Monday, June 27, 2016

Touring and Tasting Wine at Beringer Vineyards

Napa Valley is a fun place to spend a day or a weekend. Last month we spent a few days up there with family. We stayed right next to some vineyards ... not hard to do in St. Helena ... and had several marvelous sit-down wine tastings. The whole adventure started at Beringer Vineyards with a full tour of the historic property, including the gardens, the caves and both a barrel tasting in the cave and educational tasting in the kitchen.

Founded in 1875, Beringer Vineyards is considered to be the oldest continuously operating winery in the Napa Valley and is listed under the National Register of Historical Places. The Beringer Brothers Winery (as it as known for a century) had its first harvest and crush in 1876. With Jacob Beringer serving as Winemaker and Frederick Beringer as financier, the brothers made approximately 40,000 gallons of wine (18,000 cases) that first year. Today, Beringer Vineyards is a huge wine company, but still manages to keep the family winery feel to its estate. In fact, Mark Beringer, became Chief Winemaker in 2015 … he is a direct descendant of founding brother Jacob Beringer.

We took some awesome photos and I thought I would share them with you.

Vineyards in St. Helena
Cabernet Sauvignon Grapevines
Beringer's Rhine House Built in 1884
Beringer Private Reserve Wines
Barrels used for aging
Some wonderful large old barrels
Wine glasses after our barrel tasting in the cave
While the caves are dimly light by "electric lights", there are still some old candles burning along the walls
Vaulted walkway between the caves
Ornate old barrels
This is how the caves looked years ago. Today the working winery is across the road.
More aging barrels
The Kitchen Tasting Room
The setting for our educational tasting
Garden walkway ... the grounds are beautiful

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Vintage Czech Glass Crystal Necklaces

Czech Glass Crystal Necklaces
Bohemia, once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is now a part of the Czech Republic. It played an important role in the history of costume jewelry. In the 19th century, Bohemia became famous for being the glass center of Europe. It was in Gablonz, at the end of the Victorian Era, that Austrian jeweler Daniel Swarovski introduced the first cut-glass crystals to successfully imitate the look of precious gemstones … diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds. Even today Swarovski glass crystals are considered top-of-the-line.

Since Bohemia became part of the Czech Republic after WWI, we think of glass art objects as Bohemian glass, and stones for jewelry as Czech glass or crystals. During the 1920s, Czech glass beads were strung into gaily colored necklaces, which swung from the necks of flappers. Sometimes filigreed settings held a handful of singular glass stones, heavier rectangular brooches were crammed to their corners with rhinestones in emerald green, sapphire blue, amethyst purple and ruby red. Faceted beads were used for a variety of necklaces from strands to bibs and festoons to lavalieres.

Today, these 1920s creations are highly collectible and beautiful to wear as well. We have a nice selection of these jewels. Check them out ... pun intended.

Clear Czech Crystal Necklace ($125.00)

Czech Glass Beaded Necklace with Carnelian Glass Medallion ($125.00)

Czech Glass Necklace with Filigree and Rosary Beads ($125.00)

Czech Glass with Gorgeous Yellow-Amber Beads and Gilt Metal Florets ($125.00)

Czech Clear Crystals with a Brilliant Teardrop Pendant (125.00)

Czech Clear Crystal Bib or Festoon Necklace ($89.00)

Czech 1920s Wachenheimer Sterling Silver Onyx Marcasite Necklace ($125.00)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Few Vintage Toys ... Just in Time for Father's Day

We just got these three old toys ... perfect for Father's Day. Wood and tin construction from the early 1900s, these are timeless ... and very collectible.
Canton Pacers ($149.00)
Ad from Jan 1899 Home Decor Magazine
This Canton Pacers pull toy is fabulous and was introduced in the 1890s. It's about 16" long and made of wood and tin. The horses trot along when the toy is pushed or pulled.
Tinker Mule ($89.00, as found)
Auction Catalog listing
The Tinker Mule is from the now famous Toy Tinkers, Inc., makers of Tinker Toys! This one is made of wood, a hard rubber and some metal rods. (Alas, the mule lost his snout a long time ago.) It is fully articulated. Made for a short period from 1928-1931.

Porter Pushing Cart Tin Toy ($89.00)
The last is a tin plated metal luggage cart pushed by a porter. The porter walks along when pushed or pulled. This is c1900.

These are only available in our Los Gatos shop at this time, but feel free to email us or call us and we can ship it to you.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Sunset Gardens at CornerStone Sonoma

We recently took some time in Napa Valley ... wonderful weekend! On our way up we stopped at CornerStone, a uniquely wine country "village" of artisan and antiquish shops and the newly added Sunset Gardens. If you are up that way, make a stop. The gardens are wonderful ... full of garden ideas, sculpture and beauty. Here's a little gallery of what we enjoyed.

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