JARR seized the opportunity and launched its Moonshot, a bold, capital campaign to raise $10 million to build the facility which famed architect Howard Backen will design.
If we can put humans on the moon, then certainly we can build a sustainable ranch and solution center for animals in Napa Valley. That was the message Monica and David Stevens, founders of Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch (JARR), not-so-subtly delivered to their guests at WineaPAWlooza 2019, a memorable, 2-day affair that fittingly took place during the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s moon landing. JARR seized the opportunity and launched its Moonshot, a bold, capital campaign to raise $10 million to build the facility which famed architect Howard Backen will design. Under the stars at the beautiful Tusk estate high in the hills of Oakville, I sat in astonishment when a $1 million pledge from donors wishing to remain anonymous was announced to get the ball rolling for Lot 17 in the live auction, JARR’s Moonshot. Please go to www.jamesonanimalrescueranch.org to learn about this campaign and plans to replicate the center across the country.
The generosity of the people of Napa Valley never ceases to amaze me. On this evening, vintner Michael Uytengsu opened up his private estate, which he calls Papa’s Perch in honor of his late father, for the first time for a charity event. We were welcomed with Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé, which we sipped while enjoying the jaw-dropping views of the valley before strolling into the cave for a grand tasting featuring several wines handcrafted by winemaker extraordinaire Philippe Melka. Vintners, including Robin Lail, Bret Lopez, Dario Sattui, David Long and Lawrence Fairchild, mingled with fellow animal lovers and other wine glitterati. I chatted with David Griffin, the new general manager of the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, and his wife, Meredith. David then introduced me to former Los Angeles Laker Josh Hart, whom he had traded for earlier in the month. The GM told Josh I was a Lakers beat writer back in the 90’s—when David worked in the PR department of the Phoenix Suns (and Josh was an infant). Such a small world!
We returned outside for a five-course, plant-based dinner created by top chef Casey Thompson and supported by Estate Events by Meadowood. The array of wines included a delicious 2012 Limited Edition Tusk poured from 3-liter bottles and a 2015 Lindstrom Pinot Noir, which I must add to my wine collection. Auctioneer Fritz Hatton cajoled attendees to dig deep for animals—and they did. One winning bidder shelled out $70,000 for a double magnum (3L) of 1998 Screaming Eagle from the founder’s cellar. Another guest, for $90,000, purchased the Beckstoffer Bonanza, an enviable collection of 30 magnums of Beckstoffer-bred wine, including a few Alpha Omega wines, donated from the personal cellar of grape grower Andy Beckstoffer, who attended with his lovely wife, Betty. What a special evening this was. Unfortunately, a conflicting event at Alpha Omega winery kept me from attending the second night of WineaPAWlooza so I missed walking my chihuahua, Honey, whom I adopted from JARR, in the legendary pet parade at One Hope Estate in Rutherford.
July is one of the months where there is way too much going on in Napa Valley with the amazing, 10-day Festival Napa Valley occupying one third of it. The festival’s finale at Alpha Omega was especially entertaining with a performance by singer Robyn Adele Anderson, who adds her vintage flair to renditions of songs from across many musical genres. I’m now addicted to this YouTube sensation’s channel.
I didn’t slow down in early August. It was impossible to with the V Foundation Wine Celebration, which raised $7 million for the V Foundation for Cancer Research, taking place. An energetic concert by The Struts on the lawn at Domaine Chandon and a fun silent disco following the Rock the V party the next night deprived me of my beauty sleep, but it was worth it. I hope to see you at some of the exciting fundraisers this harvest season.