Masseto: The Superstar of Super Tuscans

masseto wine

Photo courtesy dalecruse, flickr.

What do a Russian winemaker, a scion to one of Italy’s most famous merchant families, and a little Tuscan hillside planted with olives have in common?

The answer is Masseto — perhaps the ultimate expression of merlot. Hailing from Tenuta del’Ornellaia, Masseto easily rivals the world’s top wines and is often compared to Château Pétrus, the legendary wine from Bordeaux. It’s Italy’s gold standard.

Although Masseto is coveted by wine collectors, there are some little known facts about its origins.

The story of Masseto began when the scion of a famous Tuscan negociant family, Marchese Lodovico Antinori, founded a small estate on land his mother gave him as a gift.

Called Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, the property is located in the coastal area of the Tyrrhenian Sea in the town of Bolgheri, where some of the best wines in Italy are produced.

Beginning in the 1960s, Bolgheri became the center of the “Super Tuscan” wine revolution — instead of planting traditional Italian varieties, many vintners started producing wines from French grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot, which they felt were better fits for the area’s soil and climate.

When Antinori received the property, he decided to breathe new life into the vineyard, as he wanted to make wines that could rival the best from Bordeaux. So he hired André Tchelistcheff, a Russian who became America’s most influential winemaker, as a consultant.

By that point in his career, Tchelistcheff had worked with dozens of now famous wineries and counseled countless men and women, many of them now retired, who went on to become prominent winemakers in their own right.

But most of his 56-year career was spent in California, where he was associated with Beaulieu Vineyards in the Napa Valley, and especially with Beaulieu’s signature wine, Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

“Well, when I think of wine, I think in French,” he would say. His long Slavic face and high cheekbones recalled portraits of Nijinsky or an icon of some forgotten Orthodox saint. He was a diminutive man, barely reaching five feet tall, and when he smiled his slanted eyes seemed to close entirely.

The vines at Tenuta dell’Ornellaia were planted in 1981, and Tchelistcheff believed the property could excel with a variety of plantings.

So the property was planted to Cabernet Sauvignon (38 hectares), Cabernet Franc (12 hectares), Merlot (38 hectares), Petit Verdot (7 hectares), and varietals Sauvignon blanc (2,5 ha), Viognier (0,5), Petit Manseng (1 ha), all of which have adapted perfectly to this part of Tuscany.

The vineyards extend over two adjacent areas that are separated by Bolgheri‘s famed Cypress Avenue. There are 99 hectares of vineyards in all, 41 surrounding the Tenuta, and the remaining 58 in an area known as Bellaria, which is closer to the sea.

Today, of course, Super Tuscans need no introduction. From Ornellaia to Solaia to Sassicaia, this area of Italy produces some of the most sought-after wines in the world.

Masseto was born almost by chance in 1986, when Antinori and his winemaker, Hungarian oenologist Tibor Gal, together with Tchelistcheff, decided to vinify their merlot separately. The merlot came from the property’s “Masseto” block, a tiny, 7-hectare parcel on a hill, with soil made up of clay and sand where olive trees had resided.

“Masseto’s soul and backbone come from the compact clay in the central part of the hill, while the hilltop’s sandier and rockier soil, adds elegance,” explains Axel Heiz, who is the estate winemaker.  Masseto’s name comes from the word “massi” which means large rocks, referring to the hard clods of gray clay that form in the soil.

Although a very small amount of “Merlot di Ornellaia” was released with the 1986 vintage, the official release of Masseto took place in 1987.

This small release quickly became a collector’s item sold in auctions all over the world. Masseto has received numerous accolades and perfect to near-perfect scores from the most renowned wine critics.  Today, about 35,000 bottles of Masseto are produced each year.  Michel Rolland, a highly influential Bordeaux-based oenologist, has been consulting with Masseto since 1991.

Those who prefer French wine to Italian have sometimes referred to Masseto as “that amazing French wine made in Italy.”  Notwithstanding these opinions, most wine enthusiasts view Masseto as a distinctly Italian creation.  The hallmark of Masseto is its power and impressive tannic structure. Most vintages are elegant and complex with intense yet measured aromatics, boasting impressions of perfectly ripe red and dark berry fruit, along with hints of balsamic herbs, smooth spices, and cocoa. Masseto’s mouth-feel is dense, rich, and powerful, with silky tannins reminiscent of Right Bank Bordeaux. Yet, it is different.  A very long, leisurely finish reveals a good acidity and concludes clean.

(Yuri Vanetik is a private investor and wine enthusiast who resides in Southern California.)

Reasons to Go BIG: Large-format bottles for the serious wine collector

Photo courtesy photogism, flickr

Photo courtesy photogism, flickr

Any serious wine collector is likely to incorporate large-format wine bottles in a collection, regardless of whether the collector is focusing on new world wine (i.e. California’s famous “cult wines” such as Screaming Eagle, Colgin, Aruajo, Bryant Family, Grace Family, etc.) or old world wines from France or Italy (such as the famous First Growths or the burly Barolos and Brunellos, or the rich and raisiny Amarone that Italy is so famous for). The attraction is predicated on rarity for the proverbial trophy collectors and on better aging of the wine due to a more stable environment of a large container.

This ultimately translates into better auction sales – greater value for the collection. For example, at a record-breaking May 2007 auction in Chicago, a case of 89 Chateau Petrus sold for $38,240. At that same auction, two double-magnums (the equivalent of eight bottles) of the same wine and vintage, 1989 Chateau Petrus sold for more than $45,000. That translates into 3.0 liters less of the same wine for an additional $7,000.

