At first glance Boonville, population a little more than 1,000, looks pretty much as it has for decades, with the 19th-century Boonville Hotel anchoring the few-blocks downtown and sheep farms and fruit orchards fanning out on either side of Highway 128, albeit with more grapevines these days. The founding of the Anderson Valley Brewing Company in the late 1980s and the revitalization of the hotel by its current owners, the Schmitt family, jump-started the transformation of Boonville into a haven of artisanal food, wine, and beer. Despite this, the town retains its old-school character—listen carefully and you may hear fragments of the academically recognized Boontling argot, which dates to the time when this stretch of the valley was even more isolated.
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