Simone Kiopizki  Good Times, Good Works Run          Together in Davis Estates Tour

 
by Mark and Joan Campagna, Redwood Members


Far north on the Silverado Trail lies Davis Estates, an impressive, new, state-of-the-art winery nestled among the sun-drenched hills of Calistoga, CA...just the type of countryside the Redwood Region Porsche Club has grown to know and love. We were here at the invitation of owners and Porsche enthusiasts Mike and Sandy Davis, who had joined us on our next to last seasonal run. A big THANKS goes out to them, and to their staff, for hosting such an enjoyable event and fundraiser. It was the perfect way to cap this early October Saturday morning run through Northern California wine country.
 
  Skies were grey - but not our spirits - as club members gathered at Vintage Oaks in Novato to prepare. The day ahead would be a double fundraiser. Proceeds from the first activity, our club's luncheon at Davis Estates, would be donated to CASA, a charity program long supported by our club that assists abused and neglected children in Sonoma county. That endeavor raised over $575.00. The second activity would be a raffle offered by Davis Estates in support of firemen injured in the Lake County fires.
 
  So in good spirits and for good cause we took to the road. My husband, Mark, and I, like the other Porsche drivers, were eager to put our precision machine to the test as we traversed Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties.  Hi-ho Silverado!
 
  From Vintage Oaks we made our way down 101S to CA-37E and CA-116E (Lakeville Highway), where we encountered some short-lived, low-hanging fog. As we turned left onto CA-121N, a zippy red Porsche Boxster pulled in front of us from a right-side merge lane and continued to follow our caravan. We wondered:  Was this a serendipitous encounter? Had a potential new member found us by chance? Answer:  No, just incredibly good timing by a member hoping to join our run in progress. Can you believe his luck?
 
CA-121N led us to Old Sonoma Road, which we took to avoid the congestion of lower CA-29. We were now about halfway through our 60-mile run.
 
  Using a combination of surface roads we continued across the valley floor through Sonoma towards Napa, arriving at the Silverado Trail. Following this historic road north for another 20 miles, we arrived at Davis Estates.
 
  Mike and Sandy Davis were there to greet us as we arrived and direct us to a large, airy, barn where we were offered tastings from the winery's cellar. While we were enjoying the first of many fruits from their fields, a fine sauvignon blanc, our hosts introduced us to the purpose and goal of this fundraiser for the Fire Family Foundation. Specifically for Lake County fire fighters, and other fire fighters, injured in the Lake County fires, with all proceeds going directly to the Foundation. Raffle prizes included a 1.5 liter of their Davis Estates cabernet sauvignon, and a 3-day, 2-night, stay for 3 couples at the Estate's guest house.
 
 A tour of the property and cellars was next, as Mike and Sandy walked us through their work-in-progress. Interestingly, the couple who brought the Davis's together with this property are club members John and Wynne Bergman, who share their enthusiasm for this unique spot. As new as some parts of this winery may be, there are buildings on the property that date back to the early 1900s; that have been lovingly, painstakingly restored. The blend of old and new works seamlessly here because each point of view informs and respects the other.

A wooden barn, circa 1920, refurbished plank by plank, is currently serving as a tasting room. In the barn a custom fireplace is housed in a replica of a 1900s boiler that is 6-7 feet in diameter. Hanging over the coffee table in front of the fireplace is a Big Ass fan. No, really, that's what it says on it, though it's probably referring to the length of the fan's blades, which are an impressive 6 feet long. A patio looks out onto a newly constructed, 260-foot deep well with an Aerometer windmill hand-crafted to match the aged barn. A turn of the century farm home has been transformed into a well-appointed guesthouse. In the hillside caves behind the buildings lies the foundation for a hexagonal, glass-walled, temperature-controlled, "Founders Club" room for members and special tastings.
Everywhere you look you see the effect of attention and detail and personality; if Mike is, in his words, the "mechanic," and Sandy the "artist," the synergy with which they work together is undeniable. Each attended college on a scholarship, each is a go-getter, each experienced an upbringing that valued hard work and tenacity. From starting Applied Computer Solutions together in their Huntington Beach garage in 1989, through Mike's adventures in auto racing, theirs is an engaging story.
 
  Cars, it turns out, are a life-long interest for Mike. He raced professionally in Trans Am and World Challenge, and for a time built his own racecars and funded the accompanying support teams and facilities. His older son is a currently a professional racecar driver.  His younger son is entering the "other" family business and is an operations manager at the winery. With a family as motivated as this one, there is no question this winery will be ready for its grand opening in May 2016.
 
  And speaking of ready, our group was, returning to the warehouse to a refreshing buffet, more wine, and the raffle drawing. Our luncheon included tri-tip, chicken, mixed veggies, pesto pasta salad, garlic bread, and cheesecake. The 1.5 liter of wine was won by Mike and Brenda Hinton, who live so close they're almost neighbors. The guesthouse stay was won - in another "can you believe it?" moment - by yours truly, Mark and Joan. We intend to share the gift with others in the spirit in which it was won. That raffle raised $860.00 for the Fire Family Foundation.