EBay can turn a distant World Series memory to cash

IMG_1166I was doing a little “spring cleaning” recently, sending some old, useless files to the trash, when I discovered two bright yellow and green ticket stubs for the seventh and final game of the baseball World Series in 1973.  The game was played on October 21st, 1973 during the day at the Coliseum in Oakland, between the A’s and the New York Mets.  Gazing at the tickets I realized I was there, almost forty years ago.

Aided with a little internet research, I re-lived the thrill of attending a World Series and in the Bay Area, let alone a decisive game.  Oakland won the game 5-2 and Reggie Jackson hit a 2-run homer.  Ken Holtzman was the winning pitcher for the A’s, and he even hit a double and scored in the third inning.  (Though the “Designated Hitter” rule had just been adopted for American League teams in 1973, the rule did not apply to World Series games until 1976.)  And the tickets caused me to think of Game 1 of that same series, also played in Oakland and which I attended, where I saw my idol Willie Mays, by then a Met and in his final season, make his last start ever and get his final hit in Major League Baseball, a single.  I thought it was great that Mays came back to the Bay Area as a Met, where he had played so long for the San Francisco Giants, to get his final hit before a sympathetic Oakland crowd, in a World Series no less.  Seeing “Mr. October,” Reggie Jackson, live up to his reputation with his Game 7 home run was equally a thrill.  I thought fondly of my Dad, now long departed, who I attended Game 7 with.

The memory of that series and especially attending Game 7 is a treasure to me.  I wanted to keep the memory.  But I also needed to get back to reality and clean out my files.  I decided that in this digital world, that I could best keep the memory of the game by putting a picture of the tickets in my iPhoto library on iCloud, where I could have access to them anytime, anywhere.  Thus I could send the old stubs to the trash pile.

Then it occurred me.  Maybe they were worth sharing with someone else out there.

I am not a big Ebay person but I do have an account and occasionally will go on-line to buy a knick-knack.  For example, not too long ago I got a really good deal on a special Lalique crystal sparrow that completed a set of four.  I bought a perfect piece on Ebay for about 20% the retail value.  I had never really used Ebay to sell anything, but thought, well, maybe there is someone out there that might get a kick out of these old tickets and have their own treasured memory.

So I posted the old stubs on Ebay for a seven-day auction.  The initial price was set at $1.99.  Over the weekend, the auction ended and to my surprise the old stubs sold for $37.66.  And buyer is paying the postage.  The face value of the tickets in 1973 was $30 ($15 each).  But today, forty years later, the value of the used ticket stubs on Ebay exceeds the cost of the tickets themselves.

Not everything that has a memory attached to it yields much interest on Ebay.  I have a 1,000 Russian Ruble banknote dated 1917, the year of the two Russian revolutions, but learned there are plenty of those types of items on Ebay that don’t really get any bids.  Perhaps the memories associated with 1917 in Russia aren’t good ones, at least good enough to cause much interest in the old, worthless Imperial currency.  A 1953 series $2 bill really isn’t worth much more than $2 on Ebay.

But a Bay Area World Series is surely different.  I hope my old World Series ticket stubs might similarly stir fond memories in their new owner, who might also have the space and knowledge to display and enjoy them for the history they represent.  And I’ll take a look at a picture of them every now and then in my photo library.

And now forty years later, the Oakland A’s, still playing in the very same stadium, are battling for first place in the American League West and perhaps yet another World Series bid.  I really hope the A’s can bring another World Series to California.  Then the cycle of such memory building can start all over again.  And my advice to any young people that might attend a next World Series game in Oakland, is cherish your memories, and “hold on to your ticket stubs.”


Vega Sicilia: Spanish Wine of Grand Distinction

Photo courtesy photogism, flickr

Photo courtesy photogism, flickr

In case you did not know, Bodegas Vega Sicilia is a Spanish wine. It is true that wine connoisseurs rarely speak about Spanish wines in the same breath as French or even Italian wines.  However, Vega Sicilia is the Spanish wine game changer – and unlike new world cult wines or even French Garagiste and quasi-Garagiste Pomerol upstarts – has been such for many, many years.  Vega Sicilia has been produced in the Ribera del Duero region of Northern Spain for over 150 years.  It is made primarily from tempranillo grapes, which are typically blended with cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and malbec. Tempranillo is a thick-skinned grape that ripens early (the word temprano means “early”) and has power and concentration with alcohol levels between 13.5 and 14 percent. The Vega Sicilia wine ages extremely well, and is not readily available due to high demand and small production.

