- PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
- GRAPE MUSIC: Over the shoulders of the Udsen family (Left to Right: Max, Niels, Bimmer, Luke, and Ruby the dog) lies the location of the stage for the Beaverstock music festival at Castoro Cellars.
How would you celebrate three decades of making dam fine wines at Castoro Cellars? Owners Niels and Bimmer Udsen couldn’t resist making it an unforgettable occasion by hosting a music festival in their vineyard garden of Eden—it’s a two-day, Labor Day celebration of fine wine, artisan beer, upscale truck foods, and an amazing lineup of bands playing from 1 to 9 p.m. on Saturday and on Sunday.
Undoubtedly, most boomers have attended concerts with these top performers who have been around for decades: Imagine seeing Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dave Mason singing “We just disagree” and “Feeling Alright,” and Tower of Power performing, “So Very Hard to Go,” and “What is Hip?”
Yet, the Udsens still didn’t think that was quite enough to show their wine club members and the community how much they appreciate their support. They decided to provide their loyal clubbers with two free tickets for either day’s concert on Saturday or Sunday. In fact, even if you join the club on Saturday or Sunday to attend the concert, you’ve earned your two free passes to one of the greatest celebrations to take place at a single winery. And you can bring the kids; 10 years and under get in free! It’s all happening during the upcoming Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, at Castoro’s natural amphitheater vineyard located west of the Templeton tasting room on Hwy. 46 West.
Hippies, music lovers, and die-hard rock’n’rollers will naturally want the two-day pass, which is almost as good as a backstage pass. Even if you’re not a Castoro club member, it’s only $30 for a one-day pass to see five bands on Saturday or Sunday, or $50 to watch 10 bands perform over two days. The doors open at noon, and in between the bands there are side shows for guests of all ages. In an interview with Niels Udsen, I asked him what motivated them to create such an impressive festival:
“Bimmer and I love music. We’re both Danish, Bimmer is full and I’m half Danish, and in Denmark all important milestones are celebrated with music. It’s inbred in us to celebrate with music,” he said enthusiastically. “We played around with several ideas for this celebration and came up with the name Beaverstock, and it stuck.”
In honor of their 30-year history in Paso Robles, a percentage of proceeds from ticket sales to Beaverstock will benefit the charity organization, Must! Charities. Founded by a group of Paso Robles vintners, they’re earnestly working at improving the quality of life for families in North County, mainly through the Paso Robles Boys & Girls Club.
In 1983 when Niels and Bimmer Udsen started making wine, there were only about a dozen wineries open in Paso Robles wine country (not one of them downtown), which is difficult to imagine compared to today’s busy wine trails in Paso Robles. But those insightful pioneers saw the possibilities when many Americans still believed California’s only wine region was Napa Valley. They, like every other pioneer in Paso, have undergone many changes over the years, yet they remain dedicated to quality and service to their community. And now their sons Luke and Max Udsen are working with them at Castoro Cellars.
This is one music festival where they haven’t overlooked some of the most important factors in creating an awesome event: wine, beer, and food. According to Niels, they’ll also have Toro Creek Brewery, made by the Udsen’s longtime friend Brendan Cosgrove in Atascadero, who produced a special beer for the celebration. Castoro will be offering their chardonnay and zinfandel from kegs, and pouring reserve wines you can buy by the glass.
To feed the large crowd that’s sure to fill their vineyard concert (the Udsens were wise in not tackling that task) they left it up to seven experts who will be cooking up delicious cuisine in their food trucks. You can choose among Haute Skillet, Kun Fusion, the Pairing Knife, Gypsy Flame Pizza, Elly’s Sweet Tooth, Leo Leo Gelato, and Bella Pops, which will offer enough variety to have something that pleases everyone. They will be onsite all day to keep everyone well fed.
There are a few minor rules: No outside food or outside beverages are allowed into the concert but you can bring empty water bottles to fill at the free water stations that Castoro always provides guests at their tasting room; and no in-and-out privileges. When you arrive at the gate, you’ll receive a commemorative “Go Vino Glass,” a plastic, stemless glass you can use to buy a glass of wine or beer, or fill with water to stay hydrated. Beaverstock will be held rain or shine (now, that really is like Woodstock, but rain is highly unlikely in Templeton this time of year).
“We encourage people to bring their kids; children 10 years and under get in free,” said Niels. “We’ll have a kids’ booth with aerial acrobats, their name is “Suspended Motion,” with other activities taking place while the bands switch out.”
Beaverstock takes place in the estate vineyard, a natural amphitheater, where there’s plenty of free parking and many broad-spread, shady oak trees to provide some relief from the sun. However, some areas are out in the open so it’s advisable to wear layers and bring some sun protection like hats and sunscreen. You can also bring along low-backed beach chairs and blankets.
Get the details about all ten bands that are performing, and everything other detail you want to know about Beaverstock at CastoroCellars.com/Beaverstock or call 238-0725. Tickets will be available at the gate if it doesn’t sell out in advance, but why take the chance?
“Beaverstock took a lot of coordination with five bands a day and getting the grounds prepared,” Niels admitted. He added that even he is curious to see what the next 30 years will bring to Paso Robles wine country. Castoro Cellars now has a still for making Brandy, Primitivo, and Grappa, which winemaker Tom Myers and Niels are excited about experimenting with during the upcoming harvest. “During Beaverstock we’ll be pouring a variety of our reserve wines, Zinfusion, Tango, and our cabernet reserve. We’ll also have sangria to offer something refreshing with a little more kick than water. I think people will feel bad if they miss this celebration.”
Contact Cuisine Columnist Kathy Marcks Hardesty at email@example.com.