IAN BLACKBURN – MASTER OF WINE STUDENT, INNOVATIVE WINE INDUSTRY SPOKESPERSON AND FOUNDER OF LEARN ABOUT WINE - STARS OF NAPA VALLEY TASTING 3/26
STARS of Napa Valley | March 26th, 2015 | THE SHADE HOTEL Manhattan Beach
After nine years of hosting its annual Ultimate Wine Festival, Manhattan Beach’s only luxury boutique hotel, Shade, today announced plans to partner with wineLA to host the area’s first annual Stars of Napa Valley Wine Festival on Thursday, March 26. With 40 notable wineries set to participate in the festivities, Shade Hotel will expect to welcome hundreds of wine enthusiasts in celebration of Napa Valley’s most coveted wines.
General Admission: 7pm Admission (event ends at 9:30)
In addition to unlimited wine tasting of The Stars of Napa Valley wine (hosted by winemakers, owners, winery executives); General Admission will include an elegant assortment of tray-passed hors d’oeuvres a and a chance to mingle with the who’s who of Manhattan Beach. Dress code is resort casual, DJ music will fill the air, a great celebration of Napa Valley Wine. A selection number of auction items will be available to bid on; auction items will range from $250 to $2,000; One hundred percent of silent auction dollars will benefit Manhattan Beach Middle School. Click here if you are interested in donating an auction item.
VIP Admission: 6:15 Admission (event ends at 9:30) - VIP benefits end at 7pm (please arrive on time) 6:15 early admission, special wines available to taste, enhanced tray passed appetizers for a small and limited audience; Legendary winemakers will be hosting a Panel tasting from 6;30 to 7:00pm exclusively for the vip, showing rare wines from older vintages and discussing topical issues important to the Napa Valley wine lover. All VIPS will also benefit from a nice VIP gift bag.
This event is limited to 350 total guests and, similar to Shade’s past wine events, is expected to sell out immediately.
ABOUT IAN BLACKBURN:
Master of Wine Student and innovative wine industry spokesperson, Ian Blackburn drinks wine for a living. Since it was established in 1995, Ian Blackburn has worked on building Learn About Wine into the leading source for wine education and events in Southern California. LearnAboutWine was the first business of its kind: a wine education and event website dedicated to the education, service, and enjoyment of wine.
Today LearnAboutWine has developed into Southern California’s premier company for wine education and events. Ian continues to innovate and focus on demystifying wine for everyone from the casual drinker to the potential collector. LearnAboutWine events include the wildly successful, monthly “TASTE” Series, a large-scale wine social; “PALATE BUILDER” Sensory evaluation class, VINTAGE – High end collectables tastings and LAW SCHOOL – the four week credential program that concludes with the BAR exam (Beverage Aptitude Review). Over 30,000 students in Southern California have participated in LearnAboutWine’s core class “Wine Camp,” an introduction into wine, and it is considered one of the top introduction courses in the region.
With a database of over 18,000 subscribers, Ian’s following and notoriety has grown with the popularity of wine. He has taught classes at Cordon Bleu, Cal Poly Pomona, UCLA, The Learning Annex, and other prestigious universities. LearnAboutWine maintains an active calendar of classes and events offered to the public, but thrive as a source of private and corporate events. Ian’s clients range from small social clubs and church organizations, to Fortune Five Hundred companies like Amgen, Pfizer, Disney, Nestle, Deloitte, Latham Watkins, Ernest and Young, Bank of America/US Trust/Countrywide, Paul Hastings, Quinn Emanuel and KPMG.
Ian’s passion for wine and entertaining makes him one of the top spokespersons in the United States; he was trained as an educational Ambassador for the Napa Valley Vintners and the Region of Champagne, France. Ian’s expertise and entertaining ways can be heard regularly on Los Angeles radio airwaves likeKCRW, KLOS, KROQ, INDIE 103.1, 98.7 and Ian even appeared as an expert on ABC’s “The Bachelor.” Creating wine lifestyle events in order to get more people involved in the enjoyment and appreciation of wine is Ian’s forte. Commissioned by Wiley Publications to write The Pleasure of Wine in 2004, Ian is currently studying for his Masters of Wine and working on his second book at his home office in Downtown Los Angeles.
PETER WORK – WINEMAKER, AMPELOS CELLARS
Some dream of spending the rest of their lives on golf courses and cruise ships, but with a taste for business and a love of Santa Barbara wine country, we chose a different retirement plan.
In 1999 we purchased 82 acres in what would later become the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, and named it “Ampelos”, which is the Greek word for vine. The name has a two-fold purpose. First, we believe that all great wines start in the vineyard.
Secondly, we have close-ties with Greece; we were married there and own a small bed and breakfast, called Ampelos Resort, on the island of Folegandros. We bought the land with dreams of someday watching the nightly sunset over the hills and our dogs running through the vines.
At the time we were still working long hours in corporate America, and delegated our son Don (now winemaker at Sea Smoke) to get the vineyard started. Our vineyard consultant assured us that the land could produce a great vineyard with patience and care, but we had little time to focus on the vineyard with non-stop business travel, meetings and conferences.
In 2001, the first 15 acres were planted in the Ampelos vineyard. That same year, we landed in Newark on the morning of September 11th. Peter had a meeting in the first tower of the World Trade Center, and interrupted his plan to board Path 1 of the New York Subway when his meeting was canceled. If he had gotten on the train, 8:45 am would have found him under the towers as the first plane hit.
When we finally got out of the city five days later, we went straight to our safe place—the Ampelos vineyard. That is when we made the life-changing decision to quit our corporate jobs and focus all our effort into pursuing our dream of full-time viticulture. “Someday” was no longer part of our vocabulary.
We moved to the Santa Ynez Valley in January of 2002. We began to learn to nurture the soil and prune the vines to prepare for the first harvest, and purchased one ton of Pinot Noir and two tons of Syrah in order to learn winemaking as we waited for the vines to mature. We toiled under the tutelage of our son Don and several expert consultants.
2004 marked the inaugural Ampelos vineyard harvest. The first harvest yielded 15 tons of Pinot Noir and 6 tons of Syrah. In 2005, we planted 10 acres on top of the original 15, totaling 25 acres. Pinot Noir and Syrah remain our primary varietals, with a line of Viognier and just under two acres of Grenache—the unsung hero of the Sta. Rita Hills. We persist in experimenting with different grapes and winemaking styles, as we are major believers in the journey being the destination.
With the efforts of family and friends, wise guides, and a twist of fate, we have come to create our small, sustainable vineyard and winery. We have gone from expanding big businesses to focusing on creating a limited release of high-quality product that people can afford to share with friends and loved ones. For us, sharing those gifts is what makes it all worthwhile.
You can depend on Ampelos wine to present the essence of each varietal in its purest form. Our winemaking processes are minimalist, meaning no added yeast, no artificial tannins, no artificial malolactic bacteria, and no artificial coloring. Every sip evokes cool ocean breezes and sunny afternoons wondering at the beauty of the rolling Sta. Rita Hills.
We experiment with both old and new winemaking processes, with eyes always fixed on eco-friendly, natural winemaking. With respect to longstanding winemaking traditions coupled with flexibility, we believe our results will be improvements to the cellar resulting in intriguing and complex wines.