Monday, July 23, 2012

Carmel Ridge Winery-Doesn't get better than this!

Carmel Ridge Winery Tapas Plate
Last week I had the pleasure of shooting a tapas platter for the Carmel Ridge Winery in Monterey. What a fun time! Gary, the tasting room manager, and I spoke briefly about the opportunity to shoot during one of my random wine tasting trips in June. They needed a photo to replace the older one on their menu and website and he asked me if I could do better than hat they had. No problem! He liked my passion for their wine, especially my favorite, their pinot noir. Now, I have to tell you that I am a wine snob, but not just any wine. I am a connoisseur of the pinot grape. My taste buds can tell you where it is from, how old it is and how long you need the let the wine breathe to get the most out of that touch to grow fruit. Their syrah is pretty darn awesome as well.

 I charged my batteries, filled the tank and headed down to Monterey. Tourist season is defiantly still in full effect. The weather was perfectly warmed by the afternoon sun, the water was calm and clear and I zigzagged through the streets with my gear trying to dodge the swarm of people on Cannery Row. When I go out for a shoot, I take everything but the kitchen sink with me.

While the tasting room sommelier sliced up the delicious cheeses and meats and prepared the appetizer, I set up my light and tripod and tested my exposures. Curious customers kept looking around the back to see what the fuss was all about. "All of that gear for one platter!" the sommelier exclaimed. You just have to trust me.

Carmel Ridge Winery Monterey, California
The counter top they had me set up on was made of a lovely white marble, but it really did not add anything to the rich tones and textures of the plate. I looked over at their gift stand and saw these  handmade wooden lazy susans that they created out of the top of the wine barrels they no longer use. Sustainable, beautiful and perfect for what I envisioned. The crew at the tasting room helped me immensely, even holding my reflector briefly while we discussed lighting, food and of course, wine.

Happy with the shots, I packed my gear, added a few bottles of wine to my cart and left for home to begin the editing process. I love these images! The food is beautiful and rich, the atmosphere defiantly inspired the warm lighting and you just cannot get better than locally harvested wine served by the nicest people you will ever meet. I will be back as a visitor for sure and would love to shoot there again! Go see them the next time you are in Monterey. You will not be disappointed.

I have to say that having the opportunity to do what I love in a place like the Bay Area truly is a blessing.