Working in the Wine Country

A few times a year we gather as a leadership team for annual planning. I’m always thrilled when it is located in San Francisco. Usually, we are up in the wine country. This year we were just outside of Sonoma. I know a great motorcycle ride is on the horizon.

“Winter” in the Bay Area has been hanging on far too long.  When I mention “winter” – just about everyone laughs as it never snows nor rarely gets below freezing.  We get rain every third day or so.  Rain here is the all-day drizzle.  It’s rare that a fast-moving squall line comes through with heavy rain here in the Bay Area.  I miss that style of rain from back east.

Late May is unusual for rain here.  Usually, the sky’s tap dries up around late April and then start back up again near Thanksgiving.  This year has been a wet winter and one for which we are thankful.  After many years of real drought, I’m not going to complain about rain.

I delayed departure well into the evening as I wanted to let all of the traffic die down.  The days are long in May, so I was going to have light up until about 9 pm.  The rain was tracking for the same spot on my calendar – so it’s a calculated balance between staying dry and getting stuck in traffic.

The mixture of the setting sun and the clouds was nothing short of fantastic.  I played my cards right this time! Wow!

I wanted to stop more often, but time was getting away from me and I didn’t want to get wet!

Every off-site it’s always nice to get out and do something in the local area.  One of my colleagues found an organic and biodynamic winery nearby: Benzinger.  What makes this one unique is that many of the wines are produced with only things that are available at the vineyard.  They aren’t bringing in external resources to help grow the wine.  There’s a whole agricultural science that was really interesting to follow.  Check out the link above to learn more.

What really caught my eye was the aloe.  I’m in the process of building out my own garden and loved the splash of color the aloe brought to the winery!

With the work and fun part of the trip wrapped up, it was time to head home.  I wanted to do a bit more riding on the way back as there are some great roads east of Sonoma.  Lake Berryessa has an amazing spillway.  With the wet winter, I was curious to see how the water was flowing.

The spillway located at Lake Berryessa has always fascinated me. The spillway in many ways reminds me of a black hole. After learning the power of water about ten years ago, I’ve had a deep respect for how little water can be lethal. I got swept away in about 2 feet of water when swimming in a river up in the northern part of the state.

The spillway affectionately known as the Glory Hole skims the top of the water where it drops hundreds of feet below before exiting into Putah Creek. A friend of mine asked me why the spillway is called the Glory Hole. It turns out the spillway is a morning glory spillway fancied after the morning glory flower. It doesn’t have the roots many of us thought it did.

From here it was following the backroads as the sun went down. The wine country continued to impress – for sure. The well-paved road gently followed Putah Creek. The creek was full making for great scenery!

It was getting late in the day and time was running short. California 179 was the last of the scenic wine and farm country. It was now back to the hustle of the bay area.

I’d been traveling the past few weeks and it was starting to catch up with me. Nothing like a night in your own bed!

Fin

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