Many wine authorities consider Vega Sicilia to be one of the most glorious wines that hails from Europe or the “Old World” as it is often referred to in among wine enthusiasts to contrast wine that are made in US or Australia – the “New World wines”.  Prominent wine critics believe that, at its best, Vega Sicilia transcends the paradigm of Spanish wines, and rivals the greatest Bordeaux and Burgundy wine.  This is not to say that the First Growth wines of the Bordeaux or the Nuevo Reich Petrus or the Garagiste leader, Le Pin don’t represent the venerated old world wine-making skills .  They do.   It is simply that arguably few can match the historical prestige of Vega Sicilia.

Even if you are not a fan of Spanish wine, you may have heard of Vega Sicilia, and if you tasted it, you may have fallen in love with this truly noble wine.  Its comparables may be the great vintages of the famous First Growths of Bordeaux.   It should be no surprise that behind many great wines lies a clever marketing story.  This is particularly true of some well regarded California wines.  This is not the case with Vega Sicilia.  Its winery is located in Valbuena de Duero. Its important history was not planned by high-paid wine or business consultants; it was not engineered by celebrity winemakers or erected by Wall Street egos.  It was made by history itself, with help from tradition and dedication.  It was made from ultra low yields and wine making that pays much attention to details.

Many believe its name refers to Saint Cecilia, venerated throughout Spain, explains John Mariani , who writes about wine for Bloomberg’s arts and culture section[I]. Although the exact origin of the name is not known, the word Vega refers to the green vegetation that grows along the riverbank of the Duero, and Saint Sicilia, is the patron Saint of musicians.  However, how the name came about remains a mystery.

The winery was founded by Don Eloy Lacanda y Chaves in 1864.  He brought French varietals like cabernet sauvignon and merlot to Spain’s wine region that became home to Vega Sicilia.  The story of this wine dates to the early to mid 1800s.  In 1848 a Basque landowner, Don Toribio Lecanda, met the bankrupt Marques de Valbuena and bought from him a 2,000 hectare estate, the Pago de la Vega Santa Cecilia y Carrascal.  At some point early on, the name was reduced to Vega Sicilia. For the first 16 years, the land was used for agriculture, until Toribio’s son, Don Eloy Lecanda y Chaves, founded the winery in 1864.  From Monsieur Beguerié in Bordeaux he bought 18,000 young vines of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Malbec, Merlot and Pinot Noir. They may have made some wine at that stage, but most of the production went into brandy and ratafia.

In due course Don Eloy went bust and the estate passed to the Herrero family, and another Basque, Domingo Garramiola Txomin, who had trained as a winemaker at the Haro Oenological Centre. At first most of the wine was sold in bulk and – presumably – passed off as Rioja. When the Rioja vineyards had recovered from Phylloxera in 1915, Garramiola turned to making estate bottled wine. Initially this wasn’t a commercial venture, but was given away to aristocratic friends and acquaintances of the Herrero family. The quality of these wines was obviously not an issue: the 1917 and 1918 wines won prizes at the World Fair in Barcelona in 1929, an achievement still celebrated on the labels of Vega Sicilia’s Unico – the rarest and grandest rendition of the wine.

According to Julian Jeffs in Classic Wines of Spain, the winery changed hands in 1952, and again in 1966.  The next major change was not until 1982, when the Denominacion de Origen Ribera del Duero was established. This move meant that Unico (and the other wines) was no longer classified as a “simple” table wine. At the same time, the Alvarez family bought Vega Sicilia, and began to modernize and expand, a process which has continued, including the creation of new estates: Bodegas Alion in 1992, Bodegas Alquiriz (in Toro) in 2001, and Tokaj Oremus in Hungary, founded in 1993.  Ultimately, from about 1915 through 1980s was the sole beacon of consistent high quality in Ribera del Duero, and arguably in Spain.

The wine takes time to mature, and that is why it is often not released for at least 10 years after production.  “The rare wines of the Vegas Sicilia winery reach their peak after decades – if you can get them,” writes Stan Sesser for the Wall Street Journal, in his piece, “Spanish Greatness, With a Long Wait”[II].   Herrero family’s wine-maker, Dominigo Garramoila Txomin’s “faith is inspiring. He held an unknown wine back for over 10 years confident that it would eventually change the world. It did. That heritage continues; the 1970 vintage spent over 16 years in barrel before release,” explains Paul Coker, Sommelier at St Regis in Monarch Beach, California.

