S E C T I O N
New restaurants, recipe ideas, and profiles of local chefs. N March 3, 2010 ALSO
C O M M U N I T Y 1 8 | R E A L E S TAT E 2 4 | C L A S S I F I E D S 2 1
New Life in the Vineyard Woodside ‘garagistes’ turn acreage to vines, and offer small-production pinot noir to their community By Renee Batti
Almanac News Editor
aul Smith of Woodside describes himself as a man who, looking for love, found much more — “an entirely new life.” That’s hard to dispute. Born in England, he has lived in this country since attending business school at MIT in the mid-1980s. Although he considered himself a “social drinker” in the past, his taste for good wine didn’t approach that of the aficionados he would meet after moving to California in the late 1990s. Now, the former New York advertising executive not only has a deep appreciation for refined wine, he is making it, “garagiste” style. He makes pinot noir from the grapes he and his wife, Robin — whom he met after moving West, and yes, that’s the love connection — planted on four lots at their Phillip Road property about 10 years ago, two years after they
‘The wines were very affordable, and the communities supported the winemakers in their region. We liked the family aspects of winemaking, and hence the idea to do it ourselves in Woodside.’ PAUL SMITH, ON THE “GARAGISTE” WINEMAKERS THE SMITHS ENCOUNTERED IN EUROPE.
bought the land and built their home. Last year, the Smiths began selling their wine under the label GBH Vineyard, named for the great blue heron “who assists us with gopher management from time to time,” Mr. Smith notes. The wine, a 2007 pinot noir, is sold only in Woodside, he says, in keeping with “garagiste” practice. “Robin and I had traveled through France, Spain, and Italy, and were always impressed with the ‘garagiste’ winemakers we found — small family-owned wineries (that) farmed their estate-grown varietals and sold primarily in their local towns,” he explains. “The wines were very affordable, and the communities supported the winemakers in their region. We liked the family aspects of winemaking, and hence the idea to do it ourselves in Woodside.” Mr. Smith says the wine can be found at the Little Store, the Woodside Bakery, and Buck’s restaurants, and at Roberts market (Woodside only). With a little help from ...
The Smiths may have been new to Woodside when they were ready to plant their vines, but they were already familiar enough with the community to know whom to turn to for help. “Bob Mullen (founder and then-owner of Woodside Vineyards) got us started,” Mr. Smith says. The terroir — soil, location, climate — was thought to be “terrific for pinot noir,” he says. Mr. Mullen planted the vines and did some initial maintenance, “but after some training and vineyard work, I felt very comfortable doing it myself,” Mr. Smith says, adding that the personal,
Photos by Michelle Le/The Almanac
Top photo: The great blue heron graces the labels of GBH Vineyard pinot noir; above, winemaker Paul Smith has turned the spacious garage in his Woodside home into a “garagiste” winery.
“hands-on” approach to working the vines greatly appealed to him. The four blocks of vines are French Cote d’Or clones, and the soil in which they grow is stony and well-drained, Mr. Smith says. He and Robin both work full time as executives in the technology world, he says, but they gladly find the time to tend to their family business, with Mr. Smith working the vineyard and making the wine, and Ms. Smith marketing the wine and working with designers to produce the labels. Using French oak barrels for fermentation, Mr. Smith makes wine in the large garage of their home. He works “with a light hand,” he says, which lets the terroir of lower Phillips
Road speak through the wine. The 2007 harvest produced 100 cases, and Mr. Smith hopes future harvests will provide enough fruit for 125 cases. Mr. Smith has found more than the soil on Phillip Road rich and fertile. The experiences of his new life as a vintner on the West Coast have proven to be rich enough to write a book about. And that’s what he’s doing. With “The Accidental Vintner Passing Through Woodside,” Mr. Smith says he will describe life among the vines and in the bucolic town he now calls See VINEYARD, next page
March 3, 2010 N The Almanac N 17
C O M M U N I T Y
ADVERTISEMENT FOR BIDS TOWN OF ATHERTON STATE OF CALIFORNIA GARDEN ROOM RENOVATION PROJECT NO. 09-025 Notice is hereby given that SEALED BIDS will be received at the ofﬁce of the City Clerk, 91 Ashﬁeld Road, Atherton, California 94027, until 3:00 p.m. April 15, 2010, at which time they will be publicly opened and read, for performing the following work: Renovation of the Garden Room, located at the Holbrook-Palmer Park Main House. Renovation shall include demolition, painting, installing ﬂooring, cabinets, and doors, upgrading electrical, relocating utilities. The Engineer’s Estimate for the project is: $53,317 Bids must be for the entire work, and shall be submitted in sealed envelopes clearly marked: ”Bid of (Contractor) for GARDEN ROOM RENOVATION, Project No. 09-025”, along with date and time of bid opening. VOLUNTARY PRE-BID MEETING ON MARCH 24, 2010 at Garden Room of Holbrook-Palmer Park Main House, 150 Watkins Ave., Atherton, CA 94027 at 2 p.m. Plans and speciﬁcations may be obtained at the Town of Atherton Public Works Department, 91 Ashﬁeld Road, Atherton CA 94027, for a non-refundable fee of $30.00. Additional important information is contained in Town of Atherton Standard Speciﬁcations, which are available for an additional $20.00. If