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Business Beat: 02/01/2017

Business Beat

Unique items at newest Kenwood gift shop

Jennifer Michaels with ray gun
Jennifer Michaels displays the eclectic mix of items at Crystal Garden, ranging from ray guns to vintageware.
Right off Sonoma Highway in Kenwood a new retail sign has popped up for the Crystal Garden Gift Shop, an establishment that will take you back to your youth, as well as appeal to your more adult senses.

Proprietor Jennifer Michaels has been hard at work laying out the new store with items ranging from collectible toys to originally designed apparel. Michaels' taste is eclectic and colorful, so you will never know what to expect when you walk in the door.

On the whimsical side, Crystal Garden has collectibles such as ray guns, Hot Wheels, original Frisbees, classic Ouija boards, original beer trays, and not-to-be-missed vintage guitars. Oh, and an original Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots game, and an antique rocking horse.

There is a wine country feel to Crystal Garden, with a selection of blown glass items, rare crystals, artwork, insulate wine clutches and shoulder bags, vintage sunglasses, wine related knick-knacks, and more.

Michaels, also known for her Jungle Jenny Foundation work to preserve and educate people about exotic wildlife, has lived in Sonoma Valley with her husband, Jay, for the last six years.

She said that she eventually would like to add spa services to the Crystal Garden, and currently carries a large line of Dermalogica skin care products.

Another goal of Michaels - having the Crystal Garden be a hub of tourist information for the area, similar to a visitors bureau. Want to know where to go, want to buy a Sonoma Valley souvenir, need a ray gun or a collectible beer glass? There's only one place you have to go.

Crystal Garden will be having a Grand Opening Feb. 11-12. The shop is located at 9216 Sonoma Hwy. in Kenwood and will be open Thursday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.. Call 282-9385 for more information, or email

Kenwood Restaurant back on the market

A deal to purchase the former Kenwood Restaurant has fallen through, with the property back on the market at a price of $2,795,000.

Last fall, the owners of the property, Bill and Becky Foss, had entered into a potential purchase arrangement with Dean and Abigail Bordigioni, owners of Annadel Estate Winery across from Oakmont. The deal envisioned well-known restaurateurs Catherine Venturini and John Burdick (of the former Olive & Vine in Glen Ellen) opening up a new eatery at the prime location on Sonoma Hwy.

According to Dean Bordigioni, his plan for financing the purchase didn't work out, and other methods he looked at, “didn't pencil out.”

Burdick said that he and Venturini hope to be in the plans for whoever does purchase the property at 9900 Sonoma Hwy., and are actively seeking potential buyers themselves while the property is on the open market.

Dino D'Argenzio of Keegan & Coppin is representing the Fosses. The listing includes the 1.95-acre restaurant parcel, and a 1.65-acre vineyard parcel.

The Fosses bought the Kenwood Restaurant in 2013 from Max and Susan Schacher, who owned and ran the restaurant for 26 years.

Audubon Canyon Ranch welcomes new director of development

Sultana Young
Naomi Sultana Young

Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR), a system of nature preserves spanning 26 properties, including Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen, has recently hired Naomi Sultana Young to serve as director of development.

Sultana Young will lead and coordinate development planning, grant seeking, capital campaigns and other fundraising efforts. “I am very eager to meet and work with ACR's dedicated donors, board members and volunteers to take the organization's conservation efforts to the next level,” said Sultana Young. She will be working from the 535-acre Bouverie Preserve.

Sultana Young has been a fund development professional since 2003 when the environmental devastation she witnessed while through-hiking the Appalachian Trail convinced her to spend her professional life raising money to protect the earth. A San Francisco native, she has worked for a variety of Bay Area organizations, most recently leading development efforts for the popular international environmental group, the Story of Stuff Project. She has three years of service on the Association of Fundraising Professionals Golden Gate Chapter's Board of Directors and has been a Certified Fund Raising Executive since 2011.

ACR is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit environmental conservation and education organization. It was founded in 1962 to safeguard Bolinas Lagoon from irresponsible development, leading the way for the protection of Tomales Bay.

ACR's properties total 5,000 acres in Marin, Sonoma and Lake counties, providing significant habitat for wildlife. For more information, call 415-868-9244, email or visit

Hopscotch turns one

Hopscotch Gifts & Gallery in Glen Ellen's Jack London Village is celebrating its one-year anniversary with a birthday bash.

On Friday, Feb. 10, 4-8 p.m., Hopscotch will host a party with music and store specials. Then on Saturday, Feb. 11, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., the party will continue with hors d'oeuvres and refreshments, and specials gifts with purchases.

In the year that it's been open, the gift and art gallery has become a focal point for the local creative community, especially with the store's Sunday Social events and featured artist demonstrations.

Co-owner Kay Young had long felt that what was missing from the Glen Ellen experience was a quality gift shop. A nationally known glass artist herself, Young has an extensive background in working with others in the art community. This experience helped her find some of the high-quality and eye-catching pieces she was looking for. Everything in the store is made in the United States, a show of support for all the artisans who do what they love and try to make a living at the same time.

Young's business partner is lifelong painter Jordan Celso of Laytonville, who has recently branched out by incorporating his original paintings on metal panels, cards and silk scarves.

Hopscotch Gifts & Gallery welcomes new artists who like to sell their functional work in the store, especially jewelry, clay, glass, wood, mixed media and wearable items. You can email the store at

Kenwood jewelry designer featured in Sonoma

Kenwood jewelry designer and artist Nancy Martin is the Arts Guild of Sonoma's featured artist for the month of February. There will be an Opening Reception on Feb. 3, 5-7 p.m., with wine, hors d'oeuvres, and a chance to see Martin's work up close.

