Along the Coast: OC Real Estates news updates


The Irvine Co. will be developing a large apartment community for UC Irvine students with lease rates similar to on-campus housing.

Plans call for residence halls to house 2,500 students to be located on a 19-acre site in the company’s University Research Park, directly adjacent to the UCI campus.

On campus, UCI is restricted by the city of Irvine to 18,000 beds. The 30,000-student university expects to reach that limit by 2022. Two new dormitories are currently under construction for 1,941 students with a September completion date, and two more are getting started for an addition 2,100 students.



Vivante Senior Living Facility (rendering courtesy of city of Newport Beach)

Newport Beach residents can forget the 25-story Museum House luxury condominium tower once planned for the former site of the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Center. Instead, say hello to Vivante Senior Living, a six-story assisted living and memory care facility now planned for the site.

The Museum House was approved by the Newport Beach City Council, only to be denied when opponents gathered enough signatures to force a referendum. Unable to sell the site to developer Related Co., the property was sold to Nexus Development Corp. of Costa Mesa.

The facility is currently going through the city’s approval process.

Nexus developed a similar facility called Vivante on the Coast in Costa Mesa and the company reports the 185-bed project is full with a waiting list.



What does a regional shopping mall owner do when major department stores, the anchors that attract shoppers for the smaller stores in the mall, close? Convert the center to a multi-use complex by adding apartments, office buildings and perhaps a hotel and a huge cinema.

Mall owners all over the nation are facing the same problem that is being faced by the Laguna Hills Mall (recently renamed Five Lagunas) and Main Place Mall in Santa Ana, as well as the once venerable Horton Plaza in San Diego.

Merlone Geier Partners, owner of the Five Lagunas mall, is planning a major revamp. With three department stores closed, the developer wants to add 2,100 apartments, four office buildings, a 125-room hotel, a 10-screen cinema and a 3-acre park. And oh yes, keep 140,000 square feet of retail shops (the mall once had 850,000 square feet of retail).

The apartments would be in six buildings with 60 to 80 units per floor. One apartment building would offer retail on the ground floor.

Included in the plan are locations for six future restaurants. However, there is already strong opposition from local residents, one of whom shouted at a planning meeting, “We don’t want to be another Irvine!”

A long series of municipal reviews lies ahead.



“Infill” is a popular word in the real estate development world, referring to an overlooked piece of land surrounded by development. Houston’s giant development firm, Hines, has discovered such an island, a single acre on Ford Road adjacent to the Bonita Canyon Sports Park in Newport Beach. The land was owned by Pacific Bell.

On this site, Hines plans to develop what it calls Newport House, a three-story, 21-unit condominium project. The architectural style would reflect a Nantucket theme, complete with two lighthouse features. The developer claims to be borrowing on the styling of the new Lido House Hotel in the Lido Village area. Newport Beach Planning Commission is currently reviewing the project, which would also require City Council approval.



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Pageant of the Masters, Shakespeare at New Swan and more fun for July


UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts’ New Swan Shakespeare Festival runs July 3-Aug. 30.(photography courtesy of

It’s no secret the greatest box-office challenge to the English language’s most profound playwright and poet was not Shakespeare’s rival, Ben Johnson, nor Christopher Marlowe, but bear-baiting, by which some coward, no doubt in stretchy pants, teased some hapless animal into attacking him. The good news is, Shakespeare often came out on top because he didn’t write strictly for ivory tower chrome domes but for groundlings as well, the working stiffs who paid bare minimum to stand in front of the stage.

The good people at New Swan Shakespeare Festival are keenly aware of this group of proletarians long ignored by purveyors, pundits and connoisseurs. So, gather groundlings and chrome domes alike for the festival’s double bill of “The Merchant of Venice” (among the Bard’s greatest comedies) and “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” (among his earliest), performed by company pros mixing with students in the drama department at UC Irvine.

WHEN: July 3-Aug. 30

WHERE: UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts, 4004 Mesa Road, Irvine

COST: $13-$57




If you’re hungry, eat a banana. You don’t go to the Orange County Fair to eat, you go to fetishize food, obsess over it, explore boundaries and discover exotic flavors that will strain your limits. Offerings in recent years include caramel drizzled fries, peanut butter and jelly sriracha funnel cake, big skillet cookies and OC Crunch Cinnamon Roll.

“Fried pineapple,” says the Fair’s Terry Moore, adding to the list of county comestibles, “the largest tomato, best cupcake, even tablescaping,” which is exactly what it sounds like.

And there’s music, too, though the lineup skews more Oldchella than Coachella at the Pacific Amphitheatre – Smokey Robinson, Styx, Pat Benatar, Dwight Yoakam, Ziggy Marley, Chicago, The B-52’s and Seal, with English Beat and Ozomatli at the Hangar. The Mariachi Festival has expanded this year and is steps up from the Hangar to the Amphitheatre.

At the Sports Arena they’re rocking X-treme Motocross, ATV and Quad races, for people who love speed and bumps and hate their kidneys.

WHEN: July 12-Aug. 11

WHERE: OC Fairgrounds, Costa Mesa

COST: $7-$14



Backstage at Pageant of the Masters. (photography courtesy of

The theme of this year’s one-of-a-kind art/theater mashup in Laguna Beach is time travel, giving director Diane Challis Davy wide parameters within which to work. Inspired by the classic sci-fi novel by H.G. Wells, “The Time Machine,” Challis Davy and screenwriter Dan Duling weave together a mystery about a scientist, a bump on the head and a magical sketchbook by a celebrated son of Anchiano holding 15 clues that, yes, take us through a world of living artworks.

