Jessup Cellars TasteMaker Series 2016


Thursday night at Jessup Cellars was a fun evening for Hubby and I, thanks to an invitation extended from Cellarpass.  If you are not familiar with Cellarpass, it is a fun and easy way to book wine country experiences throughout California and across the country.  Some people describe it as Open Table for wine country, and I would have to say I agree.  It has become a must for me when recommending to friends and family what they should experience when visiting “The Valley”.

IMG_1807The invitation was to attend a TasteMaker Speaker Series, featuring author, producer and music journalist Heather Jacks.  The evening would also feature photography from special guests, Mike Gibbons and Benjamin Benoit.  The TasteMaker Series is described as a “thought leadership forum” that brings people together to experience art, food, music and of course, wine.  The series supports the Arts Council of Napa Valley and sponsors month-long exhibitions and activities.  Visit the Event Series page at for more information.

This was my first visit to Jessup, a quaint boutique in the heart of Yountville.  It is the perfect setting for an intimate event.  It is very warm and welcoming.  The leadership and staff do a superb job of making you feel right at home.

We were immediately greeted and offered a glass of wine to start with while we mingled and waited for the main event to begin.  The bar was beautifully plated with yummy, delectable treats suited perfectly for the wines being poured for the evening.


 Hubby and I had a fantastic time chatting with Judd Wallenbrock, President, CEO and Managing Partner of The Good Life Wine Collective, a combination of Jessup Cellars, Handwritten and Humanitas Wines.  He is such a fun and down-to-earth guy who kept us well entertained until the festivities began.  Joel Quigley, Vice President of Marketing Communications for Jessup, opened up the evening by welcoming everyone and giving us a rundown on the evening’s events.  IMG_1801

Things really got going with a special performance from musician and photographer, Mike Gibbons.  He gave an amazing rendition of my new favorite song, Tornado Love, which is available for download on ITunes, along with his other work.  I loaded it to the “Songs I Like to Sing” playlist on my phone immediately after the performance!IMG_1800

Afterwards, guests were invited to enter the art gallery to take part in a seated forum to enjoy a presentation for the night’s featured guests.  The first to speak was award winning author, Heather Jacks.  Heather’s book, The Noise Beneath the Apple, celebrates the art of busking and street music in New York.  It won the INDIE Fab Book of the Year award in the category of Performing Arts and Music in 2013.  Tonight’s gathering was in celebration and support of her upcoming book, Buskloose, a Bay Area edition of her busking project.  It will give a historical perspective of busking and street performers in the Bay Area, while filming and documenting the lives and music of five buskers from the San Francisco area.  Ten percent of the of the proceeds from the wine sales went in support of Heather’s new project.  You can visit her website, for more information.


Following Heather’s presentation, we were further entertained with additional renditions from Mike Gibbons to include Catch My Breath and California Calls Me Home.  When we entered the art gallery earlier in the evening, we were greeted by some of the most fascinating photography by Mike and Benjamin Benoit.  The portraits were amazingly beautiful and mesmerized my soul.  Each taken in locations across Northern California, Mike and Benjamin gave us insight into the inspirations behind the phenomenal photography.  In honor of the TasteMaker Series and Arts in April, feel free to stop by the Jessup Cellars tasting room and enjoy the exhibit from now through April 20th.  However, I must warn you.  Art that beautiful won’t hang in a gallery for long.  The photography is for sell!


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