This past weekend, The Guardian (the one “over the pond” in the UK) published my recommendations of wine and food places to hit when driving from Seattle to northern California, as part of their America Uncovered series.
Like 99.9% of all of my other paying gigs, this one found me [ editor’s note: this is not how I’d recommend that you go about any type of freelancing career yourself, by the way; not going out and hustling for work is insanely stupid, and I’m beyond all reasonable standards of lucky that this stuff keeps coming my way ].
Like any publisher with an editing staff, they decided to cut 80% of the piece’s original ideas and mentions and focus instead on a handful of my suggestions, which will explain why [insert your favorite wine and/or food stop in Northern California here] wasn’t included.
What did make the cut are things that I don’t think many of you would have guessed (let’s just say I’d eat my left sneaker if anyone could have figured out the focus of this one prior to its publication). It turned into a Sonoma valentine of sorts: Chalk Hill, Claypool Cellars, and The Girl and The Fig (okay, that last one some of you would have gotten ahead of time). Once again, I’m figuring that Ross Cobb owes me some money (or at the very least, some more Pinot and Chardonnay samples)…
Anyway, I’m hoping that my whistle-stop Sonoma tour ideas might also be helpful to some of you who don’t hail from the U.K. (for those that do, don’t be afraid to contact me, as I do speak British quite well, actually), but are thinking about putting northern CA on the travel itinerary at some point. You can read it at http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2013/may/25/california-wine-tour-west-coast-us.
As to why this turned into the Sonoma valentine that it did, I’ve no ready answer apart from the fact that Sonoma is just… awesome. Well, it’s awesome apart from that whole CA-is-broke-and-the-school-systems-are-all-screwed-up thing, I mean. For those of you in Sonoma who are raw about not being mentioned: all publicity for the area is good publicity, a rising tide lifts all boats, Don’t Make Me Destroy You, etc. I’ve already had a few people tell me that the writing voice doesn’t sound like me, to which I can only answer that it’s not always possible (or advisable) to unleash my gonzo craziness on the wider public, particularly when other unsuspecting nations are involved.
To entice you into the Sonoma mood, I’ll leave you with some photos of a few of the article’s mentions here, including some stuff that the Guardian bought but didn’t run. All are in landscape mode, because that’s supposed to be more calming than portrait, and I suspect many of you are still hung over from the long holiday weekend (you lushes!):