Happenings / Blog
Stonepine Estate Hosts World Premiere of Automobili Pininfarina Masterpieces
By Robert Glick
Over several magical days, Stonepine Estate was recently the site of the unveiling of not one – but three – Automobili Pininfarina automotive jewels.
Representatives of the world-class company had been searching for a venue reminiscent of Northern Italy in keeping with their Italian design lineage. When they toured Stonepine and its Tuscany-style estate house, they knew it was the perfect location.
The 400-acre setting in Carmel Valley was a natural choice. With its pastoral, distant views of rolling, oak-dotted hills, and its legendary Chateau Noel (circa 1929), the clientele and executives were comfortable with the privacy and security that Stonepine afforded. They were able to focus their attention on the Pininfarina models and celebrate the company’s unique achievement in artistry, design and engineering.
Presented together for the first time, PURA Vision and B95 made their world premieres, while Battista Edizione Nino Farina made its debut in North America. The event coincided with Monterey Car Week.
The three vehicles represent the remarkable progress the company has made as pioneers in pure electric luxury. The presentation was a statement of intent for the next chapter in their extraordinary journey.
Excellence recognizes excellence and the talent and work that goes into making it all happen. Stonepine’s management and staff are appreciative for the opportunity to work with Autommobili Pininfarina and look forward to seeing them and their amazing creations again in the future.
Stonepine Estate and Chateau Noel carry on in the tradition of some of the country’s other grand estates and manor houses. For instance, Vizcaya in Florida was designed by the same architect as Chateau Noel – Francis Burrall Hoffman.
Other exceptional properties include Biltmore Estate in North Carolina and Hearst Castle and Filoli in California.
Stonepine wins 2023 design award
Our entry titled Stonepine Estate / Double H Ranch Website is a winner in GDUSA’s 60th anniversary 2023 American Digital Design Awards! The competition recognizes the power of design to make or break effective digital communications. It was designed by Glick Design of Carmel, CA. More than 2,000 entries – websites and apps, email and social campaigns, ads and banners, e-pubs and videos and more, were submitted. Only the top 10% were selected as winners.
April 13, 2023 / Robert Glick
Double H Ranch and Thoroughbred Excellence
Stonepine’s Double H Ranch’s illustrious past dates back to the early 1930s. It was considered the foremost thoroughbred breeding farm west of the Mississippi. The ranch was established by Stonepine’s original owner, Henry Potter Russell. He was a founder and the first president of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association in 1937. The ranch became a whistle-stop to some of the world’s finest horses.
The best known of these was Majestic Prince. One of the leading North American horses of his generation, he won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 1969. Attempting to win that year’s Belmont Stakes and become one of the few Triple Crown Winners in history, he came in second. It was Majestic Prince’s first defeat in ten starts, and he never raced again. After the horse passed in 1981, he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1988.
A brief re-cap of the highlights of Majestic Prince’s amazing history includes his early years, the big three races, and his post-racing time. Some of that time was spent at Double H Ranch.
In September 1967, Majestic Prince was purchased by Calgary, Alberta, oilman Frank McMahon for a then-record price of $250,000 ($2 million inflation adjusted). The California-based colt was trained by Johnny Longden, a longtime friend of Frank McMahon, who had retired in 1966 as the winning-est jockey of all time. Raced lightly as a two-year-old, Majestic Prince won both of his starts in his 1968 fall campaign. Ridden by Bill Hartack, he quickly became the dominant three-year-old in West Coast racing, capping it off with an eight-length victory in the Santa Anita Derby. Unbeaten, Majestic Prince headed for Louisville and the Kentucky Derby.
The 1969 Kentucky Derby had a very strong field that deterred entries, and as such, only eight horses went to the starting gate. Majestic Prince was the betting favorite. Arts and Letters was his main competitor. Majestic Prince ran the entire race on the outside, but pulled up alongside Arts and Letters into second place as they came down the homestretch, then moved ahead to win by a neck. The victory made Majestic Prince the first unbeaten Kentucky Derby champion in 47 years. Johnny Longden became the only person in history to ever win the Derby both as a jockey and as a trainer, a feat that still has not been matched.
The heavy favorite going into the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the U.S. Triple Crown, Majestic Prince again met Arts and Letters, and the two dueled to the finish, with “The Prince”, as the media dubbed him, winning his 9th consecutive race by a head. However, the morning after his victory, Longden advised the media that Majestic Prince came out of the race with a problem in his right front tendon. Longden stated the horse would not be able to run his best in the upcoming Belmont Stakes, so he was being shipped back to California to be rested until the fall.
