The Symposium for Wine Writers Napa Valley

In my previous blog post, I had mentioned that the week of Napa Valley Premiere is one of the most exciting times to be in the valley. The buzz and elegance of the event is unmatchable, but what truly excites me is to see the valley come alive with some of the most influential people in the wine trade from around the world.

Among these are always a truly talented group of about 75 wine writers, critics, columnists, bloggers and other editorial wine content creators, who have been invited to the exclusive Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley. This non-profit symposium was founded by Napa Valley Vintners in conjunction with Meadowood, and supported by The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and helps attendees polish their writing voices, increasing their brand value as writers ans elevating their wine knowledge with themes prevalent in contemporary wine writing and networking with their peers. A combination of lectures, panel discussions, group and individual writing sessions, wine tasting and fine dining make the Symposium an unparalleled career enrichment opportunity for editorial wine, wine-food and wine-travel writers.

I have been fortunate enough to photograph this annual event on a number of occasions, but 2017’s lineup of presenters was truly one for the books. Keynote speaker Kevin Zraly was among a robust faculty of writers, editors and coaches including Richard Bradley (Editor-in-chief, Worth Magazine), Evan Goldstein (MS and author), Jim Gordon (Editor, Wines & Vines), Paul Gregutt (Contributing Editor, Wine Enthusiast), Dianne Jacob (Writing Coach, author, freelance, editor), Chris Macias (Critic-at-large; The Sacramento Bee), Meredith May (Owner, The SOMM Journal and Co-founder: The Tasting Panel and The Clever Root), Madeline Puckette (co-founder and content director of Wine Folly), Leslie Sbrocco, author, speaker, consultant, television host; Julia Cosgrove, vice president and editor-in-chief, AFAR; Esther Mobley, wine, beer and spirits writer, San Francisco Chronicle; Michael Shapiro, journalism professor, founder of The Big Roundtable; and Chris Knutsen, executive editor, Wall Street Journal Magazine NVV and Meadowood, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to help illustrate this incredible event once again!  


Cakebread Cellars Pinot Noir Harvest 2-17

The 2017 Cakebread Pinot Noir harvest was one for the books! Harvest is always a fun and exciting time in the winery, but the lead-up often brings an extra level of complexity, and this vintage was no exception.  Mother Nature brought abundant rainfall during winter, producing vigorous vines, followed by extreme heat over Labor Day, kicking harvest right into high gear.

Capturing the buzz at Cakebread Cellars during this time was truly one of my most memorable photoshoots yet.  The day for these grapes started with a night harvest at the Annahala and Apple Barn Estate vineyards – known collectively as Two Creeks Vineyards in Anderson Valley.  Here, the marine-influenced climate and warm, sunny afternoons provide the perfect stage for growing nine superior pinot noir clones.  By the time I was on-location at the winery in Napa just after sunrise, the fruit had just arrived from the vineyard and was ready to be sorted.

Meanwhile back at the winery, where the air was filled with aromas of juicy, fermenting fruit, the cellar team was equally as busy – grapes were hand-sorted, while tanks were drained and filled and pumpovers happening all around. Needless to say, harvest is truly an all-hands-on-deck job, with head winemaker Julianne Laks leading the charge.

There is no denying that during harvest an incredible amount of hours are spent in the vineyards and at the winery… I’m talking sometimes up to 100 hours a week. Cakebread’s crew had sky-high spirits and remained strong throughout the long days, fueled by shared laughter and camaraderie. Their spirits were infectious, making this day not only one of my most unforgettable and fun shoots, but also one of my most treasured Napa experiences.


And in case you’re wondering what Julianne’s verdict is for the ’17 Pinot….Let’s just say she cannot wait for us to try it.


Sensory Wine Tasting | Stags Leap Winery

Grapes were first planted on the property of Stages Leap Winey in 1872.  It is a gorgeous and storied estate that creates fantastic wines.  I recently had the pleasure to photograph the property and several of their different wine and food tasting experiences.


Napa Valley Vintners Holiday Party With A Purpose

It’s the most wonderful time of the year here in Napa! Everyone is in the spirit of giving and the holiday parties are in abundance. This celebration, in particular, had a purpose. The Napa Valley Vintners goal is to consistently produce wines of the highest quality and to provide environmental leadership and to care for the extraordinary place they call home. Imagine all the wineries and winemakers in Napa converging to give back to needy children. That’s exactly what they did at Copia. Copia is a revitalized event space in the Culinary Institute of America in Downtown Napa. Each guest brought one or two bottles of their wine to share with their fellow winemakers and to donate toys for children in need. The venue is an amazing modern space set up for food exhibitions, tastings, and events.  To see everyone coming together to celebrate and give back to the community makes me burst with pride in my city.

