You may be thinking, “Wait, didn’t I just finish an article about the Christmas tour?” Well, as hard as it is to believe, now is the time to start preparing again for our annual tour and tasting event. This year, we’ll feature California wines, specifically from the Central Coast of California. I lived in San Luis Obispo and is in ‘SLO’ where I was first introduced to these amazing wines and this beautiful region.
Paso Robles, north of San Luis Obispo, is an incredible wine region. The award-winning wines and my fond memories are minor reasons why I’m focusing on this region. The primary reason is the pioneer (Godfather) of Paso wines — Gary Eberle — is a Penn State graduate and Pittsburgh native. Gary co-founded the appellation in Paso and introduced Syrah grape vines into the US, using cuttings he brought over from France. At one point, his vineyard was the only source of US Syrah. His amazing story doesn’t stop there. I’ve included addresses to some articles below. (Or, get the electronic version of the Gazette at our website — alleghenywest.org — and click on the links.) I just had to share his story, and the indelible connection of Pittsburgh to CA wines.
I’ve been to the Eberle Winery many times, but never met Gary until I went to one of his events in Pittsburgh. He is incredibly personable, and is fascinating to talk with, as he imparts his vast knowledge about what it takes to get the grape to the glass. Listening to Gary talk through the science behind wine-making inspired me to put a twist on the wine tour this year. I’m introducing showcase event that I’m calling “Ground to Glass.” This will be an exclusive event at Holmes Hall, pouring only higher-end Eberle wines. The ticket will also include a lovely food pairing and a host talking with the guests on how the particular wines they’re drinking got from the ground to their glass. Eberle is also providing wine to be served at one of the homes on the tour. Gary will not be able to come to the event, but I’m working with him to ensure guests have a memorable evening.
Details About this Year’s Tour
- Price and dates: $75 pp, Friday 6/22 5:00–9:00 pm and Saturday 6/23 1:00–5:00 pm and 5:00–9:00 pm.
- Showcase Event at Holmes Hall: $150 (max 50 tickets available), Saturday 6/23 7:00–9:00 pm.
- Note that the dates are later in the month than normal due to competing events in Pittsburgh and other calendar conflicts, but good for the gardens to thrive!
How can you help? Please email me directly (email@example.com) if you are interested in any of the following.
- Homes: If you would like your home on the tour (focus on the garden). A total of 6 properties needed. The home must have a garden space.
- Advertising and Social Media: Work with local media outlets, promote through social media and help secure program advertisers.
- Food Committee: Work with friends to confirm the pairing menu and prep food for the event.
- Tour Guide Lead: Make sure the docents know the route, their shifts and neighborhood history to lead the guests.
- Volunteers Lead: Oversight of tour volunteers (help for the homeowners). We will need additional volunteers for the Showcase event.
- After Party Planners: Always one of the most fun volunteer opportunities!
So many of you made last year exceptional, I hope you’ll consider pitching in again this year. If you haven’t volunteered for a tour before, this is a really great opportunity to join the fun. Looking forward to getting this going and working with you!
Don’t forget to read more about the ‘Godfather of Paso’, Gary Eberle.
The Tour is shaping up for December 8th and 9th. Here are the updates:
- Flyers are going into the mail. A big thanks to Trish Burton for coordinating the effort…once again, it went off like clockwork. Thanks also to Greg Coll for designing and managing the printing. The flyers are lovely.
A big thank you from Carol and Trish to all who helped put address labels on the 8008 (!) postcards that we’ll be sending to advertise the tour. A special thanks to Quentin Lane and Charlie and Eli Sweeney for giving up homework time to help us set a new record! We have extra postcards available should anyone want to distribute to coworkers and friends, or to post on community bulletin boards.
- Next up, putting the swags together. We’ll be meeting at Cathy and Gene’s house on December 2nd at 9:00 am Please come and help. The swags help make the entire neighborhood look so special for the tour guests. In addition to putting them together, we’ll be looking for volunteers to help hang the swags.
