July 27, 2017

Event Spotlight: Twisted Folk Concert Series

Posted : April 21, 2014

Last fall, after their second season of outdoor concerts in Vallecito, Twisted Oak Winery was awarded the 2013 Innovations in Tourism Award for Best Event Series.   We caught up with winery owner Jeff Stai recently to ask about Twisted Oak’s foray into live entertainment and what’s on deck for this year.

Twisted Folk Concert Series

Photo by Robert Lippert

Back when Jeff and Mary Stai were developing the hilltop winery property on Red Hill Road, it was clear that it was a great spot for a gathering, given the majestic 300 year-old blue oak (where the company got its name), the views over rolling hills and the summer evening breezes.  “We knew we wanted to do something,”  says Jeff, “and wine dinners were what we liked to go to when we didn’t have a winery.”  Indeed, before there was a winemaking facility and tasting room on site, the Stais were hosting dinners for friends and wine club members, as well as the occasional musical act.  But doing music on a regular basis was something Stai knew nothing about – having a successful concert series requires being plugged into a network of agents and performers, lighting and sound technicians – it’s a far different animal from a wine dinner.

Twisted Folk Concert

2012 Twisted Folk Concert

A few years ago, however, a local wine club member stepped forward who happens to be a booking agent, and through a partnership with her Twisted Oak began connecting with accomplished and eclectic musical acts from all over the country.   They basically look for acts that are touring in the northern California/Nevada region and if the musical style feels right, the acts will be invited to book a date on the Twisted Oak hilltop.  You can expect a wide range of sounds from jazz to gypsy to bluegrass.  There are currently six dates on the calendar, a number Jeff says is comfortable for now, and tickets are already selling faster than they have in the past two seasons.


Bushwalla 2012 Twisted Folk Concert

For some dedicated fans, the evening concerts have become an important part of their summer schedule, as the events welcome the whole family (even well behaved pets!) and make it easy by providing a simple, affordable dinner.  This year, Twisted has brought the catering back in house and the opening night on May 3 will feature a tasty rib dinner and of course, plenty of Twisted Oak wine available for purchase to go along with those ribs.   Another change this season is an admission charge for kids, which will give the winery a more accurate head count ahead of the event and all the children’s admission fees will be used to support music education in local schools.

Jeff Stai

Jeff Stai

If you’re curious about the musicians on the calendar, Twisted Oak’s website has links to videos featuring all the acts for this season, and if you think you may want to attend several shows this year, the winery also has season passes available at a generous discount.  Jeff has started experimenting with targeted Facebook ads that will link people directly to the Twisted Oak website for ticket sales and also markets the events to the company’s emailing list.  However, getting more concert goers isn’t necessarily the challenge for Stai, now it’s parking – “Carpool,” he says, “definitely carpool.”


Many Calaveras wineries offer special events throughout the year,  visit the events page of the Calaveras Winegrape Alliance to see what’s coming up!

Other Wineries with Concerts Series:

Brice Station Concerts @ The Hilltop
3353 E Hwy 4,  Murphys CA 95247

Ironstone Vineyards Concert Series
1894 Six Mile Road,  Murphys CA 95247

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