Why do collectors and wine lovers pay a substantial premium? The answer is three-fold:

  1. Scarcity
  2. Better Juice and Aging Potential
  3. Presentation

Large Formats Are More Recherché

Rarer generally translates into more expensive. One of the main reasons certain wine increases in value (other than the scores it receives from wine critics such as Robert Parker) is small production. Expensive wine tends to be rare because it is produced in relatively small quantities, and over time there is less of it, since it gets consumed.

Rare wines in large bottles command higher prices because there are much fewer large bottles than regular size bottles. It is just that simple.  This is the basic rule of the marketplace: Supply and demand. Great wines in large-formats are rarer than their “regular” bottle counterparts.

Typically, wineries that produce collectible wines designed for aging, bottle much fewer large-format bottles. Large-format bottles are reserved for special collectors, charity auctions, winery displays or private collections of the proprietors or their friends and family. Many large-format bottles are often special releases used to showcase outstanding vintages, mark a winery’s special occasion (i.e. new release, anniversary, construction of a new building, etc.) or be auctioned for charity.  It is important to note that not all large-format bottles are super-expensive.  Even though none are a typical bargain, some are accessible to a broader base than the just the super-wealthy.

It Is Better Wine

Frank Martell, a former wine expert at Bonham’s who now runs the wine department at Heritage Auctions, points out that there is “history of better stock being bottled in large format glass.”  If you go back to anything made pre-1960s, he explains, “those were wines that were blended in racks, rather than the tanks wine makers use today.” It made homogenous blending very difficult. Consequently, certain barrels of finished product would be higher quality, and usually, more tannic. That stock would usually be bottled in large-format bottles for better storage. Because those batches were also generally more tannic, they also would have been more fresh and elegant upon opening. “This is also another part of the reason older magnums command not double or even triple but sometimes quadruple value,” points out Martell.

Without getting overly technical, we know that wine ages through oxidation. There is a fairly small amount of oxygen trapped inside every wine bottle.  The space between the wine and the cork is called ullage, and older bottles can often show a shoulder fill – greater ullage. This is often predominantly a result of oxidation, which occurs naturally over time.

A big wine bottle has less oxygen relative to the volume of wine, which means that the wine oxidizes more slowly. Think of the ratio of air to liquid in big bottles. Slower oxidation tends to lead to a longer aging and slower and better maturation. This, in turn, effects aromas, and the overall stability of the wine, yielding wine that can age longer, given proper storage conditions (where the bottle in left in the dark with stable cool temperature and sufficient humidity to protect the integrity of the cork).

Ergo, large bottles will age better and longer, and tend to be more robust – more resistant to temperature irregularities (that can occur from power outages, moving bottles to a different location, etc.).

Master of Wine Jancis Robinson noted that only around the top 10 percent of all red wine and top 5 percent of all white wines can improve significantly enough with age to make drinking more enjoyable at 5 years of age than at 1 year of age. Additionally, Robinson estimates, only the top 1 percent of all wine has the ability to improve significantly after more than a decade. It is her belief that more wine is consumed too old, rather than too young, and that the great majority of wines start to lose appeal and fruitiness after six months in the bottle.

If you want to put a bottle or a collection of bottles away for a great occasion such as a wedding, birth of a child, anniversary, successful closing of a business transaction or a birthday bash many years in the future, a large-format bottle is a better choice. Slower oxidation means that large-format wine bottles will reach their peak long after 750 milliliter bottles have reached their prime.

The larger volume of liquid in a large-format wine bottle takes longer to warm or cool and is therefore more resistant to potentially damaging temperature fluctuations. This may be a benefit if you have less than ideal cellar conditions.

The Ultimate Trophy – Big Is Beautiful

There’s nothing like bringing out an impressive, large bottle at a big celebration like a wedding or anniversary party. They’re an immediate attention getter.  These bottles are often adorned with special labels.  Some of the big bottles are etched for more distinction, and can even serve as decorating accessories after the wine is long gone! It is not unusual to spot them as displays at snazzy restaurants.

Many will argue that part of the magic of great wine is the communal enjoyment – sharing it with friends and family at a meal or a tasting. Big bottles not only have the command presence, but actually obligate (or at least provide a reason for) their owners to open them for a large group. The old image of rusty jugs of cheap vin de table aka cheap plonk  (i.e. Blue Nun specials) at fraternity parties generally do not come to mind these days.  Big bottles are an image statement.

Collectors seek out what is rarer, more expensive, and more desirable, and highly desirable wines presented in large-format bottles epitomize rarity in the wine collector world.

Downside to Big Bottles?

So is there a downside to collecting big bottles?  There are a few to consider:  Pricing, handling and storage, risk and sale.

In terms of pricing, large-format wine bottles don’t offer price savings. In fact, the larger the bottle the more it costs per liter, as can be deduced from our discussion of the rarity, longevity, and the trophy-effect of big bottles. As we had noted, big bottles generally command a premium in the marketplace.

Pouring directly from a large wine bottle is probably a bad idea. Besides having to heft a heavy bottle, the wine can come out under enough pressure to knock a glass out of your hand. Large bottles should be poured into decanters, and may require purchasing a pouring instrument.

Opening big wine bottles can be a pain. The corks of large-format wine bottles have a larger diameter than standard bottles, but they are usually normal in length. Be certain you have a firm grip in the cork with the corkscrew and start pulling very gently, making sure the cork is moving and sliding free from the glass instead of bulging next to the corkscrew insertion point. Once the cork is moving, you should have no trouble.  Some large bottles may require using 2 cork screws.