- We’re still on the hunt for the final house. Please consider joining the tour this year. Contact Carol ASAP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you haven’t signed up to volunteer yet, please reach out to Doug Sprague at email@example.com
- There are so many people who continue to help behind the scenes to make the tour successful every year. Thank you for your efforts and support!
Calvary United Methodist Church, 971 Beech Ave
Tuesday, May 9th at 7:30 pm
- Councilwoman Harris’s Office
- Mayor Peduto’s Office
- Representative Wheatley’s Office
- Zone One Police
- Allegheny Commons Initiative, Update Master Plan
- New Neighbors & Guests
- Treasurer’s Report
- Finance Committee Volunteers Still Sought
- Presentation of the Preservation Award
- Bocce on Wednesday
- May Mixer
- AWCC 55th Anniversary Celebration (October 2017)
- Ways and Means
- Wine Tour Updates (June 2nd & 3rd)
- Update on Five Year Plan with Calvary
- Alleys, Axles & Ales (September 23rd
- Christmas Christmas Candlelight House Tour (December 8th and 9th
- Friends of Allegheny West
- 901 Western Avenue: New Tenant (PGH Acupuncture & Massageworks)
- 827-829 Western Avenue: Sale of Land for Construction of 2 New Houses
- 900 Western Avenue: New Business Owner – Plans for Benjamin’s
- 917-919 Western Avenue: New Property Owner – Plans for Shamrock/Carmi
- 907 Western Avenue: New Property Owner – Plans for Storeroom & 2 Apartments
- Housing and Planning
- Trucks Through the Neighborhood
- Stadium Events: Parking and Traffic
- MCC: Blocks bounded by Western, Allegheny, Ridge, Bridge
- Western Avenue Revitalization
- Light of Life: Ridge Avenue Project
- Film Guidelines
- Historic District Enforcement Issues
- Medical Marijuana Dispensary
- Comprehensive Guidelines for New Construction on Vacant Sites
- Northside Leadership Conference
- Other Business (Old & New AW Preservation Award)
Submitted by Carol Gomrick
I’m pleased to share that we have secured the homes for the 2017 Wine and Garden Tour.
Holmes Hall (Tour Start) – 719 Brighton Road
Emmanuel Church – 957 W North Avenue
Elaine Stone and Mitchell Schwartz – 831 W North Avenue
Robert Johnson – 812 Beech Avenue
Diane and Tony Caruso (Thaw Mansion) – 930 N Lincoln Avenue
George and Mariana Whitmer – 838 N Lincoln Avenue
Q Development (Willock House) – 705 Brighton Road
This tour will be incredibly special this year due to a few historical connections between the properties. The Whitmer home and Emmanuel Episcopal Church were both designed by famed architect H. H. Richardson. Richardson is the architect who designed the Allegheny County Courthouse downtown and other famous properties throughout the US. Another connection is between Emmanuel Church and Thaw mansion. The altar was acquired in Europe by a relative of William Thaw who built Thaw mansion on N Lincoln. It is also rumored that the angels depicted in the altar are in the likeness of Evelyn Nesbit who was married to William’s notorious son, Henry Thaw.
We have received a few requests for volunteers to help property owners. Please email Carol Gomrick if you are interested in volunteer opportunities.
Our theme is a tour through Spain with several Spanish varietals and of course sangria. The food committee has been hard at work testing and pairing tapas. We have great selections for our guests. More to come!
The 2016 tour will be on Friday, December 9th from 5:00-8:00 pm and Saturday, December 10th from 10:00 am-8:00 pm. Tickets for the tour are $30 until November 30th; $35 after that date. Train museum tickets are $12; $15 after November 30th.
Volunteer Opportunities & Info
Postcard Mailing: The annual labeling of the Tour postcards is set for Monday, November 7th at 7:00 pm at Calvary. Please join us! We’ll have pizza and snacks and, with your help, we will be able to quickly put address labels on the 8,000 mailers that we send to potential tour visitors.
Ticket Sales: Tickets are available online and we have sold blocks of tours to a few groups. Expect tickets to sell at a brisk pace once our mailers are delivered.