“We’re doing a piece called ‘The City of Paris,’ which is a Cubist work, and it’s very challenging,” Challis Davy tells Coast of the 1911 canvas by Robert Delaunay. “The most difficult and challenging ones are the more realistic pictures. We have a couple from the Victorian Age and because they’re photorealistic that becomes very difficult.”

What’s less difficult is mid-19th century romanticist Jean-Leon Gerome’s epic canvas of “Napoleon and his General Staff in Egypt,” which begins the show, though that’s not to imply that history started with the vanquishing of bedouins. It didn’t. It began with nudes, perhaps even the trio of them in Georges Seurat’s pointillist “Les Poseuses.” Vermeer’s “The Music Lesson” is a crowd pleaser, as are iconic images ranging from the “The Day the Earth Stood Still” movie poster to Salvador Dali’s “The Nobility of Time” (floppy watch and all). The show ends on a culinary note with daVinci’s “The Last Supper,” all set to music by a full orchestra.

WHEN: July 7-Aug. 31

WHERE: 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach

COST: $20-$198




San Clemente Ocean Festival, July 20-21. (photography courtesy of

Get the little ones ready for the Dolphin Dash and the “Groms Rule” Surf Contest, and get the big ones ready for the Lifeguard Competition (first place takes $500). Get the rest ready for a roster of athletic battles like this year’s new additions, Tandem Boogie Boarding and the Pier Bowl Surf Classic. Add those to the Annual 5K Run, Dory Boat races, Open Ocean Paddle, Biathlon, One Mile Ocean Swim and just about everything else you can do but relax at the beach.

Of course, you could always just watch. There are no awards for that, but knowing you spent a weekend lolling in the sun instead of burning an actual calorie while others sweat and tumble all around you has its own virtues.

And while you’re in San Clemente, stop by Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens for a glance at artist Levi Ponce’s new mural related to SoCal’s coastline and ocean life on view through Sept. 8. Ponce is a rising star whose work has been exhibited at The Skirball Center and The Craft and Folk Art Museum.

WHEN: July 20-21

WHERE: San Clemente Beach

COST: free




Jethro Tull by Ian Anderson, July 6, FivePoint Amphitheater, Irvine

Los Lobos, July 14, OC Fairgrounds, Costa Mesa

Beck and Cage the Elephant, July 17, FivePoint Amphitheatre, Irvine

Jefferson Starship, July 18, The Coach House, San Juan Capistrano

Ted Nugent, July 23-24, The Coach House, San Juan Capistrano


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Pacific Symphony starts July with a bang

July 4 takes flight at the Pacific Amphitheatre when Pacific Symphony kicks off its SummerFest with “Hotel California: A Salute to the Eagles.” The third season at the orchestra’s summer home begins with an Eagles tribute band joining the orchestra, followed by patriotic tunes and holiday fireworks. Other summer concerts include the orchestra performing John Williams’ soundtrack alongside a screening of “Star Wars: A New Hope” (Aug. 17) and the traditional “Tchaikovsky Spectacular” (Sept. 7). New this year is a special event, “Hail to the Heroes,” honoring veterans and first responders (Sept. 8). And there’s plenty more this summer from the orchestra: Kid-friendly Symphony in the Cities concerts in Mission Viejo (July 27), Costa Mesa (July 28), Orange (Aug. 3) and Irvine (Aug. 4), plus performances of Broadway and opera tunes as part of the Mission San Juan Capistrano “Music Under the Stars” series (July 21). Prefer your classical music indoors? Pacific Symphony will take part in two concerts at Christ Cathedral: with vocalist Jackie Evancho as part of the Catholic cathedral’s dedication festivities (July 13) and a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth (Aug. 1).

SEE IT: “Hotel California: A Salute to the Eagles,” 8 p.m. July 4.

OC Fair & Event Center88 Fair Dr, Costa MesaTicketing and other event information available online.





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A René Lalique automobile mascot built for Prince George emerges in Newport Beach

Gerard Smith is a collector extraordinaire, whose interests have led him to obtain one of the only 26 original copies of the Declaration of Independence, create an extensive coin and currency collection sought by museums, not to mention amass one of the most extensive collections of pre- and post-war automobile mascots (don’t say “hood ornament”) created by glassmaker René Lalique in his factory in Alsace, France. But what makes Smith’s collection the most rare is this running greyhound created for England’s Prince George, in honor of his visit to Paris. This one-of-a kind piece – a light under the hood projects the blue color into the clear glass – was never put into commercial production It disappeared for more than 80 years; its whereabouts unknown until it turned up at auction. “My goal is to collect every one of the 30 designs made by Lalique but in every color,” says Smith. “It’s never been done, is very expensive, but fun to do. You’ve got to collect something, after all. That’s what makes life interesting – always on the hunt for something!”

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Essay: Learning to soar after divorce

Now that I was divorced, unemployed and living in my childhood bedroom, I had finally figured out a great Saturday routine. If I wasn’t running too late, I stopped by one of two Starbucks roughly 80 yards from each other on Santa Margarita Parkway. Then I drove to the Orange County Bird of Prey Center in Silverado Canyon and donned gardening gloves. With fellow volunteers, I picked owl pellets out of gravel, hosed down plywood enclosure walls and scrubbed rotting poultry off AstroTurf-covered perches, all while trying to avoid the talons of swooping owls, kestrels, eagles and other assorted creatures of the air.

