Posts Tagged ‘Beringer Vineyards’

The 2011 Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival is on!

Bigger and better than last year with two and a half days of ‘ukulele fun.

Be sure to visit our new website for all the latest information:


 And mark your calendars now:

September 9, 10 & 11, 2011

 St. Helena, California

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 “I don’t know how you’re going to top 2009 – but we want to be there!  Thanks for making it happen.”

Where to begin?  There were so many great moments and memories…..and so many wonderful people who made it what it was: sponsors, vendors, performers, instructors, volunteers, and you. 

'Ukulele Bartt, Kaei Gamiao, Brittni Paiva, Moe Dixon, & FreeboThose who made it to the Wine Reception at Gaia on Friday afternoon to see Brittni Paiva perform got way more than they bargained for  when ‘Ukulele Bartt, Kalei Gamiao, Moe Dixon, and Freebo also showed up. Kalei Gamiao is a new face on the mainland ‘ukulele scene and turned many a head. You’ll be hearing a lot more  from him. Many thanks to Gaia Hotel and Spa and sponsors Char and Gordan Mayer from Mya-Moe Ukuleles, who were also on hand with an array of their beautiful ‘ukuleles.

Judd's Hill Hula Party

If there’s one thing Judd knows, it’s how to throw a party–even if he has to move vats full of fermenting grapes to make room in the middle of crush! (That’s Judd on the left.) Many thanks to Judd’s Hill Winery and KoAloha Ukuleles for sponsoring the Judd’s Hill Hula Party, the Friday-night kick-off to a fabulous weekend, and to Doris Coonrad and her crew for an amazing gastronomical array.  And, to top it off, through our Soles4Souls shoe drive at the Judd’s Hill Hula Party and Sonoma Academy, we collected more than 100 pairs of shoes for needy people world-wide!

MusicGuyMicKala Booth by Wei-en RaymondSaturday dawned cool, but  sunny, as vendors started arriving at Beringer Vineyards bright and early to set up the ‘Ukulele Marketplace on the Promenade in front of the Old Stone Winery.  And what a transformation they performed! Imagine an ancient open-air market featuring nothing but ‘ukuleles and you’ll get the idea.  We had everything from the whimsical offerings of Kala (with ‘ukuleles that look like kiwi fruit) to the most beautiful one-of-a-kind creations from expert luthiers. We simply cannot thank Beringer Vineyards enough for opening their beautiful doors so very wide.

Ohana Wa'a OutriggerVendors at Festival by Wei-en RaymondThe Ohana Wa’a Outrigger Canoe Club brought their beautiful canoe, again, and started serving up morning coffee and breakfast goodies right away. (The line for their ono  barbeque didn’t die till they ran out of food in the afternoon.) In the meantime, the puveyers of other Pacific Island goods transformed the fountain courtyard next to the Rhine House into an International Marketplace.

Once everything was in place and ready to go, Liko Puha’s opening chant set the stage for a picture-perfect day.  

“I begin by acknowledging and asking permission of the ancestors of that area to allow our gathering. I proclaim the beauty of the valley, verdant in wine vineyards and famous for hosting visitors. I ask all that have gathered, including the ancestors, to come and enjoy the harmonious sounds of the ʻukulele. Grant life, grant life to all things.”

The Promenade Stage in front of the Old Stone Winery went on to host some of the most amazing talent in the ‘ukulele world today including: Dominator, Freebo, Moe Dixon,  Brittni Paiva, Aldrine Guerrero, Derick Sebastian, Erich Sylvester, Kathy Quain,  Kalei Gamiao, Ukulele Bartt, and many more, under the direction of our fabulous master of ceremonies, Andy Andrews.

DominatorFreebo & Moe Dixon by Wei-enMoe Dixon by Wei-enBrittni Paiva by Wei-EnAldrine 2Derick Sebastian 2Golden Gate Trio 1Golden Gate Trio 2Kalei GamiaoBartt and Andy 2





And that’s not even including what simply happened on the spur of the moment. Here’s Derick Sebastian just “noodling” at the Oceana Ukulele booth:

In the meantime, vendors were doing a hopping business and many a festival visitor walked away from the day with a beautiful new ‘ukulele to take home, including a few who had only come to taste the wine!

