Santa Rosa, CA

38.404222, -122.719866

When Alembic started back in 1969, our goal was to create the finest quality American made instruments ever known. This philosophy applies to all products that we offer.

While we are best known for our basses, we also make outstanding guitars, preamps, and accessories. Please peruse these product pages to find out more about them.

Anchor Brewing

San Francisco, CA

37.763539, -122.400635

Anchor Brewing has played a significant role in San Francisco's rich history. Anchor's seven unique beers?including Anchor Steam®?are all produced in one of the most traditional and handsome breweries in the world. Each brew is virtually handmade from an all-malt mash in our handcrafted copper brewhouse, a veritable museum of the simple, traditional breweries of old.

Currently we offer one public tour each weekday afternoon, by reservation only. We recommend that you call us as early as possible to make reservations far in advance so that we may accommodate you and your party on the day of your choice. You may have up to ten in your party, depending on the availability of space.

Angel Stadium

Anaheim, CA

33.80003, -117.883043

Renovations to Anaheim Stadium began Oct. 1, 1996, reverting the 30-year
old structure back to a baseball-only facility. On Sept. 15, 1997, the
renovated stadium's new name was announced: Edison International Field
of Anaheim. On Dec. 29, 2003, the Angels announced the stadium would be
renamed Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Total cost for the stadium renovation
was estimated at $100 million and the project was completed in time for the Anaheim Angels Opening Day, April 1, 1998.

Anaheim Stadium had been the home of the Angels since their move from Los
Angeles following the 1965 season. The stadium opened April 9, 1966, as the California Angels hosted the San Francisco Giants in an exhibition
game. The franchise's first American League game was April 19, 1966 vs. the Chicago White Sox. The Los Angeles Angels played at Wrigley Field in 1961 and Chavez Ravine from 1962-65.

The original Anaheim Stadium seated 43,204 (later 43,250). The stadium
underwent construction in 1979-80 for additional seating to accommodate the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL. Upon completion in 1981, the stadium seated 65,158 (later 64,593) for baseball. The Rams left Anaheim for St. Louis, MO in 1995. The new Angel Stadium of Anaheim has a seating capacity of approximately 45,050 for the Anaheim Angels.

Other unique features of the new Angel Stadium of Anaheim include terraced
bullpens in the outfield, widened concourses, new restroom and concession areas, a spacious and modernized press box and broadcast booths, family-oriented seating sections, state-of-the-art club-level and dugout-level suites, the Pepsi Perfect Game Pavilion (a youth-oriented interactive game area) and landscaped courtyards (with statues in remembrance of Gene Autry and Michelle Carew).

In addition, the new Angel Stadium of Anaheim includes three full-service
restaurants: The KnotHole Club (a sports bar located at the club level
down the right field line); The Diamond Club (an upscale restaurant
with outdoor seating on the field level behind home plate); and the
Homeplate Club (an indoor restaurant on the club level overlooking the main entrance to the ballpark).

The following organizations were involved in implementing the
transition of Anaheim Stadium into Angel Stadium of Anaheim: Walt Disney
Imagineering, which served as the manager of the design and construction
of Angel Stadium of Anaheim; HOK Sports Facilities Group and Robert
A.M. Stern Architects, which were responsible for the architectural
planning, design and renovation; and Turner Construction, which directed
and provided construction services.

Anheuser-Busch (Fairfield, CA)

Fairfield, CA

38.237865, -122.094909

The brewing of quality beer is the story told in our Northern California home at the gateway to the Napa Valley.

At the beginning of the tour, we'll explain the wonders of our natural brewing process while you enjoy complimentary tastings of our fine beers. You will visit the beechwood aging cellar and the production floor, where high-speed packaging lines fill thousands of cans and bottles every minute.

Visit our Gift Shop and browse through an extensive selection of fun, distinctive logoed merchandise.

AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants Ballpark)

San Francisco, CA

37.7781428, -122.3908715

A Players' Eye View of Baseball's Perfect Address

It's the ballpark where home runs can be "splash hits." Where the breathtaking Bay views rival the action on the field. Where one of baseball's most hallowed franchises plays inside an architectural landmark. On your behind-the-scenes ballpark tour of sensational AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants, you will get to go places only the players and staff go including:

The Field Warning Track
The Dugouts
Indoor Batting Cages
The Visitors' Clubhouse
The Press Box
A Luxury Suite
Ballpark Features and Views

Bates Nut Farm

Valley Center, CA

33.205951, -116.983413

In 1921, Gilbert and Beatrice Bates moved their nutty family to the beautiful, picturesque oak filled valley of Valley Center, where they purchased the Walnut Slope Ranch. They raised their family of 5 boys, complete with geese, ducks, goats, horses, rabbits, sheep, tractor, plows and all sorts of old fashioned farm things. Little did Gilbert know that 80 years later his family farm would provide joy and pleasure for 5 generations of his family, but also for the thousands of visitors from around the world that make that special trip to the Bates farm each year.

We don?t know exactly how the Bates business became so famous? Perhaps it?s the beautiful farm setting, the picnic and park areas, the farm zoo, or the casual, down home environment. Or maybe, it?s the reminder of simpler times and those childhood farm memories. Farm antiques and tools line the walls of the Bates store that is filled with fresh, delicious nuts, candies, dried fruits, chocolates, fudge and gourmet delights. Watch the peanut butter machine grind fresh peanuts into peanut butter. Not only is it a feast for your eyes, but you can?t help but taste. Pick up and sample your way through the Bates store. A sample of our own homemade fudge is a must with over 10 different choices. Our new old-fashioned candy counter will make a chocolate lover?s mouth water. You can?t help but feel like a kid at a candy counter. Over 25 feet filled with truffles, mammoth turtles, a variety of chocolates and sugar-free candies, fudge and chocolates.

Bates Nut Farm started with walnuts, but now purchases nuts from all over the world. Pistachios, pecans, cashews, peanuts, pignolias, sunflower seeds and much more can be purchased on the farm. The nuts come raw, roasted, some spiced up and unsalted. To insure quality and freshness we roast and package our nuts on the farm. The Bates family takes pride in providing a quality product at a fair price. It?s part of the tradition.

Nuts may of made Bates famous, but now you?ll also discover over 5000 square feet of gifts to be found on the farm between the Farmer?s Daughter located in the original barn and the Bates gift shop. What fun you will have browsing through the nooks and crannies of home and garden accessories, kitchen items, baby, stationery, collectibles, candles, personal care, jewelry, inspirational books, greeting cards, seasonal items and much more. There is a little something for everyone at the Bates farm.

The Bates Nut Farm has become well known for its special events held throughout the year on the 100 acre ranch. You?ll love coming out and having a picnic in the beautiful tree filled park and feeding the menagerie of farm animals. For over 30 years families have made it an annual tradition in October to come out to Bates in search of the perfect pumpkin. The Pumpkin Patch is the largest, oldest and most famous in San Diego County. Arts and Crafts Fairs, Antiques, Collectibles and Crafts Markets, Fine Art Fairs, and Car Shows are held throughout the year. . For groups of 15 or more you can take advantage of our educational tours; ?Nuts For You? and ?The Life of a Pumpkin?. See our Special Event and education and tour page. Visit our South Bay location in Chula Vista a retail only store filled with the same quality gourmet delights and gifts you?ll find in our country store.

Beringer Vineyards

St. Helena, CA

38.510443, -122.479202

Our Historical Tour begins with a brief description of the history of Beringer and continues into the Old Winery and hand-dug aging tunnels with a talk about barrel aging and the art of wine-making. We finish with a tasting of three current release wines. Historical Tours are filled on a first-come, first-served basis; no advance reservations are necessary or taken.

Vintage Legacy Tour is a tribute to our founders, Frederick & Jacob Beringer, and a look at Beringer's past, present and future from vine to bottle. The tour begins with a discussion of how the Beringer Brothers' original 23 acre vineyard has evolved into a small but integral part of our Reserve wine program. Continuing into the Old Winery and aging tunnels, guests enjoy a barrel sample of cabernet sauvignon . The tour concludes with a tasting of current release Reserve wines at the Rhine House, home of Frederick Beringer. Limited to 12 persons. Reservations required.

Blush Wine & Food in Balance is a hands-on demonstration of wine & food pairing with an emphasis on blush wines. Guests will learn the effects of basic tastes on wines, and how they can balance their food & wine to their liking. Limited to 12 persons. Reservations recommended, but not required.

The winery is open daily --- except Christmas, New Year's Day, and Thanksgiving.

Blue OX Millwork

Eureka, CA

40.807064, -124.14704

Antique woodworking machinery from the late 1800s and the early 1900s is used in the production of custom millwork in our main woodworking building, sawmill building and moulder building.

Ornamental iron work is produced in the blacksmith shop as well as hardware such as nails and bolts. Items necessary for repairs of our antique machinery are made in the blacksmith shop and the machine shop.

Local clays are used in the wood-fired ceramics kiln to create experimental glazes using a formula from the 1400s. The twin chamber kiln was built by students at our school using recycled bricks ? and bay mud for mortar!