shipping is requested, there will be an additional charge of $20.00. Bids must be accompanied by a bid security in the form of cash, a cashier‘s or certiﬁed check or bid bond for not less than ten percent (10%) of the amount of the bid, as a guarantee that the bidder, if awarded the Contract, will fulﬁll the terms of the bid. The Town of Atherton reserves the right to reject any and all proposals and/or to waive any irregularities therein. Bidders are hereby notiﬁed that, pursuant to California Civil Code Sections 3247 and 3248 and Standard Speciﬁcations Section 3.02, the successful bidder will be required to provide payment and performance bonds in the amounts stated in Section 3.02 of the Standard Speciﬁcations. Bidders are hereby notiﬁed that provisions of California Labor Code regarding prevailing wages are applicable to the work to be performed under this contract. Pursuant to Section 1773 et seq. the general prevailing wage rates have been determined by the Director of the California Department of Industrial Relations and appear in the California Prevailing Wage Rates. Copies are on ﬁle at the ofﬁce of the City Engineer and are available to interested parties upon request. The successful bidder shall post a copy of the wage rates at the job site. The Contractor may elect to receive 100 percent of payments due under the contract, without retention of any portion of the payment by the Town of Atherton, by depositing securities of equivalent value to the retention amount in accordance with the provisions of Section 22300 of the California Public Contracts Code. The successful bidder must be licensed under the provisions of Chapter 9, Division 3, of the California Business and Professions Code to do the type of work contemplated in the project at the time the contract is awarded and shall be skilled and regularly engaged in the general class or type of work called for under the Contract. Failure of the bidder to obtain proper and adequate licensing for an award of the contract shall constitute a failure to execute the contract and result in the forfeiture of the bidder‘s bid security. Each bidder shall submit with this bid a statement setting forth his/her/its experience and qualiﬁcations. The statement shall be made on the forms provided by the Town and must accompany each bid. The three lowest bidders will be required to submit subcontractor‘s experience and qualiﬁcations statements within 48 hours of the bid opening, on forms provided by the Town. By submitting a bid in response to this advertisement for bids, the bidder shall be conclusively deemed to have read, understood and agreed with all of the information and materials contained in the bid documents, including but not limited to the construction contract, the standard speciﬁcations, the special provisions, the required nature and amount of insurance and the documentation evidencing said insurance. Any questions regarding the project should be directed to David Huynh, Project Engineer, telephone: (650) 752-0555 or by written Requests for Information (RFI) to: Public Works Department, 91 Ashﬁeld Road, Atherton, CA 94027, preferably no later than ﬁve days before bid opening. RFIs may be emailed to email@example.com or faxed to (650) 688-6539. For information on obtaining Plans and Speciﬁcations, Standard Speciﬁcations or obtaining a Plan Holders list, please call Judy Bellmont at (650) 752-0570.
18 N The Almanac N March 3, 2010
___________________________________ Duncan L. Jones, P.E., City Engineer
Our so-called lives: Is techno-chatter replacing relationships? By Samantha Bergeson
t is said that life is what happens when we are too busy texting friends, e-mailing clients, and arranging birthday parties — or something of the sort. High school itself seems to be lost in such a country. Data from Nielsen Co. surveys shows that the average teenager types more than 80 text messages a day. How many moments are we missing of living? In this technological age, life is not fully being experienced, and is instead replaced with abbreviations of emotions, a “LOL” instead of hearing someone laugh. Classmates now meet first on Facebook, the magic of introductions lost. Our lives are being consumed by the loss of instant moments, of true personal connections and simple communication. Such a lack of contact between people is diminishing relationships, particularly among the young. Many of today’s youth do not recall a time without a small, handheld cell phone. According to the New York Times, texting, Twittering, and other “social media” threaten to
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home, where people he has encountered include “a crazy old winemaker,” and characters he labels “gopher man” and “the landscape lothario.” Other pursuits
The Smiths’ large home and surrounding fertile property make pursuing their other many interests easier. Cooking is a shared passion for Robin and Paul, and their spacious, well-equipped kitchen allows them to engage in sophisticated cooking projects, and some friendly competition. After becoming enamored with the Iron Chef cooking program on television, the couple decided to create their own kitchen contest. For the first event, they asked their two sons to judge, which didn’t have the best of consequences. “My wife was very annoyed that I won, considering she had jumped in to help me remake a pate choux (my first effort failed),” Mr. Smith writes in an e-mail. Since then, they’ve turned the “contest” into a judging of their teamwork in the kitchen, with the boys, now 14, still participating.