Oceana Ukulele

Rick, Gary, and Derick

Char at Mya-Moe

Kala Booth

Ukulele Tanya and MusicGuyMic

Ohana Booth




Old friends met new friends, new friends were made, and people who just happened to be visiting the wine country discovered the smiles the ‘ukulele brings to faces young and old. You could tell who is visiting from Hawai’i….they’re the ones wearing hoodies and down parkas.    

Aldrine, Kalei, and BrittniDa Island Way on the PromenadeBob RaineyAHAmeleAldrinne GuerreroBut even with all that going on up on the Promenade, one of the most happening places at the festival was Kimo’s Korner, on the back porch of the old Rhine House, where Kimo Hussey was on hand to answer questions, sign books, take requests, and kanikapila. He admits, he had the time of his life.

Kimo's Korner

And let’s not forget the amazing workshops offered by James Hill,  Victoria Vox, Steven Espaniola, Derick Sebastian, Aldrine Guerrero, Moe Dixon, ‘Ukulele Bartt, Liko Puha, Dominator, Char & Gordon Mayer, Debbie & Kanoelani Haumea, and the beautiful “classrooms.”  Here’s Brittni Paiva teaching music theory in the Rhine House kitchen and Ralph Shaw teaching strumming techniques out by the Bocce Courts.  Brittni's Workshop Ralph Shaw's Workshop by the Bocce Courts





Kawika Tachera & Liko Puha

And those with a little time on their hands could always venture on down to the UkeTube Booth, so generously sponsored by Kala Brand Ukuleles and  JVC Electronics and graciously hosted by David Tachera and family.  (Be sure to visit our YouTube Channel to see more.) Nothing but smiles all around:


In the meantime, folks started claiming their turf on the lawn in front of the Rhine House in anticipation of the free afternoon concert featuring Steven Espaniola, Faith Ako, Ralph Shaw, Victoria Vox, and James Hill.
Rhine House Concert Seating
This was singer/songwriter Victoria Vox’s  first year at the Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival, and she won hearts everywhere she went.  Here’s “Peeping Tomette” featuring Victoria Vox and her amazing mouth trumpet:
And, of course, James Hill, the most innovative musician on the ‘ukulele scene today, closed the show with something new and wonderful, just for us.  Here’s  the grand finale to the day at Beringer Vineyards with James Hill, Victoria Vox,  Ralph Shaw, and “Billie Jean.”
This might have been the end to a perfect day…….but it just kept getting better.  From Beringer Vineyards our stalwart crew made their way to Flora Springs for the Flora Springs Harvest Party and Luau–Napa Valley Style. 
Stay tuned….there’s more to come….

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Saturday October 10, 2009

Beringer Vineyards, 2000 Main Street, St. Helena, California

Free and Open to the Public

(‘Ukulele Festival parking is available at the Beringer production facility off of Pratt Avenue.  There will be a free shuttle to the winery)

Appearing on the Rhine House Stage from 2:00 – 5:00 pm:

Steven Espaniola * Faith Ako * Ralph Shaw * Victoria Vox * James Hill

Lawn seating only, please bring a blanket to sit on


Appearing on the Promenade Stage from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm:

Arial Paisley * Ukulele Bartt * Derick Sebastian * Calistoga Flea Band * Taylor de Man * Victor Ohana * David Bustamante & Da Island Way *Dominator * Moe Dixon * Aldrine Guerrero * Golden Gate Trio * Kimo Hussey * Kalei Gamiao * Brittni Paiva * AHAmele * Linnea & Alex

International Marketplace open from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

 Food!  Gifts!  Ukuleles!

30-minute lessons available for the curious

 Online Registration for Hula & Ukulele Workshops still open

Pre-register for

Judd’s Hill Hula Party

Flora Springs Luau

Cameo ‘Ukulele Film Festival 

Sunday October 11, 2009

Appearing at Beringer Vineyards from noon – 5:00 pm:


Please join us and prepare to be amazed. 