The Corrina Bella, a 40 foot traditional sailing vessel, is being built as a project of our school (See Traditional Boat Building page). A flat bottomed boat, scows were used during the 1800s as the ?work trucks? of the day. When completed the Corrina Bella will offer tours of Humboldt Bay.

The skid camp is a re-creation of the old logging camps featuring a cook shack, bunkhouse and theatre. The buildings were built on sleds so that they could be pulled to the new logging sites by ox teams or steam donkeys. They were the first ?mobile homes?!

Babe and Blue are Belgian Blue oxen trained to work together in yoke. Now fully grown, they weigh 2,400 lbs. each and stand well over 5 feet tall. Thank goodness they are gentle giants!

BuildASofa/Unique Sofas of America

Santa Fe Springs, CA


Come experience a truly one-on-one tour of a working custom furniture factory. Unique Sofas of America is the sole supplier for a custom sofa and sectional retailer with showrooms in California and Texas.

Cohn-Stone Studios

Richmond, CA

37.924216, -122.339297

Cohn-Stone Studios is the work place of artists Michael Cohn and Molly Stone. They produce Hand Blown Art Glass which is exhibited and collected worldwide. Both functional and sculptural works are created, all individually unique. Vases, bowls, paperweights, and sculptural works of art are produced by the studio.


Hollister, CA

36.891215, -121.399653

We are the largest and most highly regarded manufacturer of quality motorcycle seats and accessories in the World... and have been for over 35 years!

Corbin carries a full line of motorcycle saddles and accessories for nearly all motorcycle makes and models, including custom bikes. Look around and see for yourself.

Cuban Cigar Factory

San Diego, CA

32.709718, -117.146394

Cuban Cigar Factory is San Diego's original cigar factory and the largest manufacturer of hand rolled cigars on the West Coast.

As the largest manufacturer of premium cigars on the West Coast, we invite you to try our cigars that are 100% hand-rolled by our master Cigar Rollers. Visit any of our retail stores and you can watch the cigars being rolled right in front of you. Cigar aficionados agree that Cuban Cigar Factory has the perfect cigar to satisfy any taste.

Deering Banjo

Spring Valley, CA

32.746742, -116.985618

In all walks of life you'll find people content to rest on past accomplishments, fame or glory. Two years ago or twenty, they remind you incessantly of what they did. Ask them what they've done lately, though, and you find yourself facing a blank stare.

Then there are those who are never satisfied; who are continually perfecting and innovating, experimenting with new ideas and trying to improve on the old. So it is with the folks at Deering Banjo Company in Lemon Grove, Cal.

Twenty years ago Greg and Janet Deering started out with a dream to build a quality instrument a beginner could afford. Back then, inexpensive beginners' banjos were cheaply made and sounded that way. The plastic or aluminum pots just didn't have the ring of the ones professionals played. Consequently, students quickly became discouraged and gave up shortly after trying to learn to play. (And anything that sounded good cost more than a beginner wanted to shell out.)

So, in 1978, after three years subcontracting banjo parts for a high-end brand the Deerings developed and marketed their Basic and Intermediate banjos featuring a steel pot and a mahogany neck. Their rich tone and easy action still amaze listeners and pickers alike; yet the price was affordable for someone just starting out.

The Deerings could have been satisfied there. Their place in that market was secure; why mess with success? But they weren't. Over the years, they went on to develop a whole line of professional quality instruments from the Sierra and Deluxe models that features a three-ply maple rim and mahogany neck to the Gabriella that features a Brazilian rosewood neck, a mother-of- pearl fingerboard and vine peghead inlay.

Their six- and 12-string acoustic banjos and Crossfire electric banjos have spawned a whole new interest in the banjo from previously untapped corners of the music spectrum. They have been responsible at least in part for the instrument's crossover from a purely folk and bluegrass instrument to one now heard in the country, rock, and jazz genres. Tune around the FM dial sometime. You'll hear names like Joe Satriani, Rod Stewart, John Hartford, John Sebastian, Jimmy Olandei (of Diamond Rio),Jeff Cook (of Alabama), and Bela Fleck playing Deering electric and acoustic instruments. Coming off the success of Garth Brooks' hit single and video "Callin' Baton Rouge," that features Bela Fleck on the Crossfire, Brooks recently ordered a new Crossfire for his band, Janet Deering says.

"Our goal has always been to build what banjo players want," Greg Deering says matter-of-factly. Janet adds their design was to "help expand bluegrass music as well as make banjos that can be used in other music forms. That way a broader spectrum of people can enjoy the banjo.
"That's the difference between us and other companies," Janet adds. "We're working to make the banjo market grow. The rest of them are all fighting for a piece of the same pie."

But it was neither thoughts of big names nor of owning his own business that motivated Greg to design and build his first instrument:. As with most cases of motherhood and invention, necessity spawned Greg's first creation. Greg had been playing banjo as a college student in the '60s for about six years by then; he needed a better banjo but couldn't afford to buy one. Building his own wasn't the end of Greg's banjo making, though; other pickers saw his banjo and wanted one for themselves.
Greg says he was unable to hang onto a banjo until he finally built a long-neck, folk model. Back then, the long-neck variety made popular by Pete Seeger and the folk boom was not as big as it is today. And while he still has the original long-neck he built for himself, he says orders for them have increased steadily over the years from one to quite a few each year. He explains fans of the Kingston Trio from the '50s and '60s have grown and probably have settled with families and careers now. They have enough time to learn the instruments and the old songs. Today, Deering Banjo Company sells a substantial number of long-neck folk banjos in a variety of models for those of us who never outgrew the folk era.
Not, long after that, Greg says he switched his major at San Diego State University from Biology to Industrial Arts, ultimately constructing a banjo for his final project. Greg recalls his professor gave him a B on the final, stating the instrument was too good; he couldn't have done all the work himself.

Ever thought of inviting the old man out for a tour of the shop since then, Greg? Maybe sending him a catalog? From there, Greg went to work for American Dream Music in Lemon Grove as a repairman, working there for about four years until 1974 when he and Janet were married and Taylor Guitars bought out American Dream. They opened Deering Banjo Company out of their home in 1975.

"Our living room was our shipping and receiving area," Janet grins. "Our bedroom was the office; the patio was the assembly area; the garage our wood shop. We sprayed banjos on the back porch." Times were tough then; many times Janet says she had to personally deliver a load of banjos to dealers upstate and then run to the bank afterward so the family could put food on the table.

Deering Banjos moved into more accommodating quarters in Lemon Grove about a year later when the Fire Marshal started asking questions about their operation. They finally settled into their place at 7936 Lester Avenue in 1983.

After the success of their Basic and Intermediate lines, the Deerings added the Deluxe, the Maple Blossom, and Calico banjos that featured a wood pot, a mahogany neck, an ebony fingerboard inlaid in mother-of-pearl, and a bell-bronze tone ring. The three-ply maple pot. was introduced in 1981. The GDL (Greg Deering Ltd.) followed a year later and the Ivanhoe, featuring mother-of-pearl and abalone inlay with all hardware is gold plated and engraved, a year after that.
The Deerings made a major breakthrough when they showed up at the 1985 NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show with their Crossfire, the first. electric banjo that worked. Until then, other instrument manufacturers had tried and failed in attempts to create an electric banjo. The instruments either were plagued with feedback problems or they sounded too much like guitars. This one sounded like a banjo. Janet recalls the new Crossfires drew quite a crowd of onlookers.

"People thought it was strange; they didn't know what to think of it," Janet recalls. "I explained it was like an electric guitar. The shape was designed so it would fit into an electric guitar case; the 'horns' housed the electronics." She adds that more than 90 percent of the Crossfires are ordered in black because many players wear a black shirt or jacket; to hide the instrument's odd shape. From a distance, the white head gives the instrument the round banjo shape.

Originally, the Crossfire could be ordered with either the banjo or six- string guitar neck. But in 1993, Deering discontinued the six-string version. As fate would have it, Jeff Cook of Alabama ordered one with the six-string neck shortly thereafter. He played it on the Grand Ole Opry this summer. Many bluegrass banjo players are also playing the Crossfire electrics in country and rock bands on the side, Janet says.
The Crossfire comes with two pick ups that can be selected for a guitar or a banjo sound, or for the two in combination. Greg and Janet have worked with Bernie Leadon (formerly of the Eagles and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) and Bela Fleck since the first Crossfire to perfect the instrument, recently coming up with a new pickup they say works even better than the ones they initially used. Greg notes it has a "cleaner, quieter sound. And it's easier to link up with wireless and other sound systems."

(If you're one of those who own a Crossfire that still uses the old pick-up, write or call Deering about having your instrument refitted with the new style.)
Besides some 15 models in a variety of styles (five-string, bluegrass, long-neck, tenor, plectrum, left-handed, six- and 12-string, archtop, flattop), Deering does a considerable amount. of custom work. If you can draw or describe the design you want, Deering craftsmen can probably build it. Such was the case recently for George Grove of the Kingston Trio. George wanted a long-neck banjo with the fingerboard and peghead inlaid in a dinosaur scene. Not just dinosaurs at the usual fret markers, an entire prehistoric scene including landscape inlaid from peghead to pot. He got it, too; an instrument he dubbed his "Banjosauris." Greg and Chuck Neitzel, one of Deering's top craftsmen, designed and laid out the fingerboard. And Jeremiah, Greg and Janet's son, drew the peghead design.
Bela Fleck ordered a purple Crossfire inlaid in a cosmic hippo design after his "Flight Of The Cosmic Hippo" CD. And, yes, it matches a purple shirt he wears onstage.