The birds were flummoxed, even offended, by our intrusion, and afterward were given frozen mice as a reward for their patience. My reward was a hot shower and the knowledge that the raptors were recuperating in nice clean cages. Or, as is the proper term for falconers, in nice clean mews.

But really I was looking for something deeper among the birds: I was trying to figure out how to heal from a divorce. And maybe how to find lasting love and a fulfilling career. That’s all.

The center was located on the grounds of Rancho Las Lomas, a property sprawling with orange groves and tiled courtyards, a place where, coincidentally, I had married my college sweetheart five years earlier. Perhaps it was this accident of geography that made my volunteer work radiate significance, at least to me. Or maybe it was my English degree – all those Homeric bird auguries.

The birds were situated under a canopy of eucalyptus. Permanent residents, typically human-imprinted birds unable to return to the wild, lived in large metal-barred cages, while those injured by power lines inhabited plywood enclosures with mesh roofs.

Encountering every falcon, owl, eagle was like meeting a celebrity, an entity I had seen only from far away, now up close. And each bird had a story. I learned that Isis, a massive female red-tailed hawk named for the Egyptian goddess and not the Islamic State, became confused by her urge to mate each spring. She would call down wild males and then kill them through the bars of her cage. It was a Greek tragedy in feathers, but what could it mean?

Meanwhile, the owl mew was a relatively peaceful place. Barn owls and great horned owls watched us wide-eyed, adjusting their heads in broad, flat circles, from time to time swooping silently across their enclosure in groups to resettle on an opposite perch.

The accipiters on the other hand – Cooper’s hawks and sharp-shinned hawks – were excitable birds, always flapping around madly and bumping into walls.

Cleaning their mew was something out of a Hitchcock film, and I was always relieved to dodge the assignment.

The flight mew was my favorite. It was a larger space, maybe 20 by 20 feet, which meant more surface area but less ducking, as only two birds lived there: a bedraggled female bald eagle and a male turkey vulture who had also seen better days. On the vulture’s right wing was a white tag marking him with the number 18, and out of his tail feathers protruded a janky telemetry antenna. As it happened, Eighteen had tried a stint as an educational bird; some raptors like Isis were brought to various schools to educate students. Unfortunately, when turkey vultures feel stressed, they projectile vomit. They also urinate on their legs during hot weather as a means of cooling off. All of this scared the children. So back to his flight mew went Number 18.

I quickly deemed Eighteen and Martha Washington (my name for the eagle) as the ideal relationship. They gave each other space yet chose to spend most of their time on the same perch. Maybe this was what healing was all about: finding a fellow train wreck to keep you company.

When talking with the head volunteer one day, I casually said, “The birds in the flight mew – I think they love each other.”

She was matter-of-factly pulling a bag of frozen mice carcasses out of the freezer but stopped for a moment. I sensed she was wary of me, the sort of volunteer who came for selfish reasons and burned out quickly.

“Coco and Chaos?” she asked rhetorically.

Coco? Chaos? I mean, I had been volunteering for nearly a month. We could have discussed this.

“No,” she continued. “They tolerate each other. They’re always fighting over their food. It’s a problem for us.”

When I brought two mice back to the flight mew, Martha Washington/Coco screeched, flew directly into a wall and slid down to the gravel. So maybe the head volunteer was right.

I drove home confused. I was getting used to this feeling. When I had walked down the aisle, roses in my hair, I was a newly minted Stanford grad, a promising writer, a girl in love. Now I was a broke and broken boomerang kid watching “Law and Order” and eating popcorn with her parents each night. At age 22, I’d had certainty; now at 27, I had none. Furthermore, I’d now proven I was as stumped by vulture-eagle relationships as by human ones.

It reminded me of something my old violin teacher, a woman who delighted in teasing me, had said when I told her about moving back in with my parents. “Wow. So you’ve made a real mess of things, haven’t you?”

It was dawning on me that there were no real lessons to be learned from the birds, only the cold indifference of nature.

Well, maybe one lesson – but it was not hiding in the flight mew.

As I drove past a series of chaparral-covered hills, I remembered an autumn afternoon long ago when my family had helped release a group of recuperated barn owls back into the wild. The owls were ferried to these hills in the back of a large white van. In a neat row of cardboard boxes, they perched silently, waiting to be freed.

Here’s the thing about owls: They are good at being grounded. In their mews and in their cardboard travel carriers, they keep calm. Meanwhile Cooper’s hawks flap madly around, hitting walls and injuring themselves anew, asking frantically, “When will I move out of my parents’ house? What will I do for a career? Will I ever find love again?” Owls stay put and heal, even though healing, such a nice-sounding word, is painful and boring and scary.

One by one, the owls – their bodies as light as air, their small skulls padded with the softest feathers – were extricated and passed carefully to volunteers, who held the birds upside down from their talons, then pitched them upwards into the hills. My siblings and I took turns releasing our owls as the sun tipped toward
the horizon.

Finally it was my mother’s turn to free the last bird. But instead of sending it into the air, she – more impulsive than her timid, bookish children – let go too soon. Fellow volunteers gasped as the bird flopped low to the ground and then flew into a barbed wire fence 20 feet away. After all our work rehabbing this bird, would we have to recapture it and return it to the center to heal up again? My siblings and I would tease my mother about this for years to come.

