I established the Peter Michael Foundation in 1995 to advance better diagnostics and less-invasive treatments for prostate cancer. The foundation endeavors to improve the lives of those affected through its support of promising diagnostic and treatment research, patient education and assistance, and public-policy initiatives. Bringing people together to raise awareness about prostate cancer has been at the heart of all that the Foundation achieves. Since its inception, we have hosted Stars dinners catered by acclaimed chefs in esteemed locations and cities nationally to raise funds. Each of our Stars experiences is a gastronomic feast for the senses, with wine, food, and chefs who design menus worthy of Michelin review.

Closer to home, we host annual Stars Knights Valley fundraisers at Côte Deux Mille, our private mountaintop pavilion that we built at the winery. Without doubt, our crowning achievement—which could not have happened without ranch manager, Herb Westfall—was the construction in 2005 of Côte Deux Mille, a series of three interlinked circular terraces built at “deux mille,” or 2,000 feet (610 metres).

The construction was complex, access being up a steep, winding goat trail without any services. The main 50-foot- (15-metre-) diameter circular terrace has a 20-foot- (6-metre-) diameter kitchen linked, plus a 15-foot- (5-metre-) diameter observation terrace perched out overlooking the vineyards. Some 500 tons (454 tonnes) of ready-mix concrete was needed to form the foundation and structure, which was quite a trick, as the trucks had to reverse up the track. Herb organised the project, and it was miraculously accomplished in forty-five days from go.

The scene on a Foundation evening is quite breathtaking; here, halfway up Mount Saint Helena, guests in their elegant finery and glitter, sitting in a setting as smart as any hotel ballroom, are wined and dined whilst looking over the edge of a mountain. Looking through to the kitchen you see the chefs in their whites busying and guests hanging out over the railings to view the vineyards. As dusk approaches, lighting is dimmed and coffee served, the roof folds away and the clearest of night skies becomes the only illumination. Those who know the heavens can point to the pole star, the Big Dipper, and Arcturus, and if we are lucky, the head of the college observation faculty might use his green laser and take us on a heavenly tour.

This has been the site where generosity from supporters has enabled the work the Foundation funds for prostate cancer research to have progressed to its current advanced stage. Sometimes, we have a specialist join us to describe the current state of the science and explain why the effect of a charitable organisation that is prepared to allocate funds to blue-sky projects is unique. Through the years the work has had a huge and positive influence on the protocols mandated by NIH and the insurance companies that reimburse treatment costs whilst many men or their wives have sought advice that comes without bias. Some forty researchers and half a dozen hospitals have benefitted from the influence of Herb’s efforts twenty years ago.

Here’s to meeting again, to friendship, and to raising a glass again very soon, creating more memories together under the Stars.