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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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JCB Tasting Salon & Atelier by JCB – Open House

Many of my commercial clients are working with experiential marketing. This is where an event or “experience” is combined with commercial shooting. In addition to energy charged imagery, the consumer becomes part of an actual experience. Such was the case for my latest shoot with JCB Tasting Salon & Atelier by JCB. It was a combined shoot with branding and commercial images for their advertising and marketing through an open house. The Atelier by JCB is a epicurean boutique in the heart of Yountville featuring an assortment of culinary delights, as well as high-end retail items carefully curated by Jean-Charles Boisset himself. As with everything Jean-Charles touches, the tasting room and retail atelier is decadent and gorgeous.

At the open house nothing but the best was on display for guests to enjoy from the finest JCB wines to epicurean delights that are featured in the salon. I’m very lucky to be part of this world that reflects the joy of JCB and his desire to share it!

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Cakebread Cellars Open House

Cakebread Cellars recently hosted an Open House at their winery, with the goal of treating their guests to a sensory experience while capturing new images for their marketing. They brought me in to shoot the event with the concept of providing commercial and lifestyle images during a live event. I’ve been doing more and more of this style of shoot lately, and it’s something I’m really enjoying. It’s a great new way to do commercial marketing and it feels more fluid when I’m shooting around a actual event. I was chosen because the winery was attracted to my style which they felt conveys warmth, color, and texture. Through my camera I was able to show Cakebread Cellars’ commitment to quality and hospitality. Through the movement of a live event I was able to evoke the craftsmanship that goes into their wine making and the comadery that their guests enjoy during an event. I loved shooting the food and wine offerings that engaged all the senses. After all, isn’t that what food and wine is all about? It should engage the eyes, the nose and the palate. I worked very hard to ensure that I kept all of Cakebread’s goals in mind, and I’m so proud of the final product. I think I really helped to tell their story through my lens.

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A Private Dinner with Jean-Charles Boisset and John Legend

You’ve heard the cliche “I have to pinch myself”, right?  That’s the feeling I had when shooting this event. It was an intimate private dinner at the home of Jean-Charles Boisset and Gina Gallo-Boisset. The Boisset’s home, Wappo Hill, is well known in Napa Valley as it sits at the highest point of the Napa Valley floor. It was once the place where the Wappo Native Americans watched over the valley. It’s a stunning ranch style home designed and built for Robert Mondavi. The dinner was part of an auction lot from Auction Napa Valley, which benefits community and youth organizations. Guests dined on a world class dinner catered by Boisset Family Estates Chef, Michel Cornu. A highlight of the evening was the private performance by Grammy and Oscar Winning artist John Legend. Boisset and Legend have become partners in The LVE Collection by John Legend, produced in collaboration with Boisset’s Raymond Vineyards. Boisset’s words about the evening were heartfelt and summed up the night to perfection:

The stars and energy were all aligned Friday night on the historical and highest energy point of The Napa Valley, Wappo Hill! Artist of the century John Legend, fantastic winery owners from Napa and the best friends ever for a gathering that was illustrious, magical and also beneficial for the community…Wine brings people together and music enchants and transports them… What an association where all senses, singing and the melody magnetized all of us. We are so grateful to breath the oxygen of life !With passion and love, Warmest Wishes, Meilleures Salutations…..Jean-Charles Boisset
BoissetCollection.com, JCBwines.com

My deepest appreciation and thanks go to Jean-Charles and Gina Gallo-Boisset for welcoming me into their home and allowing me to be part of such a joyful evening. I was deeply honored.

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Blackbird Vineyards & Bulgari – Ma(i)sonry Dinner

This is the second installment of a shoot that I did at Ma(i)sonry in Yountville in the same day. In addition to doing a commercial shoot at this beautiful location for Restoration Hardware, the garden was the scene for a welcome dinner for the 35th Annual Auction Napa Valley. The private dinner was hosted by Blackbird Vineyards and Bulgari. This impressive wine-pairing dinner was expertly prepared by renowned Chef Victor Scargle. As this was part of the fundraising auction, models mingled with guests adorned in Bulgari jewels which were up for auction. On the dining table were more jewels and watches by Bulgari under glass. As a lover of food wine, and the finer things in life, this was a real treat for me. Some of my images landed on the DuJour Blog. Check out the whole story here.

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Restoration Hardware – Ma(i)sonry Commercial Shoot

When two successful brands come together as one, it’s exciting to watch what emerges. Such was the case with Restoration Hardware and Napa Valley’s beloved Ma(i)sonry. Imagine how honored I must have been when asked to photograph their partnership. In Yountville, Ma(i)sonry is a locally loved and respected art gallery and boutique wine tasting room, in a country farmhouse setting, with a private garden that can be rented for private parties. It’s listed on the National Historic Register for it’s rich history in Napa Valley. Recently Restoration Hardware purchased Ma(i)sonry. Now in addition to being a wine tasting room and art gallery, it’s also an interior design gallery. I’m extremely proud of the images that came out this shoot, and know you’re going to love them too.
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As an added bonus to such as a decadent shoot, this became a two-part project. Ma(i)sonry became the site for a very special dinner on the patio for a fundraising auction. It included amazing cuisine and Bulgari jewels. That blog post is coming up next!


Somm Journal – Wente Vineyards

As a photographer based in Napa, I have a love affair with all things food and wine. From enjoying the flavors the valley has to offer, and then being able to photograph them, I’m a pretty fortunate guy. My relationship with Somm Journal allows me to do just that all over California.  For the recent October/November 2015 issue I captured images in Livermore Valley of Winemaker Karl Wente of Wente Vineyards.

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The Wente Family has such a rich history in the Livermore Valley. Known as the First Family of Chardonnay, their family has owned and operated the vineyard for five generations. They are known as the oldest consistently operating winery in the nation. I love their philosophy about the stewardship of their land and their belief in sustainable ecology. Don’t take it from me, read the entire story. It’s an inspiring story of the land, winemaking and family, and it was so great to be the one to shoot the images. In addition to the featured photos in the issue, I’m sharing some of my favorites of the day. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed capturing them.Alexander_Rubin_Photography_Napa_Editorial_Wine_Photographer_Wente_Vineyards_0007

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Zazu Kitchen Sonoma

A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of photographing Chefs Duskie Estes and John Steward of  Zazu Kitchen of Sonoma.  This shoot was for The Clever Root, a Farm to Table Food Magazine.  It was such a pleasure working with the Chefs and literally shooting from the farm to the food on the table.  I love what Chef Duskie signed on my copy of the magazine below.  “Alexander You Rock!  Bacon Everyday!”  A perfect quote from the Queen of Pork herself.

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