Vega Sicilia is one of the most highly regarded and unusual wines, claim its quasi-fanatical followers world over. Of its two top labels, called Unico and Unico Especial, the first is released only after aging for at least a decade in barrels and bottles, compared with three years for the best wines from Bordeaux. The second, Especial, is a blend of grapes harvested in three different years, a rarity in the world of red wine, so the bottle doesn’t have a vintage date on it. And if Vega Sicilia’s winemaker is dissatisfied with the quality of the harvest in any year, the winery will refuse to produce a single bottle of Unico. This has happened four times in the last two decades: 1992, 1993, 1997 and 2001, points out Sesser.  Less than 7,000 cases of Unico are produced each year, and only about 10 percent of the production enters the U.S.  Paul Coker further distinguishes, Vega Sicilia by pointing out that, “unlike most top estates, Vega Sicilia will never sell off its wine to lesser estates. If the wine doesn’t go into Vega Sicilia, maybe it goes into their Valbuena (one of the greatest Reservas of the Ribera.) If it isn’t great enough for Valbuena, it is completely distilled into neutral grape spirit and made into brandy.”

Ultimately, Vega Sicilia is a true connoisseur’s wine.  Its commercial success is an externality of the implementation of the winery’s creed to patiently produce a special wine in the grandest of European traditions.  “There is no sign at the Vega Sicilia winery and no tasting room, and anyone uninvited who knocks at the door will be turned away. Waving a wad of money to buy a bottle of wine will do you no good; nothing at the winery is for sale,” points out Sesser, underscoring that it is no simply a commercial venture, but an artisan’s creation.  “The story of Vega Sicilia is the story of Spanish wines: a beautiful dichotomy of respect for heritage and a belief in greatness obtainable through innovation,” posits Coker, summing up the essence of this great European wine.   The faith in the future continues today with an oak forest that has been planted on the estate. When ready, this will allow Vega Sicilia to produce their own corks to prevent any outside influence that could compromise quality.

(Yuri Vanetik is a wine collector who lives in Southern California.)

[I] Mariani, John, “Spain’s Vega Sicilia Holds Its Own Against Bordeaux Wines,” May 3, 2013, Bloomberg. www.vega-sicilia.com

[II] Sesser, Stan, “Spanish Greatness, With a Long Wait”, February 20, 2010, Wall Street Journal

Yasiel Puig’s Overnight Success and All-Star Nomination

yasiel puig

If you don’t follow baseball, you may be unaware of the controversy simmering around Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig.  He came up from the minors less than two months ago, has played on a level comparable only to that of the early

Joe DiMaggio, and has singlehandedly (okay, with both hands) lifted the Dodgers from the ignominy of overpaid underperformer status into credible pennant contenders.  Fans nationwide gleefully wrote him onto the All-Star team by online ballot.

Puig has played fewer than 40 games in the Major Leagues.  The Dodgers, who had a lot of money, now have a lot less, because they agreed to pay him $42 million over seven years.

Old school baseball players and their managers take offense to the All-Star designation for a player who has barely gotten his uniform sweaty.  But the people want Puig, and Puig they shall have, when the All-Star Game takes place in New York next week.

Baseball traditionalists believe that All-Star status is something one earns over time.  Casual fans couldn’t care less about a player’s body of work; they’re just interested in stars, which Puig, at least for the short term, now is.  Sports talk radio commentators recognize that baseball has a phenomenon in Puig and that the All-Star game is a marketing showcase.  Failing to include Puig, therefore, would be an unpardonable offense.

Puig had the good fortune to come of age in the age of American Idol, when you can become a star literally overnight.  You don’t have to spend years paying dues; you just go viral.   Consider the difference between yesterday’s Frank Sinatra and today’s Psy.  Sinatra toured with big bands for years before he hit; Psy, the Korean voice of Gangnam Style (two billion YouTube hits and counting) became a planetary legend with one video.  If extraterrestrials exist, they are probably on Alpha Centauri doing the horse dance and singing, “Hey, sexy lady!”

And so it is in sports.  LeBron got his $60 million deal with Nike before he stepped on an NBA court.  Andrew Luck signed to quarterback the Indianapolis Colts for $22 million prior to throwing a single NFL pass.  And now Yasiel Puig has parlayed eight undeniably great weeks into eight figures.

The veteran players may or may not begrudge Puig the money; they definitely resent his sudden All-Star status.  That’s because they come from a world where what you do over a long period of time defines who you are.  Puig, baseball’s flavor of the month, leaves a sour taste in their mouths.

