Vino the Quick

You might think it’s difficult to run in a giant wine bottle with 750 milliliters of wine sloshing around inside. The truth is, you’re right. It’s really difficult. If you watch closely in this video, at one point you see me trip on a redwood root and hit the ground pretty hard. I like to think of the limitations on my stride as an occupational hazard.

Sometimes, however, we are meant to transcend limitations. Sometimes we are meant to fly—metaphorically speaking.

I experienced one of those days on Thanksgiving morning.

I participated in the Healdsburg Turkey Trot, a 5-kilometer race that takes place every Thanksgiving morning in my hometown. And, dear readers, as you can see from the photo that accompanies this post, I won!

It was an eventful morning. I woke up in my refrigerator feeling particularly saucy. Instead of donning the usual merlot body suit, I opted for chardonnay. Next, I worked with my little splits (a.k.a., my daughters) to affix holiday lights to my bottle. I know many of you attended my bottle-mitzvah when I was 13, but I still love Christmas, you know? 

Anyway, when I arrived at the start of the race, I wasn’t planning to run. Over the course of the next 20 minutes, encouragement from my fellow runners inspired me to try.

The gun sounded and there I was, striding like Prefontaine and the dudes from Chariots of Fire.

I passed kids. I passed elite runners. I swear at one point I blew right past a cheetah running at full speed. You should have seen the look on that cat’s face! I’m guessing it had never seen a giant wine bottle motoring along at warp speed.

I finished the race in less than 25 minutes. Skip Brand, owner of Healdsburg Running Company, handed me a bottle of sauvignon blanc (my cousin!) and told me to assume my rightful spot on the podium. As I stood there, the silver and bronze finishers scoffed at me as if to say, “There’s no way you won.” Someday those little twerps will appreciate the grandeur of Vino the Quick.

The Bounty of Petaluma

The Sonoma County city of Petaluma is home to some of the most fertile land anywhere in Northern California.

My latest video spotlights some of the wonderful items harvested in Petaluma at this time of year.

Specifically, the short film highlights four places: The Happy Dahlia flower farm, Acadhinha Cheese Company, the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch, and Sonoma Hills Farm. As usual, I’m prancing around like a ballerina in every scene.

My favorite part of filming this video was the visit to Sonoma Hills. When I and my cameraman were there, I basically got to make out with a bunch of cannabis plants. Interestingly, none of them tongued me back. Also, in case you didn’t know this, no matter how much you lick and hump cannabis plants, you don’t get high.

Anyway, enjoy the video (and don’t be daunted by that black screen to start).

The Varieties of Wine Country

Life as a giant wine bottle certainly is interesting. I always love the stuff people say when they see me out and about. Some people wonder if I contain sulfites. Others ask about a plastic cork. Most people ask what kind of wine I am. Sometimes they even throw down the industry specific phrase: WHAT VARIETY ARE YOU?

This phrase always gets me thinking about Wine Country as a whole, and the different varieties of experiences here in Sonoma and Napa counties.

You can throw down big bucks on fancy food at places such as Single Thread (or, if you’re Gavin Newsom, The French Laundry), or you can get the best burrito of your life from a taco truck on the side of Highway 12 in the Sonoma Valley.

You can spend an afternoon sipping cult cabernet from a place like Memento Mori in downtown Napa, or you can lumber into the Lagunitas taproom in Petaluma and throw back a dozen beers.

You can relax by the pool at Montage Healdsburg, or you can float down the Russian River (with more beer!) in Guerneville. You can pedal a fancy-pants bicycle (so long as you’re not a wine bottle like I am) or you can rent a Segway, an e-bike, a limo, or one of those pedicab things where a human pedals you around.

So many options. So many different experiences. In a sense, it’s a lot like wine.

As an ambassador to the region, I’m always trying to give people the greatest number of options with what I put out into the world. Earlier this month, an old friend called me asking me for input about an upcoming trip. She’s coming out with six other women I knew from my years as just a human—a real-life enactment of “Wine Country” (hopefully none of them will sleep with the paella guy)—and they each want different things.

My advice, of course, was to embrace the eclectic. Do yoga in a vineyard. Hit a spa (or get a massage therapist to come to their rental). Take a hike. Get a private chef.

You can do all these things in Wine Country. This is Wine Country beyond the wine.