Friends of the Vineyards joined with Friends of Tesla Park and numerous other organizations to oppose the expansion of the Carnegie Off-Highway Vehicle Park into the Tesla Area. During 2016, FOV was involved in the effort to challenge the severely flawed Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared by the State Off-Highway Vehicle Division. We submitted comments to both the draft and final EIRs. FOV President Tammy Reus attended and spoke at the hearing before the OHV Commission. The Commissioners voted to approve the EIR, which was not a surprise. The EIR is now being challenged in court by the Friends of Tesla Park, Alameda County, and three other organizations. FOV is supporting this effort through financial contributions to assist with the litigation.
In related developments, the current legislation governing the state Off-Highway Vehicle parks is due to expire at the end of 2017. There are competing bills making their way through the legislature to address the program. The much-needed reform legislation supported by FOV is called SB 249. The authors of the reform legislation are:
· Association of Responsible Recreation (ARR) · California Native Plant Society · California Wilderness Coalition (CalWild) · Center for Biological Diversity · Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation · Defenders of Wildlife · Friends of Tesla Park · Sierra Club California · The Wilderness Society · Tuleyome
SB 249 addresses resource protection, the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Division integration with the State Parks Department, fuel tax funding, enforcement, and the future sunset of the bill. While we hope there can be technical amendments and corrections made before the legislative committee process begins, this bill nonetheless represents a positive step for resource protection and rational state policy if enacted. FOV will let you know how you can help as the legislative process moves forward.
Alameda County Urban Growth Boundary The Fight to Protect it in 2016
In 2016, Friends of the Vineyards opposed the issuance of a conditional use permit for a religious facility on a parcel outside the Alameda County Urban Growth Boundary. It is our position that the use violates County Measure D, which precludes urban land uses outside the urban growth boundary.
Friends of the Vineyards joined with Friends of Livermore and the Sierra Club to oppose the application before the County Board of Supervisors. Friends of the Vineyards Directors Monica DePalmo and Meredith Sarboraria attended the hearing and spoke on behalf of FOV. Despite our best efforts, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the permit with conditions, including a requirement that a portion of the property be devoted to agricultural use.
Friends of the Vineyards is working with the Tri-Valley Conservancy to monitor the property and ensure that the conditions are being met. Up to now, the County Board has voted to strictly enforce Measure D, but their action has now set a precedent to allow unauthorized uses outside the urban growth boundary. This decision may lead others to apply for exceptions to Measure D requirements. We are very concerned about this prospect and will seek to follow this issue closely.
2016 Members' Holiday Party December 18th, 2016 2pm Mertes Center for the Arts, Las Positas College
The FOV Holiday Party was a joyous success with wine, and music by violinist Jim Hurley.
The party was held at Las Positas College Mertes Center for the Arts, which was fitting as we tasted wine made from the college along with wines from Rodrigue Molyneaux Winery, owned by our board member Nancy Rodrigue, and Rubino Winery, owned by Mike Callahan. All wines were graciously donated by winemakers.
Eighty members and guests came together on a beautiful winter day to celebrate the season and were treated to an afternoon of delectable appetizers and desserts provided by the board.
Raffle winners won wine packages: a Wente Vintage Poster and a handmade quilt. Proceeds from the event were donated to the Las Positas Viticulture & Enology program and Friends of Tesla Park.
2016 Tri-Valley Conservancy's Jeans & Jewels Fundraiser November 4th, 2016 Casa Real Event Center Pleasanton, CA
Friends of the Vineyards board members attended TVC's big yearly fundraiser, Jeans & Jewels. This year's theme was All That Jazz, and featured food stations and cocktails local to New Orleans. Attendees wore New Orleans jazz and Mardi Gras inspired attire (and, of course, lots of jeans and gobs of jewels!).
The event was MC'ed by CBS 5 News's Roberta Gonzales, and included a rousing live auction and cocktail hour/silent auction. Funds raised go to supporting Tri-Valley Conservancy's efforts to preserve private and public open space in the Tri-Valley.
If you have never attended, this event is typically held during the first week of November each year. Visit TVC's website to purchase tickets
This year's Twilight Tasting was a fantastic time! Thanks to all who came out and helped raise money for our Viticulture & Winery Technology scholarships at Las Positas College.
We had wonderful handmade crafts and cheesecakes for sale, a portion of the profits from the sales of which went to the scholarship funds.
Of course, we also want to thank Page Mill Winery, who not only hosted the event again, but donated tips and tasting fees to the scholarship funds.
Congratulations to the winners of our raffles: Mark Sutherland, who won a vintage Wente poster from the early 80s; and Rich & Ana Butler and Jean King, who all won wine baskets from Page Mill Winery!
This year, we raised $688 for the College program. Next year, we will be awarding two $750 scholarships to students in the program.
Join us again next year!
Sycamore Grove Hike & Wente Caves Tour June 26th, 2016
Our Sycamore Grove hike and Wente Cave tour was a rousing success!