We’ve come a long way since Tiny Tim!

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This is the first entry in our “WCUF YouTube Commercial” contest, sponsored by MusicGuyMic. Ooh! Ahh! Wow!  The deadline is September 25, so you still have time to enter one of your own for an opportunity to win a brand new Kala ‘ukulele. (See the previous post for more information.) And please feel free to pass this video along.


CuvaisonJean Miller is the latest winner in our “early bird” sweepstakes and has won a gift certificate for a tasting for four to  Cuvaison Estate Wines.  She’ll also take home a bottle of their Chardonnay Carneros.  We’ll pull another name out of the hat this Saturday afternoon, so if you haven’t done so already, be sure to get your registration in ASAP. 

Workshop Update

 We have three new instructors and three new workshops to add to our line-up.  Ukulele Bartt will be joining us from Southern California to teach “Liverpool Luau – Beatles for Beginners”  and Kumu Debbie Haumea Aynaga will be coming over from Stockton to teach  Hula ‘Auana: “E Pili Mai,”   a lovely introduction to beginning, traditional Hawaiian hula.  You can read more about Bartt and Debbie and their workshops on our Instructors  (formerly “Musician’s”) and Workshop pages.  Aldrinne Guerrero will also be teaching a workshop for us, and we’ll let you know what it will be soon.  If you follow the Ukulele Underground  at all, you know it will be worth waiting for.

Ohana Promenade Stage

Louis Wu and Ohana ‘Ukuleles   have been generous supporters of the Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival from the beginning, and I am delighted to announce that this year they will be sponsoring the Promenade Stage, featuring live music at Beringer Vineyards, Saturday, October 10, from 10:00 am until we close at 5:00 pm.  Paul Knight Sound will be covering both this and the Rhine House Stage to ensure a great experience for everyone. Here’s just a sample of who will be performing on the Promenade Stage during the day:  Kimo Hussey, Brittni Paiva, Derick Sebastian, Aldrinne Guerrero, Dominator, Erich Sylvester, Victor ‘Ohana, Templebar Royal Hawaiian Ukulele Band, Ukulele Bartt, Da Island Way, AHAmele, and more.  Mike DaSilva, our on call ‘Ukulele Doctor, will be manning Ohana’s booth, so please take a moment to stop by and ask him to let Louis know how much we appreciate his contribution. Better yet, pick up an extra ukulele to give as a gift to a special someone…maybe even yourself. Mike will also be able to help with any minor repairs to your ‘ukulele while you’re at the festival.

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Registration is now open for workshops and major events. Visit our Registration Page to open a .pdf file that you can print, fill-out, and send in. Don’t procrastinate or you’ll miss the opportunity to win some wonderful prizes such as:

MarketDinner for Two at Market in St. Helena

A mid-week overnight stay at The Lodge at Sonoma

Private Tour and Wine Tasting for Four at Vine Cliff Winery in Napa


For every registration we receive, we will put a ticket into a bowl and draw one of them every week.  If you don’t win that week, your “ticket” will stay  in the bowl and you’ll have another opportunity to win the following week. We will continue to add tickets to the bowl as registrations come in and will hold a prize drawing every Saturday, the last one being on October 2. So, the sooner you get your registration in, the greater your chances AND the more opportunities you will have to win.  Winners will be announced here and you will pick up your prize when you pick up your registration materials at the festival.

But wait!  There’s more!  The first 30 people to register for a workshop pass will also receive a set of  “Ink’d” earphones, courtesy of  SkullCandy (value $20). (I have a set and I love ’em!)

Here’s another important detail. All workshop pass holders will also get a $15 discount on the Flora Springs Lu’au, AND a wine tasting pass (valued at $25 – $35) to use at Beringer Vineyards on October 10. You must be 21 to taste, so please have your ID with you. The workshop pass also entitles you to attend up to three ‘ukulele workshops.  Individual workshop tickets, good for one workshop only, are also available.

