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Vineyard 511

From Hollywood to Vine with Vineyard {511}

Adventures in Wine, Food, Film and Travel

Irene Ojdana
May 8, 2013 | Irene Ojdana

Montmartre French Restaurant in Chelsea

Before going to the screening in Chelsea of "Mr. Jones," which was part of the Tribeca Film Festival, we met up with our good friends Sarah and Jay Sung at Montmartre --a French-American restaurant. Dinner was delicious, prepared by Vietnamese star chef Tien Ho, formerly of Momofuku. The six-month old restaurant was bustling and cozy, with a trendy vibe. Our friends Sarah and Jay live in  Manhattan, where he is CEO of Lot 18, a membership by invitation website for wine, which provides high-quality, hard-to-find wines at attractive prices.

Time Posted: May 8, 2013 at 11:27 AM
Irene Ojdana
May 8, 2013 | Irene Ojdana

"Mr. Jones," The Indie Movie

In April, Ed and I attended a screening of the indie horror movie "Mr. Jones,'" directed by Karl Mueller, at the Tribeca Film Festival, at the Chelsea Cinemas, in my home town of NYC. The film is about a couple played by Jon Foster and Sarah Jones, who rent a house in the middle of nowhere. In the house next door is a creepy artist neighbor, who sends sculptures to people at random with creepy results.

I normally don't watch horror films as I end up either covering my eyes or leaving the room for most of the film, but this film was produced by friend Ross Dinerstein, who produced "The Divide," which we saw at the Southwest by Southwest film festival and liked.  "Mr Jones" was eerie, but I made it to the end without any time outs!

Time Posted: May 8, 2013 at 11:06 AM
Irene Ojdana
April 12, 2013 | Irene Ojdana

David Glasser and Ed Ojdana Join the NVFF Board of Trustees

On April 8, The Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) added two new members to its Board of Trustees: David Glasser and Ed Ojdana.

Currently, David Glasser is Chief Operating Officer and President of International Sales and Distribution for the Weinstein Company, one of the most well-known and successful independent film studios in the world. As the COO of the Weinstein Company, he is responsible for the company's management and development of its growing portfolio of businesses, which include motion pictures, television, home entertainment, library and international film sales and distribution. David's connections and experience will help bring high caliber films to NVFF. Since its inception in 2010, David has brought these terrific Weinstein Company films to NVFF: The King's Speech, Blue Valentine, Butter, Undefeated, Quartet, The Sapphires, and Silver Linings Playbook.

Ed Ojdana brings to NVFF not only his business management and leadership skills, but also his increasing involvement in film. He recently retired as chief executive officer of Experian Interactive. He previously founded and ran (also known as  On the film side, he was an executive producer on the film Rock Slyde, starring Patrick Warburton and Andy Dick, and on the award-winning documentary film Jiro Dreams of Sushi, which was acquired and distributed by Magnolia Pictures and which screened at the 2011 NVFF. Ed currently sits on several boards, which include GoDigital (Executive Chairman), Preferred VenturesLLC, and the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology.


Time Posted: Apr 12, 2013 at 2:19 PM
Irene Ojdana
April 4, 2013 | Irene Ojdana

A Las Vegas Culinary Delight

Ed and I were in Las Vegas recently for a leads generation conference and had to try Michael Mina’s Nob Hill Tavern. We had been to Michael Mina’s restaurants in San Francisco and also in Las Vegas before, but none with the name Nob Hill, so had to try it. Mina hasn’t missed a beat with his menu and wine list. We had a delicious appetizer of paper-thin eggplant and zucchini slices – think delicate potato chips – paired with tzatziki (a Greek yogurt, cucumber and garlic dip), and a melt-in-your mouth wood-fired filet mignon and butter-poached Maine lobster – all paired with great Patz and Hall pinot. We topped off the yummy dinner with a crunchy, yet smooth, crème brulee. Michael Mina’s restaurants are never a gamble.

Time Posted: Apr 4, 2013 at 1:58 PM
Irene Ojdana
March 23, 2013 | Irene Ojdana

Catch Me If You Can - The Musical

On Saint Patrick’s Day, Ed and I navigated our way through all the street closures for the Los Angeles Marathon to see Catch Me If You Can--The Musical, at the Pantages Theater, in Hollywood, near the intersection of Hollywood and Vine.  Needless to say, Hollywood was flooded with those wearing green – and green beer!

Catch Me If You Can – The Musical is an adaptation of the Dreamworks motion picture, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, as Frank Abagnale, Jr., the real life person on whom the film and musical, as well as the original book (by Abagnale with Stan Redding), was based.

The music, lyrics and dancing were all delightful. For those of you who didn’t see the movie, the plot revolves around how a sixteen year old boy, Frank Abagnale, Jr., (played extremely well by the talented Steven Anthony), leaves home and makes it in the real world by impersonating an airline pilot, lawyer and doctor, forging checks and ID’s, and charming the world. The print ad for the movie says it all: "If you wanna make it, make it up."

Eventually, when Abagnale is eighteen, the law catches up with him via a zealous FBI agent (played by Merritt David Janes in the musical and played by Tom Hanks in the film). Abagnale serves seven years in prison and then, amazingly, is hired by the FBI to help it fight fraud and embezzlement. Currently, Abagnale is one of the world’s leading authorities on secure documents.

When Ed was CEO of Experian Interactive,  we met Abagnale a couple of times as he is a world-renowned public speaker on the topics of check fraud, embezzlement and secure documents. Meeting him in person motivated us to see the musical. We weren’t disappointed!