Where do you chill your Balthazar of champagne? Empty the fridge and slide it in? Lay it in the bathtub?

When it comes to big bottles, storage is obviously a problem for most collectors. Fitting a bottle larger than a magnum in your wine cooler or wine cabinet is not easy. Even fancy wine cellars may not have adequate space to accommodate large format collections.

A collector may need to simply keep the big bottles in their original packaging (original wood). In Martell’s experience, the biggest cause for ullage problems is imperfect storage conditions that generally do not include enough humidity or where bottles are stored upright.  This allows the cork to dry up and permit more oxygen to evaporate more of the wine.  This is the flip side of the ullage advantage of collecting large glass.

Finally, there is no room for mistakes when it comes to large-format bottles. Traditionally, a wine collector will buy a case of wine they want to age and drink a bottle once a year or so to track its development and determine its maturity. With a big wine bottle, once it’s opened you’re done; you have to drink it. Finally, the market for selling particularly ultra rare and expensive large-format bottles is obviously a smaller market.  You may be auctioning them off to restaurants or the super wealthy collectors who can appreciate and afford such a big statement bottle, and have room to store such a prize.

The Final Vote

Still, the benefits of collecting wine in large-format bottles outweigh the drawbacks by a wide margin. Whether you are an ego-driven investor or a drinking purist, bigger bottles deliver value, better wine, and the ultimate in bragging rights.  Still, the biggest advantage to big bottles is that historically and due to their size they deliver better wine.  Adding large-format bottles to a collection pays off both for those focusing on building a rare valuable collection, as well as to those who collect predominantly to enjoy drinking wine, but want to plan for special occasions in the future.

(Yuri Vanetik is a private investor, philanthropist, and political coalition builder. He is the principal of Vanetik International, LLC.)

Pay $10 to see a Ferrari in Las Vegas?! Just visit Newport Beach on any given Saturday!

The iconic Ferrari sports car is one of the most recognizable, expensive and sought after sports cars in the world, but production of the Italian speedster is now being further limited from the sales in 2012, reportedly to maintain the exclusivity of the brand.  For the first nine months of 2012, Ferrari delivered just 5,267 new cars worldwide, according to AutoCar.UK.  566 of the cars ended up in China, Germany took 534, Britain bought 504, Italy had just 238, and the United States took the lion’s share of 1,354, the biggest part of which ended up in California, reportedly a little over 300 of the them.  And of those, most of them must have ended up in Orange County because on any given summer weekend one sure sees them in Newport Beach!

Ferrari’s are surely popular in California, even with its ailing economy, but I was a little surprised when I visited the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas recently, eager to kill some time and see their highly touted new “Ferrari Shop” and retail Ferrari store actually in the Hotel, to learn that to get a look at the cars in the showroom, I was required to buy a ticket for $10.  I’d think just showing a hotel room key would have done the trick.

I kept the $10 in my pocket.  Heck, Newport Beach is just a few miles from home!

 

May is Festival Month in California!

May is festival month in California and there are plenty of great, inexpensive out-door activities up-and-down the state!  And whether your fancy is California strawberries, artichokes, chili, craft beers or great wines, you will find something fun to do on this list of our state’s festivals in May, courtesy of the California County Fairs and Festivals group.

 

Sequoia Foodie Fest

Date: May 10, 2013

Address: Rawhide Stadium in Visalia

Email: amarals@sequoiafoodiefest.com

URL: www.sequoiafoodiefest.com

Description: The Sequoia Foodie Fest promotes the diversity of California’s agricultural commodities. Our theme, “California’s Most Delicious Adventure”, showcases local celebrity chef cook-offs, food & wine pairings, demonstrations & samplings, local law enforcement Iron Chef contest, life-sized citrus sculptures, live music, kids entertainment. Funds benefit: Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias.

 

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Whole Earth Festival

Date: May 10-12, 2013

Times: varies

Address: UC Davis Campus (Main Quad)
Davis, CA

Email address:visit website

Phone/Fax Number: visit website

URL: http://wef.ucdavis.edu/

Description from their website:“The mission of the Whole Earth Festival is to envision and create a community driven festival of education, music, and art. We will ensure that as little ‘waste’ as possible is generated during this festival. We will cultivate amazing organic produce grown in the WEF garden into tasty, nutritional meals to feed volunteers, staff, & performers, while making it both yummy and educational.”

Vendors: http://wef.ucdavis.edu/applications/

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Mothers Day Celebration Wine Walk
Date:Saturday, May 11, 2013
Time:6pm until 8pm
Location:The Depot Museum, 101 West Tehachapi Blvd, Tehachapi, CA 93561
Email:lindacarhart@mainstreettehachapi.org
Phone:661-822-6519
URL: http://www.mainstreettehachapi.org
Description: Mother’s Day Wine Walk, Saturday, May 11th, 2013 from 6pm until 8pm.
This event will be limited to the first 200 participants. You’ll visit 8 locations that will each have white and red wines and appetizers. You can enjoy live music while you taste and browse and clothes, jewelry, antiques etc. Tickets are $30 each for eight tastes. Our May weather can be some of the most beautiful of the year and so a stroll in Downtown is just a perfect way to start the celebration of your favorite Mother. Call 822-6519. You can purchase tickets at www.mainstreettehachapi.org using PayPal.

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Great Petaluma Chili Cook-off, Salsa, and Beer Tasting

Date: May 11, 2013

Time: check web site

Address: Behren’s Park, Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds

Petaluma, CA

Email: mailto:Empress@greatchilicookoff.com

Phone: 707-763-8920 for tickets

URL: http://www.greatchilicookoff.com/

Description: If the chili isn’t hot enough at this event you can spice it up more with salsas. If your taste buds need cooling-off, try a beer from one of the fourteen breweries planning to attend.

