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Upscale eatery opens at golf course in Copperopolis

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Each table at Vine 18 offers views of the surrounding Copper Valley golf course.

With a new look, a new chef and a new menu, developers at Copper Valley in Copperopolis thought that The Copper Grille deserved a new name: Vine 18.

The transformed restaurant was unveiled the evening of Sept. 26, with indoor and outdoor seating providing panoramic views of the Copper Valley golf course and jazz band Stolen Moments performing on the patio.

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A new menu offers dishes that are "simple and straightforward," yet packed with flavor. 

Mike Fletcher, one half of CV Development Partners, which purchased the golf club and restaurant in 2018, said he hopes Vine 18 will attract visitors from beyond the golf course with its simplistic yet elevated dishes and expertly curated wines.

“I think that we’ve been as creative as we can be in the uncertain times of Covid in the past, and now we’re feeling like we can handle the changes of Covid correctly,” Fletcher said. “But more importantly, we can get people back out again. People want to get out of their homes, go on date nights and have experiences with friends.”

Fletcher said he knew the restaurant, managed by Troon, would be something special when Executive Chef Joe Garcia recently came onboard, along with Food and Beverage Manager Rick Watts.

“We are fortunate to have Joe Garcia and Rick Watts leading Vine 18,” Fletcher said in a press release. “They are bringing an entire new level of the culinary arts and service to Copper Valley.”

Garcia, an accomplished butcher, chef and restaurateur, has spent decades working at fine restaurants in San Francisco and New York City. He enjoys creating his own blends of spice rubs and sauces, and is currently developing an audition video for Bravo’s Top Chef, according to the release.

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The old Copper Grille at the Copper Valley golf club underwent an elegant facelift, which included a new color scheme and furniture, to become Vine 18.

“The food will be very simple and straightforward, yet so satisfying and packed with flavor,” Garcia described the new menu. “The flavors are able to stand on their own, but when combined you will get a full, robust and satisfying flavor.”

Watts is a veteran of 38 years in the industry and a Level 2 certified sommelier who cut his teeth in the fine dining scene of St. Louis. He previously held the same position at Black Oak Casino in Tuolumne and Ruby Hill country club in Pleasanton. Most recently, he worked as general manager of Inner Sanctum Cellars Winery in Sonora.

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Patrons dined al fresco while listening to live music during Vine 18’s grand opening.

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Stolen Moments performs at the Vine 18 grand opening on Sept. 26.

While some staff members are new to the restaurant, others have stayed on from The Copper Grille and have received additional training to achieve a higher caliber of service.

Fletcher says Vine 18 will offer a dining experience to compete with the best in the region, worthy of traveling to visit.

“I couldn’t be more excited, quite frankly,” said Fletcher, who added that staff at the restaurant have also been anticipating the grand opening with enthusiasm. “Even though some people have been challenged during recent times, there’s a lot of excitement going on right now.”

Vine 18 is located at 1001 Saddle Creek Drive in Copperopolis.

To recommend a business to be featured in the Enterprise, email reporter Dakota Morlan at dakota@calaverasenterprise.com

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Dakota graduated from Bret Harte in 2013 and went to Davidson College, NC where she earned a bachelor's degree in Arab studies. After spending time studying in the Middle East and Europe, she is happy to be home, writing about the community she loves.

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