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Ramona to Sonoma—the new Sonoma Patch Editor Arrives

Julie Pendray transfers from Patch in San Diego county to find that the two towns have some aspects in common.

Today is my first day as Sonoma Patch editor. Thank you to everyone who has so warmly welcomed me as I've settled in here, eating in the local restaurants, trying the local wine and driving through the valley. I thought you'd like to know a bit about me and a bit about Ramona Patch, where I've been editor in San Diego county.

First, I want to acknowledge local editor Alexis Fitts for giving me the "inside scoop" on Sonoma. I'd also like to thank Christian Kallen for holding down the fort at Sonoma Patch until my arrival.

A big welcome to Southern California Patch readers who want to follow Sonoma's world-class wine, art and music. Ramona has a special interest in Sonoma, due to its own budding vineyard and winery community. One great aspect about Patch is the way it connects people, regardless of distance.

I have been with Patch since October 2010, when I was hired to launch Ramona Patch. That went very well, and I have now handed over the reins there to Melissa Phy and chosen Northern California as my new home. Sight-unseen, I drove to Sonoma Valley and was awestruck at its beauty as I rolled in on Highway 37.

New Zealand is my native homeland. I lived in San Diego county for 32 years. To read my Patch bio, .

I look forward to getting to know you all in Sonoma. It feels like home already, due to the friendly environment—one local told me it's like being on permanent vacation here. Sonoma Valley also reminds me a lot of parts of New Zealand, and that connection has helped me settle in here. I love nature and wildlife and all the delicious, locally grown food. I've enjoyed the quail, eagles and wild turkeys in Ramona. Now I'm enjoying the deer and bullfrogs in this area!

Art and music interest me a great deal, as well as wine making. I'm thrilled to be part of the Sonoma scene and I'm thriving in its eclectic international environment.

To reach me with news tips, email julie.pendray@patch.com . Salut!

Julie Weinstock July 21, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Welcome to Sonoma! I look forward to seeing what you do with Sonoma Patch. Cheers!
Julie Pendray (Editor) July 21, 2012 at 05:44 AM
Thanks Julie. :)
Brent Ainsworth July 21, 2012 at 06:04 AM
You'd better be a Split Enz fan! If so, you'll get along just great with this Novato Patch editor. Can't wait to meet you.
Keri Brenner (Editor) July 21, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Hi Julie: Welcome to Sonoma County! Look forward to meeting you and working with you in the North Bay!
Tracey Ruiz July 21, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Hello Julie, Welcome! I think you'll find Sonoma County is a wonderful place to live & work.
Jennifer Churchill July 21, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Welcome to Sonoma - it's really an amazing place to live!
Julie Pendray (Editor) July 21, 2012 at 10:45 PM
I love Split Enz and Crowded House too. In fact, I'll let you into a little secret: I was playing Crowded House in my car on the way into Sonoma. I was in college in New Zealand at the same time Split Enz formed and met the guys and went to a concert or two of all those guys. They were good times and whenever I hear the music in a store or somewhere, it takes me back there. Thanks for writing. :)
Julie Pendray (Editor) July 21, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Thank you so much. What a great place. :)
Julie Pendray (Editor) July 21, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Yes I have found that already! I love the deer, the vines, the weather (so far!), all the quaint towns and most of all the friendliness. Last night, I went to the Sebastiani Theatre for the first time. I recommend "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." The theater audience clapped in the end. Another great "first week in Sonoma" memory made. My brother has been visiting me from New Zealand this week and has loved it all too. Thank you for the welcome. :)
Julie Pendray (Editor) July 21, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Yes it is. A food author friend of mine told me I'd be eating some of the best food in the United States here in Sonoma Valley. It's true! So far, I've savored meals at The Fig Cafe, where I had a great steak, The Red Grape, where I devoured an artichoke pizza, and I had a wonderful cheese plate at Sunflower Caffe. There's such great ambiance at all these places. Way to go Sonoma!
Julie Pendray (Editor) July 21, 2012 at 10:53 PM
.... and Glen Ellen. :)
Carlos Villatoro July 22, 2012 at 06:34 AM
We are so happy you are here Julie!
Julie Pendray (Editor) July 22, 2012 at 07:47 AM
I met them when I was working at Auckland University radio station and Radio New Zealand. They came in for interviews.
David Ryan July 22, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Welcome aboard!
Julie Pendray (Editor) July 23, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Thank you David!
Jessica Mullins (Editor) July 25, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Welcome to Sonoma, Julie! We're lucky to have you aboard!
Julie Pendray (Editor) July 25, 2012 at 09:26 AM
Thank you Jessica! See you around town.
Shauntel Lowe July 31, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Congratulations, Julie!

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