Country Source

Posted on: January 29th, 2014 by Carrie Young No Comments

Mary Shank Rockman and I go way back. As a family friend dating back to summer camp, along with her identical twin Molly, to the present day PR dynamo- owner and principal of MSR Communications- Mary appreciates the buzz of her city life in San Francisco as well as the quieter moments away in Healdsburg with equal fervor…as long as it’s chic. Well-traveled and discerning are just two of the qualities I like about Mary, and in her words here’s why you may want to head to this quaint town in the beautiful wine country soon.

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One of my favorite places to spend a winter weekend? That would be the Alexander Valley wine country, of course! Winter in wine country offers a more relaxed pace to see many things that are typically hidden behind leaves and branches as well as the hustle and bustle of busy summer and fall months. It’s a great time to cozy up next to a warm fire, enjoy a quiet wine tasting, and savor hearty seasonal meals made with delicious regional fruits such as apples, pears, and persimmons. With fewer cars on the road, winter walks and runs along the winding country roads and through terraced vineyards make for some of the most picturesque and introspective memories. Less foot traffic in town also means more time to leisurely browse the local boutiques for the perfect treasure whether it’s a transferware plate to add to my collection or locally designed, rusted barbed wire art to spruce up a wall.


Lancaster Estate Winery This family owned winery in Alexander Valley produces Bordeaux styled wines that are grown, produced and bottled from their 53 acres, revealing the unique character of their hillside estate. Be sure to make an appointment for a private wine tasting, tours of its wine cave and tastings in its stunning library that features a grand gallery of reserve library wines.


Jimtown Store Jimtown is a must for all visitors to the Alexander Valley during any season. In the winter, the store makes delicious homemade breads, olive and fig spreads, juices, salads, and desserts. Its unique interior is a throw-back to the good old days with ’50’s era toys, candy and lots of vintage household items. Treasures such as brass candlesticks, linens, and bright colored oilcloth by the yard are the perfect find.


The Wurst The finest sausages, burgers, artisan draft beer and local wines served in a family-friendly indoor/outdoor setting is one of my favorite restaurants to take my boys. This casual dining environment features the perfect kid food and at least five different types of homemade mustard, relish and sauerkraut- which makes trying each one with the wide variety of hotdogs and sausages just as much fun for me as the kids.



Lime Stone Owned by one of the nation’s leading chef’s, Charlie Palmer- and his wife Lisa- Lime Stone is my favorite Healdsburg stop for a unique hostess gift- most especially for the wine lovers on my list. The Palmers have curated a beautiful collection of soy wax candles, cheese plates, wine bottle holders and openers, picture frames, initialized gifts and more.


Mauritson Family Winery Six generations of farming has made it easy for this family to pick the best at each harvest from their 270 acres throughout the Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys. Be sure to request a tasting from one of the wonderful Mauritson family members. Their knowledge of the history of grape growing in this region is impeccable and makes for an even more interesting- and delicious- taste of the valley.

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M Clothing The flagship of this Bay Area chain- with another outpost in Larkspur- is a Lucky Magazine favorite boutique, featuring over 30 of today’s top designers such as Theory, Botkier handbags, Citizens of Humanity, Diane von Furstenburg and more. Great winter wine country style begins here! M Clothing is my favorite downtown Healdsburg shop for the perfect blouse, fun necklace, great jeans and cozy sweater I need to keep warm during the cold nights spent in the valley.

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Dry Creek Peach and Produce This small, family run farm is home to some of the best organically grown, tree-ripened  peaches in the world. A wonderful San Francisco family owns and operates DCP&P and grows some of the most delicious peaches I’ve ever tasted. Stop in during wintertime to see their beautiful farm and taste Gayle’s delectable homemade peach jam.

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Hotel Healdsburg Providing a tranquil setting for guests to relax in luxury, this chic boutique hotel encompasses the Sonoma wine country’s simplicity and charm, showcasing culinary star Charlie Palmer’s acclaimed restaurant Dry Creek Kitchen. In the fall and winter, there’s always a big fire roaring in the indoor fireplace while the hotel’s bar serves delicious wines and warm hot totties. Staying with a group of friends? Be sure to reserve the private library for a breakfast or dinner. During Thanksgiving week you’ll find my family and out of town guests enjoying our annual morning after traditional breakfast in the library.


 Mary Shank Rockman is an award-winning public relations and social media executive who specializes  in consumer lifestyle and enterprise, mobile and wireless technology. She owns MSR Communications, a PR and social marketing firm based in San Francisco. 

Mary Shank Rockman | LinkedIn


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