Next Stop: Sonoma

Limo Wine Tour, Osmosis Spa, Flamingo Hotel, Cooking with John Ash, Bike Wine Tour, Stark’s Steakhouse, Adam Traum



00:00-00:03 JON: Hi, I’m Jon Olson. Welcome to Next Stop, from wine country USA.
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00:11-00:32 JON: On this episode we feature the number one wine growing region in the country, California wine country. Of course we will taste some great wines, pair it with fabulous foods and meet some of the colorful locals. But, if you’ve been to wine country you know you don’t do it alone, so I invited my girlfriend Mary and my friends Mark and Leana to fly over the water from Honolulu and join me to share in the experience. That’s how you do wine country. The fun starts now!
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00:36-00:44 JON: There are many fun ways to tour wine country, later on in the show we will tour by limo, but today we are with Getaway Adventures for a Sip n Cycle bike tour of wine country.
00:45-00:59 RANDY: Alright you guys welcome to the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County, scored this spot right here as you can see, if you look behind us you’ll see all these vineyards that we have, but basically today’s ride is going to take us through some of the most beautiful vineyards you will ever see in this area. You can see the olive trees over here.
00:59-1:00 MARY: Wow, that’s cool.
01:00-01:29 RANDY: A lot of, still grape clusters left on the vines, big old oak trees here. This is it, the postcard baby! This what people come from all over the world to see. Go ahead and park your bikes right over here. Welcome to the Preston Winery here, we’re going to do a little wine tasting here. I want to introduce you to Robert here, he’s going to be pouring some wine for us today.
01:30-01:31 ALL: Hi Robert!
01:32-02:12 RANDY: So the petite Shiraz, look at the color on this, very, very dark. I’m going to recommend you guys try a couple of these, the Elk Preston red is a great, great blended wine.
ROBERT:All these grapes are traditionally blended in Southern France so we kind of do the same with them here.
MARK: Well I think wine is, that counts as a fruit and a vegetable, right?
ROBERT: That is.
MARK: So that counts as a serving of fruit.
JON: It’s definitely a fruit.
RANDY: And there is definitely some flavor in there so…
JON: So if I have wine every morning for breakfast, I’m getting my fruits?
RANDY: Yeah,  fruit, and your fiber.
ROBERT: Fruit and fiber
LEANA: And loaded with anti oxidents.
ROBERT: It’s big and rich. It’s also kind of fruity, it’s pretty soft, easy to drink.
LEANA: Just like my husband Mark.
JON: Like Mark!
MARK: There you go, big, fruity and soft, I mean, that describes me in a nutshell.
ROBERT: What about the rich part?
ALL: Laughter.
02:17-02:40 JON: I’m feeling we are in California wine country, but it’s very rural out here.
RANDY: Very rural.
JON: I saw a big hay truck go by.
RANDY: Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about man, we are in the country.
JON: This is great.
RANDY: I mean you have got farms over here, you’ve got, you know, open vineyards. This is…it kind of reminds me of Provence, in Southern France.
JON: It is like that, it’s very unspoiled by technology, you don’t see a lot of technology out here.
RANDY: Not a lot of big buildings, not a lot of huge wineries. Mostly small places, like I said, a lot of families are out here.
02:46-03:12 JON: You have got some fancy wines here, 95 rating?
STEVE: We were very happy there, we would have done cartwheels for a 90.
JON: What should we be looking for in this?
STEVE: What your going to see is some dark red fruit there, some dark cherry and a little bit of plum. It’s got real nice balance, and a nice finish.
RANDY: Mmm, Steve, you do it every time.
JON: Oh, yeah, I like that.
03:13-03:56  RANDY: Alright you guys, welcome to a special treat here in the wine country, and that is sampling right out of the barrel. This is wine that has been aged now for a little while but we get to taste it before it hits the bottle,  so this a really kind of special treat.
CHRISTINA: So the old line Zin  your going to get much more complexity with this one, more concentrated fruit, and this one will give you hints of cherry, caramel and mocha, It is absolutely delicious!
RANDY: Mmmm, the nose is awesome.
CHRISTINA: Yeah, it’s just amazing wine.
RANDY: Give it a little, open it up a little bit, just give it a little air.
MARK: Randy, I want to thank you for a great day, the bike tour was awesome. Here’s to you.
RANDY:Well thank you so much for coming out you guys, you guys are all great, good cyclists. Enjoy the good wine and come back and visit us in Sonoma County.
JON: Oh we will.
RANDY: Thank you.
