On April 28, 2013, a group of fifty ULIsf Young Leaders began bright and early at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. On the agenda for the day was a stop at Sebastiani Winery for a lesson on wine blending, and then off to tour The Barlow, a new development project in Sebastopol.
After a quick bus ride, and much caffeine, we arrived at Sebastiani Winery in Sonoma. We were greeted by our host, Stuart Ake of Tasting Lab, who would be guiding us through our wine blending adventure. Stuart taught us the importance of aroma, texture and taste in creating a successful wine. He first guided us through tasting unblended samples of wine to help us define different aromas and tastes, before we created our very own blends. Stuart’s humor kept us laughing and entertained as he shared his extensive wine knowledge.
After lunch in the Sonoma sun, we continued on to The Barlow in Sebastopol. The project has overcome much diversity in small town Sebastopol, known for opposing development projects. The Barlow was originally proposed to the city as a condominium development; this was adamantly rejected by the community, which led the owner, Barney Aldridge, to redesign the project as a community marketplace with a specific focus on local, artisan retailers. The “Go Local” campaign of the project focuses on allowing consumers to connect directly with locally- based producers.
The project is now approximately 80% leased with tenants such as Taylor Maid Farms, Guayaki Yerba Mate, and Community Market. Keeping in the character of the original structure (an industrial apple processing plant) the project consists of seventeen metal warehouse buildings on 12.5 acres, each featuring glass roll-up doors. The Barlow also includes many seating and grassy areas, encouraging a sense of community among Sebastopol residents, visitors, consumers and producers.
ULIsf Young Leaders expresse many thanks to Sebastiani Winery, Stuart Ake and The Barlow for the opportunity and the education.
Authored by: Meg Russell, The Prado Group