That the horse with the best chance in 21 years to win the Triple Crown was pulling out brought a frenzy of publicity and questions, particularly because Longden had said the injury was a developing problem, but Majestic Prince could still run, although not at his best. The idea that someone in those circumstances would pass up the chance to achieve American racing immortality seemed incomprehensible.
To this day, speculation abounds as to why McMahon changed his mind and raced Majestic Prince in the Belmont, but the pressure from the press was intense. Majestic Prince was still sent out to compete in the Belmont Stakes. He was the first horse in history to enter the race undefeated, having won the Derby and the Preakness, but he finished second, beaten by Arts and Letters by 5½ lengths. .
Longden said that he tried to bring Majestic Prince back to racing later in 1969 and then again the following year, but could not, and the horse was sold to a racing syndication for $1.8 million. Majestic Prince spent time at Double H Ranch in those years and was also at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. Majestic Prince sired 33 stakes winners before he died of a heart attack in 1981.
About The U.S. Triple Crown
The series that includes three races represents the pinnacle of achievement in horse racing. The Kentucky Derby is on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The Preakness Stakes, is on the third Saturday in May at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. The Belmont Stakes, is on the first or second Saturday in June, at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
The Triple Crown Trophy is awarded to a horse who wins all three races and is thereafter designated as a Triple Crown winner.
For more information, go to stonepineestate.com and hh-ranch.com
(Thanks to Wikipedia and Bob Ehalt at America’s Best Racing)
Majestic Prince in 1969 (photo by Nick Costa)
Double H Ranch (photo by Robert Glick)
January 17, 2023
Story by Robert Glick
Olivia’s Olive Grove Produces Bountiful Harvest at Stonepine Estate
Like its namesake, Olivia’s Olive Grove, is a natural beauty. The site is nestled among the picturesque, oak-studded hills of the 400-acre Stonepine Estate in Carmel Valley, California. The estate’s owners, Gordon and Noel Hentschel named the grove in honor of their good friend, the late singer, actress and activist, Olivia Newton-John.
Recently, a harvest of a Tuscan blend of the grove’s Maurino, Moraiolo, Frantoio, Leccino, and Pendolino olives, was processed and bottled. This premium extra virgin olive oil was crafted primarily from 450 olive trees that are Tuscan varieties. They were planted in 2012 and 2020.These olive cultivars create a blend that is consistent with exceptional old-world Italian olive oils. The delicious oil is great for use in salads, dipping infusions and marinades.
Stonepine Estate, formerly known as the Double H Ranch, was built in 1929 by the Crocker banking family of San Francisco. It was the oldest thoroughbred racing farm west of the Mississippi. The Hentschels have been owners of Stonepine Estate since 1983, and they are hoping to continue the tradition of harvesting quality olives from their grove. They plan to further expand plantings with more olive trees and to increase extra virgin olive oil production.
December 12, 2022
Story by Robert Glick
Julie Blank and Peace of Mind Dog Rescue
In the summer of 2013, Julie Blank, our Catering and Special Events Manager here at Stonepine, happened to see a posting on Facebook about the plight of a German Shepherd in Southern California that desperately needed foster care. Although Julie has a lifelong love of animals, this canine’s situation made an especially strong impression on her and it was the catalyst for her taking action locally to help dogs in need.
(Pictured at right: Julie, Layla and Tag. Trigger, a blind dog that found a new home)
Now, after fostering fifteen dogs during those nine years, Julie is as dedicated as ever with her commitment. The dogs she has helped have had a variety of special needs, and some have even been in hospice. For instance, Layla, a dog that has been in Julie’s care at home for many years, is paralyzed and utilizes a cart in lieu of her hind legs. Though challenging, the cart allows Layla to have some mobility and she has shown an impressive ability to adapt.
It’s dogs like Layla that continue to inspire Julie and others that are engaged in the good work of protecting and caring for our canine friends.
Some of Julie’s other charges have been blind, suffered from diabetes, cancer, or had other afflictions. They have been senior dogs, adult dogs and puppies. They hail from a variety of different breeds. What they all have in common is being loved and cared for by a person with extraordinary compassion and sense of purpose.
Part of Julie’s opportunity to make a difference is her work volunteering through Peace of Mind Dog Rescue in Pacific Grove, California (POMDR). Their mission is to be a resource and advocate for senior dogs and senior people in Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito counties. They find loving foster and forever homes for dogs whose guardians can no longer care for them and for senior dogs in shelters.
On December 11 Carie Broecker, POMDR Executive Director and Co-Founder, was honored on a national, 2-hour special on CNN as one of the top ten CNN Heroes in 2022, for her impactful work serving senior people and senior dogs.
