Campovida is a family owned and operated certified organic farm and working vineyard in Hopland, with a tasting room in Oakland. This unique place offers deep connections with nature, wine tasting, a professional culinary kitchen, a 10-roomretreat center and multiple spaces for conversations both big and small. It’s a place where you can relax, enjoy and create your custom gatherings.
Some history: The place that now called Campovida has been home to the Pomo Indians of Sanel Valley, a cattle rancher, a railroad and timber baron, a hop broker, a lumber executive and a host of winemakers, each with a reverence and respect for the bio-diversity of this place. Each deeply concerned with preserving the land and its agricultural heritage. Part of a Mexican land grant, the property encompassed 1,300 acres in its original form. Fernando Feliz built an adobe house here in 1844 and raised his cattle. In 1890, A.W. Foster, a baron of timber and rail, purchased the land from the Peck estate and developed the property as it exists today, constructing all of the buildings from his Willits-based redwood holdings. He spent 45 years on the ranch, raising ponies, sheep, alfalfa, pears, prunes, grapes and hops. John Haas bought the land in 1942 and cultivated the fields for hops. In 1958, Bernard Fetzer bought a home on the property from John’s son Frederick in order to raise his family and grow grapes. Ten years later the Fetzers began growing grapes commercially. In 1981, after the death of the family patriarch, all 11 of the Fetzer children took on managing the vineyard with a commitment to environmentally-conscious stewardship and built the company as a leading varietal wine producer. They eventually created a world-renowned food and wine education center (Valley Oaks) and the organic gardens. In 1992 the Brown-Forman Corporation purchased the certified organic vineyard. In 2010, Anna Beuselinck and Gary Breen, fell in love with the property, becoming the current stewards of this beautiful land.
Who is the winemaker? If you, what got you interested in making wine?
Sabastian Cesano, he was making wine in Hopland with John Fetzer, and was doing what they call the custom crush program, making our wines under the mentorship of John and Alex MacGregor. We have 15 acres estate Viognier, we decided to try out making wine with Sebastian as our wine maker. We won the San Francisco Chronicle Gold for Viognier our first time out. When John ended the custom crush program, Sabastian knocked on our door, he is both the scientist and the artist, he has the phenology degree, but he really is an artisan when I comes to crafting each barrel, he manages them like his babies. He is originally from Chile and has been with us for 17 years. He studied down in Fresno. I believe he’ll be one of those winemakers to watch in California.
My husband, Gary Breen, is from Moraga. We invested in Oakland, and have owned the Linden St. brewery building, since 1996. The love for old things that have been forgotten, he’s been building out that building, from the 1890 building. I went to school in Berkeley, we have a lot of roots in Oakland (we started our family here) and Berkeley, so it just sort of made sense (to be here) when we started making wine and when we heard about this urban wine trail. We’re watching Adam at Linden St. Brewery and growing his opportunities. There is this circle happening at 101 that’s really important to be a part of.
We try to be connected to wine through the earth, not just about the wine, who the growers are, practices, how we take that pure varietal and make it the best wine without any kind of intervention, so it is truly the highest quality wine possible.
We are direct to consumer. You’ll find our wine in our tasting room or a few restaurants. ,
You can’t find us in retail shops, because you lose the conversation in the bottle, that’s what we’re up to, in a nut shell. When you are a farmer, you wake up in the middle of the night and worry about your framing stuff, and nature and all kinds of things, for me being involved in wine with my husband has been a real spiritual journey.
Where do you source fruit from?
We do have estate Viognier, and other grapes, all certified organic estate grapes, only from Mendocino County, farming certified organically, or bio dynamically.
What was the first wine you made?
Viognier, 2010 was the first of the custom crush.
Do you have a preference for any specific varietals? If so, why?
It’s like asking someone if they have a favorite child! It is difficult to pick. Our Rosé Grenache, 92 points, is my favorite of last year.
What makes you different and/or special?
I really think for us we have a connection to the growers that is our partnership and as a result a connection to the earth. We want to start the conversation from the earth to the wine, we’re minimalist in that way. People want to know the source of their products, wine is a great place to start asking those questions.
Do you have a visit-able winery?
The Oakland tasting room can be visited. It is open 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays; on Saturdays and Sundays we are open from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Some big news is that James Syhabout’s has opened Hawker Fare, which is between Linden St. Brewery and our Oakland tasting. He is another person who has and continues to invest in Oakland, we’ve known him of years.
Is your winery/tasting room dog friendly?
Yes, dogs on a leash are welcomed.
What are some of the reasons a wine lover should pick Campovida to visit?
For the full experience of education: from the earth to the grape to the grower to the maker to the final product of the wine, they’re going to get the full understanding, and not in a daunting scientific way, but in a story, a great true story.
Anything quirky/funny about your winery or philosophy?
Whether it’s Hopland or Oakland, when we decided to move from San Francisco to Oakland, people were like, “Really, Oakland?” You can’t turn your head and not invest in it as if it’s going to go away, we have to invest and bring it to life. The same thing is true for Hopland, a forgotten town, once on the brink of bankruptcy .I t only takes a few people to believe and invest and you can turn things around. That is part of the story for us, we’re doers in the way that we have believe in that we can do more than we think we can. We’re making wine, but the bigger thing for us is the community, we’re trying to bring back Hopland, we’re selling in Oakland, in a building we bought because we believe in Oakland. People relate to stories, we believe in the stories of Hopland and Oakland,
What is your philosophy on enclosure; screw cap vs. cork?
We are try to be sustainable, literally, with every detail as possible, there’s all this controversy with screw cap versus cork, cork is more sustainable, you have it and it comes back. We’re cork, but we are no tin, that’s not sustainable, if you’re really using true tin, from Spain, it’s got a high degree of carbon foot print. We care, we cork.
Any final thoughts?
I’d like to think that what we’re up to is making the very 1 percent wine if you will, but the idea is to reach 99 percent of the people with education.