The owl was hanging upside down from a horizontal length of wire. We watched, tensely, as it flapped its wings
and tried to regain balance. The sun was now shattering against the mountains in shades of orange and gold. The owl righted itself. And then, surprisingly unscathed,
it lifted off and made its way back into the world

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Olympian Simone Biles gives a boost to 44 Women for Orangewood fundraiser


  • Susan Samueli and Jill Bolton

    Susan Samueli and Jill Bolton

  • Simone Biles and Vikki Vargas

    Simone Biles and Vikki Vargas

  • Hien and Haig Papaian

    Hien and Haig Papaian

  • Joel and Karen Goldhirsh and Robert Quarles

    Joel and Karen Goldhirsh and Robert Quarles

  • Cindy and Jordan Dillion

    Cindy and Jordan Dillion

  • Twila True and Lupe Erwin

    Twila True and Lupe Erwin

  • Sona Shah and Carey Clawson

    Sona Shah and Carey Clawson

  • Anne Marie and Heidi Leonard

    Anne Marie and Heidi Leonard



Yvette Verastegui grew up in Orange County, suffering years of abuse at the hands of her mother before being placed in foster care at 13. When she aged out of the foster care system, she had few options. She was homeless. Then, Verastegui found hope.

The volunteers and staff at The Orangewood Foundation took the young foster child under their wings. With funds raised by the 44 Women for Orangewood, an auxiliary organization of the foundation, Verastegui found support, guidance and much needed scholarship money. She also learned that education would be her savior.

“My story is not sad because it is filled with the kindness and generosity of others,” said Verastegui, one of the two keynote speakers at the 44 Women for Orangewood Champagne luncheon on June 9, hosted at Disneyland Hotel.

Verastegui went on to attended law school and, after passing the bar, practiced law for years. Eventually she was appointed as a California Superior Court judge.

Joining Verastegui at the luncheon was another success story extraordinaire, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, also a product of the foster care system, born to a drug-addicted mother. Before medaling in Rio and dazzling the world with her prowess, Biles’ grandfather and his wife, Nellie Biles, had changed her and her sister’s lives by adopting them.

That June morning, Nellie shared the stage with her daughter, Simone. Tears flowed as Orangewood’s Chief Development Officer Carlos Leija announced that $775,000 was awarded to 247 young adults just last year for college and grad school. Since its inception, Orangewood has helped over 80,000 kids find opportunities of Olympic proportions

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OC Wine Country Booms


Life is good for wine lovers in Orange County. We have more than our share of top-tier retailers, discerning wine bars and restaurants where the hefty wine list could crush a small dog.

But here’s something you probably didn’t know: OC is home to more than 20 winemakers, some of them among the state’s elite. And there was a time when this county produced more wine than anywhere else in California.

You scoff? Read on.

Anyone who has driven up and down our fair state knows that grapes do pretty darned well here. Since the early 19th century, California has been one of the world’s principal wine-producing regions, and in the last generation the state’s output has exploded. In 2016, California wineries shipped $34.1 billion worth to the rest of the republic, up 4.6 percent from the year before. Last year our state sent off 285 million cases to a thirsty world.

For a complete list of Southland wineries, see


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Southern California used to produce a sizable portion of California’s wine. The missions concocted their own utilitarian product, of course, but many of the first major commercial wineries were scattered far from the Camino Real in what is now Los Angeles and Orange counties, and the Inland Empire.

European immigrants who settled here in the early 19th century brought cuttings and wine knowledge from France, Italy, Germany and other places where winemaking was a tradition. By the late 1830s there were vineyards the length of the Los Angeles basin, and by the 1850s you could count more than 100 vineyards – a time when LA County was home to fewer than 4,000 people.

What drove the growth? The Gold Rush, for the most part. Ironically, Southern California winemakers were shipping their product north to prospector country, not far from what is now the California wine industry’s hub.

Anaheim was an early center of wine production. In fact, the city owes its existence to wine.

Anaheim was born in 1857, when 50 German-American families from the San Francisco area paid $750 each to invest in the Los Angeles Vineyard Society. John Frohling and Charles Kohler, German musicians who dreamed up the plan, hired George Hansen, Los Angeles County’s assistant surveyor, to purchase land and plat the wine-making colony (still part of LA County, since Orange County didn’t yet exist).

Prospering from the deal, Kohler and Hansen planted 400,000 vines along the Santa Ana River. They started a healthy local industry – by 1875 there were as many as 50 wineries in Anaheim, and the city’s wine production topped 1 million gallons annually.

But the prosperity was short-lived. In 1883, most vineyards in Anaheim were struck down with Pierce’s disease, caused by a bacteria spread by pests named sharpshooters.

Guess what took the place of the doomed vineyards? That’s right – oranges. If not for the die-off, we might now be living in Wine County.

Phylloxera, microscopic aphids that live on and eat roots of grapes, also took its toll, as did Prohibition, but winemaking persisted in Southern California through the mid-20th century. In 1936 there were 163 wineries between Santa Barbara and the Mexican border.

Southern California’s wine industry was finally killed by a man-made predator: development. After World War II, vineyards began shrinking rapidly, and by the 1980s most wineries and their acreages had disappeared. Only Temecula remains, relatively isolated and protected by its status as an American Viticultural Area.

In the last 20 years, Orange County has experienced a small renaissance of winemaking, but it’s more in line with 21st-century realities. Most OC winery owners and operators buy their grapes from the great viticulture regions of the Central Coast and Northern California, although a few labels also draw from small vineyards within the county.

Here’s the Coast roundup of Orange County’s best-known winemakers and wineries.



A Stone’s Throw Winery

Wines: chardonnay, a cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel from Paso Robles and Lake County.

