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Sonoma County, CA: It’s all local in Sebastopol, Part 2

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Play & Shop: The Barlow is the new hot spot in Sebastopol. Once the site of the Barlow Apple Processing Plant, this multi-building complex, set on 12.5 acres, is now the center of attention for wine, food, artistic endeavors and all things “local.” Connect with producers and watch several make their goods from scratch. Most of the buildings in the complex are restored and even though some are new, they all have the same modern industrial feel with corrugated exteriors, high ceilings, exposed beams and piping, and roll-up “garage” doors for easy access to outside space and seating.

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Our Barlow adventure started at the Spirit Works Distillery. Crafted by hand, all of the spirits (gin, sloe gin, vodka and whiskey) are made from California organic red winter wheat. Take a tour and learn how each batch is milled, mashed, fermented and distilled. Then taste the unique spirits.

Wind Gap Wines has taken over a considerable amount of space at The Barlow for the winery and tasting room (due to open later this month). Known for their attention to site specific vineyards and the intricacies of each varietal, the wines are consistently well received. Don’t miss these 2011’s from the Sonoma Coast: Gap’s Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir and the Syrah.

The tasting room of La Follette Wines is a beautiful location to savor the small lot Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from legendary winemaker, Greg La Follette. A unique combination of science, old-world winemaking techniques and superb vineyards make these sought after wines. Favorites include both the 2011 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Sangiacomo vineyards.

From a Spanish wine-making family with Catalan hospitality and winemaking traditions, Marimar Torres offers her signature wines at a new tasting room at the Barlow. The elegantly balanced wines of Marimar Estate have loyal followers. These 2010’s from the Don Miguel Vineyard (named for her father) are among the stand-outs: Bonita’s Hill Chardonnay and La Masia Pinot Noir.

Tamarind furnished their space at The Barlow with a distinctive selection of ladies’ fashions and accessories. The Tibetan Gallery & Studio offers a rare opportunity to view a master artist working on traditional Buddhist scroll paintings, participate in weekly classes and purchase one-of-a-kind pieces. For a fun collection of wooden toys, doll-making kits (they offer classes) and other gifts, visit Circle of Hands (707-634-6140).

Don’t forget Sebastopol’s main street, just a few blocks long, but classic – full of locally owned antique stores, restaurants, boutiques and Copperfield’s Books. Drive down Florence Avenue and the whimsical junk-art sculptures from artists Patrick Amiot and Brigitte Laurent greet you.

When you’ve had your fill of eating, drinking and shopping, head out on the Joe Rodota Trail. It runs more than eight miles from Sebastopol to Santa Rosa past the former railroad that once linked Petaluma and Santa Rose with Sebastopol and Forestville. Now hike, bike, ride horseback, roller skate, bird watch or just take a leisurely stroll.

OTHER ESSENTIALS:
Sebastopol Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center; Sonoma County Visitors Bureau; Sonoma County Vintners

PATTY BURNESS can be found on Twitter at @pattygb

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