Texas banjo player and bluegrass DJ Tony Ullrich ordered a line of 151 banjos to commemorate each year of the Texas Sesquicentennial from 1836 to 1986. The peghead and fingerboard are inlaid in spurs, a hat, a boot, crossed pistols, the Alamo, a lariat, and flags of Texas and the United States.
The Deerings also built a model for John Hartford. The Hartford can he ordered with either the bell-bronze or a wood tone ring made from Granadillo. Enthusiasts of the wood tone note the banjo still packs plenty of punch but produces a more rounded note and is lighter in weight than the bell-bronze tone ring.

Still progressing, the Deerings released their new Hartford model this year. What sets the new Hartford apart is its 24-fret fingerboard. Unlike the long-neck which positions an extra three frets at the peghead end of the fingerboard, the Hartford adds two additional frets at the bottom (pot) end. This moves the bridge more toward the middle of the head, bringing out the full tone of the instrument.
As head of marketing, Janet keeps her hand on the pulse of the market to learn how they compare in sales with other banjo makers. Much of the success goes to Janet's marketing savvy.

"It's mostly common sense," she shrugs. "That and a weekend marketing seminar I took a few years ago. Sales really took off about 1986 when we came out. with our color catalog."

The company's workforce has increased to keep pace; but, at more than a dozen employees on the payroll now, it still hasn't lost its family atmosphere. On any given day, you'll see Greg binding resonators or setting up a Crossfire, Jeremiah turning a pot or punching out a flange, and Jamie, the Deerings' daughter, and Janet filling in wherever they can to help fill an order. However, Janet says she doesn't get to put in as much time in the shop as she used to. "I miss it," she says.

Two of Deering's craftsmen, Chuck Neitzel and Wendell Weisner, have been with the company better than 25 years between them. And another employee describes banjo making as "the most fun you can have with your clothes on."

The location helps the atmosphere as well. Lemon Grove is a small community east of downtown San Diego with a small town flavor. (Greg tells visitors to look for the big mailbox in back of the Lemon Grove Post Office as you're coming down Lester Avenue. When you see it, they're right across the street - 7936 Lester Ave., Lemon Grove, CA 91945, 1-800-845-7791)

Deering has expanded its quarters as well to include new space for an additional setup bench, a new office and showroom and recently-acquired space for more room for the machine shop.

As for the future, Greg smiles and admits, "I think all of us are hoping for another Deliverance," another movie like that or Bonnie And Clyde that featured banjo music and brought the instrument more publicity and increased banjo sales. "Banjo sales really jumped after that movie came out," he says.

Beyond that, Janet doesn't say much about future plans. "We have things in the works right now, but we're keeping them quiet for marketing reasons."

Dodger Stadium

Los Angeles, CA

34.073546, -118.236773

Since 1962, the beauty of Dodger Stadium has awed spectators with a breath-taking view of downtown Los Angeles to the south; green, tree-lined Elysian hills to the north and east; and the San Gabriel Mountains beyond. The 56,000-seat Dodger Stadium has parking for 16,000 automobiles on 21 terraced lots adjacent to the same elevations as the six different seating levels.

Dodger Stadium is one of Southern California's most treasured landmarks and the 2008 baseball season will mark the Dodgers 47th year at Chavez Ravine.

More than 125 million fans have visited the ballpark since it opened in 1962 awing spectators with a breathtaking view of downtown Los Angeles to the south; green, tree-lined Elysian hills to the north and east; and the San Gabriel Mountains beyond. The 56,000-seat Dodger Stadium has parking for 16,000 automobiles on 21 terraced lots adjacent to the same elevations as the six different seating levels. More than 3,400 trees cover the 300 acres of beautiful landscape, which is maintained by a full-time staff of gardeners. The Dodgers employ a full-time grounds crew and maintenance staff that keeps all aspects of the stadium in immaculate condition throughout the season making Dodger Stadium one of the best maintained facilities in the country.

The Dodgers installed a brand new state-of-the-art grass field after the conclusion of the 1995 season. Prescription Athletic Turf (PAT), created and installed by the Cincinnati-based Motz Group, used the latest agronomic and engineering technology to manage field moisture through controlled drainage and irrigation. The 100,000 square feet of bermuda grass is grown on pure sand, beneath which a vacuum chamber is laid over a water-tight plastic barrier that forcibly extracts water during heavy rains. New moisture gauges monitor the field's water level in coordination with a microprocessor that controls drainage functions. A computer controller has the ability to reverse the scenario and subirrigate when the sand's moisture reading drops below the optimal level.

Domaine Carneros

Napa, CA

38.252407, -122.35608

Located in the heart of the Carneros region, Domaine Carneros stands alone as the only sparkling wine producer using exclusively Carneros grapes. The Carneros Appellation is the first American Viticultural appellation to be defined according to climate rather than along political lines. The appellation is characterized by a long, moderately cool growing season tempered by the maritime breezes and lingering fog off the San Pablo Bay just to the south. These are optimum growing conditions for pinot noir and chardonnay, the two primary grape varieties used in Domaine Carneros wines.

Domaine Carneros farms 195 planted acres of vineyards on three different Carneros vineyard sites. There are 35 different blocks within our three vineyards. Each block is unique either because of the scion/rootstock combination (this is the grape variety grafted onto a pest-resistant rootstock) or because of the terrain of the block (i.e. slope, direction of rows, soil, sun exposure, etc.) Similar to an artist having many colors in a palette, this provides a variety of components from which our winemakers can create their blends each vintage. To add to this, we have thirteen different clonal selections (six chardonnay and seven pinot noir) all of which were selected for their flavor and intensity.

Almost all of the grapes for Domaine Carneros? wines come from our own estate vineyards. This is important for two reasons. First it allows the winery to control and direct the production from the vineyard to the bottle, and secondly it allows for continuity in our product resulting in a consistency in our wines. Our vineyards are farmed with the point of view that quality and not tonnage is the primary goal. All of our clones have small-to-medium sized clusters, allowing greater flavor concentration. We also prune each block, during the spring, to remove weak shoots that would add tonnage but would bring down the quality of the fruit because of lack of maturity.

At Domaine Carneros, we know that to maintain the longevity of our vineyards and to protect the surrounding wildlife, we need to farm responsibly in a way that preserves the soils, eliminates erosion and preserves the local ecology. We have made several changes with these efforts in mind. We have moved to the use of mechanical weed removers to reduce herbicides and use chemicals that are either organic or environmentally safe. We have been able to do this by understanding life cycles of diseases and pests by careful observation in the vineyards. We are also introducing more cover crops, which are planted between the vine rows to stabilize the soils in the wet seasons and provide nutrients and organic matter to our soils. In addition, we work with the Napa Resource Conservation District (NRCD), an organization put together by the growers along Huichica Creek a sensitive water and wildlife area.

Fender Musical Instruments Corporation

Corona, CA

33.890345, -117.602538

Make History
Experience more than 8,000 square feet of exhibits featuring hundreds of instruments, amps, photos, historical artifacts, interactive displays and more that give guests from all over the world a fascinating, educational and unforgettable firsthand look at the entire Fender story from 1946 to today.

Enjoy browsing and shopping for apparel, accessories, collectibles and other items in the retail shop, purchase an instrument in the Guitar Specialty Store, embark on the Fender Factory and Custom Shop tour, and enter the "Wood Vault," where you can design and purchase your very own Fender American Design instrument.

Factory Tours
From the Fender Visitor Center you'll embark on the Fender Factory and Custom Shop tour for a fascinating up-close and start-to-finish look at the remarkable transformation of raw materials into fine Fender guitars, basses, amplifiers and other products.

Watch as Fender staff in the Wood Mill, Metal Shop, Final Assembly and other areas practice their craft, and see actual instruments and amps take shape at each stage in their production. Finally, your guide will escort you into the "Dream Factory" - the world-famous Fender Custom Shop - for an unprecedented firsthand look at the creation of the very best of Fender's best.

Fire & Light

Arcata, CA


See how the artisans at Fire & Light have transformed 9 million recycled bottles and jars into a line of beautiful hand-made glass tableware.

Graber Olives

Ontario, CA

34.07806, -117.648035

THE HISTORIC OLIVE HOUSE is home of world famous Graber Olives grown and produced by the Graber family since 1894. A rare delicacy has been created in Graber Olives: meaty, with a superb nutlike flavor. The natural full ripeness and flavor have been preserved by selecting and carefully processing only the fully tree-ripened fruit.

AN INVITATION TO VISIT..... Graber Olive House is located in a pleasant residential area north of Ontario's business district just minutes from the Ontario International Airport.

