Thursday, December 17, 2009


Call to Artists!

Entries still being accepted for Ironstone Vineyard's 13th Annual Spring Obsession Art Show & Sale Open Division

OPEN DIVISION       Entries due for Open Division February 5th, 2010.
                                             Awards   1st prize $1000.00 / 2nd. prize $500.00 / 3rd. prize $250.00

2-D original art any subject matter, any media.

Prospectus outlines the rules and procedures.
Download prospectus at or send a self addressed stamped envelope to:
Ironstone Spring Obsession Art
1894 Six Mile Road
Murphys, CA 95247

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

As Seen on TV!  The release of Daniel D'Agostini & Molly Chappellet's new coffee table book, "Into the Earth: A Wine Cave Renaissance".  This book is a must see.  My first reaction was "Wow!"  This is one big and beautiful book. If you can get past the stunning photography, you realize this book is a history of the develpment of the great aging caves of the wine industry.  This is also a very heartfelt and special project for Daniel D'Agostini.  Daniel is credited with taking most of the spectacular photos in this rather large book.  The Kautz Family of Ironstone Vineyards and the D'Agostini family have a great bond tied to the rich history of California's gold rush.  D'Agostini winery is credited with being one of the first commercial wineries developed during the actual gold rush.  During the days, wine was fermented in large redwood barrels. Along comes Mr. John Kautz building a tribute to the Mining Era with Ironstone Vineyards to procure several of those antique barrels and put them to use as the entry doors to Ironstone Vineyards very own aging caverns as well as the paneling in the spectacular tasting room.

These in themselves are a must see, but, back to the book.  We have the book for sale here in the Heritage Museum at Ironstone. Don't take my word for it, come see for yourself, it is a beautiful history of a significant development in California's wine industry and a must have for all you wine lovers.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Small Window, by Linda Teigland Clark

The Small Window, The Story Of Hardluck's Beginnings

"Pa taught his family that God will not shut a door without opening a window. He said it was God's Way of leading His Children. And during hard times, Pa added that it was the North wind that made the Vikings. What he didn't tell Laurin, his 17 year-old daughter, was how small and difficult "getting through" that window might be or how long and strong that North wind might blow. It was 1848. Pa followed his dream; he was taking his family to the Promised Land, a land called California . Laurin, like her father, dreamed big until tragedy struck. When cholera claimed the lives of her parents and older brothers in the Humboldt Sink, she had to find that window and set her own sail against that staunch wind. She had to find a way not just to survive the trek over the Sierra and into California, but to survive once arrived. It wasn't just for herself but for her younger brother, age 7, and sister, age 4. They were her responsibility. Their futures, their very lives depended upon her. They couldn't go back; there was no "back" to go to. She loved them so she had to find a way." Autographed books available for $29.95.

Mining for Freedom

Now available in Ironstone's Heritage Museum, Sylvia Alden Roberts' new book, "Mining for Freedom".
"Historian and lecturer Sylvia Alden Roberts helps dispel disparaging myths and offers substantive contradiction to long-standing stereotypes that limit characterization of the pre-Civil War Negro to only two categories: either the "happy" slave or the unfortunate victum. Instead, Roberts celebrates the memory and honors the dignity of the thousands of courageous, enterprising black men and women who were an essential, yet virtually invisible part of the California Gold Rush. Roberts shares photos and the stories of some of the men and women who defied strict fugitive slave laws and rose to meet other daunting challenges, finally revealing a spirit and truth long shrouded behind the shadowy curtains of time. Mired in fierce racial controversy but undaunted by the odds, black Argonauts united to form one of the wealthiest, most culturally advanced, and politically active commuinities in the nation." Available for $14.95

Friday, September 11, 2009

Special Natural Copper Specimens for Bloggers Only

OK, we have this great collection of Rock & Mineral Specimens just in. Been talking about to everyone we run into! Excited doesn't do the collection justice. You have to come in to see it to believe it. And we are not even in the rock business officially other than of course gold specimens... so this is pretty exciting to us.

