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Business Beat: 01/15/2020

Business Beat –

Electric bikes; Muscardini anniversary; new wine degree

Electric three-wheelers on the move

Longtime Sonoma Valley resident Howard Sapper has a mission – to make Sonoma Valley part of “the post-automotive transportation revolution.”

Sapper is a co-founder and vice-president of Sonoma-based eTrikeCo, which sells eco-friendly, accessible and affordable three-wheel electric rides.

Sapper has a long history in the sports and entertainment industry (music and film), and has produced and protmoted numerous events over the years. He is also the longtime owner of Extraordinaire Media, a full service entertainment consulting and management agency.

eTrikeCo has a sales, rental, and tour operation on 4th St. East in Sonoma, which had a grand opening last September. They also have a showroom in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The bikes are designed to top out at 18 miles per hour, and can go up to 50 miles on one charge of a lithium ion battery, No special charging station is needed – just a 110 volt outlet and a charge that takes up to eight hours. The bikes are designed and assembled in the U.S., with the parts being manufactured in Asia.

“Do Good while You Go” is the motto of eTrikeCo, reflecting the company’s mission to provide transportation for all ages and abilities with the goal of reducing an individual’s carbon footprint.

eTrikes fall under the same laws and regulations as regular bicycles, and require no license or registration. Standard features on the eTrike include signals, headlights and taillights, USB charging port, and storage compartments.

Prices range from about $2,500-$5,000. Five percent of sales go to local non-profits.

Sapper says there are numerous recreational and business applications for the bikes – great for the hospitality industry, campuses, tourists, retirement communities, special needs populations, and more.

eTrikes for the developmentally disabled is a goal close to Sapper’s heart. His daughter is a special needs adult, and he envisions the bikes as great transportation for the high-functioning developmentally disabled.

Sapper serves on Sonoma County’s Human Rights Commission, chairing its People with Disabilities Ad Hoc Committee. He also founded a local non-profit, Everybody is a Star, which focuses on advancing special needs young adults through music, video and the arts.

Sapper sees electric vehicles as the present and future, touting their use of clean and renewable energy, and the reduction of a dependence on oil.

“I want to try and leave a better place for our children,” said Sapper.

You can check out eTrikes at 414 1st St. East in Sonoma and try one out. The showroom is open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information, call 343-1192, or go to

Muscardini celebrates 15 years

Muscardini Cellars in Kenwood will host a 15th anniversary party on Jan. 25, celebrating proprietor Michael Muscardini’s years of winemaking in Sonoma Valley, producing classic Italian reds, blends, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The big party takes place from 2-7 p.m. at Muscardini’s tasting room in Kenwood. Entertainment includes music from Sonoma Soul, as well as the Jami Jamison Band.

Fuel the Food Truck will be on hand (Rueben sandwiches, BLTs, avocado toast, and more), as will the Journeyman Meat Co. (think wine infused salume, and soppressata infused with Cabernet, garlic, and red chili peppers), and Tsar Nicholas Caviar with their artisanal caviar from 100 percent American white sturgeon.

A special bonus will be the release of Muscardini’s 2017 Fortuna, which recently received a gold medal at the 2020 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Muscardini Cellars is located at 9380 Sonoma Hwy. in Kenwood. For more information, call 933-9305 or go to

New wine business program

The Wine Business Institute in the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University, in partnership with Santa Rosa Junior College, has launched a new bachelor’s degree transition program to serve the community. The first of its kind in the region, the program combines well-established strengths of two of the San Francisco North Bay’s leading institutions of higher education to provide state-of-the-art education for residents interested in careers in wine production and management. The new bachelor’s degree transition program will be available to SRJC and SSU students beginning the fall semester 2020. More information can be found at

The joint program will provide a four-year degree transition pathway for SRJC viticulture and enology students and expand SSU’s wine business program to include a wine production track. SRJC students can complete their general elective and wine production coursework at SRJC to earn their associate’s degree before transferring to SSU to complete their upper-division business and wine business classes to earn their bachelor’s degree. Likewise, SSU students already pursuing a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in wine business strategies will be able to enroll in SRJC enology and viticulture courses to fulfill requirements for the new wine production track.

For more information on the new joint bachelor’s degree transition program, contact Dr. Liz Thach, MW at SSU ( or Dr. Kevin Sea at SRJC (

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