Here in quiet and serene surroundings, visitors are welcomed and delighted to discover a bit of early California!

BROWSING is encouraged in the shops which offer a variety of fancy foods, food accessories and unique gifts in addition to Graber Olives and other fine Graber products.

Because of the unique flavor and full golden appearance of the Graber Olive it has become a favorite hors d'oeuvre...the gourmet's delight! It is appropriate to any menu, perfect to serve on any occasion and is enjoyed by all. Because taste and appearance are different...and wonderful...they are a favorite gift...a unique treat for family and friends!

Guide Dogs for the Blind (San Rafael CA)

San Rafael, CA

38.000986, -122.542288

Guide Dogs for the Blind provides enhanced mobility to qualified individuals through partnership with dogs whose unique skills are developed and nurtured by dedicated volunteers and a professional staff. Established in 1942, Guide Dogs for the Blind continues its dedication to quality student training services and extensive follow-up support for graduates. Our programs are made possible through the teamwork of staff, volunteers and generous donors. Services are provided to students from the United States and Canada at no cost to them.

Tours of Guide Dogs may include our dormitory where our blind and visually impaired students stay while with us, our 11 acres of landscaped grounds, our kennel complex, our training facilities, and our vet clinic.

Heath Ceramics

Sausalito, CA

37.869687, -122.500274

Join us for a tour of our historic Sausalito factory, where our craftsmen have been producing award-winning tableware and architectural tile for over half a century. You'll see how every part of our process from clay-making to kiln-firing is done right here in our 1959 factory, often utilizing the original methods and equipment developed by Edith Heath throughout her career.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

Hilmar Cheese Company

Hilmar, CA

37.419666, -120.850123

When a dozen California dairy farmers joined together to found Hilmar Cheese Company in 1984, they were enthusiastic because their Jersey cows were particularly good at producing high-protein milk, ideal for making cheese. The dairymen worked hard, the cows worked hard, and the cheesemakers worked hard as the business grew. Today, Hilmar Cheese Company products are known around the world for excellent quality, great taste and superior functionality. State of the art production facilities enable us to produce a variety of high quality cheese while meeting diverse customer specifications.

Our cheesemakers will explain how fresh milk is turned into tasty Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese in our "Cheese Theatre." Explore our interactive exhibits about agriculture, the dairy industry and cheesemaking. Meet "Buttercup," dress as a cheesemaker and "mix a meal" for a cow in our miniature mixer wagon. See modern technology package 500-pound barrels and 640-pound blocks of cheese!

Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company

Fairfield, CA


Intel Visitors Center (California)

Santa Clara, CA

37.38833, -121.962466

At the Intel Museum in Santa Clara, you can experience the power of computer chips first hand, and the evolution of their development. Explore the pages of the site and interact with our Web movies to learn more about the museum and computer chips.

Ironstone Winery

Murphys, CA

38.11747, -120.470601

Ironstone Vineyards' Private Tour and Tasting package is the best and most unique way to experience wine and the wine making process. On your private tour of the winery, your group will be guided through Ironstone's seven-story complex, modeled after an 1859 Gold Stamp Mill, and learn intimate facts and details about the winery.

Following your tour, samples of each of Ironstone's award-winning wines will be provided. At this time your group will have the opportunity to sense the aromas and taste the wines craftsmanship. Along with the wine tasting, canapés prepared by our culinary staff will be made available for a food and wine pairing experience. Please keep your Ironstone Vineyards wine glass as a souvenir.

The price of the Private Tour and Tasting package is $15.00 per person with a twelve-person minimum. Advanced reservations are required and a $50.00 non-refundable deposit is due at the time of booking. The final guest count and estimated balance due must be received 10 working days before your group's arrival.

Arrangements can be made for your group's very own Private Tour and Tasting package by contacting our Tasting
Room at 209.728.1251.

Jelly Belly Candy Factory (CA)

Fairfield, CA

38.2492, -122.043884

Step into our factory and smell the aroma of chocolate, apricot, cinnamon or pineapple, whatever is being cooked up that day. A visit to our candy making factory in Fairfield, Calif., located about an hour's drive north of San Francisco, is a sugary delight.

During the 40-minute walking tour, Jelly Belly Guides will show you a real working factory where we cook up over 150 different sweet treats. Learn the secrets to how they create the legendary Jelly Belly bean, and discover why it takes more than a week to make a single bean. See taffy, chocolates, and wild gummi critters in the making, too.

Please call to verify dates and hours of operation before planning your visit.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Pasadena, CA

34.197914, -118.175274

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, managed by the California Institute of Technology, is NASA's lead center for robotic exploration of the solar system. Our spacecraft have visited all the planets in our solar system except Pluto. JPL telescopes are observing distant galaxies in the universe to study how our solar system was formed. We also manage the worldwide Deep Space Network, which communicates with spacecraft and conducts scientific investigations from its complexes in California's Mojave Desert near Goldstone; near Madrid, Spain; and near Canberra, Australia. JPL cameras and sensors are aboard satellites circling Earth to study the ozone, oceans and other Earth sciences. To support our continued exploration, JPL is making advances in technology with new instruments and computer programs to help our spaceships travel further and our telescopes see farther than ever before.

Kodak Theatre

Hollywood, CA

34.10166, -118.338826

Kodak Theatre is the crown jewel of the Hollywood and Highland entertainment complex located in the heart of historic Hollywood. Since opening in November 2001, the theatre has hosted a range of prestigious artists and events including the Academy Awards® Ceremonies, Celine Dion, Prince, Elvis Costello, Barry Manilow, American Ballet Theatre, Moscow Stanislavsky Ballet, AFI Life Achievement Award to Tom Hanks, ESPY Awards, American Idol finals, GREASE starring Frankie Avalon, Dixie Chicks and more.

Step behind the velvet rope...and experience the glamour of the Home of the Academy Awards Ceremonies. See an Oscar statuette, visit our exclusive George Eastman VIP Room, view 26 Academy Awards images, learn where this year's nominees sat, and gain an insider's view of behind-the-scenes production. Inspired by the elegance of a European opera house, with state-of-the-art technical capabilities, the Kodak Theatre stage has hosted the world's top performers and shows including Celine Dion, Prince, Dixie Chicks, American Ballet Theatre, The ESPY Awards, GREASE, Barry Manilow, Moscow Stanislavsky Ballet, The BET Awards, AFI Life Achievement Award for Tom Hanks, American Idol finals and others.

Lance Camper Manufacturing Corporation

Lancaster, CA

34.666696, -118.123494

If you own a pickup truck, you're halfway to a great RV.

Since 1965, Lance has been building America's favorite truck campers
- the most versatile RVs on the planet. Go anywhere, anytime - and do
anything - with a Lance.

Come see how the world's best-built campers are crafted in a
state-of-the-art, 141,000-square-foot facility in Southern
California's sunny Antelope Valley - about an hour northeast of Los

Levi Strauss & Co

San Francisco, CA

37.801884, -122.401872

Founded in 1853 by Bavarian immigrant Levi Strauss, Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&CO.) is one of the world's largest brand-name apparel marketers with sales in more than 100 countries. There is no other company with a comparable global presence in the jeans and casual pants markets. Our market-leading apparel products are sold under the Levi's® and Dockers® brands.

In 1873, Levi Strauss and Nevada tailor Jacob Davis patented the process of putting rivets in pants for strength, and the world's first jeans ? Levi's® jeans ? were born. Today, the Levi's® trademark is one of the most recognized in the world and is registered in more than 160 countries.

The company is privately held by descendants of the family of Levi Strauss. Shares of company stock are not publicly traded. Shares of Levi Strauss Japan K.K., the company's Japanese affiliate, are publicly traded in Japan.

The company employs a staff of approximately 12,400 people worldwide, including approximately 1,500 people at its San Francisco, California headquarters.

Levi Strauss & Co.marked its 150th anniversary with the opening of a Visitors Center, a permanent installation showcasing our history and business. The Levi Strauss & Co. Visitors Center features six museum-quality pavilions, each highlighting a different aspect of the company and its business.

Los Angeles Times (two locations)

Los Angeles, CA

34.05329, -118.245009

The Times' editorial, business and administrative departments as well as most pre-press operations are located at a six-building complex in downtown Los Angeles encompassing an entire city block.

The Times offers tours of the Editorial operation, and the state-of-the-art Olympic plant in Los Angeles.

In 1999, the presses were retrofitted to accommodate narrower, 50-inch-wide newsprint. This change reduces the amount of newsprint The Times uses while providing readers with an easy-to-handle page size.

The Olympic Plant

Named after the nearby Olympic Blvd., the Olympic Plant was built at a cost of $230 million and began operating in June 1990.

Each of the Olympic plant's six 12-unit Goss Colorliner presses is capable of printing a 96-page newspaper - with 36 pages of full color and four pages of spot color - at speeds of up to 70,000 newspapers per hour.

The 55,700-square-foot pressroom is 530 feet long - nearly twice the length of a regulation football field. It is three stories high - from the reel room, where newsprint is loaded onto the presses, to the operating and catwalk levels. The plant also includes a newsprint storage area with a 30,000-ton newsprint capacity.

