SMITH: Washam intoxicates the WSJ

Esteemed wine columnist Lettie Teague pulled a dangerous road assignment for the Wall Street Journal:

Go to Healdsburg and eat, drink, shop, soak, sunbathe and explore for three days, then write a story that will make Journal readers across America so jealous that they will detest you.

Teague pulled it off gloriously. Her weekend story praised many of greater Healdsburg's best attractions. And I was surprised that she hailed one winery hospitality employee by name, recommending that visitors to Healdsburg seek him out.

At Quivira, she wrote, "Ask for Ron Washam, a raconteur and local character who works the tasting room on Sundays."

Wow. I phoned Washam and discovered he's quite the somebody — a former longtime sommelier who writes the satirical and often hysterical Hose Master of Wine blog. He said he'd never met fellow wine writer Teague before she walked into Quivira, but, "I've made fun of her many times."

Both of them know you don't get smacked by the Hose Master unless you're pretty good.

MONTESSORI IS a different approach to teaching that's been used to good effect for 40 years at Santa Rosa's Brush Creek Montessori School.

With preparations in high gear for Saturday's anniversary gala at the elementary school, alumni are reflecting on what the Montessori approach did for them.

"It made me think differently," said graduate Davis Greinke, who's now 18 and wrapping up his first year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. At Brush Creek he liked the three pages of lightning math that woke up his young brain every morning.

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