Directions from their site: http://sundayusa.com/chilicookoff/map.html

Vendors: http://www.cinnabartheater.org/chili/EntryVendorPrintable.pdf

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Asian Pacific Spring Festival 

Date: May 11, 2013

Times: 9AM to 5 PM

Address: Locke, California

Email address: lockefoundation@frontiernet.net

URL: lockeca.com

Description: The Asian Pacific Spring Festival is a fundraising event sponsored by the Locke Foundation. The Locke Foundation is a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) tax exempt, non-profit public benefit organization. The mission of the Locke Foundation is to educate the public about LockeÕs history and legacy.
This is a one day event celebrating Asian Pacific Heritage Month. It is an outside event that takes place on Main Street, Locke. There will be multiple culture performances scheduled throughout the day, food vendors, merchandise vendors and Asian Pacific performances are being solicited. We encourage donations to aid in this annual fundraiser.

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Inland Empire Reggae Music and Art Festival

Date: May 11, 2013

Times: 11 am to dusk

Address: NOS Event Center

Email: info@inlandempirereggaefestival.com

Phone: (866) 514-3391

URL: http://inlandempirereggaefestival.com/

Description: The 2nd annual Inland Empire Reggae Music and Art Festival is slated for May 12, 2012 at the NOS ( Orange Show ) Event Center located in San Bernardino, California.

Vendors: http://inlandempirereggaefestival.com/2012/VenderApplication-Inland-empire-Reggae-Festival-2012.pdf

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Strawberry Festival

Date: May 11-12, 2013

Address: Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville, CA

Email: numberjohnyfive@gmail.com

Phone: 916-787-0101

URL: http://sites.google.com/site/feedmestrawberries/Home

Description: The Strawberry Festival is a Roseville tradition.

Vendor: https://sites.google.com/site/feedmestrawberries/vendors-and-sponsors

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Mother’s Day Artisan Fair

Date: May 12, 2013

Times: 10-3 pm

Address: Suisun City Historic Waterfront, Main St and Solano St, Suisun City

Email: blmossa@aol.com

Phone: (707) 399-7195

URL: www.SuisunWaterfront.com

Description: Over 50 unique artisans will participate in the 3nd annual Mother’s Day Artisan Fair on Sunday May 13th, 10 am – 3 pm, at Harbor Plaza, Main and Solano Streets, Suisun City. “Amber Snider and the Amber Snider Band” will perform, bringing their unique brand of folk-rock, country and blues to the Historic Waterfront stage.
Booths featuring quality hand-crafted wares will be set up in the park and along the beautiful waterfront. Mom’s and families come to browse the booths, meet the artists and find a special treasure! The setting is awesome and there are twelve independent restaurants walking distance of the show!

Vendor info: (707) 399-7195 or email brendamossa@aol.com

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Koroneburg Old World Renaissance Festival
Date: May 11- June 16, 2013
Time: 11am – 7pm saturdays, 11am-6pm Sundays and Memorial Day (open until 9pm may 28 and june 18 with special after dark shows!)
Address: Crossroads Riverview Park, 14600 River Road, Corona, CA 92880
Phone: 951-735-0101
Email: prince@renaissanceinfo.com
URL: www.koroneburg.com
Description: Join us for feast, drink, and merriment at the only permanent rennaissance village in California! Baron Heinrich Von Lauffer invites you to enjoy his lush garden estate nestled in the hills of Corona, CA along with reenactment encampents and world class entertainment including fire shows, sword juggling, comedy, voluptuous wenches and mugs of german beer.

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OC Greek Fest

Date: May 17-19, 2013
Time: Fri., May 17, 3:00-10:00 pm; Sat., May 18, 12:00-10:00 pm; Sun., May 19, 12:00-10:00 pm
Location: St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, 405 N. Dale Ave., Anaheim, CA
Email: info@ocgreekfest.com
Phone: (714) 827-0181
URL: http://www.ocgreekfest.com
Description: Join us for Orange County’s premiere Greek Festival, the 2013 OC Greek
Fest! Experience the flavors, sights and sounds of Greece and enjoy the
very best of Greek food, music, dancing and culture right here in Orange
County. Regular Admission $3.00; Seniors (65+), children 12 and under and all
military, police and fire personnel with proper ID admitted free
Free admission with coupon available on website; one coupon per person.Free parking behind Wal-Mart at the Buena Park Mall; free shuttle service to and from the Buena Park Mall to the festival grounds.Live music by Takis “Kokotas” Stathoulis & Friends
Traditional Greek dance performances scheduled each day; Authentic Greek foods, appetizers and homemade pastries; Greek wines, beer, spirits, and coffee
Great shopping at our outdoor marketplace; dozens of unique vendors
Carnival rides and games for all ages; Complimentary guided tours of our Greek Orthodox church scheduled each day
Vendor Contact information: info@ocgreekfest.com (714) 827-0181
Attendance: 10,000+ over 3 days

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Boogie on the Bayou (presented by Campbell Chamber of Commerce)
Date: May 18-19, 2013
Time: Sat(10am-6pm), Sun(10am-5pm)
Location: Historic Downtown Campbell, CA
Email: info@campbellchamber.net
Phone: 408-378-6252
URL: www.campbellchamber.net/boogie.html
Description: The 35th annual Boogie on the Bayou Festival. This popular Cajun-inspired event brings all to enjoy authentic Cajun food, live entertainment, unique arts and crafts and the enormous Crawdaddy Kids Corner.
Vendor Contact information: www.campbellchamber.net/boogie.html
Attendance: Admission and parking are free.