Lucero Olive Oil, LLC

Corning, CA

39.913762, -122.194781

Lucero Olive Oil, LLC is the result of four generations of farming and producing olives in Northern California. The rural community Corning, ?The Olive Capital,? has some of the oldest olive trees in California, and many of these century-old trees continue to flourish in the Lucero family groves. Dewey?s maternal grandfather, has been one of the foremost olive growers in Northern California (since 1946 ~ 62 years), owning his own nursery for over 27 years. He grew a majority of the olive trees now in production in Northern California. Over 37 years, Dewey?s paternal grandfather started producing small quantities of olive oil for his family and friends. His olive oil was so popular it would sell out in a matter of days. In 2004 Dewey took a leap of faith and started to develop a family label, pressed large quantities of oil and began to market and sell Lucero Olive Oil across California. Since then the Lucero?s have been growing and producing more and more top quality olive oil each year...the rest is history in the making..

McEvoy Ranch

Petaluma, CA

38.1819490, -122.6692152

As Nan McEvoy's personal chef, chef Gerald Gass presides over an open, light-filled workspace in the Country Kitchen. Here he gives a California twist to the timeless Mediterranean tradition of cooking with olive oil.

Once a jumble of dilapidated dairy barns and outbuildings, McEvoy Ranch today is a peaceful, beautiful compound of ranch houses, ponds and working barns that blend into the California landscape.

The McEvoy Ranch Frantoio (olive mill) houses what has been called "the maserati of olive oil mills;" the revolutionary Rapanelli mill from Italy. In addition to milling its own fruit, McEvoy Ranch also does custom milling for other olive growers.

Mee Mee Bakery

San Francisco, CA

37.797911, -122.408578

Since 1950, Mee Mee Bakery, located in San Francisco's Chinatown, has been making fresh fortune cookies daily from our bakery to individuals, restaurants, and special events. We produce the Shangri-La Brand and besides making great tasting fortune cookies, we also make fresh breads, almond and sesame cookies, and chinese pastries.

NASA Ames Research Center

Moffet Field, CA

37.419089, -122.063903

NASA Ames Research Center is located at Moffett Field, California in the heart of "Silicon Valley". Ames was founded December 20, 1939 as an aircraft research laboratory by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and in 1958 became part of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Ames specializes in research geared toward creating new knowledge and new technologies that span the spectrum of NASA interests.

Oakdale Cheese

Oakdale, CA

37.776264, -120.812084

Cheesemaking has been in Walter?s family for 4 generations. So, it came natural to follow his ancestors footsteps when he bought his first cheese vat in 1983. It was in Escalon, hidden in an almond orchard, where the family remodeled an old dairy barn and produced their native Gouda cheese, Quark and Yogurt for the first 12 years. Sales were done on Certified Farmers Markets, by Mail Order and through a small room in their garage with refrigerator, where people could just walk in and leave their money on the counter top. Talking about honesty and trust!

With a leaking roof, bad floors and a lot of maintenance, they very happily moved to Oakdale in 1995, with a big bag of money loaned from the local Delta National bank in Manteca. It's here the Bulk?s really started living their American Dream, by building and developing a brand new location for their home, their cheesemaking and (hopefully!) their future customers.

S. Anderson Vineyard

Yountville, CA

38.425485, -122.343406

For visitors looking for an intimate winery experience, S. Anderson is the perfect place. Away from the crowds, on the Yountville Cross Road, guests will find a friendly, relaxed atmosphere at this family-owned winery and enjoy some of the valley's best still and sparkling wines.

Our tasting room is located in a charming century-old stone pump house surrounded by lovely gardens where guests may take a leisurely stroll. The terrace offers a quiet setting with beautiful views of the vineyard and surrounding hills.

Sequoia Grove Vineyards

Napa, CA

38.448713, -122.413252

Sequoia Grove Vineyards was founded in 1978 by Jim Allen, whose love for European wines inspired him to discover Napa Valley in the early days, and whose determination has produced elegant, award-winning wines of depth and character ever since. The winery is nestled on 24 acres of choice Napa Valley vineyards in Rutherford, California, on the site of a 100 year-old farmhouse surrounded by some of the last sequoia trees in the Napa Valley. These redwoods are carefully preserved by the Allen family and today, the majestic sequoia trees have become the trademark of the winery and symbols of the family's commitment to conservation of our natural resources.
The 24-acre estate is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot and a small amount of Chardonnay. The Rutherford viticultural district is more than an appellation of Napa Valley. Rutherford is an icon of quality, the standard bearer for the best fruit. It is the center of Napa Valley, where some of the most sought-after wines in the world are produced.

Sherline Products

Vista, CA

33.135375, -117.223773

Sherline Products manufactures a complete line of miniature lathes, vertical milling machines and machining accessories.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

Chico, CA

39.724806, -121.813916

In 1979, Ken Grossman began building a small brewery in the town of Chico, California. His goal: to brew exceptional ales and lagers. Today, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is considered the premier craft brewery in the United States. And the beer? Critics proclaim it ?Among the best brewed anywhere in the world.?

Ken?s passion for brewing began when a friend showed him the basics of home brewing. Using homemade equipment, Ken began brewing five-gallon batches of beer on his own, and soon became a proficient home brewer.

In 1976, after studying chemistry and physics at Butte Community College and California State University at Chico, Ken opened his own store, The Home Brew Shop. There, he supplied Chico?s home-brewing community with equipment, materials, and advice, but dreamed of opening his own brewery.

Two years later, it was time to make the dream a reality. Ken and co-founder Paul Camusi cobbled a brewery together from dairy tanks, a soft-drink bottler, and equipment salvaged from defunct breweries. Though the equipment was secondhand, they created a first-rate microbrewery. The ingredients were premium, including the copious quantities of hops that would become the brewery?s trademark. An avid backpacker, Ken named the new company for his favorite hiking grounds?the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Finally, on November 15, 1980, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company brewed the first batch of what would soon become a landmark in American craft brewing: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Word spread quickly, and over the next decade the demand for Sierra Nevada brews soon exceeded the brewery?s modest brewing capacity. Despite nearly constant additions to the brewery, Ken was soon back at the drawing board, planning a new brewery. In 1989, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company moved to its current site.

Ken traveled to Germany and brought back a traditional 100-barrel copper brew house, which became the heart of the new brewery. This met demand for a while, but the brewery soon needed to expand again. In 1997, Ken commissioned the original coppersmiths to match new kettles to the originals, bringing the brewery?s total capacity to almost eight hundred thousand barrels per year.

Building the new brewery afforded Sierra Nevada the opportunity to create two stunning showcases, both featuring exceptional dining, live music, and its award-winning beers. The elegant Sierra Nevada Taproom and Restaurant has become a destination in its own right. With mouthwatering lunch and dinner menus, an impressive dining room, and a large outdoor dining patio, it offers distinctive, contemporary cuisine as well as an opportunity to sample the brewery?s entire line of premium ales and lagers, including hard-to-find specialty drafts. The 350-seat Big Room?a beautifully designed live music and multi-purpose room?was constructed on the west end of the brewery to feature live music events for all ages and is a perfect facility for weddings, reunions, and business conferences.

To this day, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company remains true to its roots. Ken is still personally involved in every aspect of brewery operation. Most importantly, the Sierra Nevada commitment to quality remains the same. Premium ingredients and time-honored brewing techniques make Sierra Nevada ales and lagers truly exceptional beers.

Silvercrest Homes (Corona, CA)

Corona, CA

33.88859, -117.592682

Silvercrest Online was designed especially with YOU in mind. Within these pages there are many exciting HOMES for your review. You will find information on Retailers and Community Developments in the Twelve (12) Western States that offer our homes. We ship as far east as Colorado. Take the time to visit our model homes and see the possibilities for a new and exciting home for your future. We build personalized homes for the individual home buyer available through the Silvercrest Retailer Network, as well as Genesis Homes for builders/developers.

For an even closer look at Silvercrest quality, Saturday Factory Tours are available at both of our facilities.

We also invite you to visit the Silvercrest Park Model web site. The Silvercrest Park Model vacation homes have been designed for installation on owner's recreational the lake front, in the mountains...wherever your family prefers their vacations.

If you are looking for a quality home on an area not served by Silvercrest, we refer you to Champion Homes, the new web site for the Champion Family of home builders and retailers throughout the United States.

Silvercrest, Western Homes Corporation is a subsidiary of Champion Enterprises, Inc. headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Champion is the largest company in the manufactured housing industry and has produced more than 1.5 million homes since the company was founded. The company has 35 home building facilities located in 18 states and two Canadian Provinces.

Silvercrest Homes (Woodland, CA)

Woodland, CA

38.681554, -121.746667

Silvercrest Online was designed especially with YOU in mind. Within these pages there are many exciting HOMES for your review. You will find information on Retailers and Community Developments in the Twelve (12) Western States that offer our homes. We ship as far east as Colorado. Take the time to visit our model homes and see the possibilities for a new and exciting home for your future. We build personalized homes for the individual home buyer available through the Silvercrest Retailer Network, as well as Genesis Homes for builders/developers.

