The Wine Guy - Greg Walter

We live in wine country… don’t forget it!

We are all so busy these days. I don’t know about the rest of you, but some days and weeks go by so fast and are so packed with work, meetings, soccer practice, work, school drop-off/pickup, household chores and more work that it seems like all I every really “see” on a daily basis is what I can see outside of my home office window or the windshield of my car.

A lot of us, myself included, take for granted that we live in the middle of a beautiful valley with a stunning bounty of locally grown and produced wine and food. We are incredibly lucky to be able to live here. Millions of people across the country and around the world would love to live and work where we do. Need proof? These same millions of people spend millions and millions of dollars to visit wine country each year.

So, when was the last time you bought your fruit and vegetables at the farmers market or a local produce stand? When was the last time you experienced the difference between a locally grown amazing, ripe tomato and one that was truck ripened? I’ve been here more than 20 years and it’s still eye-opening to me the depth and breadth of fresh foods you can buy from local sources here – everything from those great Serres Ranch blueberries and the Watmaugh strawberries to some really great fresh breads.

Instead of sitting down in front of the TV and gobbling down whatever you found in the refrigerator, when was the last time you took an hour off from the breakneck pace of your life and took a stroll around the Plaza, inhaled some clean, non-re-circulated air, and stopped in at one of our terrific wine bars or restaurants for a relaxing glass of local wine and a bite to eat? There’s nothing like a glass of Sauvignon Blanc (or whatever your pleasure) to take the edge off of a razor sharp day.

Likewise, there has never been a better, more interesting local, live music scene here in Sonoma.

But truthfully, the most incredible way to experience this beautiful place is to just open your senses to it! Instead of putting on your blinders and taking Leveroni/Napa Road across the valley every day because it’s faster, take a different route. Put down your phone (because it’s illegal among other things!) and look around you while you drive. Notice things. Pay attention to how the vineyards are doing or which fields the cows are grazing each day. Instead of eating lunch at your desk or in your car on your way to wherever, get out and go for a walk. Look at some shops. Look at the mountains. Breathe some air. Derive the benefits of this amazing place!

We live in wine country… don’t forget it!

As always, please email me with any questions at

Greg Walter has been a Sonoma resident for more than 20 years. Greg has been in wine and food publishing for more than 30 years, 15 of which were spent as a senior editor and later president of Wine Spectator magazine. Today he writes the PinotReport newsletter ( and publishes books through his Carneros Press imprint (

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