AutoVino – Menlo’s poshest club

by Chris Gulker on January 6, 2010

autovino_mgr1What do you get when you blend a car collection with a winery and cigar club? Why, AutoVino, of course, the latest addition to the luxe club offerings in Menlo Park. But this is no mere country club.

Betting that there is a customer base who own classic or exotic cars, a burgeoning wine collection and a few humidors stuffed with rare Cuban imports, principals Louis Giurlani and Richard Burns have created a polished, light-filled space in which a comfy 2,000-square-foot club  floats in the middle of a giant display space. There gleaming Ferraris and other exotic cars  sit in fully atmosphere-controlled comfort.

But wait! There’s more: a beautiful, climate-controlled wine cellar offers space for 6,000 vintage bottles. A cozy cigar room offers rapid air circulation along with overstuffed chairs, papers and magazines and a big-screen TV. Crack open one of those ’52 Grand Cru Classé Bordeaux, and  prepare to do some serious unwinding.

For those seeking more active relaxation, a ‘NASA-spec’ racing simulator puts the driver in a servo-controlled aluminum racing seat which is driven by a mini-supercomputer that is loaded with programs for most major racing circuits.  Combined with the immersive 180-degree display, the simulator is as close to life at 180 MPH as most of us will ever experience.

Tim Espasandin, operations manager at AutoVino, also points to the ‘trap room,’ basically an air lock, that allows members to drive their cars into the facility without admitting exhaust fumes or dust that would affect the storage space. The club features state-of-the-art security, complete with lasers that can detect if a car is moved. AutoVino also offers concierge service that will transport a member and/or their car to and fro – including delivery to the track on race day. Expert ‘concours’ detailing service is available as well.

autovino_trapGiurlani and Burns are in process of moving their latest acquisition, the Woodside Vineyards, into the space, with plans to feature a wine bar, tastings and custom bottling – perhaps a nice Pinot with a picture of your Maserati on the label?

The club offers varying levels of membership, starting at $350 a month, which, Tim points out, is competitive with local, much-more-basic indoor storage services.

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