Wine country foodies go mobile

I have just returned from a short but very enjoyable trip to Sonoma County, California, where I spoke at the Sonoma County CVB‘s Trends in Tourism forum.

Sonoma County is located about 30 miles north of San Francisco, and is the southwestern county of California’s Wine Country region. Boasting 250 wineries and numerous farmers markets, Sonoma County has an embarassment of riches for food and wine lovers.

During our stay, the CVB staff took the forum presenters out for a meal at Zazu, an acclaimed restaurant that is delightfully unpretentious and focuses on farm-fresh and locally grown produce. Chef and co-owner Dustie Estes explained to me that one of her motivations in establishing Zazu was to provide an environment in which her two daughters could learn and appreciate where real food comes from. The flavors and appeal of fresh ingredients were evident in our meals – so different from chain restaurants where a facsimile of food arrives pre-measured and pre-prepared in Sysco trucks.

Sonoma County CVB has discovered that increasing numbers of visitors are using web features on their cell phones and iPhones to access information about lodging and restaurants while in the destination. In a foward-thinking move, the CVB has just released a mobile-friendly version of their website that provides visitors with an easy and convenient way to book a restaurant or accommodation directly. It’s a great example of using technology to connect the region’s visitors with local businesses, and encourage “foodies” to spontaneously savor more of the flavors that this region has to offer.


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