Holiday Gift Shop: The shop will again be in the lower level of Calvary Church, so guests can shop before as well as after the Tour.
For more information about the Shop, please contact Martin Fuess.
Train Museum: The popular Toy Train Museum will, once again, be open at Holmes Hall. Visitors can visit before their tour or after they finish the tour of Holmes Hall. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door. DVDs of the train exhibit will again be for sale for $15, and a limited number of the fine train books are available for $100.
Street Decorating: We will be decorating the streets on Saturday, December 3rd, starting at 9:00 am. Volunteers will be bundling greens to create the lamppost swags in the Serventi/Wilson garage on Dounton Way. This is an easy and fun way to get into the holiday spirit – and we can finish the job quickly with about 20 volunteers.
Clean Up: Please take some time to pick up litter and leaves in front of your house the morning of each tour day (Friday and Saturday). If each of us fills just one bag, our streets will be clean!
We need your help!
There are many opportunities to volunteer. During the tour, be a greeter at Calvary, a tour guide, a house sitter for a homeowner on tour, a conductor at the train museum or be ready to help with salting or shoveling if we get snow that weekend. Or help with the volunteer party or set up the luminaria.
Contact Carrie Doyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or (412) 337-6020 – or come to our next meeting on November 9th @ 7:00 pm – and she’ll get you to the coordinator of that activity.
Submitted by Carrie Doyle
Thanks to all who helped with the 2016 Wine and Garden Tour! I am appreciative of all of those who volunteered to help with this summer’s tour. To the homeowners – John DeSantis, Ross Catalano, Elaine Stone & Mitchell Schwartz, Erik Van Buren & Andrew Gorenz, Carole & Bob Malakoff, Carol Gomrick & Brett Kempf and Trish & John Burton. Your gardens and homes were enjoyed by all. Thank you for your time, efforts and green thumbs (if any of you would like to work your gardening magic on my little piece of Beech Avenue, I’d appreciate it!). As special shout out to Cathy Serventi & Gene Wilson for hosting the after-party (love those milkshakes!).
To the wise ones that have taken upon this effort in the past – Trish Burton, Gloria Rayman, Carole Malakoff, Cathy Serventi and Doug Sprague. I appreciate your knowledge and insight in planning the tour. Doris Short and Greg Coll – great pictures and brochure that was enjoyed by all!
To the volunteers – too many to mention! Thank you for reaching out and offering to help our homeowners and the committee leading up to and throughout the tour weekend. A special thank you to Michael Shealey for walking and cleaning the tour route.
I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback from guests from both nights of the tour – and they’re all coming back for our 35th Annual Christmas Tour! And yes…if you’d like to help out on that one, just call or email me!
Planning has started for our summer fundraising event, A Tour and Tasting in the Homes and Gardens of Old Allegheny, which will be held on Friday, June 3 and Saturday, June 4 (5:00 – 9:00 pm both evenings).
It’s a home and garden tour. It’s a wine tasting. It’s an entire evening of great food and entertainment!
This year our tour will be highlighting California and featuring both red and white wines and hors d’oeuvres paired to complement those wines at seven homes and gardens in our neighborhood. As in years past, we are having all the tours gather together at the beginning of the tour at John DeSantis’ house. Tour goers will then visit six other beautiful and unique homes in our neighborhood.
Tickets cost $70 each and are now on sale on our website, or by calling 1-888-71-TICKETS, M-F, 9:00 am-9:00 pm. Get the word out to friends, relatives, and co-workers to purchase their tickets now. Why not get a group of friends together and enjoy a summer evening?
Thank you to the following homeowners whose homes and gardens are scheduled to be on tour:
- John DeSantis: Brighton Road
- Bob & Carole Malakoff: Brighton Road
- Mitchell Schwartz & Elaine Stone: 800 block West North Avenue
- Trish & John Burton: 900 block Beech Avenue
- Ross Catalano: 800 block Western Avenue
- Carol Gomrick & Brett Kempf: 900 block West North Avenue
…and one more special home to be named.