03:59-04:29 JON: If you are a wine connoisseur, you probably store your wine. So here’s a little wine storage 101 for you. If you have a cooler, set the temp at 55 to 60 degrees, dessert wines at the bottom, whites in the middle, reds at the top. If you don’t have a wine cooler look for a room like this, no temperature fluctuations, cool, dry, perfect. Set the wines on it’s side, but never, ever, ever store your wines on top of the refrigerator. How many of you are just busted right now? Reason why, vibrations. Not good for the wine. There is your wine fast fact 101.
04:33-05:09 JON: We have a special treat for you today. We’ve done food segments all over the world, but never have we been in the kitchen of a world renowned chef. This is the father of wine country cuisine, Chef John Ash.
JOHN: You know I was sort of the first,I mean, it was a long time ago. When I first came to Sonoma County, Santa Rosa there was so good food here, which was surprising because it was an amazing agricultural area. A winemaker friend of mine took me to what was then the best restaurant in town, and I will never forget this was the middle of summertime and here was all this wonderful stuff being grown around here, and this best restaurant in town was serving canned vegetables and I said ‘You know what, I could be a big fish in a small pond’.
05:10-05:50 JON: That’s fantastic, what are we going to make?
JOHN: We’re going to make the simplest,  everybody should know how to make it, so it’s the simplest dessert in the world. The italians call it zabione, the french call is sabione, oh I describe it like all great relationships in my life. There is this wonderful thing, they are there, but then it’s not there, and that’s about my relationships.
JON: We can all relate.
JOHN: There but not there anymore and that’s really good.
JON: Well I’m willing to help so put me to work.
JOHN: So what we are going to do, I’ve taken some egg yolks here, a little bit of lemon juice and this is just to your own liking. We’re going to add some sugar, so its that kind of balance, you can add as little or much as you want to and then carefully measure the wine.
05:51-06:38 JON: That’s careful, very careful.
JOHN: And what we are going to do is whisk this together all of these things, until they are combined and then I am going to let you do this, we’re going to put it on top of the simmering water here.
JON: So we just set it on top? Do I continue whisking?
JOHN: And keep whisking like crazy. So your objective is to keep it moving and to actually be there. So what will happen is that is will rise up like the souffle, we won’t see any liquid egg anymore.
JON: Oh, I can see it.
JOHN: And what we want to do is get it off there before we scramble the egg. If you look at it, all of the liquid egg is gone so we have cooked it, any fruit that you like is you know, you can put on here so this is the kind of thing you can do even if you hadn’t planned on dessert and really, that’s it.
JON: Oh my.
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JON: Coming up on Next Stop, we tour wine country by limo, and we take a bath in cedar wood chips. You’ll want to stick around for this.
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06:55-07:32 JON: You must be Lynn.
LYNN: I am. Please, come up and join us for a moment. This is a rose of pinot noir. We make this from our best grapes, this has a nose, it has a taste. Key elements of wine in particular a pinot noir, even a rose of pinot noir is that there A, should be balance, but the three basic things is there is a nose, you have a smell, that the taste they call it the mid palette is consistent with the smell. And the after taste, or the finish is long and also consistent.
07:42-08:28 LYNN: Now we can enjoy the pinot noir which is the hardest, often conceived of, I don’t want to start an argument with other winemakers or things, but basically this is generally considered the hardest wine to make. It’s a very thin grape, the balances are very, the farming it is a very difficult thing. It’s a many layered grape, it doesn’t have that much tannin, you just really have to do this right to get it so, this is really a, this is one reason we attracted our wine maker here, she really wanted to…
MARY: I saw one of your pinots were on a 97 point.
LYNN: Just right. And this has a nose, it just pops out at you from way, you don’t even have to put your nose way in the glass although it’s good to do so.
08:39-09:02 JON: So what do you guys think?
MARY: Loved it.
MARK: Great.
JON: What was your favorite? I liked them all. What was your favorite Mark?
MARK: The 07 pinot.
JON: You liked that.
MARK: Yeah, it was great.
JON: What about the rose? Are you a rose kinda guy? You don’t seem like a rose kinda guy.
MARK: I never drink rose, but if you put that rose in front of me I will consume it quickly, it was really good.
JON: And now we are off to Osmosis Spa. Ready to get your spa on?
MARK: Oh, I’m ready.
09:16-09:54 JULES:Hello, welcome.
JON: Konichiwa.
JULES: I have a lovely tea service for you today. This tea that I a going to serve you actually works in conjunction with the enzyme bath. Its a nice part of your treatment.
JON: So what can you tell us about the enzyme bath? Neither one of us has done this before.
