Friday, November 14, 2014

San Francisco Social Diary

Among the many social activities I enjoy in and around the San Francisco area is the Quail Motorsports Gathering in Carmel Valley.
by Jeanne Lawrence

My New York friends are always asking what goes on in San Francisco. Plenty! Especially wonderful is the proximity of so much natural beauty, like the ocean and wine country—the background for a couple of very special events I recently attended.


I wouldn’t miss Monterey Car Week, a ten-day celebration of classic cars and motorcycles each August! I love the camaraderie among the car connoisseurs and enthusiasts gathered on the Monterey Peninsula to ogle the ultimate in automotive design and engineering.

Making the two-hour drive south was part of the fun, taking me past Silicon Valley, the beach town of Santa Cruz, and through lovely farmland to Monterey Peninsula.

In Monterey, I headed for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the Quail Motorsports Gathering, which luxury lifestyle magazine Robb Report calls “the highlight event of Monterey Car Week.”
The Quail Rally, a three‐day drive up the coast that precedes the Gathering, involves 30 vintage automobiles from different collectors.
Chinese-American über-collector David SK Lee owns all of these rare Ferraris—from 1987, 1990, 1995, and 2003.

Considered the most exclusive and luxurious car show of the week, The Quail Gathering features exceptional racing, vintage, and luxury performance vehicles. Since organizers limit attendance to allow guests a leisurely day in a garden setting, the event always sells out.
The Quail Lodge Resort is in Carmel Valley, where the sun shines even when Carmel Village is covered in fog.
Nestled in the Santa Lucia mountain range, Quail Lodge is beautifully landscaped.
From Quail’s golf course, where the motorsports gathering is held, there are remarkable mountain views.
Now in its 12th year, The Quail was founded by The Honorable Sir Michael Kadoorie, Chairman of Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Ltd. An avid car collector and enthusiast, he bought the Quail Lodge in 1997.
Quail Gathering founder Sir Michael Koodorie.
The Quail Gathering offers a relaxed atmosphere where guests can wander at leisure.
Jeanne Lawrence with a 1957 Ferrari GT 250 California.
One car I was excited to see was the Tesla Model S, which in 2013 was awarded “Motor Trend Car of the Year,” “World Green Car,” and Automobile Magazine’s “Car of the Year.” Interestingly, its biggest per capita sales market is Norway, where it has twice topped the monthly new car sales ranking, the first all-electric car to do so in any country.
The groundbreaking company’s high-tech, all-electric sedan is driven by many of my venture-capitalist friends.
Since Tesla’s manufacturing plant is in Fremont, CA, my friends are supporting the environment and the local economy.
The Quail not only puts 200 vehicles on display, but also holds an exciting automobile and memorabilia auction, offers presentations from members of the car and music worlds, and serves wonderful food and drink.
A variety of gourmet dishes representing cuisines from around the world (including Italian and local Carmel Valley specialties) were on offer at food pavilions.
Freshly shucked oysters from the Bay area were served.
Car aficionados and guests dressed in casual chic, though some went all out in fanciful attire.
The Quail is a draw for all types of car fans.
This year, The Quail featured four themes: the 100th Anniversary of Maserati, Competition Mustangs,
India, and
Rock 'n Roll. Special guests included champion driver Sir Jackie Stewart, legendary drummer Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, and Neal Schon, the guitarist best known as a member of Santana and co-founder of Journey.
Three-time World Drivers’ Championship winner Sir Jackie Stewart was interviewed in a public “fireside chat” by TV presenter Alain de Cadenet.
Lady Betty Kadoorie, Quail Gathering founder Michael Kadoorie, Sir Jackie Stewart, and Stewart Wicht, CEO and President of Quail sponsor Rolex USA.
Best of Show winners Tom and Gwen Price (third from left), who won for their 1938 Talbot-Lago T150 C SS, with Lady Betty Kadoorie, Sir Jackie Stewart, Sir Michael Kadoorie, and Quail staff.
Founder Michael Kadoorie toasts to another great gathering.