For an even closer look at Silvercrest quality, Saturday Factory Tours are available at both of our facilities.

We also invite you to visit the Silvercrest Park Model web site. The Silvercrest Park Model vacation homes have been designed for installation on owner's recreational the lake front, in the mountains...wherever your family prefers their vacations.

If you are looking for a quality home on an area not served by Silvercrest, we refer you to Champion Homes, the new web site for the Champion Family of home builders and retailers throughout the United States.

Silvercrest, Western Homes Corporation is a subsidiary of Champion Enterprises, Inc. headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Champion is the largest company in the manufactured housing industry and has produced more than 1.5 million homes since the company was founded. The company has 35 home building facilities located in 18 states and two Canadian Provinces.

Smyers Glass Studio

Benicia, CA

38.0453185, -122.1461315

Smyers Glass offers visitors a unique opportunity to visit a working glass studio with old world feel and techniques. Their works are found in museums, fine craft galleries and collections across the USA. The showroom displays vases, paperweights, jewelery, platters and sculptural pieces. Each is a signed original.Visitors can see glass blowing when the 2000 degree molten glass is drawn out of the the blazing furnaces on 5 foot long blow pipes. Guests delight in watching the items that are sold in the showroom take shape.

Sony Pictures Studios

Culver City, CA

34.0199768, -118.3990788

Take the Sony Pictures Studios Tour and step back into a legendary time. Located on one of the world's most famous studio lots, our walking tour gives you a rare glimpse of old Hollywood's glory days and an insider's view of a state-of-the-art motion picture studio.

Not only is this the studio where the Yellow Brick Road once wound through Munchkin Land, it is also the place where the agents from "Men In Black" battled aliens from outer space and Spider-Man catapulted from skyscraper to skyscraper. Our dynamic studio tour guides will shed light on the film and television production process by taking you to various soundstages and by sharing tales of days gone by. You may even have the chance to visit the sets of the hit game shows "Jeopardy!" or "Wheel of Fortune."

Filled with movie, television and commercial productions on any given day, you never know what- or who- will be just around the corner.

Sun Empire Foods

Kerman, CA

36.717548, -120.06021

Phil and Sandy Dee love what they're doing, converting the traditional harvest of their homeland into something imaginative and delicious. Their roots in farming span four generations, from Sandy's grandfather Clark Kenneson to their son Steve.

But when the ag economy dipped, it was Phil who saw a new way to take locally grown fruits and nuts to market. While Sandy's brother Mickey handles the farming operation, Phil and Sandy manage this company that produces literally tons of hand-made, coated delicacies.

For those who can not resist and fall to temptations, Sun Empire Foods is located at 1220 South Madera Ave., Kerman, Ca., 93630. We're roughly 15 miles west of Fresno on Madera Ave. also known as HWY. 145.

Taylor Guitars

El Cajon, CA

32.824577, -116.984499

Seated in his neat, spacious office in Taylor Guitars' factory complex in El Cajon, California, company co-founder and CEO Kurt Listug cannot stifle a laugh as he studies a faded snapshot. The photograph, mined from the depths of an old cardboard box filled with dusty memorabilia, depicts the original Taylor shop on its very first day of existence -- October 15, 1974.

On the left, pony-tailed, 22-year-old employee Tim Luranc is examining something, while then-part-owner Steve Schemmer shovels water from the floor into a bucket. A companion photo shows the adjoining room on the same day. Crude, garish, overhead lights illuminate a funky old refrigerator amid indistinguishable clutter; a "humidity-controlled" booth with plastic-film walls; and a rough concrete floor pocked with puddles of standing water and clumps of soggy sawdust. "Primitive" and "wet" aptly describe both scenes.

In Taylor's early days, the morning after a rainstorm frequently began with cleaning up pools of water and soggy sawdust caused by flooding.
"That place was so bad," Listug recalls, shaking his head. "The roof leaked like crazy, and whenever it rained, the place flooded. It rained hard the night before we opened, so we spent the entire morning of our first day in business trying to get as much water out of there as we could."

"See those clumps of wet sawdust? When it flooded, we'd take all the sawdust that we'd already swept up, and sprinkle it around the floor to soak up the water. It made the place even more of a pig sty," he says, laughing. "But it was fun. What did we know? We were just kids. Somehow, we'd skirted having to get real jobs. We didn't have a boss, we were making guitars. What could be better?"

Despite the semi-aquatic conditions and inauspicious circumstances of Taylor's first few days of life, Listug's voice betrays a genuine wistfulness as he recalls the "hungry years" that made it possible for the company to be celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 1999. Listug enjoys reminiscing about the long, painstaking process of co-shepherding Taylor Guitars from its humble, naive beginnings to its current status as one of the world's most successful and highly regarded acoustic guitar manufacturers.

In one respect, there is no escaping the company's history, thanks to numerous human and material reminders of the company's scuffling days that can be found throughout Taylor's modern, high-tech facility. Primary among these, of course, are Taylor and Listug, who have made musical-instrument history by becoming the first American luthiers in this century to take an acoustic guitar company from one-off shop to production-level manufacturer without relinquishing ownership or creative control. Other first-decade Taylorites who are either still on the job, or who have left and come back, include Luranc (profiled in the Summer 1994 issue of our quarterly newsletter, Wood&Steel), Steve Baldwin (1983--), and Bob Zink (1984--profiled in the Fall '98 issue).

Among significant relics are a few early-vintage Taylor guitars that have been re-acquired over the years, and which repose in a safe place known only to Bob Taylor. Several tidy binders and scrapbooks on file in the current building's conference room contain articles and advertisements that delineate Taylor's progress from baby steps to leaps. Still, it's the cardboard box that provides Taylor and Listug their best opportunity to relish the sometimes poignant, often hilarious chronicles of the firm's first two decades. Looking at photographs of the duo as long-haired, bearded teenagers, Listug effortlessly spins anecdotes, punctuating his commentary with frequent, almost reflexive chuckling.

"I remember, as a teenager, driving with my parents past this guitar-repair shop called the Blue Guitar, in the Old Town area of San Diego," he said. "I thought guitars were the coolest thing, and I couldn't imagine anything cooler than working on them for a living. So, I pestered Sam Radding, owner of the American Dream shop in Lemon Grove, to hire me, even though I didn't have any of the necessary skills. Eventually, a work bench opened up, and I quit my job painting buildings at San Diego State University and started doing finishing work. That was in August 1973.

"A week or two later, Bob Taylor got a bench there. He'd been coming around for a while, buying guitar parts and showing Sam the guitars he'd made. At the time, Bob was 18 and I was 20."

In spite of his hirsute appearance, the young Taylor was quiet, reserved, and very "straight," and, for a while, the rest of the American Dream employees more or less ignored him. One day, Bob abruptly put an end to that.

"He came in where a few of us were eating lunch, sat down, and firmly announced, 'Well, I'm Bob Taylor,'" Listug remembers. "It was a real ice-breaker, and after that we all got along great."

"I remember being quite the odd duck in a real hippie shop," Taylor admits. "My hair was a lot longer, and I had a beard, but otherwise I was just a clean-cut boy in a white t-shirt who went to church three times a week with his mom and dad and sister. My whole life experience up to that time was just being a 'good boy.' I'd never been in trouble in my life; I spent my time in school doing projects and getting straight A's, winning industrial-arts expositions. I didn't know what alcohol or drugs were. Still don't. Didn't know about college, or girls, or anything except tools, and working with things. And here I was, working with these kids who, compared to me, were partying, wise-to-the-world, guitar-building, hippie musicians. So, Kurt, Bob Huff, Michael Stewart, Steve Hilliard, Sam Radding, and Barbie Cousins -- they'd be off to the side, giggling at me."
You might say that Taylor ended up at American Dream partly by default, partly by provident design. As a 17-year-old, he had seen a 12-string acoustic guitar in a local store window, and, lacking the funds to purchase it, had decided to make his own. He built three guitars while still in high school, working on them at night in the back of a service station, in between filling gas tanks and wiping windshields. Eventually, Taylor took his finished instruments to Sam Radding at American Dream. Radding was convinced that he had a future in the trade.

During their first year at American Dream, Taylor and Listug made a few guitars, but mostly did repairs. When Radding decided to sell the business in 1974, the employees split into rival purchasing groups of two, each team jockeying for position while trying to figure out how to come up with the requisite capital. Finally, a triumvirate of Taylor, Listug, and Schemmer bought the American Dream. Euphoric with ambition, they renamed it the Westland Music Company.

"We thought that would sound impressive, and make people think we were bigger than we really were," Listug laughs. "But Bob was the real guitar-maker, and, besides, we had to have a logo that would fit on the headstock, so we soon named the guitars Taylor guitars."

By the time the fledgling company hoisted its new banner, Taylor and Listug had a pretty clear idea of how their guitars would differ from others on the market. Their first few instruments certainly functioned well enough, but they weren't exactly things of beauty.

"Those first guitars had some structural problems, and sometimes the backs would ripple," Listug recalls. "We knew they couldn't compete, aesthetically, with the best guitars on the market, so we just kept working at it until we had a marketable-looking guitar."