Our neighborhood cooks and bakers who have volunteered to make hors d’oeuvres to serve at one stop on the tour. If you can help them in their efforts in creating appetizers. You just need to follow their instruction—please let us know as soon as possible.
We need volunteers to help the homeowners with food prep, serving, pouring wine and clean up. Please let us know if we can count on you for one, two or all three tours. It’s a lot of fun to help with this event—and you’re invited to our volunteer party on Saturday (which will be held and Cathy and Gene’s home on Beech Avenue)!
So…please let us know how you can contribute by contacting Carrie Doyle at email@example.com or (412) 337-6020. Cheers!
We Still Need Your Help
The 2015 tour will be on Friday, December 11th from 5:00-8:00 pm, and Saturday, December 12th from 10:00 am-8:00 pm. Tour tickets are now $35 and Train Museum tickets are now $15.
Continue to encourage friends, relatives and coworkers to attend the tour. To purchase tickets, or for more details, check our website.
Training for Tour Guides and Train Guides
All guides are asked to make every effort to attend a training session—there are 4 new houses on the tour this year!
Wednesday, 12/9 from 6:00-7:00 pm at Calvary UMC (Beech Avenue entrance)
Thursday, 12/10 from 6:00-7:00 pm at Calvary UMC
Wednesday, 12/9 at 7:30-8:30 pm at Holmes Hall, (719 Brighton Road)
Greens “Bunching” and Street Decorating
We will be decorating the streets on Saturday, December 5th, starting at 9:00 am. Volunteers will be bunching greens to create the lamppost swags in the Serventi/Wilson garage on Dounton Way. This is a fun way to get in the holiday spirit—and we can finish quickly with 20 volunteers.
Also on Saturday, December 5th, join your neighbors and pick up litter and leaves around the neighborhood (and in front of your house!) If each of us fills just one bag, our streets will be clean!
Cookies for Party
Please contact Trish Burton if you can bake two dozen cookies for the volunteer party.
More Ways to Help!
There are many opportunities to volunteer. During the tour, be a greeter at Calvary, a tour guide, a house sitter for a homeowner on tour, a conductor at the train museum or be ready to help tour houses with salting and shoveling should we get snow that weekend. Or, help with the volunteer party or set up the luminaria. If each of us helps in just one way, then our neighbors don’t have to do all the work to make this, our biggest fundraiser (that pays for all of our fun events, as well as preservation activities), successful. AND, you get to attend the party!
All volunteers are invited to our Holiday Party. This year, Carol Gomrick and Brett Kempf at 940 W North Avenue will host on Saturday, December 12th, beginning at 9:00 pm. This will be a “seventh” house for volunteers to get to see, and it’s a gem! To help with party, please contact Carrie Doyle at (412) 337-6020.
The City street sweeper will come through again this week, weather permitting (date TBA). You can help by moving your car from the street or sweeping the leaves to the middle to be picked up…or sweep and bag leaves in case the sweeper doesn’t come!
Thank you for helping to make our neighborhood look its best.
Thank you for your cooperation. The streets are only closed for 1¼ days, and allow tour visitors to safely move through the neighborhood.
Residents of the 800 and 900 blocks of Beech Avenue; the 800 block of North Lincoln; and Galveston from Buttercup Way to Dounton Way, and from Maolis Way to North Lincoln.
The above streets will be closed to traffic and parking on Friday, December 11th, from 4:00 pm until 11:00 pm, and on Saturday, December 12th, from 9:00 am until 11:00 pm for the 2015 Christmas Tour. This is done to protect the safety of all of us. Pedestrians will be walking on the streets during these times.
If you park on these streets, please find an off-street spot for parking during the tour. The following lots will be available:
- The Babb Lot on the corner of North Lincoln and Galveston – enter from Chapel Way (must exit by midnight, Saturday, December 12th)
- The CCAC Lot on Ridge Avenue across from the Fort Duquesne Bridge ramp
- The Smart Solutions lot on the 800 block of West North