Santa Cruz Avenue witnessed an odd sight the afternoon of Saturday, Dec. 5. The toy store, Cheeky Monkey, was filled, not with children playing (or pleading with their grownups for early holiday gifts), but with adults sipping wine and laughing amid the shelves of stuffed animals and games.
Cheeky Monkey was one of 12 downtown Menlo Park businesses to partner with a Santa Cruz Mountains winery to host tastings during the city's first "Wine Walk." Proceeds from the event were donated to the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation. Those proceeds included ticket sales ($45 advance or $55 day-of) plus 20 percent of the bottle sales.
In all, the wine walk attracted about 150 attendees and raised several thousand dollars for the foundation, according to Jamie D'Alessandro, a board member of the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation who does business outreach and helped plan the event.
The event was sponsored by Greenheart Land Co. and organized with the support of the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association. According to Steve Pierce, principal at Greenheart Land Co., the developer supported the project because "it is part of Greenheart's larger effort to bring more activity to downtown." The sponsorship covered items such as the wine glasses each guest received and advertising costs.
The project, while not expressly endorsed by the city of Menlo Park, did receive some advice and support from the city's housing and economic development manager, Jim Cogan, said Mr. D'Alessandro.
According to Dave Moulton, president of the Santa Cruz Mountain Winegrowers Association and owner of Burrell School Vineyards, Menlo Park is as far north as the association has traveled for an event. "We're glad to be here," he said.
Two attendees, Kevin and Rosanna Casper of Menlo Park, said going to the wine walk was a "no-brainer" for them. Both wine lovers and downtown residents, they said the event helped them learn more about businesses on Santa Cruz Avenue and wine growers in the Santa Cruz Mountains they might not otherwise have explored.
Mr. D'Alessandro said he hoped the event will be the "start of an enduring, venerable tradition in town for years to come."
Participating businesses were Blue Illusion, Ceci Wong, Cheeky Monkey, Gitane, Harvest Furniture, Home, Menlo Hard Woods, Peabody Fine Art and Framing, Dreyfus Sotheby's International Realty, Rococo & Taupe, Stephen Miller Gallery, and The Oriental Carpet.
Featured wineries were Bargetto Winery, Burrell School Vineyards, Byington Vineyard & Winery, Kings Mountain Vineyards, Portola Vineyards, House Family Vineyards, The Mountain Winery, Russian Ridge Winery, Thomas Fogarty Winery, Big Basin Vineyards, Mindego Ridge Vineyard and Woodside Vineyards.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story listed RE/MAX Distinctive Properties as a participating business. It is now listed correctly as Dreyfus Sotheby's International Realty.