The Cambrian

‘Treasure sale’ brings crowd to Daou Ocean as iconic Cambria property begins transformation

Take an aerial tour of former Centrally Grown property in Cambria

View drone footage of the scenic Cambria, California, restaurant and event property on Highway 1 and listen to Georges Daou, co-owner of Daou Vineyard and Winery, share his vision for its future.
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View drone footage of the scenic Cambria, California, restaurant and event property on Highway 1 and listen to Georges Daou, co-owner of Daou Vineyard and Winery, share his vision for its future.

Ever been to a garage sale that had a six-piece jazz band playing at 9 a.m.?

That’s what a huge crowd of bargain-hungry buyers found at the Daou Ocean “treasure sale” in Cambria on Saturday, along with hot coffee, doughnuts, bottled water and what may have been more than 1,000 items for sale.

Despite gates that were locked until the start time, so many vehicles and people had arrived early that a highway patrolman stopped to find out why cars were lined up down the driveway and on the highway.

He obviously hadn’t gotten advance notice about the sale.

It was prompted when Georges and Daniel Daou, owners of the well-known winery in Paso Robles, paid $4.3 million for the land, restaurant, other buildings, gardens and a plethora of items that were on-site at the ocean-front property then called Centrally Grown Off the Grid at auction after the previous owner filed for bankruptcy.

The location, on the Exotic Gardens Drive bluff just off Highway 1 north of Cambria, is perhaps best known for having been The Hamlet at Moonstone Gardens for many decades.

Now, the Daou brothers want to put their own stamp on the iconic location in preparation for their “wine-centric, people-centric, food-centric and ultimately pleasure-centric” Daou Ocean compound. And that meant finding new homes for things that wouldn’t fit well in the new plan.

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Jo Ellen Butler, executive director of Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve (left), with Georges Daou at a “treasure sale” Saturday at the future site of Daou Ocean in Cambria. Kathe Tanner ktanner@thetribunenews.com

Proceeds go to Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

All proceeds from the sale were donated to Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, the nonprofit that holds the conservation easement on the 437-acre forested, oceanfront preserve that’s on the bluff in the middle of Cambria. The preserve is owned by the people of Cambria, through the Cambria Community Services District.

Jo Ellen Butler, Friends’ executive director, said Tuesday that $6,789 had been raised in the sale.

In addition, Daou donated two handcrafted benches by Will Scroggins to use on the ranch and some burlwood pieces that will be used to make other benches, Butler said. These were probably close in value to what we made at the sale, “and we are very happy to have them,” she added.

Daou also donated some peeler poles for trail maintenance, and may sell some remaining items online, Butler said.

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Tom Johnson and Margie Zlotowitz show off a wooden zebra they purchased at the Daou Ocean “treasure sale” Saturday. Proceeds from the sale went to Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. Kathe Tanner ktanner@thetribunenews.com

The sale

As buyers arrived at the sale, they found the south garden area and the ground floor of the restaurant building packed with memorabilia, handmade benches, chairs, tables, arts and crafts and much more for sale. Some items were priced (but haggling was almost inevitable). Others, like some long, heavy, freeform redwood tables, were marked “make an offer.”

With Jazz Alley Revue musicians riffing in the background, shoppers swarmed over the area, searching for special treasures.

Tom Johnson and Margie Zlotowitz scored a large hand-crafted wooden zebra for $10.

A handcrafted bar sold for $300, and a set of antique, leaded-glass doors sold for $325, according Butler, both to locals. “People kept finding things we didn’t know were there,” she said, “and we had to keep checking with Daou to make sure they were really for sale.”

Georges Daou, Maeve Pesquera (senior VP for Daou Vineyards and Winery) and Christina Rivera-Glenn (the firm’s director of sales and hospitality who lives in Cambria) were at the sale with lots of staffers to help Friends volunteers manage the friendly chaos.

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This scenic Highway 1 landmark has been known as Hamlet at Moonstone Gardens or Centrally Grown is now owned by the Daou Vineyards ownership and they plan to reopen. David Middlecamp 1-25-2019 David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

When asked about the event’s ambiance — band and all — Daou said with a smile, “I only know one way to do things.” Gesturing toward the amiable crowd, he added, “And these people are wonderful.”

Both Daou officials commented repeatedly about how delightfully welcoming the North Coast residents were.

The weather cooperated during most of the sale, with vividly blue skies and sunshine warming the cool air. But by “hauling-it-away” time, when happy buyers had figured out how they were going to transport heavy furniture items, a light rain had begun and a chill wind encouraged workers to grab their warm jackets.

At one point, Pesquera spoke to the crowd, explaining Daou’s commitment to the ranch by saying simply, “In giving, we receive.”

Then she introduced Butler, who looked around and said, “It’s just amazing what’s happening here!”

For details about Daou, go to www.daouvineyards.com, and for Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, go to www.ffrpcambria.org.

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