Seeking solutions so our up-and-coming wineries keep the ‘mojo’ going

Mark Derry

So, spring Passport Weekend for our wonderful, visitor attracting wineries is a comin’ fast on March 23 and 24 and a spat has broken out. Hopefully, Sycamore Creek will change direction and participate in the weekend and, hopefully, the winery owners will get together to seek solutions to the challenges of parking and rowdy wine drinkers who overindulge. Toward that end, perhaps the winery owners could consider hiring shuttle buses – a few for the Gilroy area and a few, likewise, for Morgan Hil. The buses could ferry passengers on a loop route between wineries during the weekend. A main parking lot would have to be identified and promoted – Dhruv Khanna’s paved soccer field parking lot at Kirigin Cellars could work, for example – and that could minimize some of the challenges. If the winery owners are smart, they’ll do what they can to solve the problems themselves and collectively keep intact the momentum of Passport Weekend and the growing reputation for fun events, good wine and hospitable staffs that the area wineries have built.

Enjoyed an open house visit to a fabulous place for a  summer wine party last Friday. The new patio at the refurbished Gilroy Elks Lodge – now touted as “The Lodge on the Hill” – is dynamite. Great stretched out views of the city and the mountains to the east beyond, a crisp-looking paver patio, and a pergola in exactly the right place for marital vows make this area the crown of the $200,000-plus renovation. The plants and lighting are superb complements. It’s a really sharp renovation inside and out. Landscape Innovation partners Greg Bozzo and Joe Carrera did an outstanding job with the patio area and it’s going to be a facility that really adds a nice piece to the Gilroy venue puzzle. And to Grand Exalted Ruler Phil Quast (wouldn’t it be great to be a grand exalted ruler) – how about a summer Thursday night music series on the patio featuring a rotation of local wineries and Chef de Cuisine Dave Bozzo’s mouth-watering appetizers? That would be profitable and sweet.

Sweet that the Gilroy Police Department is taking up the long-standing battle against the riffraff that ruin the park experience for so many residents. Marijuana smoking, drinking, drive-by filthy rap songs turned to maximum volume as Little Leaguers take the field steps away – it’s all a part of demeaning the quality of life for Gilroyans. Our wonderful parks are a treasure, but the experience can be ruined by the few – and those few are well aware of it. Without continued and consistent police presence, the problems will persist and grow. Plaudits for Parks and Recreation Commissioner Julie Garcia who publicly decided to bring the issue to the forefront. What’s needed is an integration of park patrols into the regular police patrols. That would be something the community would appreciate very much indeed. Parking the patrol car and taking a quick stroll around when the parks are busy would be a bonus.

Today’s bizarro bonus word: doohickey. Could just say it means a doodad, but that means a thingumabob … well, let’s just say that gadgets in the English language abound.

Someone sent me this “Lesson in Irony” for the column and … “The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing the greatest amount of food stamps ever, to 46 million people. Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us “Please Do Not Feed the Animals.” Their stated reason for the policy is because the animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves. This ends today’s lesson.”

Being a human animal searching for food (or spirits) in our time doesn’t get much more enjoyable than a trip to Rocca’s Market in San Martin where the shelves are filled with interesting local products from honey to Frantoio Grove olive oil and where Tom behind the butcher counter is always on the money. He suggested a “Never Ever” Hampshire pork roast for Sunday dinner last. “Never Ever” meaning no hormones, no antibiotics never ever. He cut the bones off, re-tied them on and sent Miss Jenny and I packing. A little dry rub, BBQ and boy that turned out tasty, juicy fantastic for not one, but two days worth of dinners.

Rock my world … I’m in the background of a Harlem Shake video on youtube shot and produced by, as well as starring the Oregon State Women’s Rugby Team …

It’s crazy, just like the offer from to pay the town of Woodside, CA $11.65 million to change its name to for 10 years in a sponsorship deal. Sent the press release to our very own sugar daddy, Mayor Don Gage, just in case upper-crust Woodside rejects the deal and the company begins to search for a back-up city. Where were you born again? Ah,, California.

Reach Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]