As we do every year, Smith-Madrone is honored to be one of the wineries pouring at Nimbus Arts’ Nimbash fundraiser on May 18 in St. Helena. One of the best causes and best parties around! Read on:
Nimbus Arts announces its 4th annual fundraiser, Nimbash, which will be held on May 18th from 5:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. at 888 College Avenue in St. Helena. Guests will enjoy interactive art activities, food and wine tastings and a silent auction from 5:00 until 7:30 p.m. and then assemble for dinner, a fashion show and live auction. A dance party will follow the auction. Tickets are $125/person and can be purchased at http://www.eventbrite.com/event/3580668877/eorg#.
Inspired by experiences with her own children in a hospital arts program, Dana Johnson founded Nimbus Arts with Jamie Graff in 2005. From initially offering arts classes in borrowed space, this year Nimbus presented 627 classes—public & private, lessons, camps, art lectures and school programs. Nimbus also hosted 2 large community events: Dia de los Muertos and St. Helena Student Art Walk. Since its founding, Nimbus has created 21 community outreach projects for schools and organizations throughout Napa Valley.
Located on Main Street in St. Helena (its third home in eight years), Nimbus is a 501(c)(3) governed by a dynamic Board of Directors, who work in close collaboration with local artists and 23 Napa-wide community partners. Nimbus Arts’ vision is to “inspire and connect people in Napa Valley by providing enriching and creative educational art experiences for all ages and skill levels,” explains Executive Director Jamie Graff.
For more information about current classes and events at Nimbus Arts, go to www.nimbusarts.org.
We are so honored to have helped kick off the Cameo Cinema’s year of centennial celebrations last May, culminating in today’s grand re-opening (2007 Cabernet being one of the beverages on hand). Read all about it here http://arts.cameocinema.com/centennial/ and in this San Francisco Chronicle article:
Cameo Cinema in St. Helena now playing at 100
By Sam Whiting, May 14, 2013
The last picture show at the Cameo Cinema in St. Helena let out at 10:30 on a Sunday night in April, with owner Cathy Buck standing in the lobby thanking people for coming.
Within two days, the seats and screen were gone, the interior gutted, and you know the rest of the story. It is the same as with single-screens everywhere – curtains for the Cameo.
But this isn’t that story because the Cameo is coming back to celebrate its 100th birthday Wednesday, with a new screen, new seats, a new sound system and new movies.
The only thing that will not be new is Buck, who may be the last single-person single-screen operator of a Main Street movie theater. She sells the tickets and collects them. She climbs up onstage to introduce the picture. After everyone is gone, she climbs a ladder to change the marquee before she rides home on a bicycle with a basket.
“We’ve lived here 22 years and seen this theater almost go away and then come back and then almost go away again,” says Kathi Brotemarkle, after exiting the early show. “If Cathy hadn’t taken it over, we probably would have lost it.”
Before Buck bought the Cameo six years ago, she had never worked at a movie theater or been a movie buff. She was a real estate agent from Battle Creek, Mich., who came out to San Francisco to visit her daughter who was on a fellowship at the University of San Francisco. They drove a Mini Cooper up Highway 29 to taste the wines, and that was the end of Buck’s life in Battle Creek.
She rented a house with a white picket fence and was working in a winery when word went around that the Cameo was hearing the death knell. Buck was looking for a business to retire into, and the decision to buy a single-screen movie theater was made without the benefit of a certified financial planner.
“I thought, ‘I can take tickets when I’m 80 years old, provided that I can still count change,’ ” says Buck, who still has 25 years to go before it reaches that point. “Everybody is happy when they come to the movies, so it sounded like a good job.”
A vanishing one, too. Buck estimates that there are only about 20 independently owned single-screen theaters in America that are not part of a chain or nonprofit.
“It’s my favorite place in the world,” says Eve Breckenridge of Calistoga, while standing in line for popcorn. “I choose not to have TV, and this is my world away from home. I used to have to go to Santa Rosa to see independent films, but Cathy shows stuff that you can’t see anywhere else.”
Staffed by high school and community college students, the Cameo is open 365 days a year, with Buck herself staffing it on Christmas Day. By rotating films three or four times a week, she has bumped up attendance from one-third capacity to one-half. On this last weekend before the remodel, she needed something that might fill the house three nights in a row. So she sent an e-mail to one of her neighborhood patrons, Robert Redford. He made a call, and his new picture, “The Company You Keep,” opened at the Cameo and closed out the old seats.
Frank and Barbara Greene delayed their return home from Wine Country to Belvedere until Monday so they could watch it.
“I don’t want to sound corny, but this place has a real soul to it,” says Frank Greene. “It is really important to have this type of thing in this little town.”
On their way out, Greene wrote a check to the Friends of the Cameo, the capital campaign to raise $450,000 for the renovation and community programming. The campaign has been going since last fall, when Francis Ford Coppola, who has a winery down the road, recut his 1984 film “The Cotton Club,” adding unseen footage he had on Betamax to “create a whole new movie for the audience here,” Buck says.
