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Ricardo and Larissa @ Race Brook Lodge

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These pictures meant a lot to me because of the bride and groom involved are going to be lifelong friends. I have a special bond with Ricardo; we grew into manhood together in the many times we spent exploring Brooklyn, the East Village, and Florida. Our lives have intersected and reversed several times, and I am proud to consider him a brother.

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Ricardo and Larissa first met face to face in my living room in West LA. First meeting Larissa I was struck not only by how beautiful she is, but her quiet comforting voice and considerable intellect. I remember telling Rico – Hermano, do not to let this one go. He didn’t. Continue reading

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Listening Parties at Warner Brothers Records

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Last May we did a really fun wedding with a couple that allowed us to go out all out on the drink design and bar setup. That caught the eye of the VP Artist Development & Tour Marketing at Warner Brothers Records who asked us to do a series of listening parties for some upcoming artists.

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We setup in the main lobby and took over the welcome desk with our typical over the top fruit display. One of the parties was for Niles Rodgers, who recently won a grammy for producing Daft Punk’s latest album, Random Access Memories. Niles had great stories to tell about Studio 54, Paris, and producing music for all sorts of artists.

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Being avid fans of one of the greatest forms of music ever conceptualized in Disco, we were elated to create cocktails based upon the hits produced by Niles and his band Chic. We were even treated to a live performance of such classics as well as a bit of music history.

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Cocktails for Niles were to be disco / fantastic and we didn’t wish to disappoint. One thing we wanted to do was a cocktail from the era, and we decided upon a Harvey Wallbanger. We infused lemongrass into the vodka and added gold nugget tangerine juice for more depth of flavor. Of course we named this cocktail, “Le Freak Of The Week” – Chopin Potato Vodka, Galliano, Tangerine Juice, Lemongrass. Continue reading

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Cady and Page @ SaddleRock

cady (3 of 8)Cady and Page decided to name all of their cocktails after Keanu Reeves movies which we naturally thought was a fantastic idea. This wedding was featured on the popular blog Green Wedding Shoes.

The ‘Feeling California’ utilized one of our favorite small batch Gins in St. George Terroir. It’s grassy and clean – especially good for people that don’t like Gin. We used a cinnamon tincture as well as three kinds of seasonal grapefruit juices to make this cocktail tart and delicious.

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The ‘Point Break’ featured a Lapsang Souchong infused rhum agricole, yuzu marmalade, cynar, and lemon juice, topped off with a laphroaig mist. Variations on the Penicillin cocktail are fast becoming one of our most popular drinks.  Continue reading

photo by bruno

Ten Years of Todd Events


photo courtesy of todd events

We were delighted for an opportunity to be part of a celebration of the tenth anniversary of Todd Events, a world class wedding planner and one of the most creative people we know. We first met Todd last year working on a wedding in Oklahoma City, which involved some of the most exciting wines and spectacular entertainment we’ve seen – we knew this was going to be grand occasion. Continue reading

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An Afternoon Party in Malibu

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We were delighted to show off our Non Alcoholic cocktails at a beach house in Malibu this summer. While we are always happy to create cocktails given direction, our best work always comes from when we are trusted to interpret the season through our drinks, as was the case this afternoon. We were told, “Oh just make whatever you like, I’m sure the drinks will be great.”

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This Summer meant Persian Mulberries and limes, Meyer Lemons, Ginger, and fresh Lavender from Santa Ynez. We found some beautiful purple Amaranth leaves to blanket the table.  Continue reading

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Anvi and Tom @ Hummingbird Nest Ranch

Anvi and Tom chose one of the best venues in the Los Angeles area for their wedding in Hummingbird Nest Ranch. I love this venue because it allows for quite a bit of flexibility, has plenty of space, and is completely beautiful.

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The wedding had a certain cinematic quality; Gather Events and Occasions did a fantastic job of styling and coordinating. Tom looked overjoyed riding a white Arabian horse to the ceremony, his friends and family cheering and singing along side him. Continue reading

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Steve and Leslie @ Stone Manor – Malibu

I love working with clients that I really like as people, with great energy – folks that will remain lifelong friends.

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Steve and Leslie were aware that they were going to have some guests from Italy, and so they were open to trying Italian wine. I am always overjoyed when I get the chance to work with some of my contacts in the Italian wine world to bring some really unique and delicious wines to the table. Italian wines are very drinkable, affordable, and give us the opportunity to think outside the traditional wedding wine box of Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc.

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We were happy to provide some education to the wedding party during the event about the selections that Steve and Leslie went with. They day was warm with a good breeze, it could not have been more perfect. Continue reading


Off to a Castle in Enotria

Ever since I began my discovery of Italian wine, through great mentors like Dr. Jeremy Parzen and Jeff Morgenthal I continually heard the mantra, “You have to go, you won’t really understand the wine until you see the vine.” Thanks to Mariana Nedic of IEEM I am finally going to take a quick trip to the land of the oldest wine producing regions in the world.


I’m most excited to see what foods are paired with these wines in their native settings. Christine Hoffman, one of my fellow sommeliers at Terroni in Los Angeles recently mentioned to me that it wasn’t until a trip to the Pieropan winery in Verona, where she was given shaved artichoke paired with Soave Classico from the La Rocca vineyard that she really understood the essence of the wine. Stories like this are things sommeliers love to throw around with guests, friends, and at tables. I am eager to build some of my own stories – and I intend to do just that, with a trip to the Masciarelli Winery at Castello di Semivicoli. Will it be truffles, saffron, cheese, pastries, or something altogether unexpected? I can’t wait to find out.

I always delight in selling Montepulciano from Marina Cvetic – I love pronouncing her last name at the table, as it’s pronunciation mirrors the inflection of my own slavic surname. Masciarelli first came on my radar as a Slow Wine which for me is an important tool in discerning wineries that are adhering to natural winemaking techniques, highlighting indigenous varietals, and using organics wherever possible. Wine drinkers in Los Angeles have become increasingly interested, and prefer wines of this pedigree. Image

The generous fruit, structure, and craftsmanship of these wines always ensures a pleasing experience with every cork pull. I’m also hoping to taste some older vintages of Iskra (Spark in Croatian) sourced from nearby Teramo, to the north of Chieti. I have read that the village of San Martino, a small village in the Chieti province is known for a secret gun powder recipe made from the remains of vine stocks, which allowed townsfolk to resist the assault of Napoleonic troops desiring to conquer the town. I am so lucky to have Joanie Karapetian, one of the most hardworking and dynamic people in the wine business in Los Angeles today as my guide and traveling companion. I’m sure we will be climbing the high peaks of the nearby Abruzzi Appennines, with a bellies full of noble juice in no time!