POMDR also provides volunteer and financial assistance so seniors can keep their pets with them as long as possible. In addition, they make prearrangements to take in dogs should their guardians become unable to care for them. POMDR is supported by a network of over 1000 volunteers (like Julie) who help with foster care, adoption events, transportation, office work, fundraising, and other tasks as they come up.
The organization makes a lifetime commitment to all the dogs who come into their care. Those dogs will either be adopted into a wonderful, permanent home, or will live out their lives in one of the foster homes.
Peace of Mind’s vision is to model care for dogs and all companion animals to help bring about a positive change in the way society thinks about and treats senior dogs, and to create better lives for them through rescue, foster, adoption, hospice and education.
Foster homes are needed! POMDR typically has about 80 dogs in their care at any given time and they often have up to 15 dogs waiting to get into foster homes.
Stonepine Estate is very proud of Julie and her compassionate and important work caring for those less fortunate animals in our community.
Interested persons that may be able to assist in some way can contact Peace of Mind Dog Rescue via their website at peaceofminddogrescue.org.
November 25, 2022
Olivia’s Olive Grove at Stonepine Estate
Honoring the Traditions of Olive Cultivation
Story and photos by Robert Glick
(Authoritative sources include Wikipedia; seriousseats.com; cooc.com; and olivesunlimited.com.)
On a gently sloping, west-facing parcel within Stonepine Estate’s 400+ acres in Carmel Valley, California, Olivia’s Olive Grove basks under the midday sun. The estate’s owners, Gordon and Noel Hentschel named the grove after their good friend, the late Olivia Newton-John.
It’s harvest day and the 400 olive trees are being carefully gleaned by a dozen farm hands. Yannis Toutountzis (pictured at right) is the irrepressible leader of the operation and his enthusiasm is apparent to everyone in the grove. Yannis is a fountain of information and he is an expert in olive cultivation (as well as viticulture). With his Greek heritage very much a source of professional pride, he has decades of hands-on experience and a deep understanding of the plant, the soil, the weather, and the confluence of all the essential factors that yield the best possible olive and crop.
Of course Olivia’s Olive Grove is in California, but historically, olives are not native to the Americas. Spanish colonists brought the olive to the New World, where its cultivation prospered in present-day Peru, Chile, and Argentina. The first seedlings from Spain were planted in Lima in 1560. Olive tree cultivation quickly spread along the valleys of South America’s dry Pacific coast where the climate was similar to the Mediterranean. Spanish missionaries established the tree in the 18th century in California. It was first cultivated at Mission San Diego de Alcalá around 1795. Orchards were started at other missions, but in 1838, an inspection found only two olive orchards in California. Cultivation for oil gradually became a highly successful commercial venture from the 1860s onward.
The crop from old trees is sometimes enormous, but they seldom bear well two years in succession, and in many cases, a large harvest occurs every sixth or seventh season. Where the olive is carefully cultivated, as in Provence, the trees are regularly pruned. The pruning preserves the flower-bearing shoots of the preceding year, while keeping the tree low enough to allow the easy gathering of the fruit. The spaces between the trees are regularly fertilized. In the Northern Hemisphere, green olives are picked from the end of September to about the middle of November. Most olives today are harvested by shaking the boughs or the whole tree. Table olive varieties are more difficult to harvest, as workers must take care not to damage the fruit. At Stonepine’s grove, careful hand-picking is employed, ensuring the best quality.
The amount of oil contained in the fruit differs greatly by cultivar. Typical yields are (3 lb 5 oz – 4 lb 14 oz) of oil per tree per year. Olives cultivated for consumption are generally referred to as “table olives”. About 90% of all harvested olives are turned into oil, while about 10% are used as table olives.
The olive is technically a “drupe,” a fruit with a single large stone inside. (Olives are fruits, not veggetables.) Olives are full of the compound oleuropein, which give them an intense bitterness. Compared with other drupes—stone fruits like peaches and cherries—olives have a strikingly low sugar content and a sky-high oil content (12-30%), both of which vary depending on the time of harvest and the variety.
Apart from (or in addition to) some heritage Mission trees planted years ago in the Estate, Olivia’s Olive Grove consists primarily of the following Tuscan olive cultivars:
Mission This is the United States very own olive. Its origin is believed to be Spanish. Mission olive trees have flourished in California since the 1700’s. Most of the yield goes to make olive oil, but black oil-cured and green brine-cured table olives are both mild, grassy, and bright in flavor.
Picholine These torpedo-shaped French green olives are wonderfully crisp and crunchy, with a tart, nutty, anise-y flavor. They’re pretty and elegant enough to serve as hors d’oeuvres, and give a welcome punch to risotto or a hearty stew.
Maurino Hailing from Tuscany but grown in the Golden State in a compact, manageable silhouette, the Maurino Olive Tree is ideal for windy areas, tight spaces, and beyond. Though it’s known for its bushels of delectable olives and medium-yield, it is highly-regarded for oil production.
