For about seven years, California was ground zero for those seeking the most-treasured precious metal. The California Gold Rush, which officially lasted from 1848 to 1855, saw Americans from far and wide – and even those from different countries – come in search of riches. Some made out quite alright while others came up short. For those who would otherwise never lay eyes on a piece of gold, Ironstone Vineyards recently hosted a 25th birthday party for its own historical piece of state’s treasure.
The “Crown Jewel,” as it’s called, is about 44 pounds of crystallized gold and it recently turned 25 years old. To mark the occasion, Ironstone and John Kautz Farms Property Manager Jack Kautz helped throw a birthday party for the massive item. The Kautz family obtained the Crown Jewel in 1992 and it’s actually the largest example of crystallized gold in the world. It’s also the largest piece of gold mined in America since the 1880s – that same decade when the California Gold Rush was roaring.
“No matter what we do, people love gold; the lure of gold and the thought of being able to strike it rich is really in everybody’s exploratory mind,” said Ironstone president and Jack Kautz relative Stephen Kautz. “They just absolutely love it.” Those in attendance at the birthday party were also able to view other items of historical value at the Ironstone heritage museum. The winery, which was founded by the agriculturally-skilled Kautz family, is a point of pride and community asset. It’s also the product of farming successes that Jack Kautz’s father began. While crops were what the Kautz family began growing, with Jack Kautz learning the ropes of the family business as a farm hand, the focus eventually shifted to grapes and more specifically, wine.
Their success has been the product of dedication and hard work, but it’s more important than they’ve been more than willing to share the fruits – pun intended – of their labor. Jack Kautz has personally committed himself to philanthropic efforts that improve lives. Through donations to the Traumatic Brain Injury Resource Center, American Foundation for Suicide Prevent among many others, Jack Kautz has made it his mission to help those whom he has immense compassion for. He has similarly helped young athletes work toward participating in international events such as the Olympics, Muay Thai kickboxing and equestrian competitions. Without the success of Kautz family ventures such as the farm and wineries, this philanthropy might not have been possible – but Jack Kautz is glad he’s been able to help.