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Wakamatsu Farm Festival
Date: May 18, 2013
Time: 10 am – 4 pm (gates open at 9)
Location: Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony Farm, 941 Cold Springs Road, Placerville, CA 95667
Email: Michael@arconservancy.org
Phone: 530-621-1224
URL: http://www.arconservancy.org/wakamatsu

Description: Japanese artists, musicians and performers, Gold Rush living history, Native American artists, historic farming displays, and organic farm tours are featured at the third annual Wakamatsu Farm Festival. Hosted by American River Conservancy at Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony Farm, the Festival celebrates the diverse cultures that made their home on these historic 270 acres of rolling hills and rich agricultural lands. The festival features wine tasting, food vendors, music and family friendly activities in an exceptional Foothill setting. For tickets, visit www.arconservancy.org/wakamatsu. Advance ticket purchase recommended.

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Josua Tree Music Festival
Date: May 17-19, 2013
Time: 11am
Location: 2601 Sunfair Rd. Joshua Tree, CA
Email: jtmusicfest@gmail.com
Phone: 877-327-6265
URL: http://www.joshuatreemusicfestival.com/
Description: The Joshua Tree Lake Campground is soul central station for the festivals. The Copper Mountains provide a red rock sunset backdrop to this 40 acre privately owned venue, which is located 9 miles from the entrance to the otherworldly Joshua Tree National Park. Live music runs continuously from 11am til past midnight on SAT, and from 11am – 7pm on SUN. Kids 10 and under free. An intimate setting, where the distinction between artist and audience is blurred, and a passionate performance can be truly relished in close proximity to the stage.
Vendor Contact information: Inquire via email regarding sponsor/partner/alliance with two of the very few multi day camp out music festivals in Southern California.

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Annual Gourd Festival

Date: May– no festival in 2013 : (

Times: 9AM to 5 PM both days

Address:Greg Leiser Farms, 21886 Knights Road, Knights Landing, CA

Email address: gleiser@afes.com

Phone Number: 530-735-6677

URL: http://www.GourdFarmer.com/

Description from Greg Leiser: “Artists from all over California will be selling their exquisite gourd art, gourd supplies and tools. Free demonstrations from expert gourd artists. Musical performance by the Putah Creek Crawdads. On-site food service. Gourd art classes being offered..must pre-register. Children’s Gourd Crafting Corner. The California Gourd Society will be sponsoring, for the first time, a Northern California Section Gourd Art Display.” Parking and admission are free.

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The Keg, Cork & Fork Fest — Beer, Wine & Food Tasting
Date: Saturday, May 18
Time: 3-9 pm
Address: 355 Gilmore Road, Red Bluff, CA
Phone: (530) 784-4TIX
Email: info@northstateevents.info
URL: www.northstateevents.info
Vendor information/ contacts: Vendors must arrange a space IN ADVANCE, and may not just show up. There is no fee to vend, and no commission. Electricity is provided free. You provide free samples (approx $1 retail value) to patrons and mark their punchcard. You may also sell larger portions, meals or other items, and all your profits are yours.
We are interested only in Northern California restaurants and other food vendors, wineries and breweries.
To secure a space, call Brian at (530) 784-4TIX.

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May Artisan Fair 

Date: Next event wil be in May 2013

Times: 10AM-5PM

Address: SonRise Plaza-located just off of I-80
620 Orange Drive
Vacaville, CA

Phone: 707.450.6017

URL: www.mayartisanfair.com

Description: The event will feature crafters and artists from a variety of mediums including but not limited to: painting, ceramics, fine art, weavers, crochet, knitters, wood carving, and photography.
All artwork and crafts must be hand crafted.

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Himalayan Fair

Date: May 18-19, 2013

Times: opens 10 am both days; closes at 7 Saturday and 5:30 Sunday

Address: Live Oak Park, Berkeley, CA

Phone: 510-869-3995

URL: http://www.himalayanfair.net/

Description: Step in to a vibrant marketplace deep in a Himalayan Mountain village. Life is simple. Market stalls spill in to the streets. Old world charm feeds the mind and soul.Performances by: Caroluna, Ancient Peace, Riffat Sultana, Teed Rockwell, Natya Rasa, Dholrhythms, Dance Identity, Karma Moffett, Danceversity, Tamarind Jones, TseringCho, Chaksam-Pa, and more… Aum.

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California West Coast Brew Festival
Date: May 18, 2013
Time: 1:00 – 4:00pm
Location: Miller Park 2790 Marina View Drive
Email: wcbf2011@yahoo.com
Phone: 916-924-EVENTS (3836)
URL: http://www.westcoastbrewfest.com
Description: The West Coast Brew Fest the annual celebration of the
West Coast heritage of the microbrew revolution. Featuring Tokenless Microbrew
Tasting of over 120 different beers from over 60 breweries, along with Live
Music and Great Food and not to mention Awesome People! WCBF holds a
BCJP-sanctioned Commercial Craft Competition two weeks prior to the event and
winning Breweries will be displaying their award-winning brews at the festival.
A complete list of breweries attending will be available online two weeks prior
to the event. Tickets are only $40 the day of event or $30 prepay on our
website.

