Design, Fountain of Youth, Galleria, Happiness Project, Winery

Our First Class

It has been my dream for a long time now to have a campus. A place where people could come and learn. It didn’t necessarily need to be a college campus or even high school, but where all ages could learn something. One of the aspects of my dream was realized on Saturday. We had a paint and sip class, and more Saturday classes are coming. Here are some photos of the space where learning takes place…

The indoor space is 1700 square feet, and the outdoor patio area is 3500 square feet. We are calling the space “Casa Dell Arte” where we are going to offer more than just painting, but also craft classes, yoga, dance, and a chance for others to share insight. If they want to come in and lecture or give a presentation of some kind, we can offer our space as a place where learning can take place. Art is important for our well being. Skye was a great teacher for the class, she even allowed us to deviate from the original, and we could make our art piece any color we wanted. I am so looking forward to sharing this space with others, and seeing people learn art, and so much more.

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One Big Heifer

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Here is Sabrina with Luna. Sabrina won second place with her heifer this year. She plans on taking two cows to fair next year. She will take another heifer, and a steer. Taking care of her animals takes a lot of time and dedication. I’m so proud of her, she is living her dream of being a farmer. She has said since she was little, she wanted to be a farmer.

Just recently, she said “Do you realize that I am living my dream?” I told her that I was so happy that she realized that she is living her dream.

Congratulations, Sabrina!

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A Place of Reflection

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Finally, the Mission paintings and a few nuns are in the same place. I like this grouping. Six  of the paintings in the grouping are from the 1800’s and the others are fairly modern paintings. Some were purchased in art galleries, and a few from antique stores. Sometimes, when I buy paintings, I search with a subject in mind, and other times the painting is one of those that I just can’t go home without that day. Knowing that if I wait too long it won’t be there.

Week after week, I will go though, and tell you a little bit about each of the paintings on the wall. I do love the Missions here in CA, and they each have their own interesting history.

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Locatelli Vineyards and Winery

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If you are looking for a quaint, boutique winery, a little off of the beaten path, then Locatelli Vineyards & Winery is for you.  They do not boast an expansive tasting room or parties every Friday, but what they can give you is a very personal wine experience involving their premium Estate grown wines.  The inside of their intimate tasting room is reminiscent of something you would find in the hills of Italy with the aged walls & rustic wood trimmed windows.

 

The owners/operators of Locatelli Vineyards & Winery are Louis & Raynette Gregory.  Both are former residents of Visalia which is in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley.  Louis & Raynette owned & operated Applied Geometrix engineering business in Kingsburg, California.  In 1996, they looked to the Central Coast to buy property wishing to switch occupations to the world of farming & enology.  They found their 100 acre property just north of Paso Robles, nestled in the picturesque Santa Lucia foothills overlooking the beautiful Salinas River Valley & Historic Old Mission San Miguel.  With the help of Raynette’s father Reuben Gruber, the property was transformed from cattle land to 40 acres of premium wine grapes.  Reuben continued to manage & oversee the wine grapes until 2001 when Louis & Raynette, with their young family of 5, moved permanently to Locatelli Vineyards.

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That same year Locatelli Vineyards became Locatelli Vineyards & Winery.  The entire winemaking process from start to finish is accomplished by Louis Gregory with additional recruitments for crush & bottling. Raynette can usually be found in the office or tasting room managing the remaining duties of the business and occasionally you’ll find her in the winery helping out as cellar rat.
The vineyard varietals consist mainly of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petite Sirah with additional plantings to Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, and Malbec.  This gives Louis the flexibility to develop new blends as well as some traditional ones.  Their most popular blend is currently a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend called Cielo Rosso (translated from Italian, meaning Red Heaven).

In 2007 Locatelli sought to provide wine to Old Mission San Miguel as a means for fundraising after the 2003 San Simeon earthquake.  With the help of Fr. Larry Gosselin, OFM, one of the resident friars at the time, a new label was created with the first release being a 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon featuring St. Francis of Assisi.  Since that time, two other labels were created to expand the collection, one picturing St. Clare and one of St. Michael. Their current releases in the Mission collection consist of 2011 Sauvignon Blanc (St. Clare), 2013 Muscat Canelli (St. Michael), and 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (St. Francis).  With every Mission label wine sold Locatelli Winery donates a portion of the proceeds to the preservation of Old San Miguel Mission.  To date, they have donated over $15,000 to this great cause.

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The vineyards & winery are named after Louis’ Great Grandfather, Cesare Locatelli, as a tribute to him & their heritage, as well as others, who have come before them making the long journey to America.  Louis’ inspiration for becoming a winemaker also came from his Great Grandfather learning grandpa was a winemaker, although not commercially.  You can read more about the family’s heritage and Mission San Miguel on Locatelli Winery’s website, www.locatelliwinery.com.

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Currently, the tasting room is open from 11 am – 4 pm Friday through Sunday. The family invites you to come and “Experience the Taste of Tradition.” Salut!

Happiness Project

Graveyard Vineyards

Approaching Graveyard Vineyards, there is no getting past the fact that on the left hand side is an old graveyard. I love the fact that Rob and Paula embraced the graveyard, and just ran with it. Anyway, the speed limit going up to the top oaf the hill is 13 MPH. Most people have the speed limit at 10 or 15, because dust kills vines.