In a packed house, the film ran past two hours, then Coppola lifted his reputation onstage to answer questions for an hour more. “One of my five favorite places in Napa,” he called the Cameo.
100 years, many names
It has also been called the G&G, the Liberty, the Roxie and the Liberty (again). The dimensions of the lobby and the screening room are the same now as they were 100 years ago, when a silent called “Kings of the Forest” opened the place on May 15, 1913. Capacity then was 400, and they must have been packed shoulder to shoulder on wooden benches because the capacity now is 140 in just 10 rows, the last three rows being love seats.
Tired of splicing film onto reels, Buck went digital three years ago with a projection system that cost $140,000 and was paid for by a grant. A $30,00o Dolby Atmos sound system is being installed.
It won’t be shown off on opening night, when Buck is screening “Kings of the Forest,” introduced by a film historian flown in from the Netherlands. It will be followed by the world premiere of a feature-length documentary called “Napa Valley Dreams: Soils to Soul.”
And there might be one more documentary, a short by Tim Wolfer of Wolfer Productions, who has been following Buck around with a camera crew. “These single-screen theaters are like town halls in their communities,” says Wolfer, 26. “The fact that Cathy turned the Cameo around solely on the force of her personality is incredible.”
Blogger Matt Mauldin stopped by for a visit: Here’s his take: To find classically styled wines and a more down-to-earth side of Napa Valley, just look to the mountains. The hairpin roads up and down Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain, and Howell Mountains on a bright and sunny late April day were filled with twists and turns – leading to great wines, history, and personality.
My third trip up Spring Mountain to Smith-Madrone Vineyards was a great chance to show my friends Justin and Jon what makes brothers Charles and Stu Smith’s winery and vineyards so special. There’s quite a bit of history here too, with the Smiths founding the winery and vineyards in 1971 high atop Spring Mountain on an old vineyard site. There they dry-farm their Bordeaux varietals, Chardonnay, and Riesling. This is always a fun visit – Charles and Stu are colorful characters, the winery is quaint and rustic, and the views of the valley floor from the vineyard are amazing.
We tasted the current releases. The 2010 Smith Madrone Chardonnay, Spring Mountain, Napa Valley was showing nice slate and citrus, balanced and rich, with silky spice depth. The 2007 Cabs were especially impressive. The 2007 Smith Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain, Napa Valley was especially notable for its rich silky structure showing notes of black tea, olive, blackcurrant, cassis and vanilla – along with firm tannins and plenty of depth on the finish. This has the structure of past vintages, with nice accessibility as a new release. The 2007 Smith Madrone Cook’s Flat Reserve was produced to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the winery. 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc, it comes from select blocks in the vineyard and is aged in new French barriques (The estate Cab is aged in American oak). This shows similar flavors to the estate cab, with added depth and structure. Very polished and balanced, and very Bordeaux-like. It’s a much higher price point than the estate Cab, but definitely a special wine.
And to see Matt’s photos: http://www.wineilike.blogspot.com/2013/05/head-for-mountains-of-napa-valley.html
The June issue of Wine & Spirits Magazine ranked the 2007 Cabernet the highest in its group of California Cabernet Sauvignon, at 94 points and a Best Buy designation…and there’s more:
Grown at an elevation of 1,800 feet in weathered volcanic soils, this wine comes off dry-farmed vines that were planted in the early 1970s. They produced a magnificent 2007, a Cabernet in motion, changing and shifting from red scents of strawberries to black fruit (dark plum-skin tannins) and nectarine-like freshness. Aged in new American white oak barrels and bottled unfined and unfiltered, the wine has a coolness that belies its power, feigning an airy openness, the bass note of tannins held to a quiet rumble. Compelling to drink now, this has the stature to age for a decade or more.
At 94 points and a Best Buy, and the top-rated California White in the June 2013 issue of Wine & Spirits Magazine:
Stuart Smith dry farms over 10 acres of Chardonnay, which he began planting in 1972 on north facing slopes. His brother, Charles, ferments this wine in new French oak barrels, and while the oak is there in the flavors, it doesn’t get in the way. Completely mineral-driven and rooty when first poured, this takes hours of air for the fruit to come forward, a wallop of pear and apple, as if biting into fresh fruit. The structure remains tight, holding the fruit succulence to a quiet shimmer, set to age with grace.
Blogger Christy Canterbury reported on Napa mountain wines in a report on Tim Atkin’s website on April 19. Here are her thoughts on the 2011 Riesling:
92 pts: Without question, this is the best Riesling from Napa I have tasted to date. Aromatically compelling with delicate and multi-dimensional aromas of petrol, white peach and apricots-and-cream ice cream, this wine is highly structured by its piercing acidity. A sophisticated Riesling to seek out with great urgency! Drink: 2013-16.
Blogger Christy Canterbury reported on Napa mountain wines in a report on Tim Atkin’s website on April 19. Here are her thoughts on the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon:
90 pts: Oak figures quite prominently in this wine with aromas of vanilla extract and coconut jumping from the glass. The fruit comes through more clearly on the palate with blackberry and black currant leading the way. The palate is thick with generous viscosity but tannins firmly clench the perimeter. Drink: 2013-16.