JULES: It’s a really wonderful heat treatment, and what’s so unique about it is it is generating it’s heat biologically through a process of fermentation. The bath has over 600 active plant enzymes that are catallizing the different woods in the bath to undergo a fermentation process, and the heat is a by product of that process.
10:05-10:50 JON: What inspired this from you? I mean you spent some time in Japan I understand.
MICHAEL: I did. I went over to Japan to study the traditional landscape gardening and meditation, and in the process I stumbled across this amazing enzyme bath and from the minute I sunk inside of it I knew it was my calling to bring it back to the United States.
JON:You designed all this stuff?
MICHAEL: Well actually I collaberated with some fantastic associates to do this, including Robert Ketchuml from England who is one of the preimenant japanese landscape gardeners, probably on the planet right now, and Steve Stukey who is a zen priest landscaper, now head of San Fransisco’s zen center, so we had a lot of intention to create a meditative environment here.
10:51-11:26 JON: Your massage therapists are wonderful, and you can actually have your massage in a pagoda, or in a standard massage room, right?
MICHAEL: That’s right, and we are really happy to have been working for 25 years now with an absolutely fantastic community of very gifted healers who are really motivated in their own personal development as well as their own massage technique, to really create the most elevated and profound massage experience you can imagine.
JON: We’ve had a great day, we started our day with wine, we took a little break for the Osmosis Spa which was amazing, and now we are back to wine, but I need to say arigato guzymas.
MICHAEL: Doi tashi maste.
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11:36-11:41JON: Coming up on Next Stop, California champagne, and a Santa Rosa historic landmark hotel.
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11:45-12:21 JON: So we are off to our final winery, which is actually champagne, Korbel.
SUNOMA: What Korbel makes currently is 15 different champagnes, they are listed according to the dosage level, so if it is 1 percent or less it is a dry champagne, between 1 and 2 percent is a medium, and greater than 2 is a dessert. So the first champagne we are going to try is our natural, it’s, um, the dosage on it is .75, it’s a blend of pinot noir and chardonnay. It’s also the inaugural champagne, has been served at every presidential inauguration since Kennedy.
12:22-13:17 JON: That’s really nice.
SUNOMA: It’s a little harder to find but it is distributed.
JON: Now there is a key to opening champagne bottles, right? I’m going to watch you do it properly.
SUNOMA: Uh oh, it’s supposed to whisper. The cage is put on with 6 half turns, it’s tradition, we can count if you like.
ALL: 1,2,3,4,5,6..and a half!
SUNOMA: And I always leave it on just for safety, but this will hold the cork, and when you open it it should..should..just whisper, if I do it right. How’s that?
JON: Music to my ears.
SUNOMA: So this is the brut rose, so iit does see a little bit of skin time because that is where the color comes from, so to get a little bit of pink, a little bit of time, we are talking hours.
JON: Really.
SUNOMA: Yeah, not very long. Well that’s it for today, come back and see us again.
13:23-13:41 JON: OK as I open this bottle of Korbel, we are just leaving Korbel, I was amazed that Korbel had so many varieties of champagne.
MARY: Me too.
MARK: I was very surprised, I didn’t know they had 15 varieties.
ALL: Cheers!
MARK: Hey Jon, where is our next stop?
JON: Our next stop? The Flamingo Resort.
MARK: Alright!
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13:45-14:59 JON: We always stay at cool places on Next Stop and this place is no exception. We are in downtown Santa Rosa at the Flamingo Resort and Spa.
DAN: It’s got a lot of history, flavor and it was the headquarters of the hollywood celebrities in the late 50’s.
JON: Just walking around the circular grounds here I feel like Elvis Presley or Marilyn Monroe is going walk by me, that’s really the feel you get at this place. Now, I am seeing a lot of art work around the area, a lot of Snoopy, Charlie Browns, Lucy statues, what are those all about?
DAN: They are worth about a quarter million dollars, so they are rather unique, especially the San Fransisco Giant ones in the lobby, with them now in the world series its really unique.
JON: Now Sunday brunch is supposed to be good, that’s on our agenda, right?
DAN: Yeah, we’ve won a couple awards already for the best brunch in Sonoma County.
JON: Describe why this property is so unique.
DAN: We have a great blend of both, beautiful room  and these 2 magnificent pools we have, we’ve got a beautiful cardio room with treadmill tv’s, we’ve got a group exercise area.
JON: So I’m digging the wine, I’m digging the food, I’m digging the exercise facility, but I’m also digging the spa.
DAN: Yeah, the spa is really special. In fact, why don’t you grab your girlfriend and head over there and let Maru Lou take good care of you and then I will meet you back in the lounge at 8 o’clock for something special.