We would like to say thank you to Ranger Pat for the interesting and educational hike of the new stretch of trail going from the Arroyo Road entrance to the staging area of the back side of Lake Del Valle. Check it out yourself sometime!
We would also like to thank the wonderful people at Wente Vineyards for providing us with the tour and history of the wine caves, and the scrumptious lunch! We also welcomed several new members who joined because of this event, so thank you, as well!!! Stay tuned for information on our next event, the Twilight Tasting Fundraiser at Page Mill Winery on September 22nd, benefiting the Viticulture & Enology program at Las Positas College.
Wine Country Festival April 30th-May 1st, 2016
Our booth at the Livermore Wine Country Festival April 30-May 1st was a great success! We had a blast at the Livermore Wine Country Festival on April 30th & May 1st! The weather was just about perfect, and we got to talk to lots of Tri-Valley citizens and spread the word about our mission. Thanks to the generosity of local producers such as Green Soap Bath Shoppe, Eight Bridges Brewery, and Rodrigue Molyneaux, as well as our own board directors, we were able to put together an impressive gift basket of local Tri-Valley products. A drawing was held for all those who signed up with us during the weekend. Because of this enticing basket, we were able to add 8 new members and over 40 newsletter recipients! We are excited to announce that the winner of the basket was a new member, Susan George! Congratulations and welcome, Susan! Thank you to all members who came by to say hi, and welcome to all new members. Your contribution and interest in what we do helps immensely!
Tesla Park: Update on the Environmental Impact Report by the CA Dept. of Parks and Recreation
The proposed final EIR for the Carnegie Park General Plan update was released in January 2016. The EIR failed to adequately address or mitigate most of the environmental impacts identified in the comments submitted by numerous organizations and individuals. FOV has submitted an additional comment letter to respond to the defects in the report and spoke in opposition to the final EIR at the public hearing held in Tracy on February 5th. A final decision is expected later this year. For more information, visit www.teslapark.org.
FOV Board News
January 2016 Election Results Patty Bias was re-elected to the board and is continuing as our Membership Chair. Don Milanese was re-elected to the board and is continuing as our Treasurer.
New 2016 Board Members
Congratulations and Welcome!
Annual Meeting, January 28th, 2016
Thank you to all who came out to our Annual Meeting! The meeting began with President Tammy Reus and Treasurer Don Milanese giving a report on the successes of 2015, including our kick-off event for the Livermore Reads Together Community Program and our fall wine tasting at Page Mill Winery to raise money for our scholarship program. We were also able to announce the results of our board elections with the reinstatement of Don Milanese as Treasurer and Patty Bias as Board Director. During the meeting, the attendees were invited to speak their mind by filling out a survey ranking the types of membership events that are most important to them. We heard your opinions, and #1 was a land tour and picnic. The highlight of the meeting was a presentation by FOV board member Nancy Rodrigue joined by Celeste Garamendi on behalf of Friends of Tesla Park. They reminded us how precious and unique the Tesla Area is with a wonderful slide show and updated us on the status of the pending plan to expand the Carnegie Park off-road vehicle recreation area into this environmental gem. For more information about the plan, click here. Following the presentation, the meeting was adjourned and everyone enjoyed wine and snacks. It was a great way to start off the new year for FOV!
2015 Holiday Party December 13th, 2015
Friends of the Vineyards capped off 2015 with another successful holiday party. The FOV Holiday Party, an annual tradition, was a rousing success with wine, food, and music shared by all. The party was held at the Ruby Hill Clubhouse. Although it was cold and damp outside, the festivities indoors warmed body and spirit! Eighty members and guests came together to celebrate. The venue was decorated with pine cones, greenery, and seasonal lighting and colors. An abundant buffet of delicious food was served along with wines from Rodrigue Molyneaux Winery, owned by our board member Nancy Rodrigue, and Villa per Due winery, owned by board member Norm Petermeier. The attendees were serenaded with violin music performed by Jim Hurley while they celebrated the season. As usual, a good time was had by all! If you haven't yet had the opportunity to attend this event, we hope you will be able to make it this year.
Scholarship Fundraiser at Page Mill Winery October 22, 2015
Our Twilight Tasting Event at Page Mill Winery was a great success! We raised over $1000 for our scholarship program for students in the Las Positas College Viticulture and Enology Program.
Special thanks to Page Mill and the vendors who donated raffle items and 10% of their sales proceeds from the event. Page Mill also donated the tasting fees collected for the evening.
Thanks also to Terra Mia Restaurant for its donation of a $50 gift card which was included in the raffle prizes. Thanks to all who attended and contributed for making the evening a success.
Wine Blending Party Sunday June 28, 2015
Everyone had a great time at Sunday's Wine Blending Party! This was a great opportunity for people to learn to blend their own wine.
Participants worked in teams to craft their blend. Judges selected the best blend, and the winning group took home a small personal-size bottle of their blended wine. Norman Petermeier, FOV vice-president, presented the workshop. He is the enologist at Ruby Hill and Rubino Estates Wineries and winemaker for Villa Per Due Winery.