December 6, 2016
WINE & SONG
In Czech, it’s “Víno, ženy, a zpěv.” In Polish, “Wino, kobiety i śpiew,” and in Hindi, “Sur, Sura, Sundari.” Johann Strauss had a waltz called “Wein, Weib und Gesang.” In more than a dozen languages across Europe and into Asia, there is an expression that translates to the English “Wine, women, and song.” While the romantic component implied is not guaranteed, wine and song go together regardless of the company.
So it was an easy choice for Niels and Bimmer Udsen of Templeton, CA’s Castoro Cellars when the thirtieth anniversary of their vineyard was approaching. How better to celebrate thirty years of fine wine than with a music festival? That’s how Beaverstock began, back in 2013.
“I wanted to have a party, and I wanted it to be kind of a music festival,” says Niels Udsen. “We were going to do it for a day, but then we thought: why not make it a weekend? The first year was a lot of fun, with a lot of great musicians. So we figured, why not do it again? The proceeds are for local schools and music programs. We like giving back to our community.”
Over the years, the festival has been headlined by acts like Tower of Power and Traffic’s Dave Mason. The last installment, this past labor day, featured the extraordinary Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings in one of their final performances before Jones succumbed to cancer.
More than a celebration of a successful business, Castoro Cellars’ Beaverstock is a party for a region whose character developed in proportion to its expanding wine industry.
“My wife and I started Castoro Cellars in 1983,” Udsen says. “We went to school at Cal Poly and ended up staying. I started in the wine business in 1981. When I started, there were about twelve wineries. Now there are three hundred.”
As the region thrives, so does Castoro Cellars, which now has nine locations ranging from 20 acres to 400.
“There’s one area on one of our properties that’s full of beautiful oak trees,” says Udsen. “We like them a lot. It occurred to us that it would be an ideal location—a really great location for events. We could fit at least up to 3,000 people there.”
All they needed was the stage. After a few years of rented stages, Udsen finally decided to invest in an SL260 with covered wing from Stageline.
“Maybe we can rent it out enough to cover the cost of it over a period of a few years,” he says. “There are other music festivals around California who could use it. Graduations, those kinds of things. But we may use it for other events now that we have it for ourselves. We got it in October and used it then: now we’re just getting together an information pack about it. We’ve got our own in-house guy who’s trained on it, so it’s just part of our quiver now.”
But Udsen’s quick to point out that he enjoys having the stage above all to serve the surrounding community. He isn’t interested in using it to make money—his income, he stresses, comes from the wine business. For that reason, all the Beaverstock concerts have been non-profits to raise money for the public good.
“We’ve always supported local schools, rec-programs, music programs, that kind of thing,” Udsen explains. “Today we’re trying to donate the stage to a Fourth of July event they do with a symphony on the stage, and fireworks coordinated to the music. We like the idea of just getting the stage out there and getting it used.”