15:03-15:18 MARU LU: We’ve got Jon going into our vichy scrub room and he’s going to be having a warming ginger salt scrub, which is just a wonderful wet water treatment. So we’ve got Mary then following Jon going into our rose petal facial which a a really wonderful hydrating facial.
15:26-15:59 JON: Antonio!
JON: Jon Olson. Dan said to show up at the lounge at 8:00 and there is some surprise happening for us. What’s up?
ANTONIO: Absolutely, you are actually going to be doing a salsa class tonight. So you’ve got your basic down, your side basic, and you are good to go. You guys did great!
JON: Ok, we didn’t see Elvis but we had a great time at the Flamingo Resort. We got our spa on, we learned how to salsa dance. Next time you are in Santa Rosa check this place out, it will take you straight back to Las Vegas in the 1950’s.
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16:06-16:22 JON: Alaska Airlines is the 8th largest US Airline based on passenger traffic and is clearly the dominant carrier on the west coast. With Alaska Airlines code share partner Horizon Airlines, you can fly directly into the heart of wine country from Portland or Seattle, right here to Sonoma County airport. For more information visit
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16:32-16:55 JON: We love checking out great restaurants all over the globe and this place speaks to my heart. In downtown Santa Rosa we are at Starks Steak House. I’m a total meat and potatoes kind of guy Mark, thanks for having us.buddy.
Mark: Hey, nice to meet you.
JON: Now this place has been around for just  few years, right?
MARK: We are going into our third year now. We just loved the building, it was a little bit tired, we came in and just redid it and brought back all that old history to it.
16:58-17:22 MARK: It feels like an old fashioned steak house and you could be in Chicago, you could be in New York, you could be in San Francisco, luckily though you are in Sonoma County here, Santa Rosa. It just has that old fashioned feel that just brings back a ton of memories for a lot of people and creates a lot of new ones for people as well.
JON: You guys have something unique to most steak houses.
MARK: It’s the aging room, it’s our pride and joy.
17:27-18:00 MARK: An aging room really is the old fashioned way of aging beef, and creating that real good beefy flavor.
JON: What are your signature dishes?
MARK: Beef.
JON: Oh yeah, of course, but like which cut?
MARK: Well the unique part about Stark’s Steak House is there is several different ways to get your meat on. What I like to do is get several  cuts on the table, several different sauces and just everybody get a little bit of everything.
JON: Come to Stark’s Steak House and get your meat on.
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18:07-18:10 JON: Coming up on Next Stop, music by Adam Traum at one of Sonoma’s Original wineries.
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18:15-18:52 JON:When you think of Sonoma wines, you think of Sebastiani. This was one of the first vineyards in all of Sonoma County. You step into this amazing structure and it’s just. you feel like you are in history.
CHRISTOPHER: San Luis Sebastiani used to drive this tank on the back of a wagon up to the quarries to sell wine by the tin cup to the workers up there, about a nickle a cup back then.
JON: I love that. Actually it’s about a nickle a cup right now…it’s more than a nickle a cup.
CHRISTOPHER: Yeah, we’ve come a long way baby
JON: You’ve got a great tasting room.
CHRISTOPHER: Yes, it’s beautiful structure. It was the actual wine making facility up until about 2000 when we remodeled and turned that into the tasting room. It’s just a beautiful, beautiful room with a lot of arches, great for music.
19:10-19:37JON: I knew Chicago had the blues, but I had no idea that Sonoma had the blues. Adam, you bring it buddy!
ADAM: Well thank you man.
JON: Now I gotta ask you guys because blues players don’t dress like this, did you guys get dressed up just for us tonight?
ADAM: Well you know it’s kind of a new thing, I’ve been dressing up for my gigs a little bit lately.
JON: It wasn’t just for us? Come on!
ADAM: Wasn’t just for you, I promise.
JON: The whole band looks good man.
ADAM: Well you know I just told them what I was wearing and I told them I just wanted them clean and covered you know, and they all listened to me for a change.
20:30-20:44 JON: Whats the music scene like here?
ADAM: You know, it’s a small town and you would be surprised how jumping the music scene is. There’s a lot of good venues and there’s a lot of great players that you wouldn’t expect to be in this small a town or small an area.
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21:28-21:49 Thanks for tuning into Next Stop from California wine country, we had some amazing experiences, had some great wine, met some fabulous people. I also want to say thanks to my friends who came to share this experience with me, Mark and Leana, and my girlfriend Mary from Hawaii. Thanks also to our title sponsor Alaska Airlines and it’s code share partner Horizon Airlines. We’ll see you next time on Next Stop. Where will we take you next? Make good memories everybody.
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Credits roll