“Create, Dine and Wine with Friends!” is the slogan of a new business in town known as The Creative Vine, an enterprise that intertwines social gatherings with the sensory delights of food, drink and creativity.
Calling upon her 30 years of experience in event planning, Ramona resident and Creative Vine owner Barbara Blankenbaker coordinates with local chef Kitty Brisendine of Something Delicious and a variety of resident artisans to offer intimate get-togethers where guests participate in a creative activity while enjoying food and wine at one of Ramona’s wineries.
“This has been a wonderful experience, bringing together so many local resources as well as designing fun events,” commented Blankenbaker, who came up with the idea after being invited to “paint and sip” classes outside of Ramona. “The events were always down the hill, on a weeknight and usually just farther than I wanted to drive. Also, they were more like art classes where participants were invited to bring their own food and wine and everyone painted the same picture. I thought there has to be a way to do this closer to home and to provide a wider scope of activities.”
Part of Blankenbaker’s business plan is to keep things as local as possible. “Our venues are all in and around Ramona, many of the artisans are either from Ramona or a neighboring area, and even the food from Something Delicious always includes produce from local farm stands.”
The Creative Vine’s inaugural event was a sold out affair at Turtle Rock Ridge Winery and featured the creation of a small multimedia painting that could be turned into a greeting card. Subsequent events have included personalized wine glasses, home accent pieces from wine barrel staves, stamped jewelry making and customized barbeue rubs.
“The Barbecue rub event was a great idea,” shared participant Julie McCall, who has attended four other Creative Vine events. “It got the husbands or boyfriends involved and besides, who doesn’t like barbecue? The Highland Hills Winery was a beautiful backdrop for learning about different barbecue techniques, creating customized rubs, sipping wine, eating good food and watching the sun set.”
“The positive feedback after each event has been wonderful,” said Blankenbaker. “I have a handful of guests, men and women, who come every time. People enjoy getting together with friends old and new, sharing scrumptious food and incredible wines in new and beautiful settings.”
What has been her biggest challenge in getting this venture off the ground? “The weather,” laughed Blankenbaker. “Once the occasion is planned and calendared, it will go on.”
A spring event at the Vineyard Grant James began with a mad scramble to clean out a storage barn on the property when one of this year’s rare rainstorms blew through.
“It all worked out, though,” said Blankenbaker. “We were nice and cozy with heaters inside the barn, the food and wine were just as delicious as ever, and the activity, painting wine glasses led by Lorri and Candy, owners of Rusty Scraps located at Affordable Treasures was a wonderful way to spend a rainy day.”
Working for concert promoters most of her adult life and growing up in Connecticut with a mother who took her three daughters to visit the art world of New York City made the birth of The Creative Vine a perfect blending of Blankenbaker’s life experiences.
“My goal is to introduce others to exceptional local artists, delicious culinary treats and to the burgeoning wine business of the area,” she said. “We are a small community with a lot to offer!”
Jul 10 2014 | Posted in Business
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San Diego County’s 2014-15 budget includes Community Enhancement money for Ramona Chamber of Commerce, Ramona H.E.A.R.T. Mural Project and Ramona Pioneer Historical Society.
The money, which totals $85,000, comes from the Transient Occupancy Tax revenue the county charges hotels, motels and other temporary lodging establishments in the unincorporated part of the county.
Eric Webb, owner of Webb Construction, is so pleased with the outcome of his first Zero Net Energy (ZNE) house that he is building four more in Ramona.
“Basically this house produces as much energy as it uses,” he said of the ZNE spec house he built on Indian Oaks Road off state Route 78.
Tested by a Home Energy Rating System company, the house’s energy efficiency results were 48.5 percent better than required by the state of California under Title 24, said Webb. Title 24, he explained, is the energy code for the state, and a
Business request on agenda of Thursday night’s Ramona Community Planning Group meeting
Instead of hamburgers, the former Burger King site at Main and 14th streets may be serving doughnuts and ice cream.
“This would be the first drive-through Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin-Robbins in the state,” developer Steve Powell said at the June 26 Ramona Design Review Board meeting.
The Banner Fire was 100 percent contained today, with a total of two houses and 217 acres burned, firefighters announced.
Thomas Stephan is on a quest to save oak trees.
“I can’t watch the oak trees die anymore,” the Ramona resident said. “I had to do something.”
As a certified arborist who operated Stephan’s Tree Maintenance for 32 years, he knows a lot about trees. In 2005 he switched from running a tree service business to installing barn owl nest boxes for organic rodent
Electrical supplies will be adequate in San Diego and southern Orange counties this summer, but conservation will be needed during heat waves or unplanned power plant outages, San Diego Gas & Electric announced today.
“SDGE is prepared to meet this summer’s energy demand but we expect that there will be days when we will need help from customers through conservation and demand response, and we appreciate all efforts by our customers so far this year to help keep the electric system running smoothly during the recent wildfires,” said Steven Davis, SDG&E president and chief operating officer.
District 36 Sen. Joel Anderson and the San Diego Association of Realtors will co-host a free workshop to provide potential first-time, move-up or re-entry homebuyers with information for what may be the biggest investment of their lives on Saturday, June 21.
A panel of experts will discuss how to achieve the dream of homeownership and answer questions about purchasing your first home.
“As your state senator, I am pleased to work with the San Diego Association of Realtors in co-hosting this valuable public service event,” said Anderson.
Specific topics covered at the workshop will include:
• Available lending programs
• How to choose a REALTOR®
• Recommended funding methods
• Credit repair
• Seasoning requirements & new lending rules for re-entry
• Lessons learned from foreclosures, short sales, and bankruptcy
The workshop will be from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m at SDAR’s El Cajon Service Center, 220 W. Main St., El Cajon. For more information and to RSVP, call the association at 858-715-8088, email GovAffairs@SDAR.com or visit HBW.EVENTBRITE.COM.
“As always, feel free to contact my office at 619-596-3136 for more information,” said Anderson.
While the workshop is free to all attendees, space is limited and registration ahead of time is required.
“Great information for homebuyers,” said Ramona Realtor Chris Anderson, president-elect of the San Diego Association of Realtors.
Jun 20 2014 | Posted in Business
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Palomar Health, the North County’s public health district, will be looking for a new president and CEO now that Michael Covert has announced his resignation.
Covert, in charge of Palomar Health since 2003, will leave on Aug. 15. He informed Palomar Health’s directors of his plans on May 30.
Those plans include becoming the regional market CEO of Catholic Health Initiatives St. Luke’s Health System in Houston, Texas. He will also be senior vice president for Catholic Health Initiatives, St. Luke’s parent
Jun 12 2014 | Posted in Business
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It was a great day to be down on the farm — especially if you were a guest on the San Diego County Farm Bureau’s Farm Tour and had chosen Ramona as your destination. Although the tours have been in existence for a few years, this was the first year Ramona was involved.
Three farm tours took place simultaneously on Saturday, June 7, as Escondido and Oceanside each had its own farms participating.