After selling a few prototypes at the workshop, the partners decided to take their wares directly to dealers. In 1976, Listug loaded some guitars into Bob Taylor's van and headed for the music stores in Los Angeles. "They liked them, and I actually came home with checks in my hand," Listug says.

One of the first dealers to buy a Taylor guitar was the venerable McCabe's, in Santa Monica. John Zehnder, who today is the store's chief repairman, director of its music school, and banjo and mandolin instructor, remembers those first Taylors.

"In 1976, Taylors provided an affordable and viable alternative to Martins, which were the standard," Zehnder said in a phone interview. "The Taylors' low-profile necks, and the fact that they offered several choices as to neck widths, were a real advantage. Plus, they sounded good, and, because of the way they were made [with bolt-on necks], we were able to make repairs instantly, which was greatly appreciated by our customers. In many ways, Taylor guitars were a real breath of fresh air."

Random acceptance, however, did not translate to across-the-board success. Wholesale receipts just barely enabled the luthiers to continue making guitars.

"We got into this business just as the acoustic guitar market was going south in a big way," Taylor says. "It was dying a cruel death. We first started trying to sell Taylor guitars at a time when Mossman, Gurian, and LoPrinzi [guitars] were just peaking, so every time Kurt would get to a store, another rep had just been there, and the dealer would say, 'Oh, we just took on the Mossman line. We don't have any money left.'

"I remember one particularly bad day, clear as a bell," Taylor continues. "It was Friday, the end of another work week. There was no money; we were so broke. It was a pretty depressing scene. Then, late in the day, this guy came into the shop. His name was Charlie See -- grandson of Martha See, founder of See's Candies. He ended up buying a guitar that was hanging on the wall, and ordered a Brazilian rosewood 815 with abalone on it. It was about 7:30 that evening by the time he left, and he wrote us a check for $1,873, which was like a hundred-thousand bucks to us! All of a sudden, we were back in business. We had enough money to pay that month's $163 rent and buy more supplies. We could make guitars for another week or two."

In 1977, Taylor Guitars linked up with a distributor in the hope of boosting sales. It would prove to be an unproductive move.

"We ended up getting only $150 for a 510, $380 for an 855," Taylor recalls. "That was a very unprofitable time, but it was a great learning time. It forced me to learn something about production techniques. I had to separate the chaff from the wheat -- what's important, what's not important. The main improvement was simply getting past a stupid mental barrier -- the notion that if you take a lot of time to accomplish a task, somehow it's better than accomplishing the same task, just as well, in less time. I'm glad I was very young when I learned that that notion just doesn't make sense."

Taylor and Listug ended their affiliation with the distributor in 1979, but for years, the company remained fixed at a plateau of making 10 guitars a week and not seeing a profit. Because they were unable to break into any new markets, newly finished guitars just lay, unsold, around the shop. Bills went unpaid.

"We were really stupid," Listug recalls with a grin. "We thought that if we simply made more guitars, we'd make more money. So, we'd hire extra people to turn out more instruments, and then we'd have to spend more time and money marketing the extra production. All we were doing was raising the overhead. And, without any capital to pay for expansion, we just dug ourselves a deeper hole of debt. Then, Bob got married, and one day he said, 'If I can't make a living at this, why am I doing it?'"

"Actually, by that time, I'd kind of mentally burned my bridges as far as doing anything else was concerned," Taylor allows. "Every once in a while, people would ask me, 'Well, what if it just doesn't work out?' And I'd say, 'It has to work out.' I detested the thought of having to explain to everyone why I quit. That kept me going more than anything else -- the fear that for two years or more, I'd have to run into people who'd ask, 'What happened?' and I'd have to explain that we weren't doing well and had to give it up."

To save the business, the partners fired everyone and slowed production. In the short term, that enabled each of them to take home $100 per week -- enough to make ends meet. Gradually, they paid past-due bills and retired ancient debts. It was, to be sure, a meager living.

"When we got to the point where we could take home $200 a week, I thought we were doing great," Listug says. "I had a friend who was making $300 a week, and I remember thinking, 'Whoa -- $300 a week!'"

Adversity, it would seem, is best visited upon the young, who don't know enough to be stymied by it. As lean as things were, the Taylor gang never was at a loss for good times.

"Matt Guzzetta [currently Taylor's Senior Machine and Tool Designer] ran a motorcycle gas tank manufacturing shop right next door," Taylor remembered. "We'd have these big, pot-luck, music-and-food parties once a month on a Saturday night. Everyone would open their shop and we'd have maybe four local bands going -- a lot of really great San Diego players. Matt ran his shop for years, and when it finally closed, I had him do a job for me at Taylor Guitars, and he's been here ever since. But if you ask Matt -- as much as he likes working here -- he'll tell you that we ruined everything and began going 'downhill' after we stopped having those parties."

In 1981, Taylor Guitars took out a bank loan to purchase equipment that would enable them to smooth out some production wrinkles. But without the benefit of marketing, unsold guitars continued to pile up. A year later, they sold a number of guitars to a single dealer, and used the cash to put Listug on the road in a quest for new dealers.

"I told him, 'Don't even come back if you don't get any orders,'" Taylor laughs.

Listug's new role of traveling salesman took him throughout California and as far as Maine. Being away from the daily grind of the business renewed his energy and perspective, but the trip wasn't without its disasters.

"I had second thoughts about all this when my car broke down in a snowstorm in Wisconsin," he says. "But the dealers I visited loved our guitars. On the way home, I sold the six guitars I had with me, so we had cash for Christmas."

In 1983, Taylor and Listug bought out Schemmer. Newly equipped with machines they'd designed to handle the most laborious aspects of tooling and processing raw materials, the streamlined company finally began turning a profit. The influx of money was spent on technical refinements that resulted in higher-caliber guitars. Things were looking up, but a breakthrough was needed. It would come from a most unexpected source.

In the mid-'80s, synthesized rock so dominated the charts and airwaves that acoustic guitars seemed anachronistic -- the implements of coffeehouse folkies and '60s diehards. Up to that time, Taylor Guitars had allowed its distributor to represent the company at the semi-annual trade shows of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM). But, in 1984, Taylor and Listug exhibited their own guitars at the winter NAMM show, and ran smack into that era's industry realities.
"Those NAMM shows were hard," Listug says. "We were set up near the Martin booth in 1985, when we showed our Artist Series [limited-edition, color-stained guitars]. Even Martin was singing the blues about how lousy business was."

Hoping to lure rockers into trying their acoustics, Taylor and Listug accepted a challenge from Glenn Wetterlund of Podium Music in Minneapolis to create a guitar for one of the day's superstars -- Prince, who needed a 12-string for some recording sessions. At the time, Prince was in his "purple" phase, so Taylor made him a purple-stained 655. But, there was a catch: Prince would not perform with instruments bearing a visible brand name. As a result, Taylor would make a guitar that would be seen by millions (Prince played it in both his Purple Rain and Live Aid videos) -- and the Taylor logo would be nowhere in sight.

Whether the "Prince guitar" in any way impacted the eventual re-emergence of the acoustic guitar is debatable, but it sure didn't hurt Taylor Guitars. By then, word of Bob Taylor's handiwork was spreading through the music world, and famous and unknown musicians alike were snapping up his guitars. In the hope o1

TCHO - New American Chocolate

San Francisco, CA

37.8012902, -122.3988257

TCHO is New American Chocolate.

What does it take to make New American Chocolate? Obsession. Obsession with flavor. Obsession with innovation. Obsession over fusing the two to craft the very best chocolate, from bean to bar.

The obsession begins at origin. We don't just buy good beans, we help make the best beans. TCHOSource is our unique sourcing program, designed to obtain the best beans in the world while enabling the producers of those beans to earn a better living.

We go beyond fair trade (which we also support) to partner directly with growers. We help them improve the genetics of their plants, improve their cacao fermentation by redesigning their fermentaria, and improve cacao drying by designing new drying racks. We also provide them flavor labs where they can actually make chocolate ? for many, this is the first time they taste chocolate made from their own beans. Then we provide sensory training so we can speak a common language about the results of their efforts. And finally, we link it all together in a common, cloud-based database ? called Cropster ? where we can share the results of all our efforts in real time. All to enable our partners to produce the exceptional, flavor-driven cacao that we pay premium prices for, so we can make seriously superior chocolate ? New American Chocolate.

Integral to New American Chocolate are our recipes, and that brings us to Beta. Beta is TCHO's obsession with co-creating our chocolates with our customers. How? After our own intensive development process, we invite you to taste our efforts, give us online feedback, then incorporate that feedback to iterate new versions ? which we invite you to taste and react to again. Rise and repeat. This program has resulted in our creating with your feedback thousands of recipe iterations over the years, resulting in the extraordinary chocolates we proudly craft every day. Beta isn't the way making chocolate is normally done, but normal never leads to extraordinary. And New American Chocolate is definitely extraordinary.

