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From Hollywood to Vine with Vineyard {511}
Adventures in Wine, Food, Film and Travel


Irene Ojdana
September 22, 2019 | Irene Ojdana

In Memory of Boots Brounstein

Boots Brounstein passed away on July 31, 2019, at the age of 92. In the San Francisco Chronical, wine-writer Esther Mobley wrote, "With her husband Al, Brounstein co-founded Diamond Creek Vineyards, which became a pioneer in establishing Napa Valley's hillsides as prime territory for Cabernet Sauvignon. Arguably, the Brounsteins contributed more than any other vintners of their era to the idea of single-vineyard, terrior-driven wines."

But to me, Boots was more than a vintner, she was a wonderful friend. I met her at a holiday party on Diamond Mountain, and we shared casual dinners together after that. Boots was such a generous person, inviting my family to the picnics she held around the lake at Diamond Creek. She was a special person who had the ability to make me, as well as everyone else who had contact with her, feel special too.

On September 17, I attended a memorial service for her at The Culinary Institute of America at Copia, in the City of Napa. She filled up a large auditoriam with many friends and family, who wanted to remember and pay tribute to her. The most moving speakers were her six grandchildren, who all spoke about the unconditional love and guidance and support Boots gave them and about how they will miss her. There wasn't a dry eye among us.

Afterward, Phil and Chuck Ross, Boots' sons, and her daughter-in-law Susan, made a toast, L'Chaim, to life, in her honor, as we all raised a glass of 2016 Diamond Creek Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon.



Here is a beautiful photo of Boots as it appears on the booklet given to us at the service.


I'll miss her.


Time Posted: Sep 22, 2019 at 4:00 PM Permalink to In Memory of Boots Brounstein Permalink
Irene Ojdana
September 18, 2019 | Irene Ojdana

Hollywood Bowl Concerts

The Hollywood Bowl, in the Hollywood Hills, is a Los Angeles institution and a phenomenal way to enjoy an outdoor concert. The Bowl, a natural ampitheater, had its first concert in 1922 and was renovated in 2005.


Ed and I have season tickets to the Bowl and have been enjoying concerts in our box seats there every summer since before the renovation. We love to get there early to have dinner in the box before the concert starts. We order a delicious dinner online, which is delivered to our box. The food is created by James Beard award-winning chef Suzanne Goin and restauranteur Carolyn Styne (of celebrated local restaurants Lucques, a.o.c., Tavern, and the Larder.)

There were two concerts that stood out this season for us. One was Pink Martini, with lead singer China Forbes, who belted out old favorites.


And the other was and the biggest surprise of all -- Barry Malinow--who I always loved; however, I couldn't predict that he would still be such a marvelous performer. His voice was still wonderful, and he put out a tremendous amount of energy. He sang his greatest hits, like "Mandy" and "Copacabana" and many others.


Now we have to wait till next year to see who will be making our summer special.




Time Posted: Sep 18, 2019 at 6:52 PM Permalink to Hollywood Bowl Concerts Permalink
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.


Time Posted: Sep 16, 2019 at 5:00 PM Permalink to Calistoga Harvest Table Permalink