A Stone’s Throw, the new kid on the block, opened its doors in December and makes its wine at Giracci Vineyards; Giracci’s Chad Kearns serves as its winemaker.

Until new labels come in, Stone’s Throw is pouring wine made by two neighbors, Giracci and Cowboy Canyon. Stone’s Throw prices will start at $24 for the chardonnay; other wines haven’t yet been priced. The tasting room is in the historic Swanner House, formerly the Roger Y. Williams house. A Craftsman bungalow, it features original light fixtures, built-ins in every room and a whole lot of character. Out back are about 3 acres of orange groves, the last vestige of the orchard Williams and his brother laid down in the 1920s. Grapevines planted by a more recent owner, Hamilton Oaks Winery, have been revitalized by David Fanucci, vineyard manager for Giracci, A Stone’s Throw and Cowboy Canyon.

29943 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano

Friday 3-8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.




  • Winemaker Chad Kearns pours at A Stones Thrown Winery

    Winemaker Chad Kearns pours at A Stones Thrown Winery


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Bellante Family Winery

Wines: viognier from Santa Barbara’s Happy Canyon, pinot noir from Santa Rita Hills, mourvedre, syrah from Santa Barbara. Some wines are single-vineyard.

Chuck Bellante and his wife, Sheri, offer tastings and sell their wine by the bottle or case. They released their first commercial vintage, 2015, when they opened their tasting room in March. The fruit is from Santa Barbara County and crushed at a facility in Santa Clarita, then bottled and shipped to Mission Viejo. The Bellantes made wine for 17 years in a co-op before hanging out their own shingle. Their wine sells for $37-$60 per bottle; $30-$48 for wine club members. Members get one to three shipments per year.

“We’re doing small-lot, age-worthy wines,” Sheri said. “My husband has a passion for this, and you have to have a passion to make great wine. He goes to a lot of extra work to make the wines really special. He wants to produce wine for people who really appreciate quality.” Chuck is in charge of all things wine; Sheri does marketing and everything else. During the day they run an industrial water-treatment business.

“People often ask me where I learned to make wine, and I usually respond, ‘I am a chemical engineer,’ ” Chuck says on the winery website. “This has become such a joke around our house my family has threatened to put it on my tombstone. That’s fine with me as long as they serve my wines at the wake.”

23854 Via Fabricante Unit D-2, Mission Viejo

Friday 5-9 p.m., Saturday noon-9 p.m. and Sunday noon-5 p.m.





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Cowboy Canyon Winery

Wines: barbera from Sierra Foothills, sangiovese from Sonoma, red blend (primitivo, zinfandel, syrah and petite sirah) from Sierra Foothills, chardonnay from Mendocino.

Donna and Michael Cipolla own a printing and graphics company, but that’s just their day job. Their passions are wine and country music. “I learned about wine at my grandpa’s knee back in New York,” Michael said. He has made small batches for more than three decades, nabbing some awards along the way. The Cipollas are friends with the Kearns, owners of Giracci Vineyards, right next door. Though Michael is a generation older than Chad Kearns, they hit it off immediately when they met. “We talked about wine,” Michael recalled. “I told him, ‘I’ve been making wine for years,’ and he said, ‘Let’s do it together.’ ” Cowboy Canyon has been open since November 2013 and produces about 1,000 cases per year, sourcing from all over California. “We’ve settled into particular vineyards that we like in Sonoma and Sierra Foothills and Napa and Paso,” Michael said. “I have the luxury of picking the best fruit available.”

Cowboy Canyon shares winemaking equipment with Giracci and uses a corner of the Giracci barn as a tiny tasting room. Country music is the constant soundtrack, and live country
bands are a regular feature at the winery for special events and Friday cookouts.

16162 Jackson Ranch Road, Silverado

Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.





Frisby Cellars Winery

Wines: chardonnay, viognier/roussane blend, pinot noir, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, marvel cuvee (a Paso blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah). Prices are $25-$32.

In 2008, winemaker Josh Frisby, an Orange County firefighter, started making wine. Frisby Cellars’ Orange County tasting room opened five years later. There’s a production facility in Paso Robles, where about 1,000 cases per year are made, cellared and bottled. “Our mission is to source the finest grapes from distinguished Paso Robles vineyards and produce premium craft wines to be offered at our tasting room and Orange County restaurants and wine shops,” Frisby states on the website. When he’s not fighting fires, Frisby can often be found at the tasting room.

20331 Lake Forest Drive, Suite C-3, Lake Forest

Thursday-Friday 5-8 p.m., Saturday 1-6 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m.





Giracci Vineyards & Farms

Wines: primitivo, zinfandel, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, chardonnay.

“We started making wine in 2006,” said winemaker Chad Kearns. “We made three wines at a custom crush facility while we were applying for our permit down here.” Only a small amount of the grapes are sourced locally. “We have some estate fruit, but we source most of our wine from elsewhere – Santa Barbara, the Central Coast, Davis, Napa, Lake County, Sonoma.” Annual production is about 4,500 cases, all of it sold to visitors and wine club members. “We did well last year,” Kearns said. “We won a best of class for primitivo and a gold medal for our zinfandel at the Monterey International Wine Competition.”

29943 Camino Capistrano,
San Juan Capistrano

Monday-Thursday by appointment only, Friday 1-5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.


16162 Jackson Ranch Road, Silverado

Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.