On Christmas morning there will be some very happy kids in this valley and I’m glad I was there to witness the generosity of those who made it possible.

napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0001 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0002 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0003 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0005 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0006 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0008 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0009 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0012 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0014 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0016 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0017 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0019 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0022 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0024 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0028 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0029 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0030 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0032 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0033 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0034 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0035 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0036 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0039 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0041 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0042 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0046 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0048 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0049 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0057 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0061 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0062 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0063 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0065 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0067 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0068 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0069 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0070 napa-event-photographer-holiday-party0072

 


Napa Valley Vintners & Michelin Guide 2016 Dinner

As a commercial photographer with a focus on food and wine in Napa and Sonoma, my work allows me to capture some of the best cuisine and vino the area has to offer. And what could be better than working with The Napa Valley VintnersThomas Keller and Bouchon Bistro in Yountville? After the successful opening of The French Laundry in 1998, Keller opened this French bistro in 2002, and it has become a world-renowned eatery. There is a symbiotic relationship between the wine and cuisine in Napa. Each one elevates the other, and the relationship relies on the success of each other. This partnership was celebrated when The Michelin Guide hosted a dinner for the Napa Valley Vintners prior to their 2016 Summit at Chef Keller’s iconic bistro, and I was there to photograph the event.  For a food and wine lover like myself, this was a great honor.  I wish you could have been there to feel the energy in the room and to experience the smells emanating from the kitchen. Chef Keller and his staff were extremely gracious and hospitable. This is a night I’ll never forget, and as 2016 comes to a close, it’s an assignment I’m extremely proud of and humbled by.

napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-1 napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-2 napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-4 napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-5 napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-6 napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-8 napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-9napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-11
napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-55napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-13napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-14napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-18napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-19napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-20napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-23 napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-24 napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-25 napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-26 napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-28 napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-29 napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-30napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-31napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-33napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-34napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-35napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-36napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-37napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-38napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-39 napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-41 napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-42 napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-44 napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-45 napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-46napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-47napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-48napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-49napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-50napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-51napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-52napa_food_wine_event_photographer_bouchon-53

Save

Save


San Antonio Winery – Cabernet Harvest

What do you think when you enjoy a rich glass of Cabernet? Do you savor the flavors and try to identify the subtleties that give the vintage it’s unique characteristics? I hope this post will help you to go further into what makes a beautiful bottle of wine. I recently photographed the fall harvest for San Antonio Winery’s Napa vineyard operations. The winemakers and the crew harvested at night and into the early morning, so I had to use all of my lighting skills to get this right. It was amazing shooting as the sun came up and witnessing the live art show the sky over Napa creates. The deep color of the grapes will be an indelible image for me. On this shoot I did something a little different and took wide angle shots of the entire vineyard. You can see how vast it is, and imagine how many grapes had to be picked.

As I watched the crew picking the grapes by hand, it made me appreciate that beautiful glass of wine all the more. Not only do the grapes absorb what is in the soil, and in the air around them, but I now see the character of the wine is also in the people who cultivate the vintage.

napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0001 napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0002 napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0003napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0004napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0005napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0006napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0007 napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0008 napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0010 napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0009napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0011napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0012napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0014napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0015 napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0016 napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0017 napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0018 napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0019napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0020 napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0021 napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0022 napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0023 napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0024napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0027napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0028napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0032napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0033napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0034napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0035napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0036napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0037napa-harvest-vineyard-and-wine-photographer0038

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save


Ehlers Estate Winery – Full Moon Harvest

When you or I walk into our favorite wine shop to purchase a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, we rarely think about the effort that goes into that one perfect bottle. I was given the opportunity to photograph the recent harvest of these lovely grapes at Ehlers Estate in Napa Valley. Situated in the St. Helena appellation, this winery practices a strict adherence to Biodynamic and organic farming methods. The harvest began at night under the light of the full moon and continued until sunrise the next morning. This experience was very surreal for me. I wish you could have been there to take in the smell of the earth and the fresh cut grapes. One of the most indelible moments of this experience for me was watching the hard work and pride of the team at Ehlers. It’s given me an entirely new appreciation for what goes into a beautiful bottle of wine. The next time I open a bottle of Ehlers Sauvignon Blanc, I will take the time to savor the smell, taste, and the spirit of the people that went in to creating it. I hope the images I captured will encourage you to do the same. Cheers!

wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0045 wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0047  wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0077 wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0084 wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0086 wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0096 wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0111 wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0115 wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0132 wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0142 wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0143 wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0146 wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0148 wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0175 wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0201 wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0202 wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0211 wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0212wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0228wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0224 wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0240wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0257 wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0261wine-harvest-photographer-in-napa-valley_0244

Save


The Judgement of Paris – 40th Anniversary

It may be hard to believe but in the early 1970’s Napa Valley wine was considered to be less than desirable by wine enthusiasts. Especially those in France. That is until a British wine expert and merchant Steven Spurrier changed everything. Spurrier organized the 1976 wine competition known as “The Judgment of Paris”. The competition was a blind taste test of French and Napa Valley wines, which was won by the California entries. It thrust the region into what it is today. Forty years later Spurrier returned to Napa Valley for “The Judgement of Napa”, hosted by Jean-Charles Boisset, proprietor of Raymond Vineyards. The event was an invitation only event which served two purposes. One to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Paris competition, and the second a United State’s launch of Spurrier’s Bride Valley English Sparkling Wine.

Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (1)

Always the gracious host Boisset treated attendees including members of the press and wine influncers to a friendly competition between Spurrier’s Sparkling Wine and his own No. 9 Russian River Valley Brut Blanc de Blancs 2009, in a blind tasting. These two pillars of the worldwide wine community have collaborated, with Boisset importing Bride Valley to The United States. Being the wine lover that I am, and living and working is this incredible Valley, you can only imagine how truly humbled I was to photograph this event.  I always enjoy working with J.C. Boisset for so many reasons, including his impeccable style, his graciousness, and his love of sharing his joy with others.  It’s a day that will go down in my life as one that I’ll never forget.

Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (2) Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (3)Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (5) Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (9) Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (10) Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (13) Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (15) Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (16) Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (18) Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (19) Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (21) Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (23) Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (25) Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (28) Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (29) Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (30) Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (32) Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (33) Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (35) Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (37) Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (38)Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (40)Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (39) Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (48)Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (55)Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (54)Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (61)Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (64)Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (66)Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (69)Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (71)Napa_Event_and_Celebrity_Photographer_Raymond-Vineyards0001 (43)

 

 

Save

Save


Caldwell Vineyard – Napa Jazz Getaway

Caldwell Vineyard hosted a private concert by Jazz Pianist Brian Culbertson. I was so lucky to be present to capture the images of another great Napa Valley event. The performance and subsequent private wine tasting was part of Culbertson’s annual “Napa Valley Jazz Get Away“. Culberston is the founder of this exciting jazz festival that brings the best musicians to our valley annually. I had such a great time photographing this event for the winery. Guests were treated to everything that Caldwell Vineyard has to offer. After watching Culbertson’s brilliant performance, everyone enjoyed multiple wine tasting stations. One of the highlights of the event was the tasting of limited production Moone Tsai wines. As if all of this wasn’t fabulous enough, Caldwell’s master barrel cooper gave a demonstration of his barrel making. At this time Caldwell is the only winery in Napa has their own full time master cooper. Watching this craftsmanship in person was a real treat for a wine lover like me.

Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0001 Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0002 Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0003 Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0004 Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0005 Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0006 Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0007 Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0008 Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0009 Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0010 Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0011 Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0012Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0015Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0016Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0016-2Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0017Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0018Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0016-2Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0014Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0019Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0020Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0021Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0022Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0023Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0024Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0025Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0026Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0027Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0028Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0029Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0030Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0031Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0032Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0033Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0034Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0036Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0037Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0038Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0039Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0040Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0041Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0042Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0043Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0044Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0045Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0046Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0047Napa Event and Winery Photographer_0048

Save

Save

Save


Landmark Vineyards – Open House

Landmark Vineyards in Sonoma invited me to photograph their recent open house for their marketing efforts and I had a great time! When the day came there was a chill in the air, but the atmosphere was warm and welcoming. Guests in attendance had the opportunity to taste a variety of wines accompanied by delicious cuisine.  I love Landmark’s labels. They have a luxurious texture and simplicity that made it easy to stage the bottles in unique situations. I used the native flowers on the property to showcase the bottles, and I’m so happy with the results. The rich colors of yellow flowers, purple lavendar and the green grass were a stunning contrast for the bottles.

You’ve noticed that we’ve been doing more experiential marketing photography lately. This combination of staged photography mixed with a live event is becoming very popular here in wine country, and I’m enjoying the medium. I love the everything about Northern California lifestyle, fine food and wine. I’m truly a blessed man to do what I love in the place I love.

Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin  Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin Sonoma_Wine_and_Food_Photographer_Alexander_Rubin