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The California Strawberry Festival

Date: May 18-19, 2013

Time: 10:00 am to 6:30 pm each day

Address: Strawberry Meadows of College Park

3250 South Rose Avenue

Oxnard, California

Email: csf@strawberry-fest.org

Phone: 888-288-9242

URL: http://www.strawberry-fest.org/

Description from their site: “The California Strawberry Festival kicks off summer fun at the picturesque Strawberry Meadows of College Park in Oxnard – California’s Strawberry Coast.”

Vendors: http://strawberry-fest.org/participating/

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Old Town Temecula Western Days

Date: May 18-19, 2013

Time: 11 am to 5 pm

Address: Old Town Temecula, various locations

Phone: 951-694-6412

URL: www.temeculacalifornia.com/

Description: The event will feature gold panning and civil war exhibits, western and gunfighting skits, music, family fun, and more.
Vendors:
http://www.temeculacalifornia.com/VENDOR_13.doc

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The Annual Castroville Artichoke Festival

Date: May 18-19, 2013

Time: Saturday 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday 9 am to 5 pm

Address: Merritt Street

Castroville, CA

Email: mailto:info@artichoke-festival.org

Phone: 831-633-2465

URL: http://www.artichoke-festival.org/index.html

Description: This festival celebrates the importance of artichokes to Castroville, and you will find it fried, sautéed, grilled, pickled, and creamed. Artichokes aren’t the only thing being shown off at this two-day event, you’ll see a classic car show, a parade on Sunday, musical entertainment, and fun for the entire family.

Directions: http://www.artichoke-festival.org/directions.html

Vendors: http://www.artichoke-festival.org/vendors.html

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Campbell Boogie on the Bayou

Date: May 18-19, 2013

Time: 9am – 6pm

Address: Downtown, Campbell, California

Email: caartists@earthlink.net

Phone: 650 348-7699

URL: www.caartists.com

Description: Arts & Crafts Festival

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Oakdale Chocolate Festival

Date: May 18-19, 2013 (third weekend in May)

Times: 9-6 (Sat) and 9-5 (Sun)

Address: Hwys 120 & 108, Oakdale, CA

Email: events@oakdalechamber.com

URL: Chocolate

Description: Ignight your palate with Chocolate samples and items for purchase on Chocolate Avenue. Be at the 20th Annual Oakdale Chocolate Festival, 3rd weekends in May, Highways 108 and 120, Oakdale, CA. Vendor interest call (209) 847-2244 or events@oakdalechamber.com. 150-200+ Quality and variety vendors in Arts & Crafts, Chocolate Avenue, Food, and Specialty Merchandise & Services. 70K+ attend! 5K and 1M Fun Run, Amusement Park, Classic Car Show, and Western Show. Entertainment on: Chocolate Challenge Stage, Cowboy Cook’n Stage, and Main Stage. Be sure to check it out!

Vendors: Applications: Chocolate Festival Arts & Crafts Application / Chocolate Festival Chocolate Avenue Application / Chocolate Festival Food Application / Specialty Merchandise & Services Application / Temporary Food Permit (ERF)
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Fiesta Days

Date: May 20-27, 2013

Time: Times Vary

Address: Andrews Park/CreekWalk
near Vacaville’s Historic Downtown District –
Fiesta Days Parade along Merchant St.

PH: 707-448-4613

E-mail: fiestadays@sbcglobal.net

URL: http://fiestadays.org/

Description: Annual Fiesta Days celebrates Vacaville’s Spanish and Mexican heritage. Come out and enjoy the Fiesta Days Parade, the largest parade held in the state of California. Family-fun carnival Thur-Sun at Andrews Park, Annual Classic Car Show, the Whiskerino Contest, Diaper Derby, Annual Dart Tournament, and the hottest contest around, the Onion and Jalapeno Pepper Eating Contest – Watch out, the traditional Jailhouse is back and looking for customers! Musical entertainment Thur-Sun at the CreekWalk.

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Mule Days Celebration

Date: May 21-26, 2013

Time: various times

Address: Bishop, CA

Email: mailto:muledays@qnet.com

Phone: 760-872-4263

URL: http://www.muledays.org/

Description from their site: “Our event takes place Memorial Day Weekend each year. Approximately 700 mules will compete in 169 events, during the nation’s premier mule show. Bob Tallman and Bob Feist will take the microphone, educate and entertain crowds that have grown in excess of 30,000 fans.

The country stars appear at our concert on Thursday night. The country’s longest running non-motorized parade takes place Saturday morning at 10:00 right down Main St. in Bishop. Mule shows begin on Tuesday and end Sunday night. The eleven mule shows consist of: western, youth, English, cattle working, gaited, coon jumping, racing, musical tires, gymkhana, packing, shoeing, chariot racing, and driving. There are barbecues, country dances and an arts & crafts show. All taking place at the foot of the beautiful Eastern Sierra.”

 

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MOODTU FESTIVAL w/ JACOB LATIMORE
Date: MAY 25, 2013
Time:12pm-6pm
Location: GHIRARDELLI SQUARE
Email:moodtufest@yahoo.com
Phone:800-517-0270
URL:www.moodtufest.com
Description: Kids Music Festival
Vendor Contact information: moodtufest@yahoo.com
Attendance:7500

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The Annual California Festival of Beers

Date: May

Time: check web site

Address: Avila Beach Resort

Avila Beach California

URL: http://www.hospiceslo.org/beerfest/index.htm

Description: The annual California Festival of Beers at Avila Beach Resort, Avila Beach California benefiting Hospice of San Luis Obispo County. Features over 50 brewers and over 100 of their finest microbrewed creations. Admission includes souvenir beer glass and unlimited (but responsible) samples of offerings. Enjoy some of California’s most beautiful settings while listening to the sounds of the featured bands. $40 before May7, $45 after. DD $10

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Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras Fesitval

Date: May 25-26, 2013

Times: 10 am – 7 pm (Sat) and 10 am – 6 pm (Sun)

Address: Downtown Morgan Hill

Email: info@mhmmg.com

Phone: 408.778.1786

URL: www.mhmmg.com

Description: Family fun festival featuring Arts & Craft vendors, Gourmet Food Booths, Mushroom Exhibit and Display, Wine & Beer Gardens, Live Music on two stages, Strolling Musicians and Street Performers, Commercial Exhibits and Retail vendors and Munchkinland for the kids with rides, games and kid’s entertainment.

