Tuesday, July 13th, 2010
After five years of sitting fallow, the once-glorious organic food and wine center, Fetzer Valley Oaks, is humming back to life with a new name and new owners. Purchased from Brown-Forman in April, husband and wife team, Gary Breen and Anna Beuselinck, have rechristened the 51-acre Hopland property Campovida, meaning “field of life.” The revamped center is scheduled to open officially in late summer, including a tasting room, biodynamic gardens, a wedding and event center with private on-site lodging, and a retail store.
First opened in 1983, the original center attracted the attention of chef-greats Emeril Lagasse, Julia Child and John Ash, who were all among its culinary visitors. The center closed in 2006 after the Fetzer’s parent ownership decided the expansive center was too much of a financial drain on the company.
New owners have already spent more than a year renovating the gardens and outbuildings that sat unused for half a decade. The 12-acres of biodynamic gardens that once boasted more than 2,000 varieties of fresh fruit, herbs, vegetables and edible flowers had become wildly overgrown, but Fetzer vineyardist Ken Boek has been instrumental in recovering the gardens he once maintained.
Magnanimus Wine Group, also calling themselves Mendocino Farms for this project, have been tapped to manage food and wine activities at the property including wine-tasting from their own stable of organic, sustainable and biodynamic wines, selling local artisan products, providing organic vineyard and garden tours and hosting wine and food related events at the property. Magnanimus Wine Group produces about 10,000 cases of sustainable, organic and biodynamic wines annually from its four labels, Mendocino Farms, Old River Vintners, Talmage Selection and Ukiah Cellars.
The tasting room soft-opens this month, but the property will kick into full swing with culinary events, classes and programs this fall. For more information, go to campovida.com.