The 17th Annual Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction tempted big spenders with an array of historically significant cars, most notably a very rare 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO. Ferrari built only 39 of them.
The action took place in the Bonhams auction tent.
Before bidding began, cars up for auction were displayed around the Bonham tent.
Bidding for the GTO started at $11 million, jumped to $31 million within one minute, then climbed to $34.65 million. The 10% buyer’s fee gave it a final auction value of $38 million. That toppled a previous world record sale of nearly $30 million for a 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 at a July 2013 Bonhams auction.
The $38 million car was the 19th one manufactured, known by its chassis number 3851GT. In its early days, it was used for racing.
Bidding for the Ferrari came fast and furiously!

In the beautiful countryside near San Francisco, I attended the brilliant housewarming O.J. and Gary Shansby threw at their new Napa Valley country home.

I had put a big circle on my calendar as soon as I learned the date, since the Shansby parties are always fabulous—and this one ranked with the best.
Jeanne Lawrence with Gary and O.J. Shansby.

Gary, who founded the Shansby Group and Partida Tequila, is renowned for his brand development, marketing, and management successes with such companies as vitamin giant Shaklee, Famous Amos cookies, Mauna Loa macadamia nuts, and Vitamin Water.  O.J., who has served on numerous charitable boards, is a Trustee for the SF Ballet, one of her pet causes.
Award-winning Tequila Partida, one of several brands Gary has shepherded to success, is naturally is served at all the Shansbys’ parties.

O.J. and Gary Shansby had lived at their former home, Shanel, a 362-acre estate in Sonoma, since 1995, but they decided they wanted to travel more and manage less. Though owning a vineyard sounds glamorous, anyone who does will tell you how much year-round effort is required to keep it up. “I’d like to own a property and not have it own me,” O.J. said. “It was like a being a park ranger with all that acreage.”

The Shansbys found the perfect buyers for their place: Sandy Weill, former Citicorp chairman and Chairman of the Board of Carnegie Hall, and his wife Joan.
The Shanel Estate contains eight acres of vineyards, stables, a riding ring, guesthouses, and a Tuscan-inspired, 12,000-square-foot residence with an unobstructed 360-degree view of the Sonoma Mountains.
The Shanel stables, where the Shansbys hosted many parties.
Those of us with fond memories of the fabulous themed parties O.J. and Gary threw at Shanel over the years were devastated when they put it on the market.
Clockwise from top left: At this Mexican-themed party, the Shansbys were, as always, dressed in the spirit of the occasion; Gary and O.J. got into cowboy gear at their 2004 Western-themed party; The décor and food made the Mexican party particularly memorable.
The Shansbys’ Wild West party took place in the stables. (Everyone should live as well as the horses there!).

O.J. and Gary built their casual new farm-style retreat in Napa Valley, near many of their friends. They chose three prime Oakville acres along the eastern side of the valley, close to the Silverado trail.
The Shansbys’ new Napa Valley home.
Atop a knoll, the site has views of surrounding vineyards and mountains.
The home is amid some of the best vineyards in Napa Valley, including the St. Eden Cabernet vineyards, owned by Dick and Pam Kramlich. St. Eden produces a produces a Burgundian-style cabernet sold under the mantle of Bill Harlan’s BOND wine portfolio.

About an hour north of San Francisco, the renowned Oakville Viticultural Area contains more than 5,000 acres of vineyards and 24 wineries.
Founded in 1881, the Oakville Grocery—at the crossroad of Oakville Crossing and Highway 29—is reputedly the oldest continually operating grocery store in California.
The Robert Mondavi Winery, named for the great American vintner who founded it, is also located on Highway 29 in Oakville.
Across the road from Mondavi Winery is the Opus One winery, a co-venture of Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild of the legendary French wine family.

