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Vineyard 511

From Hollywood to Vine with Vineyard {511}

Adventures in Wine, Food, Film and Travel

Irene Ojdana
 
August 6, 2021 | Irene Ojdana

Festival Napa Valley Gala

After a year's hiatus, activities are bouncing back in Napa Valley. Over a two-week period in late July 2021, Festival Napa Valley entertained audiences with sold-out concerts in iconic Napa Valley settings, raising money to fund arts education in schools and in the community. To cap the Festival off, Ed and I attended the Arts for All Gala at Nickle and Nickle in Oakville, which raised a whopping $2.8 million with a live auction of fabulous lots, such as a private performance of world-renouned opera star Renee Fleming, a 2022 experience at the Kentucky Derby and an Adriatic cruise. Tennis star John McEnroe made a surprise appearance and raised $10,000 for a match with him and attendance at his own rock concert at the Silverado Country Club.

The highlight of the evening was a concert by Grammy-award winner Jennifer Hudson and her band, who belted out favorites and some new songs.

                                                                       

 

We are so looking forward to the upcoming release of her new feature film Respect, based on the life of Aretha Franklin.

Irene Ojdana
 
September 16, 2019 | Irene Ojdana

Calistoga Harvest Table

On Sunday, September 8, the Calistoga Chamber of Commerce presented the 5th annual Calistoga Harvest Table, which was a great success. In fact, Harvest Table has become so popular, that tickets for the event sold out in less than an hour. Eight-foot long tables stretched end-to-end to make one 1000 foot table down the length of its main drag, Lincoln Boulevard. The tables were set with white table cloths and lovely flowers to accommodate 800 guests.

                                                              

Nine participating restaurants served scrumptious meals from amuse bouche to dessert. Ed and I were at the Lovina restaurant's table, where we had a meal highlighted by slow-roasted Niman Ranch NY Strip.

                                                              

Eight bars served 3000 glasses of wine and beer from over 50 participating local wineries a local brewery. Vineyard {511} 2017 Napa Carneros Pinot Noir was available for purchase. It was a beautiful evening, where we made friends with whom we celebrated the bounty of the valley and raised a glass to the 2019 harvest.

 

Irene Ojdana
 
July 11, 2019 | Irene Ojdana

Calistoga Fourth of July Parade

Calistoga's Fourth of July Parade is one of the most fun events in Napa Valley, which both visitors and residents of the Valley look forward to attending. It reminds us what small town life can be--a mirror of Americana.

We had our family staying with us, an addition of 11 people to our household--and we took them all down the hill from Diamond Mountain to experience the lively parade.

                                                                   

There were fire trucks from all over the northern end of the Valley, from Anguin, Deer Park and, of course, Calistoga.

                                                                   

There were classic cars

                                                                   

and Hispanic dancers.

                                                                   

We appreciated all of the work and enthusiasm the participants put into making the parade so special.

Irene Ojdana
 
March 12, 2016 | Irene Ojdana

Premiere Napa Valley Barrel Auction

On February 20, Ed and I poured the best of our barrels of our 2013 Vineyard {511} Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvigon, at the 20th annual Premiere Napa Valley Barrel Auction and Tasting, held at the Culinary Institute of America, in St. Helena. It was our first participation in this exciting event, where 1000 licensed members of the trade gathered to procure wine futures on behalf of their customers through both live and silent E-auctions. Members of the media were also in attendance. In addition to the wine tasting, there was a tasting of delicious artisanal cheese, and a buffet lunch prepared by the Culinary Institute.

Vineyard {511} also participated in Premiere's first online auction with 5 cases of the same 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, which will be bottled in mid-March after having been aged for 30 months in 100% French oak barrels. After another year of aging in the bottle, they will be released in March 2017. Each bottle will be hand-labeled, individually numbered and signed by the winemaker (Rob Lloyd).

The event is an opportunity for Napa Valley vintners to showcase their very special wines, while attendees spend one-on-one time with Napa Valley's noted winemakers and producers. We even had a star sighting of former pro-basketball player Yao Ming, whose winery was represented at the tasting. I couldn't miss him as he towered above absolutely everyone else there!