For fun, one of our followers suggested we keep something special aside for our blog followers only. Great idea. Gives us a chance to see how many of you are actually following us as well as giving our followers a special thank you.

We have pulled aside several specimens that we will keep in the back room just for you. Just let us know you are one of our blog followers and we will pull the special stuff out. This offer is also being spread on our twitter account. All specimens are available on a first come, first serve basis and limited to stock on hand.

Some of these pieces are especially beautiful for possible jewelry making as well as collection pieces. The photos below are of some of the natural copper specimens. They sell for only $2.00 each and are beautifully intricate and lacy looking. One pair have already gone out for a pair of earrings. Lets see what you can do!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Rocks & Rock'n @ Ironstone Museum

Just in! A fantastic collection of specimen rocks and minerals. We are still going through the boxes and discovering one treasure after another. It's like Christmas in here. OK, I said the "word" before our other sacred holiday, Thanksgiving, so that's a few dozen cookies I have to bake ... but, it really is! Check out the photo and the mountain of boxes.

These new specimens are going up for sale this weekend here in the Museum. With prices ranging from $1.00 to $250.00 there is bound to be a treasure for you novice collectors as well as our seasoned rock hound friends out there.

This process is taking longer than usual, but we are finding that each specimen requires extended ooo's and ahhhh's as well as delving into the "Encyclopedia of Rocks, Minerals and Gemstones" for much needed information and enlightenment.

Such beauty sends my mind wondering... I don't ever remember seeing such beautiful specimens when expected to learn about minerals in high school. If these had been presented as part of the learning process, I honestly believe it could have changed the direction of part of my life interests.

How lucky are the students here in Calaveras County! They have the wonderful Russ and Pam Shoemaker at the Stories in Stones Learning Center downtown Angels Camp. Here, students young and old can learn hands on about how the earth was formed and how these unique specimens fit into the science of Mother Earth.

On your next trip up to Ironstone Museum, stop by their shop and give yourself a treat or check out their website at

Meanwhile, come in this weekend and check out the lovelies! While they last... here are a few photos of some of our favorites....

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jason Mraz

Jason Mraz Concert warming up. Waiting for a chillin evening coming down from a sm0ky, 100 degree day. Band is warming up while the lines are starting to grow. The Jason Mraz Merchandise tent was setting up this afternoon with early day customers already. Looking forward to a fun sing along evening here at Ironstone. Glad to have Jason back with us, this time as the headliner. He deserves it!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Save our Parks!

Our last big three day weekend is fast approaching. If you want your state parks to remain open VISIT! Spend quality time in any of these beautiful locations. A walk through the North Grove of Calaveras Big Trees State Park will send your soul soaring to the unseen heights. Our Parks provide the space to find yourself, to focus and get yourself grounded. Take a reality check and visit one of our Parks while you still can. Just one organization that is working hard to preserve our opportunity to visit mother nature at her finest is at

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mario's Gold Nugget

As he prefers to be called, the "World Famous Gold Prospector Mario" is here at Ironstone this weekend teaching all interested how to pan for gold. He even promises you will find some!

Mario is quite proud of his newest Gold nugget. He wears this one around his neck. It is quite a bobble or Gold Panners Bling! We don't think you will find one this big in the gold pans. It was hard rock mined in one of Mario's claims over in Tuolumne County, just on the other side of the river from us here in Murphys.

Come on out and meet Mario. He is after all the real thing! Made a living panming and mining for Gold here in the Sierra. Mario hails from Italy and if you ask, he has quite a story to tell about how he left Verona, Italy as a young boy during the war and made his way to America. It is quite a story. He will also teach you the right way and the wrong way to pan for gold. He does have the touch.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Barb knows what she wants for Christmas!

