Without the Finkelstein family, the Napa Valley would be a much duller place.
Second-generation vintner Judd Finkelstein and his wife Holly have brought us "Judd's Enormous Wine Show," , the Friends of Ardent Mixology, the Maikai Gents featuring the Mysterious Miss Mauna Loa and quirky special events too numerous to name.
Now comes the latest adventure as Judd Finkelstein applies his college degree in television production and his Hollywood experience to a new video series, "Wine Booty with Judd and the Pirate."
The Pirate, Capt. Whylee Raven (a.k.a photographer David Bennion) was on hand at Judd's Hill Winery on the Silverado Trail Tuesday night for a party introducing the new series, in which Finkelstein and his guests crawl through an enchanted wine barrel and wind up in the Pirate's cramped cabin for an interview aboard ship.
The episode we watched featured winemaker Heidi Barrett of Calistoga, whose 2007 La Sirena Pirate TreasuRed is a blend of seven varietals. At the end of her interview with Finkelstein, Barrett cheerfully "walked the plank" at the end of Bennion's cutlass, disappearing with an offscreen splash and sinking with a smile into a make-believe sea.
Barrett brought her wine, and a fetchingly turned-out pirate posse, to Tuesday's party, where we also saw—to name just a few—Napa Mayor Jill Techel; Napa County Supervisor Bill Dodd; Olivia Everett of ; Napa Valley Life Magazine owner/editor Kari Ruel; Napa Valley Register features editor Sasha Paulsen and her daughter Ariel Jackson; wine writer George Starke; Napa Life writer/publisher Paul Franson; Napa guitarist and composer Gordon Lustig (whom Finkelstein, in tribute to Lustig's work on the series theme song, called "an evil genius in the best way that one can be"); media consultant Ashley Teplin and her beau, Alan Kropf of Mutineer Magazine, with his brother and sister-in-law; arts advocate T. Beller (also spotted at ); singer and soon-to-be-ex-broadcaster and her husband Tom, Julie Dalrymple of the ; Melodie Hilton of the ; Ernie and Irit Weir of Hagafen Cellars; Marketta Foumeaux du Sartel of Marketta Winery and other vintners too numerous to name.
"Wine Booty" is set for a Sept. 4 debut on the internet, but you can get a 55-second taste from this YouTube video.
For more information, visit http://www.juddshill.com.
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