More than 150 of O.J. and Gary’s friends were invited to view the house and christen it with Gary’s Partida Tequila. The crème de la crème of San Francisco, Napa, and Sonoma society, along with many vintners, were asked to arrive to watch the sun set over the vineyard and behind the mountains of Sonoma.

The gracious hosts opened up their entire house for viewing, so no one had to sneak a peek! Guests even had the fun of looking into the legendary closets of this very fashionable couple.
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul. Venture capitalist Dick Kramlich and his wife, art collector Pam Kramlich.
Art dealers Serge and Tatiana Sorokko, in front of the Paul Villinski butterfly art piece, made of beer cans found on the streets of New York City, covered in gold leaf, and wired individually to the wall. Dr. Bryant and Jill Toth, who also have a home in Napa Valley.
Suzanne and Carson Levitt. Bill Harlan, founder of Bond Winery and Meadowood Resort, whose restaurant has earned three Michelin stars, with his wife Debbie.
Heidi Betz and Scotty Morris. Josh Godine, Karen Meyers, Orgyen Thinley Rinpoche, and Giovanna and Rick Brennan.

San Francisco/Napa architect Sandy Walker (whose family established the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis) worked with the Shansbys to create the custom-built home that they wanted: an informal, happy place.
Architect Sandy Walker with his wife Kay.
Local designer Barbara Colvin created the low-key country interiors. Guests were wearing Napa Valley chic for the party, but this is the kind of home where you’d be comfortable going barefoot and wearing jeans, enjoying a glass of wine.
Each room of the Shansbys’ contemporary farmhouse offers a spectacular view of the surrounding vineyards, gardens, landscape, and mountains.

The Shansbys’ gathering included many long-time friends, so the evening was especially intimate, lively, and warm—a relaxed, informal atmosphere.
Robert and Gay-Lynn Blanding, with Trish and Don Stephens.
Norman Stone, Yurie Pascarella, and Norah Stone. Suzanne Brangham and Jack Lundgren drove over from Sonoma wine country.
Commissioner Ann Moller Caen, art consultant Ann Kaiser, and Sotheby’s Jennifer Biederbeck.
Rick and Laura King Pfaff, Chairwoman of Bonhams, with Robert Blanding.
Gail Policy, Dr. Seth Matarasso, and Barbara Brookins-Schneider.
Fashion designer Karen Caldwell and Dr. Alan Malouf. Carl and Yurie Pascarella.
Scotty Morris, Wendy Paskin, and her husband
Frank Jordan, former SF mayor.
Barbara Brookins-Schneider and Gretchen deBaubigny.
Dr. Barry Baron and Connie Goodyear Baron (right), with a friend. Austin and Sara Hills. Along with winemaker Mike Grgich, Austin established Grgich Hills Cellar in Rutherford in 1977.
Oliver and Karen Caldwell with Paul Pelosi and Janice Zakin.

The bountiful buffet dinner was created by Napa’s popular Paula leDuc Catering.
Two long tables next to the swimming pool were covered in fresh local produce, grilled steak, roasted salmon, pizza, and more.
Lee Munson and Merla Zellerbach. Stefano Bini and his father Dante Bini.
Roger Barnett, the current CEO of Shaklee Corporation, with his wife Sloan.
Jim Uyeda, Maria Manetti Shrem, and Ken Monnens.
Clockwise from left: Frank Jordon, Karen Caldwell, Theodore and Elie Brown, Oliver Caldwell, and Jeanne Lawrence.
The icing on the cake this evening was the appearance of a “supermoon”—one of the three that were visible this year and the brightest of the lot. What an ideal way to draw such a glowing evening to a close!
Photos by Jeanne Lawrence, Bonhams, Quail Lodge, The Quail Motorsports Gathering, Wikimedia Commons, Drew Altizer, BOND Wines, Mondavi Winery, and Oakville Grocery Store.

*Urbanite Jeanne Lawrence reports on lifestyle and travel from her homes in San Francisco, Shanghai, and New York, and wherever else she finds a good story.