Beringer Schedule

Rhine House for webThe following schedule outlines the events of the day at Beringer Vineyards. As you can see, there is plenty to keep you busy. Please note that this is subject to change. We will be posting the specific workshops and performance times as soon as possible. Letting us know your skill level (simple scale from 1-4) on your registration form will help us plan accordingly.

Wine Country Uke Fest 2009 (version 1).xls

Rhine House Concert

victoria_vox3bWith sincere gratitude to Beringer Vineyards, I am very happy to announce that the Rhine House Concert is free with festival-type, lawn seating, so please bring a blanket or something else to sit on. (No metal chairs will be allowed on the lawn.) Right now we have no workshops scheduled during the performances by Ralph Shaw,  Victoria Vox, and James Hill.  However, that can change, depending on demand. Also, be prepared to be surprised by some of the other amazing talent we have lined up.

The concert is free but the usual tasting fees apply, if you are also going to be wine tasting. There is no festival parking at the winery, but we will have shuttle buses running in both directions every 10 minutes so that you will not have to walk far or cross Highway 29 on foot. 

New Sponsors

IMG_6599_edited-2We are very happy to welcome Music Guy Mike (or MusicGuyMic), who is joining us as a sponsor of the Flora Springs Lu’au on Saturday night and our You-Tube commercial contest (more about that later); Ohana ‘Ukulele, who is sponsoring the Promenade Stage and provided the prize for our logo contest; and Hawaiian Airlines, who among other things is offering a 5% discount to their already-low web fares for anyone purchasing tickets through our website and $25 one-way inter-island fares through the end of September!  All of our sponsors are very important to the success of the festival and your enjoyment of it. Your support of them and their good work ensures that we can continue to bring you more ‘ukulele fun in the future.

Accommodations Update

If you’re coming in from out of town, please be sure to revisit our Accommodations page.  We have just added some very interesting and affordable housing options at nearby Pacific Union College and the St. Helena Hospital. (It’s not a joke, and, no, you don’t have to arrive in an ambulance.)

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Festival Schedule

Festival Poster 2Be sure to visit the new 2009 Festival page for the Schedule of Events (as it looks right now) and a list of some of the talent headed our way this year.  We will flesh this out with more detailed explanations of each event (and the prices) shortly.   In the meantime, please note that we have a full week-end of ‘ukulele fun in store. 

Also be sure to check out the Festival Poster page where you can download and print out your own fliers to post prominently, wherever you think ‘ukulele and/or music buffs would like to see them.  Your help in getting the word out about the festival is sincerely appreciated.  The more the merrier.

Community Outreach

Thanks to the generosity of the Petalukes, our ‘ukulele-strumming buddies over in Petaluma, we are once again able to put on a performance for the veterans residing at  the California Veteran’s Home in Yountville.  Last year we were able to treat the vets to the sweet sights and sounds of Hawai’i with Robyn Kneubuhl, KonaBob Stoffer, Mark Nelson, and Liko Puha. This year, the inimitable Ralph Shaw will keep ’em hopping with his usual, zany, off-the-wall antics. (Who can forget his song from last year, describing how to build an ‘ukulele case?  In case you missed it, click on the photo of Ralph, taken by Lori Ikeda-Lowe at last year’s festival.) Don’t worry, there’s plenty of Ralph to go around.  Festival attendees will be able to catch his act at Beringer Vineyards on Saturday AND take a couple of workshops from him. He’ll  be popping in and out of some of the other events through-out the week-end, as well.

 New Sponsor

JVC The Perfect Experience Red & Black JPGA big welcome goes out to our new sponsor, JVC, who is providing the Everio camcorders for use in the  Kala UkeTube Booth, where festival attendees will have an opportunity to strum their stuff in a semi-private forum, under semi-professional circumstances, for world-wide distribution.  We’ll have more details on this later. But, for the time being, you might want to start thinking about what song you’dlike to perform for the world at large.  Thanks to the support of JVC and Kala Ukuleles, the  UkeTube Booth will be in operation throughout the day on Saturday, October 10, at Beringer Vineyards.

