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Campbell Winter Wine Walk is a Winner

The bi-annual event brought out hundreds of wine lovers, who browsed the merchandise downtown while sampling local vineyards' award-winning grapes.

It's not every day you can sip wine while browsing the toy store for your child's birthday present. Or while you're looking at Porsches. Or lingerie.

The bustle of this year's Downtown Campbell filled both sides of the downtown strip Wednesday as vineyard owners, street musicians and thirsty residents mingled together and explored their tastes in both grapes and shopping.

For those in need of a few tips on tasting techniques or who enjoy blind tasting at home, Daniel and Carlene Iverson were stationed at the welcome tents promoting their party game, All You Need is Wine, which includes bags to hide bottle labels, note sheets, glass tags and a short but informative guide.

“We're both engineers,” says Carlene. “This is our side gig!” After playing an impromptu, homemade version of the game with friends at their home two years ago, they realized what a convenience having a manufactured game would be and decided to make it themselves.

Street musicians were also planted outside, performing and promoting their material—or, in the case of self-taught guitarist Andrew Paz, just performing. “A lot of this is just improv,” he says while pressing his foot on a loop station, allowing himself to play along with something he played a few moments ago. “I'm just having fun.” A few feet away, his mother, Sonya, greeted patrons inside the .

Other musicians included Kenya-born songstress and humanitarian Wangari in an acoustic trio with guitarist Paul Thibeault and percussionist Gabriel Harris; classical and New Age performer Chaz; and singer/guitarist Mark Rodriguez of San Jose.

Most shop owners were on hand so that wine-tasters could browse the merchandise simultaneously. Farhad Ghamgosar, owner of for 14 years, said it was a great way to get more business.

"Art, wine and cars ... they just seem to go together.” His store, which hosted Silver Mountain Vineyards, also displays several works of art by Campbell artist Lorraine Lawson.

Heather and Colin Johnstone, owners of , said they had initially underestimated how big the Wine Walk would be. “It turned out to be phenomenal," said Heather. “Campbell has so many great events.” Dozens of people were crammed into their shop, sipping selections from Bargetto Winery. Outside, toys on the sidewalk propped up the Bargetto sign—a good image of the symbiotic relationships taking place all over downtown.

Tammie Medeiros of Sycamore Creek Vineyards said she liked being set up in the Yogic Medicine Institute. “It's very calming,” she says, pouring wine to patrons as they peer around at the Eastern cloths and Buddhist statues. “It's so nice in here!”

Ben Cooper of family-owned Cooper-Garrod Vineyards in Saratoga emphasized the importance of being an estate winery—meaning that 100 percent of grapes used in the wines were grown on-site. “They have to be grown on your own property. ... (Some wineries) use around 80 percent, but I don't think there are many others around, outside of Napa, that are exclusively estate.”

Noreen Blaze, while sampling Cooper's wine inside Pure Health, said she had taken a horseback ride around the vineyard and gone wine-tasting there for her birthday a few years ago. “It was beautiful,” she says.

El Sol Winery, Hannah Nicole Vineyards and Heart O'The Mountain were surrounded by artwork in the Sonya Paz Gallery, Stone Griffin Gallery and , respectively.

Pinder Winery and Savannah Chanelle Vineyards were a part of the food/wine pairings available at and

Even shops that weren't hosting wineries inside made use of the foot traffic. Frost Cupcake Factory, which is set to open in early spring, offered mini-cupcakes (dark chocolate with creamy frosting) for patrons to sample. Co-owner Andrea Parks, a Campbell resident, says the lease was just signed last week. “We also have gourmet cupcakes,” she says. The menu consists of her own recipes.

“We're the little red schoolhouse on Summit Road,” said Katrina Simic on repeat as she poured multiple selections from Burrell School, a building that dates back to the 19th century. Themed names include “Teacher's Pet” (Chardonnay), “Detention” (Zinfandel) and “Extra Credit” (Cabernet Franc).

“I'm really lucky I got to pour here,” she says of Ayla Boutique. “These guys are great.”

Brenda Mardesich and Sue Ryan came from Los Gatos to enjoy the evening. “(The Wine Walk) is so much fun,” said Mardesich. “And I'm totally a fan of fun!”

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