Time Posted: Mar 23, 2013 at 1:50 PM
Ed Ojdana
March 16, 2013 | Ed Ojdana

Death of a Napa Valley Icon

I just heard the sad news that Jimmy Barrett passed away on Thursday, March 14, at the age of 86.  Jimmy is an icon in Napa Valley and best known for producing the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that shocked the wine world in 1976, particularly the French, when it won a blind tasting in Paris beating out a lineup of French wines.   Now known as the “Judgment of Paris,” this competition helped to put Napa Valley on the map.  It was also the basis for the movie Bottle Shock, starring Chris Pine, Bill Pullman and Alan Rickman.  Two of the producers of Bottle Shock, Marc and Brenda Lhormer, are the founders of the Napa Valley Film Festival.

I did not know Jimmy very well and first met him playing in the men’s Saturday morning tennis matches at Meadowood Resort.  Although in his 80’s and not very agile, the result of several knee operations, if the ball landed anywhere near him, he would return it.  Like his underhand serve, his returns had a lot of spin on them.  It took me quite a while to adjust to his returns – more than once I could only laugh as the ball curved away from my racket and I was left swinging at air.

Photo: SCOTT MANCHESTER/Press Democrat

A few years back, Irene and I sat with Jimmy and his wife, Judy, at the wedding reception of our friend, neighbor, and Reverie Winery owner Norm Kiken and wife Suzie Donahue.  I remembered one scene in Bottle Shock where Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman) and his son, Bo Barrett (Chris Pine), don boxing gloves to settle their father and son differences.  Naturally, I had to ask Jimmy if he still boxed.  To my disappointment, he said he had never boxed in his life.  Unlike movies based on true stories, where fictious events are added to enhance the entertainment value, Jimmy was the real thing in life.


Time Posted: Mar 16, 2013 at 1:21 PM
Ed Ojdana
March 13, 2013 | Ed Ojdana

Tony Hseih and the Downtown Project

I was fortune to be invited to the Montgomery Technology Conference held at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, CA, on March 6 and 7.  This is the 10th year of the conference, and I’ve attended most of them.  The keynote speaker on March 6 was Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, the online shoe and clothing company, which was acquired by Amazon in 2009 for $1.2 billion.  Tony is also the author of Delivering Happiness – A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose, which debuted #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List in June 2010 and stayed on the list for 27 weeks.  I knew of Tony but had never heard him speak.  He’s an evangelist for corporate culture.  As Tony puts it “…if you get the culture right, most of the other stuff like delivering great customer service or building a long-term enduring brand will just happen naturally on its own.”

I was expecting to hear a lot about how corporate culture shaped Zappos.  And while I heard some of it, he was really there to talk about the Downtown Project.  He’s taken what he has learned about company culture and is applying it to revitalizing the Fremont East area of Las Vegas.  The goal is to restore this overlooked local community north of the strip through investments in startups ($50 million), real estate ($200 million), small business ($50 million), and education, arts and culture ($50 million). A large portion of this investment has been personally funded by Tony. This is no ordinary redevelopment project but a carefully thought out project designed to transform the area into the most community-focused large city in the world.  I was fascinated as he talked about “serendipitous collisions” – the interactions between people that drive learning and innovation.  Sounds like pie-in-the sky, but Tony related how these collisions are facilitated at Zappos and at the Downtown Project including the metrics to measure how many collisions they are facilitating.  Go to for more information and a great slide presentation on the project.  I’m looking forward to reading his book as well.



Time Posted: Mar 13, 2013 at 7:45 AM
Irene Ojdana
March 3, 2013 | Irene Ojdana

Dining at Redd Restaurant in Yountville

Last night,  we had dinner at Micheline-starred Redd, in Yountville, with the mayor of Yountville John Dunbar and his wife Robin Dunbar, host of Verve curated wine country tours.

Chef Richard Reddington turns out amazing dishes, such as the delicious Prime N.Y. Steak with short ribs, which paired perfectly with our Vineyard {511} . Robin loved her Petrale sole with coconut jasmine rice, clams, chorizo, and saffron curry nage.

We originally met John and Robin at the Sundance Film Festival, celebrating the announcement of the opening of the Napa Valley Film Festival, of which the four of us are founding patrons; we've been good friends since then.

Time Posted: Mar 3, 2013 at 5:23 PM
Irene Ojdana
March 2, 2013 | Irene Ojdana

San Tung Chinese Restaurant

On our way back to Napa Valley from San Francisco, we ate lunch at San Tung Chinese restaurant,  1031 Irving Street, recommended by Butterfly's Rob Lam. Charles, the owner, served us the chicken wings and pork and leek dumplings, which we loved. I can't wait to eat my leftovers tomorrow for lunch!

Time Posted: Mar 2, 2013 at 5:17 PM
Irene Ojdana
March 1, 2013 | Irene Ojdana

Dinner at Butterfy Restaurant

Ed and I finally got to eat at our good friend, neighbor, and Reverie winery-owner Norm Kiken's beautiful waterfront Butterfly Restaurant, located at Pier 33, at San Francisco's Embarcadero.

We were welcomed by Norm's business partner and talented chef Rob Lam, and feasted on his delicious pan-Asian fare while gazing at the sunset over San Francisco Bay. Our favorite dishes were mushroom cappuccino soup, with white truffle oil and porcini powder; smoked salmon chips; kalua pig with butter lettuce cups; and banana bread pudding with coconut ice cream. We ate the whole thing!

Time Posted: Mar 1, 2013 at 5:09 PM