The Greeks considered wine as a gift from Dionysus. This god had the power to inspire and to create ecstasy; he is celebrated in festivals, art and literature as the god of wine, fruitfulness and vegetation. In Greek mythology, it is thought that Dionysus discovered viticulture and spread it across Asia. In Roman mythology, his name is Bacchus and he is known for teaching the Romans how to plant vines and create wine.
When Archie McLaren asked to have a Central Coast Wine Classic Dinner on the Enchanted Hill, he must have been channeling Dionysus. The 40,000 acres estate was purchased in 1865 by George Hearst, a United States Senator and mining magnate. When his son, William Randolph Hearst, inherited “the ranch” in 1919 he hired Julia Morgan, the first woman to study architecture in Paris at the School of Beaux-Arts, to build a castle as a museum for the finest arts he could buy. He also purchased architectural elements from Western Europe, including Spanish ceilings, French fireplaces, entire monasteries, and a medieval barn to be incorporated into the Castle and the three guest houses surrounding it. Antique sculptures and rose gardens now surround the building known formally as La Cuesta Encantada or The Enchanted Hill.
Sense of place is important for grape growers and winemakers. The wine begins in the vineyard and the mystery of fermentation and aging can create a magical experience for the wine lover. Archie realized that The Enchanted Hill could be the Central Coast Wine Classic’s “Brigadoon Experience” – an evening where once a year wine lovers gathered to enjoy the finest of wines and with multiple courses of fine food prepared by the great American chefs in one of the most beautiful settings in the world, overlooking the Pacific, surrounded by art. There was just one more element to add to make it a perfect evening – a beautiful woman with a harp, a goddess of music descended from on high in flowing gown, to stimulate all the senses.
Enter the musical goddess – Jeanne L. Martin in 2006. When she arrived at the top of the Enchanted Hill with her beautiful harp in her car, she was greeted by a young man who carefully transported her harp on a golf cart to the top of the stairs of a castle terrace overlooking the ocean, herds of zebras, the Neptune Pool and beautifully decorated banquet tables surrounded by guests and flowers.
Jeanne had expected to be a part of a small orchestra playing with other musicians but Archie had other plans. Jeanne was the sole performer playing a wide variety of music in her repertoire including Classical and Renaissance music, Classic Rock, and Celtic tunes, with a sprinkle of love songs and American ballads. She played three to four hours with a few intermissions where she joined the guests for wine and a delicious entree, one of many. Archie left it to Jeanne to select her own music and to play whatever inspired her at the moment.
The music made the magic of each evening unforgettable to this day. The guests seemed to float gently into a new consciousness. The staff, volunteers, sommeliers and chefs moved in harmony with Jeanne’s musical chords. The experience is best described as a symphony of heavenly music paired with great wine and generosity of spirit – conducted by Archie McLaren. There were chords of simpatico that wove it all together among the guests. And each year the wines and the paintings were auctioned for record prices to raise funds for the three charities selected as recipients by the Central Coast Wine Classic Board – a harmonic convergence.
Jeanne played her harp as the sole musical inspiration for the magical evenings at the Central Coast Wine Classic on the Enchanted Hill for nine years from 2006 to 2015. She also played at Archie McLaren’s Memorial in March 2018 at the late Jim Clendenen’s home in Buellton. Archie’s favorite song was Across the Universe. And now it is Archie’s spirit that is traveling the sacred spaces in our universe.
Jeanne shared another unique experience with the Wine History Project. For several years she donated a gift certificate of her harp music to the Central Coast Wine Classic’s Silent Auction, offering to play ambient music for a few hours at the highest bidder’s destination of choice. One year, the winner was a vineyard owner who wanted to surprise Santa Barbara winemaker Doug Margerum during the Fall harvest in the Santa Ynez Valley. The vineyard owner asked Jeanne if she would be willing to appear at 7 in the morning to play the harp for his friends who gathered annually to harvest grapes for the renowned winemaker Doug Margerum. As the sun rose and shone through the vineyard, Jeanne played soft music, including Classic Rock in her soothing contemplative style, creating an enchanting and unforgettable morning for the vineyard owner and his friends.
Jeanne was recommended to Archie by Marie Profant of the Profant Foundation in Santa Barbara. She was honored to be the harpist at the Archie McLaren Memorial.
Jeanne L. Martin – Her Musical History
Jeanne L. Martin has cultivated a multifaceted career dedicated to the worlds of music, myth and medicine. She attended Cornell University and earned a BA in English followed by both a MA and PhD in Mythological Studies and Depth Psychology at Pacifica Institute. She is a research scholar in sacred world traditions, archetype symbolism and ancient mythology. It is the harp that is her focal point in connecting her fields of research. She spent 25 years mastering the instrument and has experimented with many genres of music.
She has traveled the world on expeditions to sacred sites in Egypt, Crete, Cyprus, Athens, Rome, Pompei, Stonehenge and the Yucatan. She now lives in Santa Barbara where she lectures on the ancient mythical connections between music and medicine. She describes the therapeutic uses of music in the Renaissance and in ancient times which can be applied today. Her beautiful music has comforted many and lifted spirits to new heights for others. Jeanne is now a Certified Therapeutic Harp practitioner. Dr. Martin uses music in end of life care, assisting terminal patients in their transition from this life. You can reach her on her website: www.jeannelmartin.com.