Vendors: http://www.mhmmg.org/vendors/

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Cajun & Blues Music Festival
Date: Memorial Day weekend May 25 – 26, 2013
Time: 10:30 am – 8:00 pm both days
Location: Rancho Santa Susana Community Park
5005 Los Angeles Avenue
Simi Valley, California 93063
Email: info@simicajun.org
Phone: 805-517-9000
URL: www.simicajun.org
Description: The largest Cajun, Zydeco and Blues Music Festival on the West Coast with Grammy award winners and nominees performing. Three stages of music and fun. Dance lessons, Cajun-Creole and Southern food, large kids area, crafts and Mardi Gras parade. An all-volunteer run event with all proceeds going to charities.

Vendor Contact information: vendors@simicajun.org
Attendance: 20,000

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San Ramon Art & Wind Festival

Date: May
Time: 9-5
Address: San Ramon Community Center & Park
Email: caartists@earthlink.net
Phone: 650 348-7699
URL: www.caartists.com
Description: Arts & Crafts Festival, Children’s Area, Kite Making, Hot Air Balloons, Food

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Redlands Shakespeare Festival
Date: May 9 – May 26, 2013
Time:Various Events
Location: Redlands, CA
Phone: 909-335-7377
URL: www.redlandsshakespearefestival.com
Description: Three weekends of Shakespearean productions, workshops, and events
Vendor Contact information: president@redlandsshakespearefestival.com

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Larkspur Flower and Food Festival

Date: May 26, 2013

Location: Ferry Terminal

Address: Magnolia Avenue

Larkspur California

Email address: ProEvent@aol.com

Phone (vendor info): (415) 383-3470 • Fax (415) 383-7020

URL: http://www.teamproevent.com/events/larkspur.html

Description from their site: Flowers and food in this Marin County setting

VENDORS: http://teamproevent.com/Forms_Applications/13LARKApp.pdf

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Patterson Apricot Fiesta

Date: May 31, 2013

Address: 20 Plaza Circle Patterson, CA

Email address: n/a

Phone/Fax Number: 209-892-3118

URL: http://www.apricotfiesta.com

Description: 25,000 visitors enjoy the Apricot Fiesta every year. See you there!
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Kare Youth League Circus and Family Fair
Date: May 31st and June 1st, 2013
Time: Gates open at 5:00pm on Friday and 10 am on Saturday
Location:Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, Ca
Email: karecircus@gmail.com
Phone: 626-442-1160
b: www.kyl.org/circus
Description: The Annual Kare Youth League Circus is widely recognized as the best family entertainment value in Southern California. In addition to the incredible Circus and Show featuring circus acts from around the world, there are games, good food, a petting zoo, rock climbing and a host of fun activities children and families love to do… and all priced for the family budget.

Vendor Contact information: visit website
Attendance: 12,000 over the two days

California Poppy season is on its way!

The California state flower, the Golden Poppy, comes to bloom in the next few weeks throughout the state and particularly in Lancaster and the Antelope Valley.

April 20-21 marks the California Poppy Festival in Lancaster, which takes place rain or shine from 10 am to 6 pm both days!  The event includes music, food, art, and family fun and of course beautiful flowers.  For more details, check it out here: http://www.poppyfestival.com/generalinformation.php.

Lack of more rain has affected the blooms this season.  The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, a State Natural Reserve, recently reported that our wildflower season won’t be a truly abundant one

Courtesy MikeBaird, Flickr

this year because of lower levels of rain water.  But there will be flowers this month and the Poppy Reserve is a lovely way to see some of them.  For more information, check it out here: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=627.

Hopefully, we can have some April showers to bring more May flowers, especially our beloved poppies!

Happy Easter 2013!

The editors at California Political Review wish you a Happy Easter Sunday!

Obama Meets with Stanley Cup Champion L.A. Kings

On Tuesday President Barack Obama received both the Stanley Cup winning Los Angeles Kings hockey team at the White House as well as the L.A. Galaxy soccer club to honor their achievements.  Team captain Dustin Brown of the Kings presented the President with a team jersey showing his name, “Obama” on the back.  We know Obama is more of a basketball fan than a hockey fan but as a Chicago resident we do hope Obama will enjoy his new jersey, presented the day after the Kings beat the NHL leading Chicago Blackhawks – in Chicago – by 5 to 4!  To repeat on the Stanley Cup, the Kings need to beat Chicago in the playoffs and it was great for fans to see their big win against Chicago this week.