The 226 lots sold that day raised 5 million dollars for the Napa Valley Vintners Association to support its year-round programs, which benefit Napa Vintners.

We were happy to give up our virgin status after our first participation in this event and look forward to the next one in February 2017!

 

Irene Ojdana
 
August 19, 2015 | Irene Ojdana

17th Annual V Foundation Wine Celebration

Ed and I just attended the 17th Annual V Foundation Wine Celebration at Nickel and Nickel in Oakville. The gala dinner concluded the three-day fundraising event with a bang--an event which raised a record $10.6 million for cancer research.

The V Foundation was started by legendary North Carolina State Coach Jimmy Valvano and ESPN in 1993. Valvano was in his last days of life, dying from cancer, when he challenged the world to find a cure for cancer by starting the Foundation; his challenge was "Don't Give Up...Dont Ever Give Up." One of the co-founders of the Foundation is our winemaker's father Robert Lloyd, Valvano's roommate and teammate at Rutgers University and current V Foundation Board Chair Emeritus.

The evening began with delicious appetizers at a silent auction in the Nickel and Nickel barrel cave. We were lucky to score a Valentine's Day in Yountville, which included a tasting dinner for two at The French Laundry. Can't wait!

Welcoming us to dinner was host and head coach of men's basketball at Duke University Mike Kreyzewski. Then we had a delicious dinner featuring Maine lobster medallions, grilled filet of beef with morels, chocolate-hazelnut dacquoise raspberry smear and Nickel and Nickel wines. The dinner was followed by a live auction and a fabulous private concert by Huey Lewis and the News. The place rocked.

Irene Ojdana
 
December 7, 2014 | Irene Ojdana

Pouring Vineyard {511} Cab at Flavor Napa Valley and at SF Vintners' Market

Ed and I spent an entire weekend pouring our 2010 Vineyard {511} Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon, at two wine events--Friday night at Flavor! Napa Valley, at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, formerly the historic Christian Brothers Winery, in St. Helena; and Saturday and Sunday afternoons, at the San Francisco Vintners' Market, at Fort Mason, on the shore of San Francisco Bay, with incredible views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Flavor! Napa Valley's Grand Tasting event, also known as the Appellation Trail, drew over 100 Napa wineries and rock star chefs, such as Michael Chiarello and Thomas Keller. Wineries were grouped by appellation; we were paired with other Diamond Mountain District wineries- Wallis Family Estate (Edward Wallis pouring) and with Schramsburg-- and paired with delectible bites from Chefs Joe Panarello of City Winery, Stephen Barber of Farmstead and with Don Giavanni restaurant. Yum!

Early Saturday morning, we were off on a longer drive to San Francisco, to set up for the Vintners' Market, a wine tasting and buying event that drew over 200 wineries from Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Paso Robles, Santa Barbara and Russian River Valley. We chose to pour in the event's Cult Lounge, where only premiere wineries were pouring their wines, such as Chappellet, Lail, Plumbjack, Spring Mountain Vineyards, Twenty-Four by Charles Woodson Wines, and Miner Family. Luckily, daughter Kelly and son-in-law Jeff helped us pour at this two-day, very busy event.

 

Irene Ojdana
 
November 22, 2014 | Irene Ojdana

Napa Valley Film Festival Tribute Night

On Friday night, Access Hollywood's Billy Bush hosted the Napa Valley Celebrity Tributes to recognize the outstanding achievements of established actors and filmmakers, as well as rising stars. The BVisionary award was presented to screen-icon Kevin Costner (who was introduced by his buddy Bill Paxton), and the Domaine Chandon Rising Star award honored Jeremy Jordon. An additional tribute was presented to Michele Monagan. Before each star came on stage, film clips from many of the actors' films were shown. The number of fabulous films that Kevin produced, directed and always acted in was incredible!

We had actually seen his most recent wonderful film, Black or White, which he both produced and in which he starred, the night before. He played a successful attorney, who has to fight for custody of his African-American granddaughter after his wife is killed in a car crash. He and his late wife had taken care of the little girl since birth after their daughter dies in childbirth.