Laguna Canyon Winery

Wines: syrah, malbec especial (half malbec, half other varieties), cabernet sauvignon, syrah-cabernet sauvignon blend, pinot noir-petit verdot blend, California 4-Barrel Red Blend, Sonoma Valley 7-Barrel Red Blend, Sonoma Valley 5-Barrel Red Blend.

Marlowe and Darren Huber were born and raised in the harsh climate of Canada’s prairies. They perfected their winemaking skills after moving to Vancouver, sourcing their grapes from British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, Canada’s premier wine region. Dreaming bigger, they moved south and completed construction on their Laguna Canyon Road winery in 2003. The Hubers get their grapes primarily from Sonoma and occasionally Napa and the Central Coast, but all the crushing, pressing, fermentation, barrel aging, blending and bottling happen in Laguna. The Hubers are selling 2,800 cases per year through the wine club and tasting room.

2133 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach

Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.





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Newport Beach Vineyards & Winery

Wines: zinfandel, pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, from Russian River and Santa Maria Valley. Estate collection: 2010-13 O.C. Estate Unobtanium, a Bordeaux blend sourced on-site.

At this pretty hillside site you can walk among the vines and try Orange County’s only estate-bottled Bordeaux-style wine, Unobtanium, an organic, unfiltered wine that’s cabernet sauvignon-dominant. Richard and Marilyn Moriarty purchased the picturesque 3.5-acre site in 1998, and they’ve filled it with curiosities and built a small wine cave, making it popular for weddings and other events. Visits are by appointment only for parties of eight or more and include two to three hours of touring and tastings paired with cheese and charcuterie. Cost starts at $60 per person.

2128 Mesa Drive, Newport Beach




Orange Coast Winery

Wines: syrah, cabernet sauvignon, pink blend, Big Wave, sauvignon blanc, Beach Blend and many others. Grapes are sourced from Temecula and Lodi.

Doug and Debbie Wiens learned their winemaking and marketing skills in Temecula, where Doug is one of the founding partners at Wiens Family Cellars. (Doug is also well-educated for the task of winemaking, with degrees in horticulture and food science, as well as an MBA.) Looking for a winery to call their own, Doug and Debbie purchased Orange Coast Winery in 2011. They’ve received many OC Fair medals, including golds and double golds. They’re producing 5,000 cases per year, distributing it through their wine club and tasting room sales. General manager Peter Swanson runs a friendly and efficient tasting room. He’s there every day except Monday and Tuesday.

869 W. 16th St., Newport Beach

Monday-Friday 5-9 p.m., Saturday noon-9 p.m., Sunday noon-8 p.m.




Pozzuoli Vineyard & Winery

Wines: 2013 Red Blend (cabernet franc and merlot), 2013 zinfandel, 2015 viognier, 2015 chardonnay, 2015 estate rosato, Hog Canyon estate red (primitivo and merlot).

Pozzuoli Vineyard & Winery opened its tasting room in April 2012 in a nondescript storefront on Red Hill Avenue in Tustin, but its inside was far from humdrum. That’s because the owner and winemaker, Enrico Pozzuoli, is also an architect; his office is right next door. Recently, Pozzuoli created a second space called Centro in a historic building in Tustin, where they do most of their wine pouring; there’s a microbrewery there as well, and an inventive and tempting food menu.

Winemaking has always been a passion for Pozzuoli. “My dad used to make wine, my grandparents. It’s an Italian thing.”

Pozzuoli developed the 12-acre property, planting his first grapes in 2001. The vineyards thrive on moderately steep hillsides that maximize sun exposure and soil drainage. Production takes place up north. As soon as the wine is done fermenting, Pozzuoli dumps it into 300-gallon plastic bins, drives it down to Orange County and transfers it into barrels in the back of his Tustin facility. “I do all of my aging and bottling here,” he said.

140 E. Main St., Tustin

Monday 4-9 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday
11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday noon-8 p.m.

15481 Red Hill Ave. Suite C, Tustin

Saturday 1-5 p.m., 714.258.8817



Rancho Capistrano Winery

This busy place has produced more than 60 wines since it opened three years ago, “everything from cabernets to merlots,” according to owner Kyle Franson. “We’ve had 24 reds without a repeat. We typically have about four chardonnays on the shelf. Right now we have an African pinotage.” The idea was to have something new every time a regular comes into his restaurant/winery, Franson explained. Head winemaker Kylie Huffman works with juice from all over the world, and the fermenting, aging and bottling goes on in San Clemente and Rancho Cucamonga. Franson decided early on to buy juice rather than grapes. “I’m not interested in being a farmer, and good juice is readily available.” Rancho Capistrano has over 650 wine club members and sells a lot of its wine in its restaurant. Output is about 5,000 cases per year. Prices range from $25 to $65 per bottle. The priciest wine at the moment is a cabernet sauvignon sourced from Napa’s Atlas Peak.

26755 Verdugo St., San Juan Capistrano

Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.




Seal Beach Winery

Wines: The tasting room serves 20 wines, mostly single-varietal, and one red blend that’s syrah-based with tempranillo and petit verdot. The grapes are from the Central Coast, from Santa Ynez to Paso Robles.

While everything started at the Los Alamitos location, space limitations moved production to Orcutt, where they have “a crush pad – a shared space.” Now more than five years old, Seal Beach Winery produces 4,600 cases per year under the supervision of winemaker Michael Dawson. With an enology and viticulture degree from UC Davis, a degree in biochemistry and cell biology from UC San Diego, and a medical degree from USC, Dawson also has worked for 15 years as a radiologist.

3387 Cerritos Ave., Los Alamitos

Wednesday-Friday 4-9 p.m., Saturday 1-9 p.m., Sunday 1-6 p.m.





