Sunset Magazine Forgets Napa, Sonoma Wine Country – Beer to Blame

Most periodicals, whether they’re online or in print, annually produce what’s called an “editorial calendar.” This isn’t for the benefit of those who produce the editorial content of a given newspaper, magazine or blog so much as it’s a reference for prospective advertisers and their marketing notions.

Holiday gift guides come to mind as a perennial feature of such a calendar. Ditto the dads-n-grads coverage that comes every spring. According to Sunset magazine’s editorial calendar for this year’s October issue, readers could expect coverage of “Napa and Sonoma Wine Country.” Instead, however, we got something about an “Ale Trail” and no Napa and Sonoma write-ups as such. This means that some other trailing and ailing sap will have to write up Napa and Sonoma for those whose need for wine country ink is tantamount to their need of wine. Don’t worry, I got this:

From Budbreak to Mud-break: While motoring through the autumnal hues of scenic Carneros Highway, take a left at Schellville, then go straight until you can’t any longer (that last bump is the Historic Sonoma Plaza – welcome!). Now park your car and throw away your keys. You won’t be driving anywhere for at least 72 hours. And you won’t be going to Napa. The place is closed anyway. Everyone’s in rehab. Or on a reality show. Sometimes both. If you need some Napa tchotkes to impress your peers, there’s a guy who’s gotta trunk load of “Copia” T-shirts. He uses them as rags in his auto-detailing business but can surely spare a few for discerning collectors such as yourselves. In down-to-earth Sonoma, naturally, there’s a “T-shirt optional policy,” on account of the mud-wrestling. For dates, times and bookmakers, visit Mud-n-Merlot online.

So, yeah, just cut and paste the above paragraph into your copy of October’s Sunset and consider the job done. Next time this happens, I won’t be so nice, Sunny. In the meantime, I’ve got my own editorial calendar woes.

This year, meaning two weeks ago (I’m a slow starter), I planned out everything I might write in the coming months, precisely timed to the season. Then the seasons changed thanks to some Bond villain’s weather machine. Consequently, I’ve since missed every beat and, for that matter, deadline while trying to bring a little light and levity to the opinion pages. So, I pivoted and tried to bring some darkness and gravity by publishing a bit about the scalding heat that roasted Sonoma a few weeks ago. Of course, the fog rolled in and cooled off both the heat of the Valley and the relevance of my rhetoric once it hit the presses. At this rate, I’m afraid that if I stick to my calendar and file a holiday article as planned, the fates will conspire to cancel Christmas. Then I’ll be a ink-stained Grinch and the children of the Valley will hate me (though their parents might secretly be grateful).

But, you say, DH, you only publish lies, fraud and scandal anyway, what does adhering to an editorial calendar get you? Verisimilitude. And, no, that’s not a new grape varietal. It’s the secret ingredient to any successful lie – a wee bit of truth. Just a splash will do. If you’d like to make a date to talk this over, send a note to I won’t get it because I don’t work there, but I’ll be sure to save a date for you on my editorial calendar.