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Who’s Who in Sonoma: Jonnie McCormick's Life on Wheels

A tragedy pushed McCormick to ditch her banking career and found the Sonoma Wine Country Trolley

 

Jonnie McCormick and her husband, Ed, see the Sonoma Valley whizzing by on wheels: the view from , their familiy business.

A reproduction of a 1900’s San Francisco cable car, the trolley transports guests to Sonoma wineries, as they wine and nosh on food from the car's sup'd up kitchen. (Clearly, it's one of a kind.)

But the tourism maven wasn't always a Sonoma loca: Jonnie moved to Sonoma 22 years ago from Sacramento.

“Leaving there was difficult, as I loved it,” said McCormick. “Correction, I thought I loved it. I really didn’t know how much you could love where you live until I moved to Sonoma.”

SP: What brought you to Sonoma?

Jonnie: moved us here when I became Vice President-Manager of the local branch.

SP: And you later became Executive Director of the (SVVGA).

Jonnie: I left the banking industry after we lost our daughter in a drunk driving accident in 1995. 

SP: Devastating.

Jonnie: When I decided I was ready to reenter the work force, the SVVGA had an opening and I jumped at the opportunity.

SP: What did you take away from the SVVGA experience?

Jonnie: I learned first hand how much effort it takes on the part of the growers to produce their grapes and how much competition there is for wineries to sell it.

SP: Why a touring business?

Jonnie: My husband and I had been looking to start a business. Ed was a pilot and flew into Medford, Oregon a lot. On one of his trips he saw the trolley at the airport and discovered that it was for sale. 

SP: And it happened to be a reproduction of a 1900’s San Francisco cable car? 

Jonnie:  Our trolley, although motorized, was in service in San Francisco for years, and then moved to Hawaii for a number of years.

SP: Wow. If only that trolley could talk.

Jonnie:  It eventually ended up back in Medford, and the man who purchased it had a stainless steel kitchen installed in the center section.

SP: Interesting concept. What's the best thing about the trolley?

Jonnie: Such fun people come on board.

SP: Do you have a good “tourist” story you’d like to share?

Jonnie: One of our single gals came back with two bottles of sparkling wine and told me that another gentleman wine taster had purchased them for her.  I said, “You go, girl!”

SP: Good for her! And your husband is hands-on in the business?

Jonnie: He went from being Captain of an airplane to Captain of the trolley.

SP: Perfect! Do you have any other ventures in the works? 

Jonnie:  I also own Auctions & Events with my business partner, Lynette Meehan. For the last six years we’ve produced auctions for local non-profit charities.

SP: You’re a busy woman.

Jonnie: And I own Sweeping Beauties, a residential and commercial cleaning company.

SP: Assuming you have any down time, what do you do?

 Jonnie: I paint, walk our two dogs, bicycle, go to movies, read, and do home improvement projects.

SP: You’re my hero. Where are your favorite local haunts?

Jonnie:  Diner, , and .

SP: Great short list.

Dorothy January 13, 2012 at 10:01 PM
What a great gal Jonnie is!
Albert David January 14, 2012 at 12:59 AM
The wine trolley is an asset for Sonoma's tourists.
Suzanne Barbara January 14, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Jonnie sounds like an incredible woman. She has suffered an incredible tragedy, but has managed to go beyond it. She is a credit to our Sonoma community.
Richard January 14, 2012 at 08:09 PM
It is always interesting to learn about Sonoma neighbors and what made them move here and why they started a particular business.

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