In baseball, hitters and pitchers “solve” one another.  Meaning that tendencies are analyzed and baseball experts do everything that can to drag outliers back to the mean.  In the sport’s language, the goal is to create a “book” on a player: identify his weaknesses and capitalize on them.  The fastball hitter may have trouble with a slider; a particular pitcher may struggle to keep the ball down.  Once word gets out, it’s much harder for a phenom to keep up that initial momentum.

This may or may not happen with Puig.  He could be the next Henry Aaron.  Or not.   He could also run into serious trouble.  If you listened to sports talk radio the week before the Dodgers elevated Puig to the majors, the topic was the fact that he had enormous trouble coping with authority.  Not quite “cancer in the clubhouse” material, but the verdict among baseball men was that he was too immature to handle the pressures of the big leagues.

So now they’re putting him front and center at the All-Star Game.

There’s something to be said for the old way of doing things, where you had to earn your stripes, pay your dues, work your way to the top.  That way allows people to make their mistakes in private, before all eyes are upon them.  Those of us who are a little older and come from that world are grateful that YouTube didn’t exist when we were in our twenties or Facebook when we were in our teens.  We’re very happy, thank you, that the mistakes we made in our callow years aren’t on our permanent technological record.

I have no problem with Puig playing in the All-Star Game; he’s definitely a star and baseball is the world’s worst sport at marketing itself.  We’ve just seen what happens to people, especially those in the public eye, who receive too much too soon.  From Aaron Hernandez (New England Patriot accused of homicide) to Lindsey Lohan (actress accused of everything), it often turns out that sudden success is no gift from the gods.

I wish Yasiel Puig the greatest of success, personally and professionally, not that he’s ever heard of me or cares about receiving my blessing.  I want him to stay on the baseball diamond and not the police blotter and enjoy his newfound celebrity.

It used to be that it took ten years to become an overnight success.  In today’s world, it can take ten years to get over having been one.

(New York Times best selling author Michael Levin runs www.BusinessGhost.com, America’s leading provider of ghostwritten books.)

What To Give Your Grad This June: A Taste Of Reality

graduation college debtParents want two things of their newly minted college graduate offspring:  that they get a job, and that they don’t move back home.  Here’s a short list of books guaranteed to get them off your couch and into the working world.   As a bonus, these books will also help replace the nonsense your kids “learned” in college with a short course in reality.

So here goes.

We’ll start with a dose of reality about the economy.  Keynes Hayek: The Clash that Defined Modern Economics, by Nicholas Wapshott (W.W. Norton, 2012).  John Maynard Keynes, British and well-spoken, advocated governments printing money in order to prime the economy.  Frederick Hayek, an Austrian who spoke English in an impenetrable manner, thought that governments shouldn’t interfere with the business cycle.  This intensely readable book will help your grad understand why we’re $20 trillion in debt, and maybe make him think twice about running up his shiny new MasterCard.

Next, spirituality.  Where Has Oprah Taken Us?: The Religious Influence of the World’s Most Famous Woman by Stephen Mansfield (Thomas Nelson, 2011).  Oprah’s tumultuous early life story and rejection of traditional Christianity, in a third of the pages Kitty Kelley requires.  More importantly, the book shows how Oprah essentially singlehandedly moved America from religion to a fascinating but often contradictory and uneasy blend of spirituality from a wide variety of New Age and Eastern sources, as administered by a coterie of Oprah-approved authors including Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Gary Zukav, Louise Hay, and Eckhart Tolle.  If your kid has a mishmash of spiritual ideas, this book will explain why.

Sticking with media for one more book:  Trust Me, I’m Lying:  Confessions of a Media Manipulator, by Ryan Holliday (Portfolio, 2012).  Why you can’t believe anything you read online or see in the news.  How manipulators (including the author, by his own admission) bend the rules of news delivery to cause you to believe whatever they want you to believe.  So freeing from the tyranny of media lies that it could also have called, “Our Eyeballs, Ourselves.”

Now, some good news.  According to Peter Diamandis, in his new book Abundance:  The Future Is Better Than You Think (Free Press, 2012), technology will move the “bottom billion” out of poverty in our lifetimes.  His thesis:  tech gurus got rich earlier in life than 19th century robber barons and therefore have the energy, technological know-how, money, and competitive nature to solve the problems of lack of access to clean water, healthcare, education, banking, and other vital needs.  Far more inspiring than if Chopra, Williamson, Zukav, Hay, Tolle, and the Dalai Lama themselves all came to your home, held your hands in theirs and sang “Kumbaya.”