Moraiolo Indigenous to Tuscany, the Moraiolo olive cultivar has spread throughout central Italy and is renowned for its great oil production yield.
Frantoio This olive tree grows well in milder climates, but it is not as tolerant of heat and cold as Spanish olive cultivars. It grows with moderate speed and has an airy, even wispy, canopy.
Leccino Leccino is one of the primary olive cultivars used in the production of Italian olive oil. It is believed to have originated in Tuscany, and it is now grown all over the world. Due to its delicate flavor, the olive oil it produces is commonly blended with Frantoio, Coratina, Moraiolo and Pendolino in order to create more flavor.
Pendolino This variety is widely appreciated by growers for its high fruit production and plays a crucial role as an excellent pollinator, both for table and oil cultivars. This slow growing tree has a beautiful weeping habit and grows to about 20′ tall over time.
As this harvest day draws to a close at Olivia’s Olive Grove, Yannis and the Stonepine Estate crew rightfully take pride in their hard but rewarding work. In a few days, after the oil has been extracted and purified, they will be sampling the “fruits of their labor” during a celebratory feast on the Paddock Lawn at Stonepine’s Double H Ranch. In addition to enjoying the olive oil and the delicious food and drink, they will know that in their way they have contributed to keeping an age-old tradition alive in the cultivation of olives and olive oil in the Golden State of California.
# # #
October 26, 2022
Story by Robert Glick (thanks also to content at Wikipedia)
Francis Burrall Hoffman, Jr. and the design of Stonepine’s Chateau Noel and Villa Vizcaya
Chateau Noel and Villa Vizcaya in Miami, Florida were designed by famed architect, Francis Burrall Hoffman, Jr. He was born to a wealthy and socially prominent New York family line that began with the emigration of Martin Hermanzen Hoffman from Sweden in 1657. The family remained closely tied to the history and politics of the state, with Hoffman’s great-grandfather, Murray Hoffman serving as a Justice of the Supreme Court of New York and his grandfather, Wickham Hoffman acting as the United States Minister to Denmark from 1883-93.
Hoffman attended Harvard University, graduating in 1903. While at Harvard, Hoffman met one of his future clients – Henry Potter Russell. Mr. Russell, along with his wife Helen Crocker Russell, would eventually own what is now known as Stonepine Estate. In 1927, Architect Hoffman would design Stonepine’s historic Chateau Noel.
Francis spent his senior year as an apprentice at Carrere & Hastings, an architectural firm in New York. From 1903 to 1907, Hoffman attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, graduated with honors there and then returned to Carrere & Hastings in 1907.
In 1910, Hoffman left Carrere & Hastings to begin his own architectural firm in Manhattan. He shared an office space, as well as collaborating on projects with Henry Creighton Ingalls. Hoffman’s first commission was a mausoleum in the Woodlawn Cemetery for Edmund Walstein Davis.
In 1912, Hoffman was hired by James Deering as an associate architect for Villa Vizcaya located on Biscayne Bay in the present day Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, Florida. Mr. Deering was a businessman and heir to the International Harvester fortune. Collaborating with Paul Chalfin and Diego Suarez, the bayfront Italian style villa would become the largest and most notable project of his Hoffman’s sixty-year career. The early 20th century Vizcaya estate also includes extensive Italian Renaissance gardens, a native woodland landscape, and a historic village outbuildings compound.
The landscape and architecture were influenced by Veneto and Tuscan Italian Renaissance models and designed in the Mediterranean Revival architecture style, with Baroque elements.
Hoffman left the Villa Vizcaya project five years later in 1917 to enlist in the Army. During World War I, Hoffman served as Captain with the Corps of Engineers and later directed camouflage operations with the Second Corps, A.E.F. During World War II, Hoffman served overseas as a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy.
In 1927, Hoffman married Virginia “Dolly” Kimball. Kimball was from a wealthy Virginia publishing family and quickly established a career as an interior decorator, and was often enlisted in the design of her husband’s projects.
After the stock market crash in 1929, Hoffman closed up his firm in New York and he and Dolly spent a majority of their time traveling between New York and Paris. Upon his returns to New York, Hoffman rarely engaged in more than one architectural project a year.
Hoffman completed many commissions, mostly designing large houses for wealthy clients. Hoffman’s last project was completed in 1974. When he was nearly ninety-eight years old Hoffman died in 1980 in Hobe Sound, Florida.
Miami-Dade County now owns the Vizcaya property, as the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, which is open to the public.
Carmel Valley Resort, Stonepine Estate was featured on the cover of the Wall Street Journal Mansion section.