When Vince Pantess was growing up in New Jersey, he and his cousins would enjoy a taste of homemade wine—diluted on account of their age—while dining with their Italian family during Sunday dinner. After his Italian forebears immigrated to the United States, they made wine in their cellars for years, laying the foundation for a tradition that pervaded Vince's childhood.
In 2005, after 20 years in the chemical and biopharmaceutical industries, Vince decided to act on his inherited passion for wine. His background in the sciences collided with classes and home experiments in horticulture—as well as an influential experience working a commercial harvest in the Santa Maria Valley—to cultivate the skill and artistry Vince needed for artisanal winemaking.
Every grape that ends up in San Vicente Cellars’ barrels comes from vineyards along the central coast—specifically Paso Robles and Santa Barbara County—that hand-farm their grapes and practice sustainable agriculture techniques. The careful collection results in a complex wine list that includes bottles of late-harvested viognier and two different syrahs that highlight the versatility of the grape: the 2009 Thompson is driven by spice, whereas a San Stefano blend takes Syrah from three vineyards for an earthy, smooth vintage with hints of raspberry.
While many citywide scavenger hunts require registering in advance, showing up to a set location, and finishing on time, Urban Adventure Quests requires only a smartphone and a thirst for the unknown. Following routes provided on a online whenever the mood strikes, participants in the scavenger-hunt-style challenge can explore New York’s Central Park, iconic Hollywood Boulevard, or the historic Las Vegas casinos where the world's first roulette wheel fell off a passing circus car. Along the way, they absorb tidbits of local history and see iconic landmarks while decoding clues and completing exciting challenges.
Mark Oberman began flying to the Channel Islands in 1975. In 1976, Mark and his wife Janie opened Channel Islands Aviation. More than 35 years later, their certified pilots still fly charters out of Camarillo Airport and organize multiday camping and hiking trips on Santa Rosa Island.
In the Cessna Pilot Center flight school, instructors train pilots of all experience levels with an up-to-date Redbird flight simulator and hands-on flights. Lessons prepare fledgling fliers to obtain their private-pilot, instrument-rating, single-engine-commercial, or CFI-training license.
Mike and Chris Brown's story of Cantara Cellars starts as many success stories do: with a humble beginning. Back in 2002, the husband and wife team started off with just 250 pounds of chardonnay grapes that had been hand-picked from Mike's parents' vineyard in Lodi, which eventually transformed into their first 18 gallons of wine. And like most creative endeavors, the winemaking was a labor of love, something the couple doted upon, developed, and refined over the coming years. In 2007, once they had accumulated a huge amount of knowledge?and inventory of wine?the tasting room opened to the public, where visitors could relax, snack on small plates, and enjoy vinos by the ounce, full glass, or bottle. These days, Cantara works with more than 50 tons of harvested grapes each fall, and crafts more than 10 varietals throughout the year.