More good news:  The Next Hundred Million:  America in 2050, by Joel Kotkin, (Penguin Press, 2010).  Here the happiness is sociological.  Post-Christian Europe isn’t getting married or having babies.  Scary China’s got all boys and no girls, so their workforce will age and their population will plummet.  Who will run the world in 40 years?  Why, America…where religion and values prevail, people are having lots of kids, and the suburbs and exurbs, not the dirty cities, hold our future. The book will show your kids that despite the left-wing critiques of America they received in college, we’ll still be the greatest nation in the world by the time they retire.         Of course, Social Security will have run out a long time ago, so financially, they’ll be on their own, but that’s not Joel Kotkin’s problem.

Next, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, by Charles Murray (Crown Forum, 2012).  We’re actually two nations, the controversial and irascible Murray argues, one comprised of super-Zip Codes, where highly educated people do yoga, run marathons, marry one another, know nothing of NASCAR, and send their kids to top universities, where they emulate their parents and punch their tickets for the economy’s top tier.  The other America:  working class towns where people get tattooed but not married; have babies but not jobs; and find no dignity in the kind of work with which their fathers supported their sorry behinds (e.g. factory jobs, night watchmen).  The result:  two economic classes pedaling rapidly in opposite directions, with dire results for our nation’s future.  Chilling and irrefutable.

Your kids love that new-fangled Internet, so let them also read The Master Switch:  The Rise And Fall Of Information Empires, by Columbia Law School prof Tim Wu (Alfred A. Knopf, 2010).  Wu shows how the Internet may well end up out of the hands of the people and under strict government and business control, as did the telephone, radio, and TV before it.  An intriguing guide to the intersection of power and technology.

Finally, what about love?  In a disposable culture, how can you make love last?  Ask John Grey.  Not the one who wrote Men Are From Mars.  The other John Grey, whose book, Relationship Tools For Positive Change (Leap Frog Press, 2005, is a must-read for people who want to keep their relationships longer than they keep their smartphone.  Fabulous, practical, necessary.

So there you have it.  A dose of reality for college grads, or for anyone who wants to understand what’s really happening in the world.  And if reality is too much, they can always just watch Oprah reruns on the couch in your basement.

(New York Times best selling author, Amazon Kindle Number 1 business book author, and Shark Tank entrepreneur Michael Levin runs BusinessGhost.com, America’s leading provider of ghostwritten books.)

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: [email protected]

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.



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/


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:[email protected]
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.


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:[email protected]

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


Asian Pacific Spring Festival 

Date: May 11, 2013

Times: 9AM to 5 PM

Address: Locke, California

Email address: [email protected]

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.



Inland Empire Reggae Music and Art Festival

Date: May 11, 2013

Times: 11 am to dusk

Address: NOS Event Center

Email: [email protected]

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


Strawberry Festival

Date: May 11-12, 2013

Address: Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville, CA

Email: [email protected]

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



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: [email protected]

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 [email protected]


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: [email protected]
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.


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: [email protected]
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: [email protected] (714) 827-0181
Attendance: 10,000+ over 3 days


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: [email protected]
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.


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: [email protected]
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.


Josua Tree Music Festival
Date: May 17-19, 2013
Time: 11am
Location: 2601 Sunfair Rd. Joshua Tree, CA
Email: [email protected]
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.


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: [email protected]

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.


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: [email protected]
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.



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.


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.


California West Coast Brew Festival
Date: May 18, 2013
Time: 1:00 – 4:00pm
Location: Miller Park 2790 Marina View Drive
Email: [email protected]
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


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: [email protected]

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/


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.


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:[email protected]

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


Campbell Boogie on the Bayou

Date: May 18-19, 2013

Time: 9am – 6pm

Address: Downtown, Campbell, California

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 650 348-7699

URL: www.caartists.com

Description: Arts & Crafts Festival


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: [email protected]

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 [email protected] 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)

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: [email protected]

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.


Mule Days Celebration

Date: May 21-26, 2013

Time: various times

Address: Bishop, CA

Email: mailto:[email protected]

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.”



Date: MAY 25, 2013
Email:[email protected]
Description: Kids Music Festival
Vendor Contact information: [email protected]


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


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: [email protected]

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/


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: [email protected]
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: [email protected]
Attendance: 20,000


San Ramon Art & Wind Festival

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

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: [email protected]



Larkspur Flower and Food Festival

Date: May 26, 2013

Location: Ferry Terminal

Address: Magnolia Avenue

Larkspur California

Email address: [email protected]

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



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!

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: [email protected]
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!

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