Their story is like a fairy tale of sorts – the couple was living in Oakland with one child and another on the way and loved the city. But they were also trying to figure out what environment they wanted their kids to grow up in. “ Gary is in real estate development. We were pretty comfortable where we were in Oakland , but we also loved the outdoors, having a backyard, open space,” Beuselinck said. “One day, Gary called me after visiting some other properties nearby and said he had found the perfect spot in Hopland. I had no idea about Hopland, where it was, how far it was from Oakland and where I grew up in Saratoga . But when I saw the site, I knew it was perfect.”
That site was the former Fetzer Valley Oaks Food & Wine Center , a 51-acre property originally opened and founded by the Fetzer family. Louisville-based Brown-Forman Corporation bought Fetzer in the early 90′s and the family was no longer involved in the business. Operations had been shuttered since 2006 until the couple decided to buy the property. But their idea of a dream home has now become a full-time business as well. Breen and Beuselinck have worked to restore many aspects of the property and even though it wasn’t their initial intention, they now have a winery, a hugely popular garden and enough space to hold conferences and different food and wine events at Campovida.
“The space had been such an important part of Mendocino County and was so rich in history, especially in terms of food and wine. The culinary center had hosted the likes of Julia Childs, Emeril Lagasse and John Ash. And Fetzer had played such an important role for the area,” Beuselinck said. “We knew that we wanted to bring something back that had been forgotten and help breathe life back into Hopland.”
The site has hosted several different types of events, including Beuselinck’s Do Lectures, a four-day series of lectures from “doers” around the globe. “Campovida ended up being a perfect spot for my career in planning executive off-sites and retreats. There is plenty of room for people to stay overnight and for the various speeches and presentations,” she said. “The lectures are all about sharing ideas and bringing a positive energy to create change, which is the same process Gary and I took when we purchased Campovida. We wanted to restore its place in Hopland, bring together the community and show that once again, this was going to be a great, family-run business.”
The couple’s ties to the East Bay have played an important role in partnering with other food-related businesses. Chef Sean Baker of Gather in Berkeley uses produce from Campovida’s 13-acre garden and has been a guest chef on the property. And Oakland-based Linden Street Brewery is growing hops onsite.
The partnership with Linden Street brings the fairy tale back to the East Bay. Breen owned property near the Port of Oakland. One of the buildings has become the actually brewery and tasting room for Linden Street. “We loved what Adam (Lamoreaux) wanted to do and his ideas got us so excited. There were some months where we wondered if the operation was ever going to get up-and-running,” Beuselinck said. “But we had faith in the entire team and now, they’re producing amazing beers.” And the building next door to the brewery? That has now become Taste of Place, Campovida’s very own wine tasting room in Oakland.
“Our love of Oakland brought us back to the East Bay. Once we started producing our wines, we discovered the Oakland Wine Trail, which was a group of local wine producers. And we wanted in!” Beuselinck said. “So we built out this building. But the one thing that is unique about our tasting room is that our wine are all ours – they come from the property in Hopland, the grapes we grow and the really unique wines that our Winemaker, Sebastian Donoso, is making. It was a chance for us to educate our guests about what goes into the wine we are producing.” The tasting room is open the same hours as Linden Street Brewery; Thursday and Friday from 5:00-9:00pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12:00-5:00pm.
With a number of different projects on their plate, Breen and Beuselinck have kept busy building on what was their dream house – now, it has become their life. The Taste of Place wine tasting room is located at 95 Linden Street in Oakland and Campovida is located at 13601 Old River Road in Hopland.