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Editor’s Letter: Good taste doesn’t come easy

When it comes to having a palate of sophistication and refinement, I … how can I say this … I got gypped.I blame my biological father, because, why not? It’s so much easier than blaming my mother. Here’s the story: He was an Italian citizen, originally from the province of Ancona in central Italy. After a brief stint in the States that included his relationship with my mother, he spent most of his working life in Sao Paulo, Brazil as a civil engineer. Italy, Brazil – aren’t your taste buds watering at the mere mention? Can’t you smell the rich scents from the kitchens? And wine! The Chianti, the Sangiovese …

But I wasn’t raised with the exotic side of my blood relations, so I didn’t grow up with any of that culinary culture. My family, the one that nurtured me, was the Scotch-Irish side, the ones with the boiled cabbage, the corned beef and the potatoes – boiled too, of course. Spices ran the gamut from salt to pepper. Well, to be fair, there was sometimes a sprinkling of paprika, maybe a parsley sprig garnish for festive holiday dinners. The drinks were Bushmills whiskey (a lot of that), and a cold Schlitz in the summer. To be fair, my grandparents briefly owned a diner in the culinary mecca that is Western Pennsylvania (that’s sarcasm, Dear Reader). Gram did make a killer grilled cheese and an egg salad that was, frankly, superb.

Let’s just say I burned out a few thousand of the 10,000 taste buds we’re all born with on overcooked pot roast and soda bread long before I knew what the word “gourmet” could offer. But all was not lost: It turns out developing a palate can still come through exposure to new tastes, an emotional connection or positive memory associated with foods, and throwing out the salt shaker along with the sugar bowl.

Although I’m still, sadly, not a world-class foodie, people in my life have broadened my horizons magnificently. From beloved Latino friends and their families I learned to crave green chile. From a few French ex-boyfriends in my youth, I came to appreciate endives’ bitterness, the uses of fennel, and the beauty of subtlety. From Filipino pals I developed an appetite for papaya and chayote – but not balut!

Now that I think about it, my personal palate in some ways parallels Orange County’s own culinary development. Forty years ago no one was making the drive from LA to dine here. But in the last four decades, daring gourmets like the ones I’m pictured with above – Zov Karamardian, Antonio Cagnolo, Bruno Serato and John Ghoukassian – have ventured into a land better known for its fast-food innovators than its Michelin ratings. One great meal at a time, they have elevated our collective expectations about what dining can be. Today we are a land of Top Chefs and James Beard Award-winners, great wineries, delicious ethnic spots and legacy brands that always deliver extraordinary dishes.

So this month, we offer an issue devoted to the county’s epicurean excellence. We hope you’ll savor it for a long, long time.

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Along the Coast: Business news you can use

Wild rivers seeks irvine’s ok


If negotiations with the city of Irvine go as planned, a new Wild Rivers Water Park will come to Irvine. The former, highly popular Wild Rivers was closed in 2011 when the firm’s land lease with the Irvine Co. expired. The site near the Irvine Spectrum,
adjacent to the also-closed Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, is now home to the Los Olivos Apartments.

For the new Wild Rivers, the firm is considering a 30-acre site in the Orange County Great Park to be leased from Irvine. Wild Rivers would invest $50 million to create a water wonderland including waterslides, a wave pool, a coaster, a lazy river, river rapids and water play stations for toddlers. Plans are to open the water park in May 2019.

Pop-up at ANQi


Helene An’s flagship restaurant, Crustacean in Beverly Hills, recently closed for a massive remodel. But lovers of its legendary roasted crab will delight to learn that this summer the An family will host an exclusive pop-up Crustacean experience at AnQi, South Coast Plaza.

Starting on July 17, diners may order from a special ∫ la carte weekday dinner menu served in the Q Lounge. Dishes include a variety of Crustacean’s seafood offerings such as garlic prawns, whole lobster and turmeric-crusted Chilean sea bass. Reservations are necessary since chef Helene An herself will cook each of the dinners in the restaurant’s secret kitchen.

Rezoning for 55+ housing

An increasing demand for “age-qualified” residential villages, typically restricted to home purchasers over 55, has spurred William Lyon Homes, Newport Beach, to acquire a 28-acre infill site in Cypress for a reported $55 million to develop an active adult community.

Originally designated for industrial use, the rezoned site on Katella Avenue near the Los Alamitos Race Course is planned for 244 single-family homes from 1,400 to 2,500 square feet. When the site was rezoned for residential use, it was known as Barton Place, a designation Lyon might retain. Models in the gated community are planned to open in spring 2018.

Hoag to add physical rehab unit


Last year, Hoag Hospital Newport Beach, discharged more than 400 patients requiring rehabilitation care to rehab facilities throughout Orange County. Hoag administrators well understood that patients recovering from stroke, brain tumor surgery, spine surgery and other conditions require special post-hospital care and attempted to suggest the best possible facilities.

But beginning in mid-2018, rehab patients will have a new choice – to remain in Hoag Hospital itself. With a generous gift by former patient Gary Fudge, Hoag will convert an unused portion of the third floor in the hospital’s North Tower into the Fudge Family Acute Rehabilitation Center. Thus, patients admitted to the Fudge Center will not have to leave the confines of the hospital for what Hoag describes as a “streamlined and comprehensive continuum of care.”



Goodbye Ugly Smokestacks?


For 50 years, motorists along Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach have seen an industrial landmark, the AES Huntington Beach power plant with its smokestacks and grid of pipework. After being a somewhat unsightly landmark for a half century, change is coming.

