Great Music, Squared

Santa Rosa's newest live music tradition was an overwhelming success.

RR² Music Fest v1 brought together some of the region's top bands, spontaneous works of art, delish food, libations and a joyous crowd of local music lovers. If you were among the celebrants, hopefully, you swung by the SR Out There Welcome Wagon for a portrait. Either way, see below for a sampling of the festival's revelers. And stay tuned: Several of the featured musicians performed intimate sets that will be featured here soon.

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Out There Artist Profile:
Tony Speirs


Santa Rosa is proud to showcase our city’s incredible collection of artists by commissioning original pieces for the Out There In The Middle of Everything campaign. If you like what you see, you can purchase prints, or perhaps a t-shirt at the SR Store by clicking here.

SpeirsTony Speirs grew up on cartoons and old comics. After a long stint as a professional screen printer and sign painter he attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco. Once he began painting in earnest, however, he quickly created a cult following. Tony incorporates elements from nature, vintage pop-culture graphics and old board game designs into his work. He shows regularly around the Bay Area and has produced several large-scale installations for Burning Man and other local festivals.

You can see more of his work at:


Pints With Pedigree

To say that Kevin Robinson is qualified to join the illustrious ranks of Santa Rosa’s brewing scene would be an understatement.

UC Davis, Lagunitas, Speakeasy Ales and Lagers, Russian River Brewery and a couple of years making wine in Napa (to learn about barrels) makes for an impressive resume to bring to his own brewery.

20150806_182945-01Hell, even his new brewhouse system has a pedigree. Originally purchased by Sam Calagione from the famous Dogfish Head Brewery, Sam sold the brewhouse system to Vinnie Cilurzo​at at Russian River Brewery when he grew capacity a few years back.

In turn, Vinnie sold the brewhouse system to Kevin at Plow this year, and the cycle of magic that turns out some of the best beer in the world continues.

20150806_183852-01The whole system should be in the beer brewer’s hall of fame with a track record like that. But here it is in Santa Rosa with Kevin – the mechanics behind his two new projects, Divine and Plow.

Originally from the San Diego area, you can say that Kevin didn’t choose Santa Rosa as much as Santa Rosa chose him. It seems that Santa Rosa has a way of attracting the best and brightest flavor-oriented people and keeping them here. The beaches, the woods, the wineries, the biking, and the list goes on.  It’s no wonder things keep getting more and more interesting in Santa Rosa, with master artisans like Kevin continuing to add to the mix.

20150806_184858-01A trend that is repeating itself over and over in the craft brewing industry, but might not be familiar to everyone, is the opening of tasting/tap rooms in industrial sections of cities. For me, eschewing the typical idea of a brewery opening near well-established restaurant areas, and seeking out the new in non-traditional places adds to the fun of trying all of these new beers.

Plow and Divine fall into this area of warehouse tap room, and I would encourage people to seek them out. Think of it as an adventure into the unknown where you approach a nameless/faceless industrial park and then open the door into a wonderful world of beer and friendly faces. Like-minded people after the same ideas and sharing the history, flavors and craft that makes beers and breweries so much fun.

From day one Kevin has taken a lesson from the wine industry in serving up to different labels under the same roof.

20150806_184848-01Devine is the sophisticated, more experimental, older brother of Plow. Devine does special edition beers that are a bit more refined than your basic everyday brews. A label for a special occasions.

Plow is the label that turns out your daily drinking beer. The Steel Share IPA and OX IIPA (double IPA) beer are brewed with the everyday drinker in mind. More refreshing and approachable than Divine, Plow is intended to be consumed today and make you happy now.

20150806_184632-01When you come to visit Santa Rosa, put Plow on your list of places to try. There’s something to delight every beer lover’s palate.

Little Italy is alive and well and making great wine.

A palatial French chateau of the Entre-Deux-Mers, flanked by the Dordogne to the east and the Garonne to the west. Not so much.

D’Argenzio Winery is a classic Italian American winery of Santa Rosa, flanked by Highway 101 to the east and an abandoned railroad track to the west. It is urban wine country at its finest.

If your wine country dream was to see impressive architecture, then go to Napa and stare at the walls. If, instead, your dream was to experience handcrafted artisanal wines of distinction and quality, then D’Argenzio Winery is the place to start.

paigegreenSantaRosa82213-0053There’s something about this place that harkens back to the days when this area, just down from the Santa Rosa Depot, was known as “Little Italy”. The welcoming is warm, the wines are as fun to talk about as they are to drink, and there’s the sense that the tasting room crew (many of whom are D’Argenzio family members themselves) would be heartbroken if you didn’t leave happy. In a nutshell, it’s pure Italian hospitality.

paigegreenSantaRosa82213-0049Even though the setting is decidedly urban, the winery is nothing to shrug about. It’s a spacious and beautiful working winery, with tables inside and out if you want to relax and enjoy pizza and antipasto served by Cibo Rustico Pizzeria just across the way. On the back patio, surrounded by olive trees, is a bocce ball court where they host their weekly “Wine Down Thursdays” with live music and bocce ball, and serve wood-fired pizzas with some of the more exclusive wines from their portfolio.

paigegreenSantaRosa82213-0043And then of course there is the wine. The family is as committed to making world class wines as they are to playing hosts. The wines at D’Argenzio are the kind that would be impossible to make at a large scale winery. It’s obvious these wines are carefully and meticulously nurtured from vine to bottle into something displaying true handcrafted character. Each of their wines has its own unique complexity and structure, and yet they all share a common rustic elegance. Despite their micro-winery level of production (just 3000 cases a year) the wine list ranges from Mendocino Sauvignon Blanc, vineyard-designated Russian River Pinot Noirs, and old vine Zinfandels, to classic Italian varietals like Sangiovese, Barbera, Aglianico, and Sagrantino. When you visit, plan on staying awhile.

paigegreenSantaRosa82213-0038For more details on wines and happenings at the winery, check out their website at