This weekend and next I will be away on a 10-day summer vacation to where else but Sonoma County California! I visit and stay with a friend Tony who lives in Santa Rosa. He works in the tasting room of Ferrari-Carano Winery outside of Healdsburg. I’ve certainly enjoyed learning about wine from listening his “spheel” as he pours for the guests at the several wineries where he has worked over the years. And I have certainly enjoyed the “perks” of his wine industry discount when we visit other wineries throughout Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties. And in the many years I have visited, some of Tony’s friends have become mine as well. I look forward to spending some time with Fr. Sean Rogers, pastor of St. John the Baptist parish in Healdsburg and seeing some of the parishioners I’ve gotten to know. I will be celebrating Mass there on July 21st and 22nd and July 28th and 29th to give Fr. Sean the opportunity to get away for a weekend, as he is the only priest in the parish. Fr. Sean graduated from the University of Notre Dame and played and was on the football team. He has been a priest 11 years. His family owns a fruit and veggie stand with a small market in Santa Rosa. Always a great place to stop for fresh fruit, sandwiches and snacks before heading out for a day of wine tasting! I look forward to seeing Vernon and his two Chiweenie dogs. They are the cutest little things! A cross between a Chihuahua and a Dachshund. Vernon, originally from Hawaii, manages a Starbuck’s Coffee Shop in Windsor and last time I visited we went whale watching. I hope to catch up with Travis and learn about his new position promoting tourism in Mendocino County. Previously he worked at Handley Winery in Philo. I hope to catch up with Michael (originally from Chicagoland and a Cubs fan) and his wife Rose. Michael sells wine barrels. During my visit last summer, he gave me a tour of the cooperage. Really interesting how wine barrels are made! My favorite will be spending time with Anne Vercelli. Her father Joe was part of the beginning of the wine industry in California. Back in the day he worked at Italian Swiss Colony. A name revered by old-times. Anne teaches culinary arts at the Santa Rosa Junior College, organizes several prestigious wine tasting events, judges wines and bakery competitions at the Sonoma County Fair and other events. Some of her classes are taught at Shone Farm where the kitchen is named after her father. In addition to all that, Anne works as hostess on Sunday at a delightful bakery/breakfast/lunch place, Costeaux in Healdsburg. But the BEST is that whenever I come out for a visit she hosts and prepares a 6 to 8 course meal at her house with different wines with each course and invites all my CA friends! It’s an amazing evening!! So that diet that Fr. Mark announced I was going to start a couple months ago will just have to wait to August 1st! I look forward to hiking in the Armstrong Redwood grove in Guerneville and walking the oceanfront. Perhaps a canoe trip down the Russian River. Oh! Did I mention the wine tasting??
Whatever you and your family are doing to enjoy summer, please be safe and enjoy God’s wonderful creation!
Have A Blessed Week!