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 & 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.

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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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Lucy Restaurant and Bar – Garden To Glass

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.

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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









Napa Valley Life

Take a look at the cover shoot I recently photographed for Napa Valley Magazine’s 13th annual Most Intriguing People issue.  For the story I photographed the founder of Luna Vineyards Michael Moone and Andre Crisp the President and CEO of Luna.

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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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Wine Bottle Shot Photography

This time of year Rubin Photography is very busy with bottle shot photography.  We capture dynamic, exciting and professional images to meet our clients marketing needs.  Below are a few photos from Boisset Family Estates.