For the past few years Paso Robles has been my second home. On our last visit there I wanted to do a quick lifestyle shoot in wine country. I'm currently in love with these. Thanks so much to my beautiful model Mallory! So glad we finally got to work together.
While I was up on the Central Coast shooting for some magazines I produced and shot a "girls wine weekend" concept for Stocksy. My models were my longtime friend Becca and some of her girlfriends-- Mindy, Stacie, Caitlin, and Stephanie. We bopped around a few Central Coast wineries and got to drink some fantastic wine. What's more fun than a beautiful, sunny day, drinking wine with fun girls and making some photos?
Over the past few years I've fully fallen in love with Paso Robles. Combining that with my love of food and wine, being asked to shoot for the PRWCA was a really cool honor for me. Here are some images that will be used in the 2014 "Grow Wild" campaign to promote the Paso Robles wine region.
A big part of the campaign focuses on Paso's sustainable practices including use of animals to abate weeds, fertilize the soil, and promote a holistic farming practices. Tablas Creek Winery was nice enough to let the animals loose in the vineyard for us even though the grapes were still on the vines. Perhaps a bottle or two worth of grapes were sacrificed to the animals for the cause, but hopefully the images were worth it!
We also shot in the barrel room at Robert Hall Winery. The size of the cellar always shocks me and it's a challenge to photograph in such a cavernous space. The barrels go on for days and the smell of oak and fermentation is heavenly. Not a bad place to work for the day.
The lovely Esther Flink and I enjoyed bopping around several Central Coast vineyards last week during our sunset shoot. Esther is a Toronto transplant to the area and she brought to the shoot the professionalism and charm of a seasoned model. We had a great time racing around the country-side looking to capture the last bits of light. Here's a small sampling of images from our shoot.
On Saturday, September 15th, two lovely events were held at Windrose Farm in Paso Robles, California. First in the afternoon there was a tomato tasting featuring over 20 varieties of tomatoes. In the evening there was a farm to table feast paired with local wines from Tablas Creek Winery. It was a hot summer night, but spirits were high on the farm. Here are some images from the event and around the pastoral grounds of Windrose Farm.
One of my favorite parts of the day was simply wandering around the expansive apple orchards. There are dozens of free-roaming chickens that made themselves at home in the shade beneath the trees. Windrose is in a unique location in that they can successfully grow both apples (which typically require a cool climate) and tomatoes (which love the heat) due to their warm days and cool nights.
Windrose also raises sheep on thier property. They have tons of room to roam about, and lead happy lives hanging out with the dogs in the pasture.
Barbara and Bill Spencer are the owners of Windrose. Barbara is seen here talking to the diners about the practices on the farm and what the menu is for the evening.
Neil Collins (seen at right), the winemaker at Tablas Creek Winery in Paso Robles, paired each course with his wines. Tablas Creek is known for being a leader in Rhone varietals, which proved to be a great pairing with the menu. Almost all of the ingredients were sourced from Windrose, and were prepared by chef Clark Staub of Flatbread Full of Life based out of Los Alamos. You can find out more about Tablas Creek and Flatbread here...
Windrose Farm owners Barbara and Bill Spencer in front of their sheep.
Flatbread brought out their wood burning oven from which they prepared pizza during the day and used to cook the dinner in the evening. Chef Julie Simon of Thomas Hill Organics in Paso Robles came to assist with the dinner as well as Kat from Flatbread.
The day was a great success and I am lucky to have been a part of the festivities. The Central Coast food and wine community is a very tight-knit group and it is nice to see people who are passionate about the things they create and who value artisinal traditions and quality ingredients.
September has proven to be a busy, busy month! I have started work on a personal project on the Central Coast grape harvest which has led to early mornings and long days! I don't think I've slept this well in ages. I have been incredibly lucky to have gained access to some of my favorite vineyards over the past few weeks and I'm so excited about the images that have come out of the shoots. Unfortunately the harvest project along with my normal assignments has left me very far behind on editing. I foresee weeks of playing catch-up at my computer in my future. The luxury of having time in the field is well worth the editing time later. I hope to have more images for you soon.