Campovida is the name Anna Beuselink and Gary Breen gave to the 51 acre Hopland property that had once been the site of the Fetzer Wine Hospitality Center. The property was owned by Brown-Forman, and while in negotiations to buy the property, Anna and Gary met Owsley Brown III, a Brown-Forman Brown, and the owner of Magnanimus Wines.
Campovida means Field of Life, and when I visited this week, every field, vineyard, and garden was bursting with life.
From Campovida’s website:
Campovida is a family owned and operated rustic farm and working vineyard. This unique place offers deep connections with nature, wine tasting, a professional culinary kitchen, a 10-room retreat center and multiple spaces for conversations both big and small. It’s a place where you can relax, enjoy and create your custom gatherings.
Come. Play. Stay. Explore.
Anna and Gary are not just the owners of Campovida, but see themselves as stewards as well.
Anna and Gary invited Owsley Brown III to move his Magnanimus Wines tasting bar and art gallery to the building at Campovida that previously housed Fetzer’s tasting room.
Magnanimus Wines has four wine labels, Ukiah Cellars and Talmage are made using sustainable practices, Old River is made organically, and Mendocino Farms is made bio-dynamically.
In the California county best known for green practices, all four labels of Magnanimus Wines are verdantly green.
The marriage of wine to place, Magnanimus to Campovida, Owsley to Anna and Gary provides a perfect synergism, the whole much greater and more pleasing than the parts.
I visited and wrote about Campovida and Magnanimus four months ago, was met by Megan Metz and tasted wines poured by Josh Metz, during a soft open coinciding with the Hopland Passport Weekend.
Here are my tasting notes from then:
2008 Ukiah Cellars Chardonnay, Beckstoffer and McDowell Vineyards, $16 – Clear, brilliant, pale gold. Apple & pear nose, tart fruit, but not aggressively tart. Light cream and vanilla apple flavors.
2006 Old River Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Ponderosa Vineyard (near Grass Valley in the Sierra Foothills), $19 – Nice, lush fruit. Supple and complex, approachable black berry fruit.
2006 Talmage Collection Pija Blend, Mattern Ranch, $25 – A field blend, roughly 50% Zin and 45% Petite Sirah (with a smidge, about 5% Charbono from Venturi Vineyards). Bright, lush, bursting fruit of cherry and berry, with integrated acid, oak, and tannin.
2006 Talmage Collection Syrah, Maria Vineyard, $32 – Dark purple, chewy cherry nose gives way to more full flavors of cocoa, black berry and currant.
2005 Mendocino Farms Redvine Series, Heart Arrow and Fairbairn Ranches, $25 -75% Cab, 13% Petite Syrah, and 12 % Syrah. Cab fruit is obvious. Blackberry rich. lush, juicy, soft, and delicious.
2005 Mendocino Farms Syrah, Fairbairn Ranch, $32 – Delicious burst of fruit, black berry and raspberry mix. Berry fruit medley. Lush, more than the typical Syrah.
2008 Mendocino Farms Zinfandel (Barrel Sample), Dark Horse Vineyard. – Really nice round fruit, accessible dark berry fruit. Incredible potential.
I tasted these again this week with John March, and must say that I LOVE the 2005 Mendocino Farms Redvine, it drank well then, and again now. Lush, velvety, plummy oak fruit, smoky oak, delicious. With apologies to Bambi lovers, I would love to pair this wine with venison.
I tasted a wine this week that I did not taste previously, a 2007 Mendocino Farms Grenache Rose Dark Horse Ranch. First, because it doesn’t taste like it, a warning: this little blush wine is packing nearly 16% alc by volume! The flavors include strawberry, vanilla and cream, and reminded me of commercial candy strawberry taffy. Genuinely tasty, and charming for being unique.
The Magnanimus Wines tasting bar and art gallery does indeed have art. With an intention to rotate artists every three or four months, or so, the Art of Jack Stuppin currently graces the walls of the main room. Available for purchase at prices ranging from $3,200 for a 15 x 10″ acrylic on canvas Cottonwood Abiqui to $40,000 for 44.5 x 63″ oil on canvas Summer, Elephant Mountain, Stuppin’s paintings are beautifully contained bursts of color capturing nature.
In an adjoining room, I found a bookcase with books going back to the Fetzer days, including books that I sold to Fetzer eight or nine years ago. It was all I could do to not “merchandise” the books for Magnanimus.
Ken Boek took me on a tour of the 13 acre organic gardens at Campovida four months ago, and while beautiful, the gardens were being brought back from years of neglect. I walked the gardens by myself this week and was stunned at the transformation, the reclamation, and by the lush bursting growth of the plants.
The gardens are overwhelmingly lush, scented powerfully with floral and vegetal notes. Apples fallen on a path make me yearn for some flour, sugar and an oven.
A wet beautifully earthy smell enveloped me, and I stopped to savor the primal sensualness of the aroma.
Birds rustled in the foliage. Spiders cast webs between branches.
I tasted the tartness of morning side blackberries and contrasted that with the fall apart over ripeness of the blackberries grown on the afternoon sun side of the same plant.
I breathed in, broke off and tasted fresh basil.
I love to cook, and ingredients matter. I was near flush with desire as I imagined the food I could create with the bounty from Campovida’s gardens.
Ken Boek will be leading a 1 1/2 hour tour of the gardens this, and every, Saturday at 1:30 pm. I can not encourage you strongly enough to take a guided tour with Ken.
I am excited beyond telling that Campovida intends to share the fruits of their gardens through a Community Supported Agriculture program at some point in the future.
Last year I wrote about my trip to Oregon, and gave a paragraph to seeing the film Julie & Julia.
That Friday night, after dinner, I went to the local drive in movie theater to see Julie and Julia, a lovely film that blends food, blogging, and a little romance. I loved this movie; but really, I’m a foodie, you’re reading my blog, and I am a huge romantic.
I have seen the movie twice since then, I just love the title characters. Amy Adams as Julie Powell and Meryl Streep as Julia Child. I don’t cry often, but this movie usually leaves me with tears running down my cheeks.
Anyway, I have seen movies outdoors at vineyards in Sonoma and Napa as part of the Wine Country Film Festival, I saw Julie & Julia outside at a drive-in, I love Campovida and a bunch of the Magnanimus Wines, so you can imagine my delight when I heard that Campovida is hosting a free outdoor movie night this Sunday with Julie & Julia.
Come out to Campovida this Sunday, September 5, 2010 to watch Julie & Julia under the wine arbor, stars and moon. The movie will be starting at sunset, about 7 p.m.-7:30 p.m., show up early, meet new friends, get comfortable. Bring a low chair, blanket, plan on dressing warm as it might get cool-cold, and don’t forget to bring a picnic dinner. Campovida is providing the place, the film, and popcorn. Magnanimus Wines will be selling wines by the glass $5-$7 or bottle $18-$25.