The California Energy Commission, following earlier approval by the California Coastal Commission, has given the green light for replacement of the plant by a “cleaner, shorter, more efficient and more attractive” facility according to owner AES Southland.

The current plant was constructed from 1958 to 1967 by Southern California Edison and sold to AES in 1998. Plans for a new facility were spurred by a regulation that limits the use of sea water, used to help power the plant’s huge boilers. The new facility will use air-cooled condensers and half the fuel.

Demolition of the existing plant will begin this year, and the first half of the new plant is planned to go online in May 2020.


Altair Advances 


Altair is coming. Toll Bros. and Lennar Corp. are developing this new 278-acre, 840-home residential community in Irvine adjacent to the Great Park. The duo acquired the 278 acres for $472 million from landowner FivePoint Communities, which is developing a series of its own residential villages surrounding the Great Park.

Altair will consist of 10 new neighborhoods of luxury homes, four developed by Toll Bros. and six by Lennar. The gated community will include two resort-style recreation centers, The Club and The Terraces, with swimming pools, tennis courts and bocce courts.

Luxury homes in Toll’s four residential neighborhoods will range from 4,300 to 5,400 square feet, while homes in Lennar’s six neighborhoods will range from 2,542 to 3,798 square feet. Model homes are scheduled to open this fall.



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My OC: Environmental engineer Anoosh Oskouian makes fresh air her business


Anoosheh Oskouian is trying to commit to getting at least six hours of sleep a night instead of four because it’s healthier – not necessarily because she’s tired.

As the rare female CEO in the environmental engineering industry, she thrives on her hectic schedule. During the 18-20 hours she is awake, Oskouian is busy running Ship & Shore Environmental Inc., hitting the gym, spending time with her 13-year-old son, Rod, and her husband, Alan, preparing family dinners, organizing and attending charity events, reading poetry, and going to the symphony.

People often ask her where she finds the time. “Whenever you want to get anything done, give it to a busy person,” she says with a laugh.

As if to illustrate that point, she describes how she spends her free time, which includes co-founding Children’s Hope International Literacy & Development, a nonprofit that helps children further their education and provides basic necessities. Oskouian is a board member of the Pacific Symphony and has fundraising, committee and board positions in several other nonprofits.

Born in Iran, Oskouian founded the engineers and architects division of the Network of Iranian American Professionals of Orange County and participates in Orange County’s Strategic Business Group, a networking group of Iranian American professionals. What’s more, she helped develop the Iranian Cultural Center of Orange County and is a trustee of the Farhang Foundation, whose mission is to promote Iranian art and culture for the benefit of the community.

If there is a moment to spare, you can find Oskouian relaxing in her coastal backyard.

My neighborhood: Newport Coast.

Why I live here: We moved to the neighborhood almost 10 years ago because we wanted our son to go to school with the kids from the neighborhood and living on the coast was a preference.

Where I’m from: I came alone from Iran to Colorado for school when I was 14, for the dream of living in a country where freedom was of the utmost importance.

What I do: I am president and CEO of Ship & Shore Environmental Inc., which does engineering, consulting and manufacturing of anti-pollution control systems. My field of study was chemical engineering, and I wanted to do something that I could feel the impact of.

What I am passionate about: I truly enjoy knowing that I have made a difference in the air we all breathe. I also love cultural activities and philanthropic causes that involve children; my heart aches to be able to make a difference in a child’s life.

How I personally reduce my carbon footprint: We try to live a conscious life. We are proud owners of a Tesla and another hybrid. We’re also in discussions to get solar panels on the house. We recycle, and we conserve water by changing our landscaping.

My perfect day: I’d love for my day to start with a great workout, then I’d like to have a lot of time to spend with my husband and my son, and after that I would tend to business. If I am in town, I love to be at home cooking and spending time with my family. And, if I am not having dinner at home, another perfect way I can spend the evening is to attend a charity or music-related dinner.

My sanctuary: One of the places I truly love is Sedona, Arizona. There is a resort there called Sanctuary. It’s a beautiful spot; I absolutely love the hiking.

Red or white: I love them both. At cocktail parties I start with a white and hopefully get a red after that.

On my nightstand: A Bose clock radio and a few books that I flip through. Some never leave my nightstand, including “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle and two Persian poetry/philosophy books. I usually pick one and read some verses. “The Power of Now” is almost like a little Bible. I pick it up and, whatever page I open to, I feel like it must have been calling me to get me aligned with the universe again.

Favorite place to shop that is not a chain: Atelier 7918 boutique in Crystal Cove

Pet peeve: I can’t stand laziness and incompetence.

How I relax: Driving relaxes me because I get to be in my own head and my own thoughts. I try to make the best of the time I have in the car. There are certain things you have to do in life – like drive – in Southern California. There is nothing you can do about it. You might as well try to make the best of it. I have classical music on when I am driving, which is really comforting.

What surprises people about me: I am in an extremely male-dominated field, and I fit in quite well, so when I tell people I am also domestic, they just can’t believe I can cook, sew and knit. My mom was very particular, and she said, “What makes a young lady totally complete is being able to take care of all of her own needs and not necessarily be dependent on anyone else.”

My values: In the ancient days, Iranians were Zoroastrian. It is a form of religion, but more than that it is a philosophy to live by. The most important thing is that, at all times, you try to have a truthful mind. When I was very young my father used to tell me, “As long as you live your life that way, you will never go wrong.”

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