Not every day you find the perfect gift... for yourself! But Barbara Zimmerman did!
Barbara is a member of an RV Club that in turn is part of the Redding Elks Lodge #1073. Up to Murphys on one of their monthly outings last Thursday, May 14th, Barbara, Richard Richards and the rest of the RV Club made their way to Ironstone Vineyards. After lunch, they headed over to us here in the Ironstone Museum to check out our Gold! And there you go! Love at first sight! Leaving the Gold Vault, Barabara explained to her fellow travelers that she knows what she wants for Christmas! 44 pounds of it! Or any chips or flakes that happen to find their way off the big piece!
The groups next outing is a "Chili Cook Off" at McCloud, with 85 rigs heading out for what Richard calls "the big on for the year". We wish the group a great time and hope they come back and check up on Barb's Christmas gift!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Huge Catch! Ready for Adoption!

The Catch is in!

From Fossil Lake, the fossil fish are ready for new homes. Adoption Fees range from $7.00 to $ 85.00. While the catch is fresh, make a fossil fish an everlasting family member by offering a loving home.
Make great backsplaces too!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Fish comith to Ironstone

The Fish comith...
Our little friend pictured here is a diplomystus dentatus. This is the second most common fish in Fossil Lake from where he hails. The highest concentration of articulated fossil fish in the world is located at Fossil Lake, Wyoming. Discovered in the 1870's, Fossil Lake covered almost 930 sq. miles about 50 million years ago, with only 230 sq. miles of sediment now remaining. Still, more than a million perfectly preserved fossil fish have been recovered. Preserved with the fish in the laminated limestone is a complete ancient aquatic ecosystem: cyanobacteria, plants, insects, amphibians, alligators, turtles, birds and mammals, including the oldest pantolestid (otter-like animal).
Our little friend has come to us along with about 75 of his closest buddies and all are available for sale from $15.00 to $95.00 here in the Ironstone Museum. According to their discoverer Stuart Grieve, there are several species of fossil fish within these various limestone blocks. Come by and take a look. They are fascinating.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sacramento Fine Arts Center Conference

This week marks the first annual "Improving the Impact of Arts on the Regional Economy" presented by the Sacramento Fine Arts Center in Carmichael. A very ambitious project designed to bring together businesses, artists and community to explore ways to create new economic opportunities. Coordinators Marie Dixon and Marilyn McGinnis, pictured above, have taken on a huge conference with a potential of significantly improving the relations of arts, business and community.
Ironstone Vineyards was present as guest panellist representing Calaveras County Arts and business. Upon entry into the main spacious working room of the center, I discovered the legendary watercolorist, Ken Potter conducting a working studio class. Quite impressivc and very engaging. My panel station was located in one of two beautiful rooms awash with light from huge floor to ceiling windows that encompase an entire wall in each room. On display was a fantastic exhibit of the Center's working artists. Very impressive line up.

Along with the Center's Board members, I also met other business leaders from the area with an interest in the arts. Questions centered around incorporating business and art for the benefit of all and more specifically what were Ironstone Vineyard's goals as they involve art. Sharing our goals to promote not only the individual artist, but the areas superb art galleries and art groups opened more questions on how Ironstone planned on doing this. Answer; local painting groups and gallerys are invited to present their works and stable of artists for temporary display in one of Ironstone's Gallerias. Ironstone will also be working with outside non-profit art associations and centers with promotion of their upcoming special exhibits with previews and event information on display.

Today's agenda at the conference is focused on Arts in & Outside the Home/Business with panel members from the staging and realty communities. Also today are scheduled two workshops, one featuring Phil Evans from the Sculpture Park and the second featuring Sarah Solis Matson with Fresco Painting.

Thursdays agenda focuses on Supportive Services - Marketing, Financial, etc. with panelists from the marketing industry and financial industry. Studio workshops on Thursday include Mary Bonanno, photography, Karen Sanders, graphic arts, and Susan Leith with "How to take Photos of Your Art Work".

As a first year event, I was quite impressed by the scope of the conference and feel it is a great asset to the community and a wonderful learning experience for all participants.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Wood Nymph SOLD!

Wood Nymph has found a home! Lucky collector now proud owner of Moorcroft's first nude vase in its 100 year history! Titled "Wood Nymph", this great vase is a limited edition of only 150
with the entire edition already sold out! Hope you had a chance to come by and take a look!