Commercial advertising and marketing shoots are something I love working on. Especially when they are for such a great winery, like Cakebread Cellars. I spent a full day shooting beautiful bottle shots and images of the winery. The photos will be used for their upcoming advertising and marketing. I staged the bottles in different areas of the winery, photographed the vineyard, and even got some shots of the inner workings of the winery itself. I’m very proud of these images, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they use them.
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.
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
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.
Lucy Restaurant and Bar is an establishment that believes that everything starts from the garden. It’s located in Bardessono, a world-class luxury hotel in the town of Yountville, practicing green operations. So it’s only natural that the restaurant would foster the same eco-spirit as the hotel. The restaurant sources many of their ingredients from their own garden, as well as from local Napa growers with a Farm to Fork Philosophy. The bar has a similar philosophy of Garden to Glass. They are a commercial client I love working with, so it was easy for me to capture Jan Russell, manager of bar operations and her love of artisinal cocktails using the garden’s own ingredients. It’s evident to see in the images that the philosophy is not just a modern catch phrase, but instead a honest to goodness promise of practicing what they preach. Utilizing their own year-around-garden, with a focus on seasonal produce, Jan creates inspired cocktails that are both pleasing to the eye and the palate. Her cocktails embody the colors and flavors that are nurtured in the property’s lush and fragrant gardens. It was a great experience for me to watch Jan choose fruits and herbs that inspire her, and then to watch her behind the bar creating cocktails that she is proud to serve to the patrons of the bar. I can attest to the fact they were as fragrant, fresh and mouth watering as they look! Thank you for a great time Jan. It was so much fun watching you work.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
We had a very busy spring and 3 different eiotirial shoots in the April issue of the SOMM Journal. The first was a shoot of Master Sommeliers Robert Bath and Tim Gaiser at the Culinary Institute of America In St. Helena. They tasted and evaluated 47 different Australian Sharaz’s. Next was a story the amazing food an wine event Flavor Napa Valley that featured among many other Iron Chef Morimoto. The third was a blind tasting event featuring Andrea Robinson one of only 21 female Master Sommeliers in the world.