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Business Beat: 11/15/2020

Business Beat — November 15, 2020

Katie Honey and Dan Whalen are the new owners of Annadel Estate Winery

Annadel Estate Winery changes hands

Dan Whalen and Katie Honey have a passion for wine and food. The couple from Philadelphia started to look all over the world for a winery property to purchase, and it took a few years before Annadel Estate Winery popped up on their radar.

“We just fell in love with the property,” said Whalen.

Long-owned by Dean and Abi Bordigioni, Annadel Estate Winery boasts 33-acres, including 10-plus acres of vineyards, an heirloom flower business, a wedding and event venue, a farmhouse residence, winemaking barn, tasting room, and more.

“It was a no brainer,” said Honey.

The two are third level sommeliers, and were very familiar with the Napa and Sonoma wine country, having visited a number of times each year for the last 10 years, and even getting married in Napa in 2015.

The deal to purchase Annadel was completed in early September, and the couple drove out from Philadelphia, arriving Sept. 18 and then diving into harvesting and picking merlot and cabernet sauvignon grapes.

After harvesting about 60 percent of their winegrapes, the Glass Fire came to their doorstep, forcing a hurried evacuation and extensive damage to the property. Gone were 12,000 square feet of barns, a cottage, 13-14 acres of landscaping, 20-30 Heritage oaks, and extensive irrigation damage.

Whalen and Honey credit the longtime manager of the property, Chicho Magana, with saving the rest of the structures, including the main residence.

“It was devastating and terrifying,” said Honey.

After they got back, they were still putting out fires for eight days.

Whalen and Honey are now looking ahead, eager to get Annadel Estate Winery back to normal business. They plan to be hands-on in the winemaking, and have hired highly-regarded Drew Damskey as their consulting winemaker.

They are thankful for all the local help, advice, and support they have been given by the local wine community, especially noting the assistance from PJ and Robert Rex of Deerfield Winery in Kenwood.

“We're hoping to give back to the community. We want the property to be something people share and have great experiences,” said Whalen.

Annadel Estate Winery is located at 6687 Sonoma Hwy. and tasting is available by appointment. For more information, go to, call 537-8007, or email

Alton arrives at the Saloon

Justin Horn Alton
Chef Justin Alton
Culinary changes are afoot at the Jack London Saloon with the introduction of Alton, a pop-up restaurant experiment that is sarting to settling down. Alton initially intended to operate out of the empty restaurant space formerly occupied by Umbria, but COVID temporarily pushed service out to the bucolic creek side patio behind the saloon until the world is normal again.

Chef/Owner Justin Horn has worked at the well-regarded Napa Italian spot Oenotri and as executive chef at the employee restaurant at Waymo, the Google subsidiary charged with developing self-driving cars. Horn is serious about fresh ingredients. “I try to source most of my produce locally. I get a lot of stuff from Flatbed Farm in Glen Ellen and from my own garden plot,” says 40-year-old Horn who named Alton after the street where he grew up in Southern California.

Some of the front of house duties are handled by Horn's wife Sarah Henrich, a Petaluma native, who is also the Spanish and culinary arts teacher at Rincon Valley Middle School.

Chef Horn is intent on producing the freshest hand-made fare without the use of pedestrian processed foods. House-made ingredients include bagels, biscuits, pickles and ricotta. For brunch try the “House-made Rye Bagel and Lox,” “Smoked Pork Belly Hash with potatoes & 63-degree egg,” which is a whole egg poached sous vide style, or a classic country breakfast. For dinner you can try “House Ground Flannery Beef Burger” or the “House-made Falafel with Tzatziki, Pickled Onion, Shredded Lettuce, Cucumber and House-made Pita.” You can find the full menu at Weekend brunch is from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with dinner and lunch on Monday and Tuesdays from 12-7 p.m. Alton is located at the Saloon at the Jack London Lodge, 13740 Arnold Drive in Glen Ellen. Phone: (707) 360-6567.

Traditional Jack London Saloon pub fare is available the rest of the week, Wed.-Sun., 3-9 p.m. Phone: 996-3100.

Pop-up Holiday Shop in Glen Ellen

McCormick's Mercantile
McCormick's Mercantile
McCormick's Mercantile will be open on Saturdays, Nov. 28 through Dec. 19, at its temporary location at 13700 Arnold Drive in downtown Glen Ellen. Proprietress Sheryee McCormick will offer décor, greeting cards, gifts, and stocking stuffers for holiday shoppers who want to buy local.

The shop set up at their temporary location earlier this year, intending to stay open while their permanent location next to the Garden Court Cafe at Arnold and Carquinez undergoes extensive renovations.

McCormick had hoped to remain open this year, but like so many of our local businesses, had to shut down in March.

The Mercantile recently started offering shopping by appointment.

For more information about the Saturday Pop-up shop or to make a personal shopping appointment, contact the Mercantile at 404-317-3821.

Transcendence holiday shows

Transcendence Drive In
Transcendence Drive In
Transcendence Theater Company will celebrate the holiday season with Broadway Holiday, festive nights of seasonal song and dance - with both drive-in and online opportunities.

You can drive-in and watch the show Dec. 4-6 at Somo Village in Rohnert Park, and Dec. 11-13 at Sonoma Raceway, or enjoy an online experience Dec. 18-23 with both matinee and evening shows.

Broadway Holiday at the Drive-In will also feature a jolly holiday sing-along, in-car activities for the whole family, and dazzling, COVID-friendly entertainment, capped off with a spectacular screening of Broadway Holiday.

Broadway Holiday features over 60 performers from Broadway musicals, including White Christmas, Hamilton, Frozen, 42nd Street, Mamma Mia, West Side Story, Wicked, Mary Poppins, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and many more.

To enhance the Broadway Holiday experience, Transcendence creative staff has designed all new pre-show entertainment featuring interviews with Broadway artists, wine country's finest vintners, and information on Transcendence's history, sponsors, and community education and engagement programs.

For the drive-in screening events, lots will open at 5 p.m., rain or shine, with the show starting at 6:15 p.m. Tickets range from $59-$249.

Or, you can enjoy the show from the warmth and comfort of your own home and watch online. The Dec. 18-23 online events will have evening shows starting with the pre-show at 7:30 p.m. There will also be matinees Dec. 19-23, with the pre-show beginning at 4 p.m. There is no cost for the online shows, though donations are strongly encouraged to help Transcendence continue to bring the community first-class entertainment and a wide range of education programs for both youth and adults.

For all events, go to

B.R. Cohn offers lunch in the vineyards

B.R. Cohn Winery will host an Autumn Lunch in the Vineyards on Saturday, Nov. 21. Come out to the estate for a gorgeous autumn lunch overlooking the vineyards, with food provided by Park Avenue Catering. Enjoy the fall flavors along with two glasses of wine.

Lunch will include Autumn chicories, honey crisp apple, candied pecans, Roquefort dressing; chicken thigh tagine; cauliflower couscous, chickpeas, toasted pine nuts, blood orange, currants and chili flake; and persimmon pudding cake, brown butter frosting.

Every party will be seated at their own private table in the scenic outdoor pavilion, and a selection of your favorite wines will be served with lunch. Maximum party size is six per table.

There are four separate times your group can sign up: 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 1:30 p.m.

Cost is $85 per guest, $68 for Wine Club members.

You can also sign up your party of six to use the Wine Country Playground, which has a variety of games including corn-hole, foosball and ladder ball. Extra fee applies.

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