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, it's also a perfect chance to pick up a unique gift for your honey.

Martin calls her work “art jewelry,” often whimsical inspired designed which she sculpts out of a special precious metal clay.

Precious metal clay contains small particles of precious metal such as silver or gold, mixed with an organic binder and water. Metal clay can be shaped just like any soft clay. After drying, the clay is fired and the binder burns away, leaving the pure sintered metal.

“The malleable and pliant form of precious metal clay prior to firing allows for infinite versatility in the creation of individual art jewelry pieces,” she said. Martin works with pure fine silver, sterling silver, gold and gold fill.

Martin has lived in Sonoma Valley since 1976, except for a short stint in Windsor when she married her husband, the late Joe Martin, founder of St. Francis Winery. She's been making jewelry since the 1980s.

“For many, many years I collected unusual gemstones and beads, not knowing what I would do with them,” said Martin. Then, she took a class in jewelry making at the Sonoma Community Center, and all the pieces fell into place.

Martin said she often designs her jewelry in her head during her long daily walks around the neighborhood. When she returns to her home studio, she's ready to create.

You can find out more and view her work at

Tuesday night pop-ups at the fig café

The fig café & winebar in Glen Ellen is shaking things up with pop-up events on upcoming Tuesday nights. These dinners are by reservation only and must be pre-purchased online.

On the evening of Feb. 14, treat your sweetie to a Valentine's dinner to remember. Three-course dinner for $45, including seared scallops with honey-roasted carrots. Wine pairing add $15. Corkage is complimentary

On Feb. 21, Chef John Toulze hosts Chef Jacob Talbert for an unforgettable night of sushi. Six courses for $55. Sake pairing add $15. Free corkage.

The evening of Feb. 28 features Chef Spector serving up a five-course Sonoma wine dinner (includes Thai red curry and Peking duck taco) for $55, which includes wine pairings.

Tapas and Grenache are on tap for March 7, five courses and Grenache for $55.

For tickets go to

En Garde rolls up the scores

En Garde Winery, which has its tasting room in Kenwood, received multiple 90+ point scores from influential wine critic Robert Parker, founder of Wine Advocate Magazine.

In December, Parker rated all five of En Garde's 2013 Cabernet releases with scores between 92 and 96 points. These wines are made from premium Napa Valley fruit sourced from high elevation vineyards in Diamond Mountain and Mount Veeder. The newly released 2013 Touché scored the highest with 96 points. Parker said of it, “a sensational…tour de force that should drink well for 25-30 years.” En Garde's Reserve Cabernet from Diamond Mountain, “Le Bijou du Roi,” was awarded 95 points for its “stunningly full-bodied, multi-dimensional mouthfeel, and long, rich finish.”

“We couldn't be more thrilled with these scores,” said Csaba Szakal, winemaker and proprietor of En Garde. “Having Mr. Parker offer such praise for our wines is a very humbling experience.” Szakal is a fourth-generation winemaker from Hungary. His wife, Sandy Scott, was born and raised on a cattle ranch on Chalk Hill Road. While working in the Silicon Valley as a computer programmer, Szakal started making wine as a hobby in the couple's garage. In 2007, they decided to launch their wines commercially. Szakal and Scott make barrel selections and blending decisions together to maintain a balance of male and female perspective.

En Garde specializes in high elevation Napa Cabernets (Diamond Mountain, Mount Veeder and Howell Mountain) and Sonoma County's Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs. Wines from En Garde are only available at the Kenwood tasting room, located at 9077 Sonoma Hwy. For more information, go to

Sonoma County Winegrowers host annual Pruning Championship

People will get downright snippy on Friday, Feb. 17, at the 18th Annual Sonoma County Pruning Championship, 7:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Santa Rosa Junior College's Shone Farm.

Sponsored by the Sonoma County Winegrowers Alliance, the competition is open to vineyard management companies based in Sonoma County and vineyard or winery entities who own vineyards in Sonoma County (all District 3).

The number of contestants will be limited to 60 total - two pruners per vineyard or winery entity or vineyard management company.

Applications are due Feb. 10. No walk-in contestants will be accepted. Contestants will be pre-assigned heats and vine rows, with the top two from each heat advancing to the final heat.

Cash and other prizes go to the winners, and lunch will be served.

Go to for details. This event is open to the public and all spectators.

Questions? Contact Andriana Duckworth at 522-5867 or

Business Blurbs

Magical Massage in Glen Ellen is offering a Valentine's Day special - $85 for an hour or $125 for an hour and a half. This gets the lucky recipient a treatment that includes rose geranium therapy, hot stones, and pink champagne sugar foot scrub. Must be purchased by Feb. 14. Call 225-2671… Orpheus Wines, with its tasting room in Kenwood, has collaborated with Petaluma herbalist Aaron Jenks of Black Drop Apothecary to produce a small batch Vermouth. Want some? Only 23 cases were made. To order, go to, or call 282-9231… Love oysters? Stop by Palooza Gastropub and Wine Bar in the Kenwood shopping center for an assortment including raw; Rockefeller-style (wood fired with cream, spinach and parmesan cheese); wood-fired with BBQ sauce; and wood-fired with pesto sauce. Three oysters for $9 (one style choice), six for $16 (two choices), and 12 for $30 (three choices).

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