Leaving Sonoma

NA5 I've lived in Sonoma Valley since 1996. I'm convinced that if God somehow found himself earthbound, this is where he'd set up home. Still, after 15 years of living in God's Country, I'm leaving.

I've always known that the things that shape the outlines of our lives are drawn not from circumstance, but from the relationships we form and hold dear. We NA1 bend our lives to shape circumstances. But we change our lives to account for the people in them. For me, leaving Sonoma means moving over the hill to that Angel's retreat known as Napa.

More so than Sonoma, Napa is defined by wine, the wine industry and those folks that make up this industry. I've always enjoyed the little rivalry that exists between Napa and Sonoma wine industries. While some substance infuses this rivalry, it's primarily a rivalry of the mind and plays itself out in offhand quips, media dalliances and annual reports of the average cost per ton of grapes from various regions. Having spent an increased amount of time in Napa over the past year, I've come to realize that the difference between the wine growing regions isn't nearly as great as the Mayacamas Mountains that separate Napa from Sonoma Valley.

 Wark Communications and this blog really could operate well from any point on the globe with regular Internet access. But I found that I personally can no longer operate so well with so much distance between me and the beautiful Kathy. She requires a Napa address. So, then, do I.

There is a lot to leave behind. I've lived in Sonoma Valley and in and around the town of Sonoma long NA2 enough to come to appreciate many things.NA4

-The bar at the Girl and the Fig has felt like a home away from home

-The friendly faces at the Flowers Golf Range always smile when I share my lunch break with them and my 7 Iron.

-The Sonoma Plaza with its sidewalks, forested center and welcoming denizens has always felt like  the inside of a hug.

-The view to the west over BR Cohn's Olive Hill with Sonoma MounNA3tain silhouetted in the background has always caused me to swerve as I drive up Highway 12 at dusk.

-The gathering of families around Sonoma Plaza during the summer Farmers Markets feel like a weekly family reunion.

 But while this and more is so desirable, it's all too far away from the Beautiful Kathy. So, I'm following the same path as most others: I'm changing my life to account for the NA7 most  important people in it—and this time I do so with great pleasure. I'm an extraordinarily lucky man.

So it is that on Thursday of this week, I'll set in motion a change that will alter my view of the world simply because it will originate form a different locale and a different mindset. I suspect this blog may even be altered in some way as long as my own perspective is altered. For those of you in Napa…I'm on my way. Save me a place at the bar at Angele where pastis is poured well and at Bouchon where the fries are piled high and the Manhattans sublime. For those of you here in Sonoma, save me a place at the corner of the bar at the Girl and the Fig for when I visit.

Posted In: Personal


16 Responses

  1. TrevR - March 29, 2010

    Welcome to ‘the other side’ Tom!

  2. wolfgang - March 29, 2010

    Good luck with the move, Tom!

  3. Jack Irby - March 29, 2010

    Looking forward to seeing you around town. We have to plan to meet at Angele some time soon.

  4. Paul Mabray - March 29, 2010

    Kathy is amazing and you are a lucky man and we in Napa are going to be lucky to have you as a neighbor.

  5. Jim Caudill - March 29, 2010

    I’ve just seen pigs a flyin’ and there seems to be a deep freeze down below…who’da thunk it? She’s obviously somebody very special…best of luck and best wishes.

  6. winebratsf - March 29, 2010

    I can think of no greater gift of love! Such a sweet story. And I look forward to seeing if your migration over the hill changes your perspective at all.

  7. JohnLopresti - March 29, 2010

    Over the years, I have gained appreciation of Gaye Le Baron’s rendition of history of Sonoma County. Although I frequented the Valley of the Moon as a kid, and Napa, too, it has been as an adult working a former vineyard and winery ranch in far north Alexander Valley that I have learned by my own endeavors the agrarian unison of the histories of these two counties. There is much more than a differential in ton price between these marvelous rivals, Napa/Sonoma counties. At the outset of the modernizations of the 1970s, the price/ton gap was like some rube joke. Napa was early to recognize, and invest in, the viticultural merits of the northcoast valleys milieu; Sonoma vineyards still looked at a jug of wine and thought, ‘That’s wine.’ UC Davis has helped both valleys quantifiably by providing some brilliant and hard working winemakers.
    Congratulations on the settling in Napa. I can think of one hilarious and cantankerous exprof living there making wine, and another prof from Davis of world viticulture research fame lodged on one of the tall ridges. Napa’s gain by your relocating, will be our benefit in Sonoma, too, in the internet age.

  8. Samantha Dugan - March 29, 2010

    So lovely Tom. I am so happy for you both.

  9. Marcia - March 29, 2010

    Welcome to the other side of the hill…Mayacamas, that is!

  10. Tom M - March 29, 2010

    Moving from Sonoma to Napa. I’ve never seen a more courageous move in my life. Astonishing intestinal fortitude. How did you find the moxie to make this move. And I thought moving from SF to the east was gutty. Wow.

  11. EaglesNestWine - March 30, 2010

    Good for you no more “driving over the hill.” Thanks for sharing a great personal story. Napa and Sonoma are about as close as you can get to wine heaven…

  12. Sondra Bernstein - March 30, 2010

    Well – there goes my bar business over the hill! Tom – we will miss you – don’t be a stranger! I am very happy for you and love that you wear your heart right out there! All the best! BIG HUGS!

  13. tom merle - March 30, 2010

    Napanoma, baby!

  14. Dave the Wine Merchant - March 30, 2010

    The beautiful Kathy sounds like the perfect reason to move! Best wishes to the both of you!!

  15. Mark's Wine Clubs - March 30, 2010

    Congrats on the plan to move Tom, best of luck with the relationship as well. As a relative wine outsider I’ve found the rivalry between the two regions interesting to say the least, it wasn’t one that I expected although looking at college’s and their relative rivalry intensity increasing by close geographical distance…it probably should have been expected.
    For me, it’ll be interesting to hear how you adjust to life in Napa as my wife and I may be making the move fairly soon as well.

  16. Dave Erickson - March 30, 2010

    Easy, Big Guy. It’s not like she lives in Mendocino. Or Monterey. Or Minervois. Or the Mosel…

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