Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Get paid to write a Wine Country Blog?

Guest Blogging - John Murphy

Murphy-Goode Winery is offering a dream job for the Twitterati - a job as "Wine Country Correspondent" to blog and tweet for 10k a month - to "report on the cool lifestyle of Sonoma County Wine Country and, of course, tell people what you’re learning about winemaking."

So you are saying that I am writing my primary blog and ghostwriting this blog for my wife (who is busy raising Murphy 2.0) for free when I could be making money doing it, and having the time to visit and see more of Sonoma County in order to find the content to write about? What am I doing at nVidia?

The Chronicle has a story on the "Really Goode-Job".

Pick Me! Let's see....

1) Blogger/Tweeter
2) MSEE. I don't consider my webwork to be of high quality - because I am too busy designing microprocessors to upgrade my html/cgi coding, but how hard can it be?
3) "live rent free in Healdsburg" - I can live at Le Tournesol and save Murphy-Goode some scratch.
4) Experience growing grapes!
5) "play the occasional game of poker with a laid-back staff" - I played in the 2004 World Series of Poker - winning my seat online. Good friends with Pro Poker players Andy Bloch and Phil Gordon. This doesn't mean I'll win ;)
6) John MURPHY - enough said...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Passport to Dry Creek Valley 2009

This weekend is the Passport to Dry Creek Valley weekend up in Healdsburg in Sonoma County.

This event is a wonderful way to try many of the wines of the Dry Creek Valley, as 45 wineries open their doors to Passport holders and couple them with food, usually incorporating a theme.

This event has grown so popular that Passports are sold via a lottery!

We won't be attending because we have rented out our house for the weekend, luckily Healdsburg is open every weekend ;)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cycling in Sonoma County

A nice article in the Chronicle about one of the best Sonoma County activities - cycling.

Starting in Santa Rosa, we'd ride west to Sebastopol, then north to Graton, mostly on the West County Trail, a paved former rail line now open only to hikers and bikers - no motor vehicles allowed. Along the way we'd sip chai, visit a goat dairy, taste some wine and revel in the scenic bounty of west Sonoma County as buds burst from the trees and wildflowers carpet the land.

Our son Liam is occupying a lot of the time we used to devote to cycling around Healdsburg, but when we get the chance, the Dry Creek Valley is truly a beautiful place to explore on two wheels.

Here's an account of a ride in Dry Creek.

If you are in Healdsburg, the folks at
Spoke Folk Cyclery
can help you out with routes and bike rentals.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Fruits coming into bud in Sonoma County

We are blessed with many fruit trees at our Vacation Rental in Sonoma County , near Healdsburg. A walk around the property showed that we have the potential for a good harvest this year.

Pomegranates - which come in in September/October.

Pears - these get ready in the August timeframe and are pickable into October. We have Bosc, Bartlett, and Anjou pears.

Peaches! We are loaded with these babies that come in June.

Our seedless grapes look pretty good compared to last year, when a late frost hurt the bunches. Here's hoping these come in nicely.

Figs. The unusally warm weather in January has brought out some figs very early. Hopefully more buds will come out, but it looks like we may have some as early as June.

Asian Pears! We have 2 trees with Asian Pears - these are fantastic fruits and are very prolific in Sonoma County. They should be ready in July and be available for a few months.

Almonds. A bumper crop on our tree. Last year we only had a few and the squirrels got them! This year I'll try to defend them better. I think these, like the figs, are coming in early.

All of our guests are welcome to dig into these fruits, along with the apples that show up in July-August, the November Persimmons, June Apricots, and of course giant tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and zucchini that populate our vegetable garden!

Even if you aren't exactly Charlie Palmer, a good piece of fruit is a great snack to take out for wine tasting before you visit one of Healdsburg's fine restaurants.

For information on staying at our house - Le Tournesol - call Jill Murphy at 415-515-1095

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Healdsburg Area Restaurants make Chron Top 100

The SF Chronicle has come out with 2009's Top 100 Restaurants. Not surprisingly Healdsburg is represented.

First, Willi's Wine Bar in Santa Rosa is listed. There is also a Willi's Wine Bar in Healdsburg. Small plates and good wine, the downtown location is 1 block North of Healdsburg Plaza and is always hopping. We like to sit at the bar and chat up the jovial bartenders and try the oysters, riblets, and other goodies.

Madrona Manor, on Westside Road, is known also as a wedding venue, and focuses on Contemporary American cuisine. Fixed price in the $60-$80 range.

On the high end is of course Cyrus, Douglas Keane's Michelin starred restaurant in Downtown Healdsburg. Get your reservation in advance. Pricey but very very good.

This is only the tip of the iceberg in Healdsburg, if you can't make it to one of these excellent restaurants, you can try one of our other great eateries, from the high end of Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen in the Hotel Healdsburg, to the Bear Republic (more known for their excellent beer), Charcuterie, and Scopa. Or if you are just looking to carbo load before a good bike ride, you can try one of my personal favorites - Giorgio's Italian restaurant, a true basic red-checked tablecloth joint.