Rapid Uke 101

Frank in BlueAnd while we’re on the subject of Saturday’s events, feel free to bring along any curious friends or family members who haven’t yet caught the bug (bug? flea? get it?) and drop them off at Frank Novicki’s Rapid Uke 101 booth, where Frank will have them humming and strumming in a quick 30 minutes. Don’t worry if they don’t have an ‘ukulele, yet; we’ll make one available for them. 

Frank is also a valued member of the Maika’i Gents, who will be performing at the Judd’s Hill Hula Party on Friday, October 9.  If you plan attending that,  don’t forget to bring your gently used (but now unused)  slippahs to donate to Soles4Souls, the primary beneficiary of the Friday night event.

S4SWebsiteClickThrough160x160Nashville-based Soles4Souls™ facilitates the donation of  new and used shoes and has distributed more than 4.3 million pairs (currently donating one pair every 17 seconds) to people in over 125 countries, including Honduras, Uganda, Romania, and the United States.  We’ll have a collection box at the Hula Party where you can deposit the shoes you don’t want to take back home with you.

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Two New Artists Join the Ranks!

Wow! The celebrated Moe Dixon will be coming down from Oregon to join us, and though he’s relatively new to the ‘ukulele, he’s no stranger to the blues and ragtime crowd and is actually the “Moe” in Mya-Moe Ukuleles. In addition to appearing on one of our performance stages (more about that, later), Moe will be teaching “Tricks and Licks–Fingerstyle Approach to Blues and Ragtime.” Here’s a little sample of what he’ll be bringing along:

And that’s not all! Aldrine Guerrero and the crew from ‘Ukulele Underground will be joining us as well. Though he lives in Hawai’i, Aldrine is known the world over for the wide variety of teaching videos and sing-alongs published on the immensely popular ‘Ukulele Underground.

And this is in addition to the amazing talent we already have lined up!

Accommodations Update

Gaia has dropped the two-night-minimum-stay originally required to secure the ‘ukulele festival room rate.  But, with three full days of ‘ukulele magic on the schedule, you may not want to take advantage of it. And don’ t forget, you’ll have an opportunity to catch Brittni Paiva there at a special wine reception on Friday afternoon.

Vendor Applications

Vendor applications are now available.  Space is limited and will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, and is dependent upon the products being offered. We are looking for a broad mix of merchandise and services that will enhance the experience of the attendees and support the general goals of the festival, which are to celebrate music, the `ukulele, Hawaiian culture, and the Wine Country.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sincere thanks go to the Petalukes, Ko’olau, Kala Brand Ukuleles, Mya-Moe Ukuleles, Ohana Ukuleles, Beringer Vineyards, Flora Springs Winery, Judd’s Hill Winery,  and Miner Family Vineyards for their generous support of the festival. Sponsorship opportunities still exist.  We’re especially interested in fining a company or group interested in sponsoring our Hospitality Garden.

Latest Affiliate Announced

We are very proud to introduce our latest affiliate, Playing for Change, who will be the beneficiary of the Flora Springs Lu’au. Playing for Change is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. The idea for this project arose from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. No matter whether people come from different geographic, political, economic, spiritual or ideological backgrounds, music has the universal power to transcend and unite us as one human race. Please click on the banner below to learn more about this remarkable endeavor and hear an amazing collaboration of music from around the world.


To stay up to date on their good works and enjoy more of their music, you can visit the Playing for Change YouTube Channel or, better yet, download any or all of the music from this exciting collaboration by clicking the iTunes link to the right.

Please Subscribe

A number  of people were missing the link to subscribe to the weblog.  I’ve tried to make this more obvious. So, if you haven’t done so already, please visit the Subscribe page, click on the link, and enter your email address.  If you have done it correctly, you will receive an email asking you to confirm that you want to subscribe.  Once you’ve confirmed your subscription, you should begin receiving regular updates.

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