To celebrate Sonoma’s newest Sister Cities relationship, Ambassador Gao Zhanseng, Consul General of The Peoples Republic of China in San Francisco, paid an official visit Monday.
Included in the large local contingent greeting Chinese diplomats were Sonoma Mayor Laurie Gallian, Councilmember Tom Rouse and Bill Boerum, president of the Sonoma Sister Cities Association.
The city hall gathering was held to honor the official recognition of sister-city status with Penglai, China. After a walking tour of the Plaza led by City Historian George McKale, the group lunched at the Swiss Hotel.
“Official recognition of the Sonoma-Penglai partnership represents an incredibly important boost in Sonoma’s economic development, not to mention our role as a leader in the global wine and tourism marketplace,” said Nancy Cline, co-chair of the Sonoma-Penglai Sister Cities Committee.
Both cities are driven by common interests in tourism and the wine industry, according to committee Co-Chair Peggy Phelan. As one of China’s primary wine regions, Penglai is interested in purchasing bulk juice and wine from Sonoma County, and future trade and investment opportunities are expected to develop.
“Both sides have worked hard on this for over a year,” Phelan said. “We’re thrilled to finally put our partnership to use and start actively improving our respective communities and wine countries.”
The first delegation from Sonoma will travel to Penglai on April 30. Full information is available at sonomasistercitiesassoc.org.