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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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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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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