By Guest Blogger - Sabrina Sihakom, Sustainability Coordinator, Murphy-Goode Winery
Once again, Murphy-Goode took to the shores of the Russian River in single and double kayaks - sponsoring the Great Russian River Race: Drought Edition on a beautiful and sunny May 3rd. This year marked a special event in that there was a focus on water conservation. As we enter into the third consecutive year of an ongoing and tremendous drought, water issues are becoming more prevalent throughout California. With low flows of 35 to 50 cubic feet per second in some places, the river is said to be about 30% narrower than usual. Despite the alarmingly low flows on the Russian River this season, Russian Riverkeeper in partnership with the Sonoma County Regional Parks, along with their sponsors continued in the 4th year to celebrate this local treasure by hosting an abbreviated version of the race.
Instead of the traditional fifteen-mile long race, participants from all over the county and beyond kayaked, canoed, or stand-up paddle boarded down a five mile course towards the finish line at Healdsburg’s Memorial Beach. Equipment rentals were provided by local outfitter, River’s Edge Kayak and Canoe. Other sponsors such as Marmot, Camelbak, Lagunitas, Guyaki, and of course Murphy-Goode teamed up with Russian Riverkeeper to put on a fun, adventurous, and some would argue competitive event to build community awareness and engagement for protecting the Russian River. A limit of 200 entrants was allowed so as to reduce the impact on the river from the event. As a participant myself, let’s just say that I wouldn’t have been able to keep up with any more than 200 other kayakers anyhow!
Conservation on the River
This Race has been integral in bringing communities together to celebrate the Russian River, and to raise awareness of river ecosystems and the need for its protection. Don McEnhill, Executive Director of Russian Riverkeeper, noted that the Great Russian River Race began as, “We were struggling to come up with ways to get the community more engaged with the river. We found that there was a big disconnect between the community and this wonderful place. The river is why we have this wonderful community and wonderful wine industry.”
So when asked why the big race?He describes the event as an opportunity to celebrate the river as the third leg to their organization’s goals: education, advocacy, and celebration. Indeed, the camaraderie, albeit slightly competitive, helps build community engagement around the river. It is important to provide education on why the river is critical for the local community, their homes, surrounding farms, and the recreation that connects us to nature. “The race gave us this platform to connect the community with the river and remind us of this natural treasure. When we care about something, we can change our behavior.”
Indeed, we are faced with a serious drought. Connecting with the river in such a fun way brought greater awareness that we are very much stakeholders in this drought. The great Viking horns of the Murphy-Goode team clad in purple didn’t exactly win first place. But we had tremendous fun falling in racing down the Great Russian River, and raising awareness for water conservation so that you can continue to see our horns floating down the river.
By Guest Blogger - Toni McWilliams (Employee - Murphy-Goode Winery)
I was invited to join the Murphy-Goode tasting room project team by brand manager Maggie Curry back in the summer of 2013. Maggie and I had gotten to know each other when we were cohorts in the JFW 2013 High Impact Leadership group, and she thought I would be a good fit as design leader for the project. I was intrigued by the team’s desire to make the tasting room into something really fun and different.
As we explored a multitude of ideas and scenarios, what came to light was the fact that Murphy-Goode had several current themes that we could incorporate, as well as roots to the land and community in and around Healdsburg. When asked the question – if you had your perfect tasting room, what would it be? The answer from the team was – we’d feel right at home in an old barn off the highway.
With that - I was off and running. Enlisting the help of our small construction team, together we went about figuring out how to bring the team’s vision to life. While the tasting room did not have the option of moving to an “old barn down the road” at this point in time, what I knew we could deliver was the “essence” of a Sonoma County barn, with all of the wonderful things that that entails, along with the other Murphy-Goode elements blended in – not the least of which is the ever so important hint of humor and fun.
And so, I hope you enjoy the following pages, as we take you through the “Meta-murphy-sis” of the tasting room, and our collection of Goode stories!
By clicking SUBMIT you verify that you are 21
years of age or older.