and throws. Some "found objects" abound like a chandelier made from old wine barrel parts, dismantled and re-fitted to form a chandelier.


Myra Hoefer Design- 243 Center Street, Phone 707.433.7837. "Interior designer Myra Hoefer scours Paris flea markets, antique shops, and artists' studios, then showcases her best finds in this tiny showroom off Healdsburg's central plaza.
The well-edited inventory changes often, but on any given visit you may discover hand-painted monogrammed silk pillows in multicolored hues, plaster of Paris chandeliers, Louis XIV reproduction furniture, or mounted butterflies."

This information borrowed without permission from concierge.com (http://www.concierge.com/), whom I used as a resource when planning my trip through the Sonoma Valley--The Design Guy recommends this sight!

Myra is the Francophile of all Francophiles, and owns two apartments in Paris that she has remodeled and furnished and are available for rental.

We met Myra who was sitting outside her shop with a group of friends at a metal Bistro table, and it was an oh so Parisian sight. They were pretty much red faced from an afternoon of wine (and I think a little vodka was worked in here and there) tasting.

They didn't know us from Adam, so I introduced Michael and myself, and before you know it she had taken me by the hand and led me into her shop, where we took pictures of each other, of her furniture creations, and one or two of the floor or ceiling (I still can't figure out how that happened or what direction the camera was aimed).

We laughed, swapped tall retail tales, and had a ball. In a few minutes, Myra was thirsty again so we adjourned to the sidewalk table which was nearly touching the bumper of a over zealously parked BMW (perhaps by someone in our party?).

This sidewalk party overlooked the town square, empty bottles of wine filling the center of the small table, and weather that was autumn like...yes, ever so European.


Saint Dizier Home- (www.saintdhome.com/), is a three story building, with a smallish retail showroom on the first floor; the design department is located on the second floor, headed up by the companys name sake, Jacques Saint Dizier, who did a stint working under the famed designer, Angelo Donghia; the third floor is called "The Penthouse", home to the marked down furniture.
We toured the first and third floors and were favorably impressed with the understated sophistication of this company. We didn't see many antiques, mostly new retail furniture from Ralph Lauren (their biggest line), Henredon, Match Pewter, and Juliska glassware. This shop is beautifully put together and accessorized, and is staffed by gracious sales people.
The photo above ran with the story on Jacques Saint Dizier when he was named one of the top 100 designers by Architecrtural Digest in their annual issue of the "Top 100 Architects and Designers"

Other things to do: River Rafting trips down the Russina River. I've always wanted to do this, but didn't have time to do this (not yet anyway!), but after seeing this beautiful river again that winds through the towering redwoods, all the way to the Pacific Ocean, it's high on my list for the next time I'm out this way.
I checked with the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce site (http://www.healdsburg.com/) on the internet and there were multiple listings for river rafting company's. Let's do this! Yeah!
I will say their is a heck of a lot of talent in that little town of Healdsburg, CA. This is one town not to miss when you tour the Sonaoma Valley.
That's it for today. Please watch for the final report, Part VII of VII which will feature the designer Myra Hoefer. She was so interesting that I knew that I couldn't cover her in a paragraph or two!

Good Night Moon

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