I was more than tickled to get the above invite and finally meet the brains behind the Women & Wine “lifestyle company that creates signature experiences for savvy women (men optional!) who love wine, food, travel and living well.”
Their website “features robust content on everything from wine-country travel, entertaining, food and wine – to profiles of fascinating people. Women & Wine Radio offers fresh, fun stories and chat about all of these topics.”
I had signed up for e-mail notifications from Women & Wine and had been enjoying the stories on their website and listening to some of their radio interviews. I also received e-mail news from their store, Wine Valet, as I was intrigued with their location: the P-1 level of a valet parking garage at Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard.
Now was my chance to drive over the hill, and through the dales…
Getting off the Hollywood freeway, and driving down the famed Hollywood Boulevard took me back to my youth. It had been decades since I danced on the stage of Gazarri’s and almost as long since I gave up Meyers Rum and OJ.
Enter the world of wine and sophistication as old Hollywood moved over from hot spots to Julie’s resplendent home in the Hollywood Hills.
I was greeted by Jeffrey Brooks, president of the Life through Art Foundation that was being honored that evening. “We fund educational opportunities in the arts,” Brooks said. “For underprivileged students and artists. This evening we are celebrating our milestone of bringing art to 10,000 children.”
“We recently added public schools in North Hollywood. By sponsoring their teachers we can reach more students. We also take them to plays, museums and other field trips to learn an appreciation of the arts.”
“We have been supported by Women & Wine founders Julie Brosterman, her husband, Marc Schector and Karen Cease of Wine Valet. Many of the people behind the food and the wine tonight are also our sponsors.”
Brooks guided me to a table laden with fliers of past events. One name I recognized on a glossy announcement from their 4th Annual Red Party Honorees was former Signal columnist, Jack Burditt. Is Jack back from New York and ready to put some comedy back on our local Signal pages again?
Turned loose on the party just beginning, I found an empty table I could rest my notes and newly filled wine glass on. Two gentlemen passed through the group with trays of appetizers from Freshdining.com. I was tickled again to find that these same delights could be delivered to Santa Clarita as well.
While nibbling on goat cheese stuffed zucchini with a Kalamata olive reduction sauce I spied another woman alone and asked her to join me. Her name was Corinne Bordeaux, yes I couldn’t believe it either, and she was there to promote the film Bottle Shock. This much anticipated film in the wine world is based on the famous 1976 “Judgment of Paris” that pitted California winemakers against the French – and we won every category.
“The film garnered rave reviews from both the Hollywood Reporter and Variety,” Bordeaux began. “That is very rare. It was also well reviewed by Sundance and Wine Spectator. It is being touted as the ‘Rocky’ for wine aficionados”.
Next I met a slender young “boy from Alabama” that looked quite officious. Nat Gunter was fighting LA’s rep as a “Vodka Town” as the wine buyer for Chateau Marmont. He walked me back over to the wine tasting and coaxed me into trying a 2005 Phifer Pavitt Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon aka “Date Night”. It was as charming as he was.
The next two people to slide over to our friendly group were Gary Warburton and his daughter in-law Suzanne Phifer Pavitt. Suzanne was a beautiful blond from Georgia that had married a Manhattan Beach native and moved him to Napa.
“This is the story of city boy meets country girl,” Suzanne began. “What you may not know is that every country girl that has ever successfully worked her way out of the country life has worked exponentially harder than any city boy could imagine. The idea to move to Napa, breathe some fresh air and slow down scared the H-E-double-hockey-sticks out of me and my stock broker husband, Jackson.”
The wine was remarkable, but the name? “We called the wine ‘Date Night’ because every big decision we’ve ever made was on our weekly night out. There is no pause button on life; we make time now to do what we like.”
Looking at my watch, and thinking of my drive, I refused to drink or talk more until I found my hostess. I found her husband, Marc Schector first. He led me on an impromptu tour of their richly decorated home and upstairs to the kitchen where I found CEO Julie B.
“The chef doesn’t really need any help,” Julie said. “I just wanted to whip up a little salmon so that we don’t run out of food.” She gave me both a warm hug and a handshake as I told her that her guests seemed to appreciate having some press at the event and thanked her for the opportunity.
As I then stepped back and watched her oversee everything, from websites to wine stores and art foundations to salmon, all I could utter was that we would have do this again. As there is nothing better than women, wine and the optional man.