Corto Olive Oil Planting – Lodi

One of the things I love most about photographing for the wine industry is that I get behind-the-scenes access to every stage of the winemaking process. From the sunrise plantings to midnight harvests to the crushing process… all the way through to capturing people as they enjoy the finished product with good friends and family. Seeing the hard work and dedication that goes into each bottle of wine is truly what fulfills me in my profession and fuels me to not only continue doing what I love but supporting that by being an avid consumer myself.

Olive oil might just be the next big plant-based product offering the same experiences and sensory pleasures as wine. Therefore, having an opportunity to photograph Corto’s sapling planting was truly an honor and great insight into another aspect of the agricultural industry that I had not witnessed before.

Olive trees are typically planted in the fall, which gets them settled in the soil and usually results in the best growth spurt the following spring. Our day began in Lodi before the crack of dawn, so the fragile saplings could be planted well before the sun’s heat had a chance to touch them. Fast forward to mid-morning, when skies were clear, the sun was high and many of the young olive trees were already getting acquainted with their new home.

I loved shooting for Corto and am excited to say that I just returned from Colorado where I photographed for them once again. See below some of my favorite snaps from this shoot, and stay tuned for further photos from Denver that will be up on the blog soon!


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.


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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Somm Journal | April 2015

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.

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The Tasting Panel | October 2014

September was a very busy month for ​Rubin Photography!​ Along with a number of commercial shoots​, ​ we had 3​ ​photo shoots for the October issue of
The Tasting Panel Magazine.  The first shoot was at Hahn Winery​, located​ in the Santa Lucia Highlands in ​beautiful ​Monterey ​W​ine ​C​ountry. We spent the day photographing​ ​and touring the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards with the president of Hahn Family Wines​,​ Tony Baldini and the ​D​irector of ​W​inemaking​, ​
Paul Cliften. The ​second​ shoot was at ChalkBoard Restaurant in​ ​downtown ​Healdsburg, C​alifornia,​ and featured specialty cocktails ​made ​with Charles Goodnight bourbon. The third shoot feature​d​ ​Jennifer Gomez​,​ the ​Wi​ne ​D​irector for San Francisco’s Jardiniere Restaurant, and Graham’s Six Grapes Old Vine Special Edition​.​

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The SOMM Journal | October 2014

​Last month, I​ had the fortune to shoot at the esteemed Jardiniere Restaurant, home to culinary legend Traci Des Jardins​​​, f​or ​the upcoming edition of ​The SOMM Journal.  ​The article features ​Jennifer Gomez​,​ the ​Wi​ne ​D​irector for San Francisco’s Jardiniere restaurant and Graham’s Six Grapes Old Vine Special Edition​.​

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