 

 

 

Giants and Dodgers to battle April 1 in baseball’s season opener

One of the best traditional rivalries in baseball and California will be renewed in just a few days when the Los Angeles Dodgers host the season’s opening game in Los Angeles vs. the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants on April 1.  In recognition of the rivalry, ESPN will be broadcasting the game nationwide.  Prospects look good for the Giants to work towards a repeat of their victory last year, with a big returning roster and some motivated pitchers, including Cy Young Award winners Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum, who will both be free agents after this year and need to impress.  Zito stepped up last year, earning his first winning season of the last seven with the Giants and helping win crucial games in the playoffs and the first game of the World Series.  In contrast, the younger Lincecum had his first losing season in seven years last year, but adjusted to a role of relief pitcher quite well, with a stunning .066 earned run average in relief.  The Giants have great batters, including catcher Buster Posey, and Pablo Sandoval, but pitching should continue to prove their forte in the 2013 season.  Whether or not the bearded reliever Brian Wilson, replaced as the Giant’s closer, returns, is still a slightly open question.

The Dodgers have no where to go but up.  They start the new season with an injured shortstop, Hanley Ramirez, who hurt his thumb in the World Baseball Classic.  But Dodger Manager Don Mattingly is reportedly impressed with Cuban defector Yasiel Puig, a new potential addition to the Dodger roster and a big hitter.  In the Spring league, Puig is batting .500, has a team high 10 RBIs and has not walked once in 46 at bats.  He is 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds.  Puig may start the season in the Dodgers minor league system but expect him to surface sometime this year on the LA roster.  The Dodgers have a great lineup of players returning including pitcher Josh Beckett, outfielder Matt Kemp and infielder Juan Uribe.  They have been through a lot, given the mixed-up ownership situation involving the McCourt family, and the new ownership group that has Magic Johnson as front man.  Even through the turmoil, their second place finish in the National League West, 8 games behind the Giants and at 86 wins with 76 losses (.531 winning percentage) was not bad at all.

It will be great to hear the announcer yell “Play Ball” again on April 1!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy sdportill, Flickr

Oscars Excitement Won’t Include “2016: Obama’s America”

February 24th will mark the 85th Anniversary of the Academy Awards and Hollywood will be festive and totally consumed with it’s annual star-studded tradition that day.  Hotels throughout Beverly Hills and the Westside of Los Angeles are all largely booked, and restaurant reservations at Spago, CUT and The Ivy cannot be found for those not really, really rich or highly famous.  But sadly, one terrific film project that proved to be a box office smash in 2012 will be completely over-looked: conservative author Dinesh D’Souza’s “2016: Obama’s America,” a gripping documentary produced by Oscar-award winner Gerald Molen (Shindler’s List) that earned a record $33.4 million.

Apparently Hollywood’s bias against anything conservative or anything mildly realistic about Obama contributed to the oversight of even a nomination for the film, which was passed over for 15 other lesser grossing documentaries, and liberal films, including “Sugar Man” (how two Cape Town residents tracked down 1970s singer Sixto Rodriguez), “Detopia” (a story about Detriot’s steep decline) and “Ethel” (a film about the Kennedy family).  Of these, “Detopia” is most of interest, though the true sources of Detroit’s decline, namely over-reaching by the United Auto Workers contributing to high-costs and the resulting failure of the auto industry, wasteful public spending by liberal Democratic politicians, unbridled welfare and pension policies leading to public agency bankruptcy, crime, and rampant corruption in City Hall, which are the true causes of Detriot’s hardships, are hardly touched on in the film.  Instead “downsizing” and “greedy auto executives” forced to “outsource” manufacturing (by whom may we ask??!!) are made the culprit.  And that is an evident lie.  But it is a lie that liberal Hollywood easily embraces.  Look for Detopia to get the Oscar.

2016 Obama’s America attempts to “reveal the struggle of whether one man’s past will redefine America over the next four years”.  It asks the question, if Obama wins re-election, (he did), “where will we be in 2016?”   And with that, D’Souza travels the four continents to “find answers to Obama’s past and reveal where America will be in 2016.”  It is explained as an “emotionally engaging” and at the same time troubling movie.

But perhaps Hollywood’s left-wing bias is just too well-worn for something thoughtful that is critical of Obama.  D’Souza, who probably won’t be at the Polo Lounge for an after-party, blithely commented, “I want to thank the Academy for not nominating our film.”

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra to perform in Aliso Viejo? It’s true!

One of the special gems of British Columbia if not North America itself is the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (www.vancouversymphony.ca).  Conducted often by its profoundly artistic Music Director, composer and pianist Maestro Bramwell Tovey, the “VSO” always delivers important and beautiful classical musical programs in the Northwest, acts as a showcase for the world’s greatest musical talents, presents and records excellent music for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, serves as a laboratory for up-and-coming Canadian artists, new musical compositions and English language Opera, and is a forum that features Canada’s best and most gifted musicians.

Sadly, the VSO has been a secret from California audiences, as it has not seen a West Coast American tour seen 1979.  But that drought is over.  A deluge of music from the VSO is in the process of showering itself all over the West Coast and California in the next week or two, with performances scheduled to include Santa Barbara’s Granada Theater at 4 pm Sunday, January 27th; the Soka Performing Arts Center at Soka University in Aliso Viejo at 8 pm on Monday, January 28th; and 8 pm Tuesday, January 29th at the McCallum Theater for the Performing Arts in Palm Desert.

Maestro Tovey himself with be conducting the very lively Prokofiev Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major, and there will be a performance of the famous, difficult, romantic and beautiful Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor by Jon Kimura Parker, a highly accomplished pianist who has been awarded “The Order of Canada”, the country’s highest civilian honor.  Composer-in-residence Edward Top’s “Totem”, a VSO commissioned original piece, is also making its World Premiere during the tour.  Classical music fans will absolutely love this up-lifting set of performances.  For ticket details see the website listed above.

Photo of Maestro Bramwell Tovey courtesy Vancouver 125, Flickr.