After the Celebrity Tributes, Ed and I headed over to the etoile restaurant at the winery Domaine Chandon, in Yountville, where patrons of the Festival toasted the honorees at a private dinner. Ed and I were so lucky to be seated next to Kevin Costner and his beautiful wife Christine Baumgartner. Kevin was charming and extremely articulate about subjects diverse as hunting, vegetarianism, drugs, football, family, and film.

The dinner of Maine Lobster Bisque, paired with etoile Rose; Braised Short Rib, paired with Domaine Chandon Cabernet Sauvigon, Mt. Veeder 2010; and Honey Olive Cake, paired with Chandon Delice; was terrific too.

Truly a night to remember!

Irene Ojdana
 
October 24, 2014 | Irene Ojdana

Vineyard 511 Harvest Party

Vineyard {511} celebrated its harvest of 2014 Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon with a harvest party for its esteemed customers. Napa Valley Crust rolled up in a  vintage 1946 truck in mint condition repleat with the hottest of hot pizza oven, from which NV Crust owners Betty and Aldo Nunez made and served delicious salads,  caprese skewer appetizers, and pizza topped with the freshest produce and specialty meats from Fatted Calf and others, fresh mozzarella, ricotta, tomatoes, fresh basil and spinach, baby arugula, roasted corn and veggies and on and on. Chef Irene added to the menu with her specialty appetizers: crinkle potato chips topped with  nova scotia lox and creme fraiche, and deviled eggs; and for dessert Itsit ice cream bars, strawberries and cream and cookies. And all afternoon we poured our 2010 Vineyard {511} Cabernet Sauvignon and our winemaker Rob Lloyd's 2012 Chardonnay. Yum!

A highlight of the afternoon was a drawing for a 3-bottle vertical of Vineyard {511} Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon in a wooden box. Newlywed Rita Burris was the lucky winner!

Check out these harvest party pictures courtesy of Jeff Nicola and Joe Schmitt:  Vineyard {511} 2014 Harvest Party

 

Irene Ojdana
 
September 25, 2014 | Irene Ojdana

2014 Harvest by Moonlight

Thursday night (Sept 18), we watched as vineyard workers harvested our grapes at 9:00 pm. That was the first time since our first harvest in 2008 that the harvest was done at night. Although the moon and stars were out, it was the flood lights reflecting off of the workers (who also had night lights on their heads), that made this harvest a ghostly experience. 

Of course, it wouldn't have been the successful harvest that it was, had it not been for our 21-month old grandson, Ian, checking to see if the grapes were ready for harvest. He had the magic touch.

Irene Ojdana
 
September 25, 2014 | Irene Ojdana

Dinner for 700 in Calistoga

Calistoga Harvest TableCan you imagine a dinner for 700 people stretching a quarter of a mile down the main drag of Calistoga? Well, wonder no more. On Sunday evening, September 7th, Ed and I were invited by our generous nextdoor neighbors, Suzie and Norm Kiken, of the wonderful Reverie Winery (first two on left in photo), to the Calistoga Harvest Table. The event was sponsored by the Calistoga Chamber of Commerce, and the table stretched all the way down Lincoln Boulevard, which was closed to vehicle traffic.

Fifteen fine restaurants along Lincoln Boulevard sold tickets to a fixed-price dinner, at the table situated in front of that restaurant. We dined at Brannan's, where executive chef Rob Lam (also the executive chef at Butterfly, on the Embarcadero, in San Francisco), provided an over-the-top delicious meal with four starters (my favorite being Tory Farms peach salad), four platters of main dishes (my favorite being seafood paella topped with soft-shell crab), and a decadent dessert of warm chocolate pot de creme, consisting of Vietnamese coffee and five spice chantilly. We were drinking Rombauer 2013 Chardonnay and the Flowers 2012 Pinot Noir, both of which went well with the delicious meal.

We hope this classy outdoor happening becomes an annual event!

(Photo: Calistoga Tribune)