Introduction


Robert Earl Burton founded The Fellowship of Friends in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970.

Burton modeled his own group after that of Alex Horn, loosely borrowing from the Fourth Way teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. In recent years, the Fellowship has cast its net more broadly, embracing any spiritual tradition that includes (or can be interpreted to include) the notion of "presence."

The Fellowship of Friends exhibits the hallmarks of a "doomsday religious cult," wherein Burton exercises absolute authority, and demands loyalty and obedience. He warns that his is the only path to consciousness and eternal life. Invoking his gift of prophecy, he has over the years prepared his flock for great calamities (e.g. a depression in 1984, the fall of California in 1998, nuclear holocaust in 2006, and an ominous, yet unspecified new threat late in 2018.) While non-believers shall perish, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (including his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci) Burton and his followers will be spared, founding a new, and more perfect civilization.

Many regard Robert Earl Burton a narcissist and sociopath, surrounded by a largely greed- and power-driven inner circle. The following pages offer abundant evidence supporting that conclusion.

This archive draws on official Fellowship publications and websites, news archives, court documents, cult education and awareness forums, the (former) Fellowship Wikipedia page, the long-running Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the Internet Archive, the (former) Fellowship of Friends wiki project, and the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship.

Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Friday, August 21, 1998

Tired of the World Wide Wait? Renaissance Winery Delivers a Speedy Virtual Tasting Room and Museum Tour at www.renaissancewinery.com

[ed. - Sourced from proquest.com.]
Business Wire [New York]
21 Aug 1998

Abstract (summary)

OREGON HOUSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 21, 1998--Wineries have featured virtual tours and tasting notes on their Websites for years, but not virtual tasting rooms or art museums.

Renaissance Vineyard & Winery, the only winery located in California's North Yuba grape-growing area, launched a speedy new website last week at www.renaissancewinery.com that includes a virtual tasting room and virtual tours of their Fine Arts Museum and Vineyard.

They haven't figured out how to ship wine across the phone lines, but for $2.50 per 375ml bottle Renaissance's Virtual Tasting Room will send consumers a sample of selected wines to try at home, and they'll waive the shipping fee.

Full Text

OREGON HOUSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 21, 1998--Wineries have featured virtual tours and tasting notes on their Websites for years, but not virtual tasting rooms or art museums.

Renaissance Vineyard & Winery, the only winery located in California's North Yuba grape-growing area, launched a speedy new website last week at www.renaissancewinery.com that includes a virtual tasting room and virtual tours of their Fine Arts Museum and Vineyard.

They haven't figured out how to ship wine across the phone lines, but for $2.50 per 375ml bottle Renaissance's Virtual Tasting Room will send consumers a sample of selected wines to try at home, and they'll waive the shipping fee.

"The idea is to generate trial and keep people coming back to the site," said sales and marketing director Joseph Granados. "These are regular bottlings of our most popular varietal wines, not just odds and ends we found in the back of the cellar."

Renaissance wines normally sell for between $10 and $25 per 750ml bottle. Renaissance already receives as much as 40% of its annual revenue from direct marketing to consumers.

Besides the Virtual Tasting Room, another unique reason to bookmark the Renaissance site is the online tour of the winery's Fine Arts Museum. The museum's collection has varied from European Old Masters to the most comprehensive collection of Ming Chinese furniture ever assembled in the world.

The current exhibit is based on French Decorative art. The Internet lets far more people visit the unique works than could ever make the trek to the museum itself.

The Renaissance Winery home page loads extremely fast, is easy to navigate, and contains the requisite winery information along with the Virtual Tasting Room and museum section.

Other Web page features of note include: -- encrypted, secure shopping with a cart that can be filled with wines and other items from the Renaissance tasting room. -- historical background on the Yuba County winegrowing region, made famous during the California Gold Rush and resurrected by Renaissance Winery over the last 20 years. -- virtual tour of the vineyard, called the "most remarkable in California" by wine critic James Halliday.

Aside from being the only winery in Yuba County, Renaissance has a singular history. The vineyards and winery were founded in 1971 by the Fellowship of Friends Church. Church members planted the unique mountain vineyard with 135,000 grape vines, and harvested their first crop in 1979. While the early wines were rough and tannic, winemaking style has evolved under new winemaker Gideon Beinstock into softer, more approachable reds and rich white wines.

Renaissance Winery's website was developed by Allmedia Creative (www.amcreative.com). The site offers a secure environment for online ordering and is hosted by a state-of-the-art provider located in Florida. For more information, contact Felipe Oliveiro at felipe@amcreative.com or call 530.692.0428.

Copyright Business Wire Aug 21, 1998

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