Once the top of the hill is reached, the lake is what most people will notice right off the bat. It is beautiful, and there is even an inviting dock that extends well into the water. There is an awning that covers part of the patio, as well as lights that are for night time excitement at the Graveyard. Under the awning are many white rocking chairs awaiting guests to partake in communication and wine. Closer to the water are several tables, and chairs.

The views of the vineyards are spectacular, and the wind blowing through the pine tree almost sounds as though someone is whispering. So much to enjoy, and unique character here to partake with friends and family.

Once inside, there is so much to see. The huge coffin, and then there are the little coffins that hold a delicate shipment of wine for the wine club members. There are gifts, foods, and clothing that the living can purchase.

I’m not sure about the procedures for spirits. You’ll have to ask on your visit. I highly recommend the Viognier, very delicious…to die for. 😉

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Villa at San Marcos Creek

Last month, I made it my goal to finish the house in less than 90 days. I still need to get the rails to two beds. You would think that “standard rails” are easy to find, but everyone has to order them. UGH! Why are they called “standard”?

The great room, with views into the kitchen, dining room, and the bar.

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Venus Has Left the Farm

Venus was the heifer that Sabrina took to fair. The fair takes so much time out of the summer. She had to take the time to find the cow, pay to get her pregnant, then take care of her all the time before fair.

I recently told her, “you are living your dream.” She said…”I just realized the same thing the other day.” Since she was little, she has wanted to be a farmer. I would even question her over and over thinking that she would be swayed from “farming”, but she never wavered. I still relish the moments at the table when she and my son would argue over what they would sell to each other. Her with her farm, and his vineyard and winery.

I’m so proud that she sold her first cow. We are going to start looking for a herd of cows.

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This is Venus after her shower, the day she was sold.

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Cow Parade SLO

When I was attending the Mid State Fair in 2015 I saw an artist working on a cow. She was painting a fiberglass cow, and I had to know more. I went over to the table to find out more about the cow, and how I could acquire one. The cost was out of our price range, but that didn’t stop me from keeping that paper. I held on to the dream of having a cow. We were only in escrow for the winery, but we knew that owning a winery isn’t going to pay for art.

Almost a year later, I was told by a friend that there were a few Mini Moo’s, so I placed a phone call to find out how I could get one of these cows. This is the biggest public arts display in the world. Pretty impressive, and I had to be a part of it.

There was a vast array of artists that were all very talented! I saw the vision of Julie Dickey and Sandy Stevens, that was the one!

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It’s a bummer that I can’t show you real photos of the progress, but they do update everyone on Facebook. Here is the link to their site The Passionate Hearts, so you can learn more about these fascinating women. If you join them on Facebook and Instagram, you will also see their progress.

If you are interested in the whole CowParadeSLO project, click on the link. We are so proud to bring art, charity, and wine together.

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Villa San Juliette

I love visiting Villa San Juliette, they are the neighbors of Ranchita Canyon Vineyard. The beauty there is magnificent, the grounds evoke an image of European splendor. The artistically rendered gates open at 11am, the driveway is punctuated by cypress tress, and olive trees. The statuary, and landscape transport your soul to a place of divine harmony. I feel as though I am in an ancient Roman painting…bring on the banquet!

I have visited VSJ many times, but have never had the opportunity to meet the two gentlemen that own the winery. Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe  are the owners, and I am told that the two met as schoolmates in Liverpool and a friendship bloomed. Both young men loved to entertain and as they grew into adulthood, this shared passion led to careers that often intersected,  as dancers, then as choreographers and as producers of entertainment enjoyed by millions of people all over the world.

Despite their demanding schedules, in 2004 these two friends made time to catch up over a dinner in Las Vegas. They asked the sommelier to surprise them with a bottle of Cab, and, when both glasses were poured, the conversation took a momentous turn. The wine was spectacular, spurring an interest in the Paso Robles AVA that would grow into a love affair. And thus, in that first sip, the dream of Villa San-Juliette Vineyard & Winery was born.

Smitten as they were, just one year later Ken and Nigel purchased a pastoral 168-acre property located at the northern edge of the Paso Robles AVA in the small town of San Miguel, California. A healthy vineyard was already established across rolling slopes and ideal soils, so Ken and Nigel directed their energies towards enhancing the natural beauty of the vineyard with a tasting room styled after the Tuscan villas that Nigel had enjoyed during trips to Italy.

Ken and Nigel’s belief in Paso Robles wine country comes to fulfillment in Villa San-Ju- liette’s comfortable tasting room, superb wines, and idyllic vineyard views.

The two are the producers of American Idol. They also produce many other talent shows, as well as own the winery. In 2013 the winery became SIP certified, which is no easy feat. One must be able to demonstrate their sustainability, water, animal conservation, soil health, and the overall carbon footprint are measured.

Their wines have won several awards too, so it’s so worth a visit. Every time I have visited, I have been fascinated by what appears to be a sculptured wind vane. I recently was told that the “Fat Monk” is a second label. I can’t personally attest to it’s yumminess, but the Fat Monk looks super cool.