For more than four decades, the Ponzi family has used the rich soil of the Willamette Valley to produce lush, sustainable wines. Winemaker Luisa Ponzi worked alongside her father for many years, gaining hands-on experience with viticulture and foots-on experience with grape stomping. She deepened this education in Beaune, France, where she studied Burgundian practices. In 1993, Luisa earned her Brevet Professionnel D’Oenologie et Viticulture certificate, a first for an American woman.
Luisa and her sister Maria carry on the dynasty started by their parents, creating wine varietals suited to the climate with sustainable practices that respect the tradition of winemaking. In addition to stocking the cellar with an award-winning collection of pinot noir, pinot gris, pinot blanc, chardonnay, and white riesling, the Ponzis fill bottles with arneis and dolcetto, two rare Italian varietals.
For years, billiards was associated with smoke-filled pool halls, the dens of asthmatic hustlers and seedy habitués. At Hot Shots Westside Family Billiards, a charcoal-filtered HVAC system ensures the air—and the atmosphere—stays clean, making the establishment appropriate for players of all ages. Kids under 10 always play for free on the hall's 22 pocket billiard tables ranging from 7 to 9 feet, including three premium Chevillotte heated tables imported from France. At the Over the Rail Café, the staff prepares burgers and milkshakes, and an arcade room provides a healthier diversion with pinball machines, video games, and dart boards. Beyond recreational games of pool, Hot Shots also hosts charity tournaments throughout the week, and instructors impart the secrets of activating the powerful magnets under the table during private lessons.
While many go-karts look like miniature versions of Formula racecars, the similarities usually stop there. This isn’t the case at Malibu Raceway. Atop a fully independent wishbone-suspension design, Malibu’s Indy-style Virage rumbles with an 18-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine inspired by its professional, full-sized brethren. Youngsters that didn’t get Playskool’s My First I.D. Forger for Christmas can whiz around the half-mile outdoor track in a 9-horsepower Sprint kart, which keeps little riders safely strapped in with a four-point, race-style harness. Blinking battalions of arcade machines stand guard over a game room underscored by the din of clacking pool balls, and a snack bar sates cravings with corn dogs, cotton candy, and popcorn.
When it was founded in 1987, Frame Central was a social hub for artists, and was even curiously named for facial hair. However, Beard Outlet has since morphed into a seven-location franchise, dedicated to simplifying the framing process. The shops’ onsite stock of matboard, frame moulding, and other key supplies ensures speedy DIY framing projects—which visitors can complete in an hour—and single-day professional framing. An array of pre-framed mirrors and artwork allows shoppers to enhance their blank walls without taping a napping friend to them. Shoppers can also stock up on framing supplies such as case glass and hanging hardware.
While for some people the idea of getting into golf shape sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, for Matt Averill it’s an all-consuming passion. As both a teaching professional and a personal trainer certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, Matt possesses a broad perspective on teaching the game of golf—one that sees beyond simple swing tweaks to consider the physical shape of the person swinging the club. His golf-specific training gym, Matt’s Fit. Fore Golf, focuses on this approach. Inside, golfers work hard to improve such biomechanical attributes as balance, flexibility, coordination, and brute strength, aiming for substantial gains in shot distance and control. The training methods also help players avoid injury caused by overuse and tugs-of-war over a lucky putter.
Matt devises and oversees a personal-training regimen for each student, helping him or her reach their goals through such exercises as squats, short-burst sprints, and explosive jumps. Matt is also a student of his own techniques and a testament to their effectiveness, as he competes nationally in Long Drive Championships and boasts a personal best drive of 407 yards in competition.
The Inferno's designers don't consider mud much of a challenge, even if it's in a pit. So instead of wet dirt, they fill their 6- and 13.1-mile courses with obstacles, each designed to push the human body to its limits. Racers on their paths to victory might encounter monkey bars, crawls under barbed wire, or a quarter-mile swim. Perhaps even "hurdles" made of fire. A celebration kicks off as soon as each runner reaches the finish line. Live musicians score The Inferno's after party, where organizers hand out competitive awards and more playful accolades, such as biggest beard and best costume. They also hand each participant a cool beer, provided they're old enough.
The team's races require participants to be in shape and train in advance. Luckily, The Inferno's organizers supply a work-out plan to help participants prep, combining elements of Crossfit, Insanity, P90X, and other workouts.