Extraordinary is re-imagining what it means to taste chocolate, as represented by our dark and milk Flavor Wheels. Because chocolate isn't just one flavor, savoring chocolate is a journey for your intellect and emotions, as well as your senses. At TCHO, we believe that journey should go beyond percentages and origins ? which can be incomplete, even deceptive descriptors ? which is why we created PureNotes dark chocolate. PureNotes explore the pure flavors inherent in cacao beans themselves, nothing added. For example, the hints of red berry in our PureNotes "Fruity" (single origin sourced from Peru), or bright acids like in mandarin oranges in our "Citrus" (from Madagascar), or the deep, hearty richness in our "Chocolatey" (Ghana), or subtlety of roasted nuts in our "Nutty" (Ecuador). Likewise, milk chocolate isn't one flavor either, which is why we created SeriousMilk. Our first two SeriousMilks explore the caramel notes that come from heating milk and sugar in our Classic, as well as the underlying chocolate in our Cacao.

So yes, we are obsessed. We're obsessed with making a better world. We obsess over where our cacao comes from and how our growers are involved. We're obsessed with finding the perfect recipe for our chocolate. We're obsessed with creating an experience that delights. But, most of all, we're obsessed with you. We want you to rediscover chocolate like never before. You?our partners, our growers, our co-creators, our friends. You are our inspiration, our motivation, our true obsession.

The Paramount Theatre

Oakland, CA

37.809407, -122.268196

Oakland's Paramount Theatre is one of the finest remaining examples of Art Deco design in the United States. Designed by renowned San Francisco architect Timothy L. Pflueger and completed in late 1931, it was one of the first Depression-era buildings to incorporate and integrate the work of numerous creative artists into its architecture and is particularly noteworthy for its successful orchestration of the various artistic disciplines into an original and harmonious whole.

Construction was initiated by Publix Theatres, the exhibiting organization of Paramount Pictures. Although financial difficulties forced the sale of the uncompleted building to Fox-West Coast Theatres, the firm that completed the theatre and operated it until it closed on September 15, 1970, the name "Paramount" was retained.

After its initial brief blaze of "movie palace" glory in the 1930's, this remarkable auditorium suffered three decades of neglect and decline until its rescue by the Oakland Symphony, the City of Oakland and numerous private donors. The building was purchased by the Board of Directors of the Oakland Symphony Orchestra Association in 1972. A painstaking and authentic restoration was completed in 1973 and the theatre was entered in the National Register of Historic Places on August 14th of that year.

In 1975 the City of Oakland, the present owner, assumed ownership from the Oakland Symphony Orchestra Association. The Paramount Theatre became a California Registered Historic Landmark in 1976, and on May 5, 1977, was declared a National Historic Landmark.

Restored to its original splendor, meticulously maintained, and fully upgraded to modern technical standards, the Paramount now serves all the arts. The Paramount Theatre is the home of both the Oakland Ballet and the Oakland East Bay Symphony and, as one of the San Francisco Bay Area's premiere performing arts facilities, hosts a year-round schedule of popular music concerts, variety shows, and - of course - movies.

US Borax

Boron, CA

35.00411, -117.703244

U.S. Borax operates California's largest open pit mine in Boron, California - one of the richest borate deposits on the planet. The company supplies 30% of the world's demand for refined borates, minerals essential to life and modern living.

U.S. Borax traces its roots to California's Death Valley, where borate deposits were discovered in 1872. The twenty mule teams U.S. Borax used to haul ore out of the remote desert live on as a symbol of the company's commitment to innovation.

Today, U.S. Borax is acknowledged as the world leader in borate technology, research and development. Technical support for customers, product quality, and supply reliability are the pillars of our commercial commitment. We are also committed to ensuring that our practices and products are socially, environmentally and economically sustainable.

You will also find the U.S. Borax Visitor Center, one of the best kept secrets of the Southern California desert.

You can view mammouth mining equipment working in California's largest mine.

Vine Cliff Winery

Napa, CA

38.44779, -122.357321

Vine Cliff Winery offers unparalleled hospitality to its guests on its beautiful and historic 100-acre estate. Vine Cliff is located on the Silverado Trail between the Yountville and Oakville crossroads.

The wine tastings are conducted in the main barrel room at a magnificent antique English pine table. The tour includes the underground aging caves, the production facilities, vineyards, and beautifully landscaped grounds. All of these are situated in a canyon about 100 feet above the Trail, affording stunning views of the valley below.

Small groups as well as individuals are welcomed at Vine Cliff. Each guest or group is, whenever possible, given time and attention on an exclusive, individual basis, for a most memorable Napa Valley winery experience.

Please call Vine Cliff at 707-944-2388 to arrange an unparalleled tour and tasting.

Vine Cliff Winery Caves

All of Vine Cliff?s wine is aged in underground tunnels or caves. From 1991 to the year 2000 the wine was aged in the stone cellar, originally built by Chinese laborers in 1871, and in the fifty-foot long concrete-lined tunnel constructed in 1990 that connects the Winery to the old cellar.

The year 2000 saw the completion of 15,000 square feet of tunnels carved out of the Vine Cliff canyon rock, just across the drive from the winery. These tunnels have a twelve-foot diameter bore and have been carved into the hill in a ladder configuration. The entrance portal gives access to the 260 foot long right tunnel, which is connected to the 200 foot long parallel left tunnel by five 100 foot cross tunnels.

These caves have racking facilities and can accommodate approximately 1500 - 2000 barrels of wine. The climate will be naturally maintained at a constant 60 degrees F., with about 60% humidity year round.

Additionally, carved out of the volcanic Tufa and Basalite rock, between the first and second cross tunnel, a 50 foot long by 18 foot wide by 30 foot high function room has been created. This will provide the winery with ample space to seat fifty guests at a winemaker?s dinner or other events.

Warner Bros. Studios


34.147268, -118.341887

Warner Bros. Studios VIP Tour is an insider's look at one of Hollywood's busiest and most famous motion picture studios - past and present. Ours is an intimate, historical and educational behind-the-scenes view of an actual working studio.

The VIP tour begins with a short film showcasing the movies and television shows created by Warner Bros. talent over the years. Guests are then escorted via tour carts to the Warner Bros. Museum - a true archive of filmed entertainment history. Exhibits include costumes, props, awards and actual scripts from some of our most renowned productions. From the Museum, guests will visit our backlot sets, sound stages and craft/production shops - routes change from day to day to accommodate production on the lot, so no two tours are exactly alike.

As you meander the studio on the VIP tour cart, anything can happen - perhaps a celebrity sighting, or a shoot just wrapping on an exterior set! You may pull into New York Street - location for such television hits as Lois & Clark and ER, but originally constructed in the 1930s for the film noir classics. Or visit Midwest Street - Warner Bros.' answer to "Any Town USA" - made famous in the musical A Music Man, but staying busy today with the hit television series Gilmore Girls. If the timing is right, our guides will take you onto a sound stage to see the set of a current Warner Bros. show! Guests may also visit "The Mill", home to our craft shops since the 1930's; the costume or prop warehouses; or maybe enter the Foley stage for a demonstration of how sounds are recreated for film.

Don't forget to stop in our VIP Tour Gift Store for a memento of your visit to Warner Bros. Studios!

Wiebe Farms

Reedley, CA

36.560751, -119.454104

WELCOME! Enjoy your tour with us at Wiebe Farms. You may be wondering why a farm would have such a tour. Have you ever been to a packing shed in the middle of harvest? Over the years we have received requests for tours of the shed to see the whole process of packing PEACHES and NECTARINES. We finally decided to open up our facilities for tours. Our family-friendly atmosphere ensures you will have a great time with us. Plus, you will get to taste some very delicious PEACHES and NECTARINES.

Winchester Cheese Company

Winchester, CA

33.670565, -117.093623

Winchester Cheese Company is owned and operated by Jules Wesselink who was born and raised in Haarlem, Holland. Jules has operated his own dairies in California since the 1950's. As the metropolitan Los Angeles area has grown Jules's dairies have moved from Artesia to Chino, and now to Winchester. The dairy now has 500 Holstein cows and is located in a beautiful setting as you can see from the accompanying photos.
BOERE KAAS, which means "Home made on the farm", is the favorite choice of cheese-loving Holland. In a class by itself, it is distinguished by its delicious and unique flavor in comparison to cheese mass produced in factories. Our cheese is made by Valerie Thomas, Jules Wesselink's daughter, and David Thomas, her husband.

We take pride in making "Gouda" Boere Kaas in Winchester, California in the same traditional way as it has been done by our families back home in Holland for many, many generations.
We make it on the farm in Winchester in the same natural way, using the same natural ingredients and fresh raw milk. Then we age it like fine wine, to perfection, to bring out its natural goodness.
The only difference we allow ourselves is that we no longer use wooden tubs and tools. We now use shining stainless steel vats and utensils. The Taste Remains unmistakably... "Gouda" Boere Kaas!

Field trips and Guided Tours are available. Call for details.
You and your children will enjoy your visit to The Winchester Cheese Company and Dairy. We are located within easy driving distance from both Los Angeles and San Diego. You may wish to make a day trip and visit local wineries and see the enormous new Southern California Water Reservoir being constructed on our doorstep.