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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Local backlash in cutesy wine towns

Healdsburg and Sonoma are the two most well-known towns for visitors to Sonoma County. Both are easily accessible from local highways, both are small and walkable with town squares. Both are also full of hotels, retail shops aimed at tourists, restaurants, and have lots of drinking establishments--mostly tasting rooms and wine bars. Each town has about 15 winery tasting rooms in their town centers.

Some of the local population isn't happy with all the growth and being a hub for drinking. Healdsburg has mostly focused on the number and size of hotels, not on tasting rooms. But if you've ever been in Healdsburg on a big wine event weekend it takes on the look of a mini Mardi Gras.

Sonoma has an organized coalition called Preserving Sonoma that is essentially battling with local businesses. It's almost too little too late for both towns as there really isn't much in their town centers for the locals except maybe a chance to use all the great eateries on weekdays when they're not filled up.

Article on the latest in the town of Sonoma, "Too Many Tasting Rooms?"