Thank you to our sponsor Ashes & Diamonds!
We are pleased to announce that Ashes & Diamonds Winery will be serving delicious world-class wines at the Echo Park Craft Fair Preview Party on December 7th. The Preview Party will take place from 6-9pm at Mack Sennett Studios. You can buy tickets here.
Located at the gateway of Napa Valley along its main artery, Highway 29, Ashes & Diamonds Winery is a love letter to Napa Valley as it was when it took the world stage in the 1960s, revealing itself as a geological wonderland capable of world-class wines. In homage to this golden era and its pioneers, winemakers Steve Matthiasson and Diana Snowden Seysses, with proprietor Kashy Khaledi, adhere to an ethos of light-handed winemaking and transparency of terroir as a guiding light for all of the wines they produce—a Burgundian approach to Bordeaux varietals.
Open since August 2017, Ashes & Diamonds Winery exemplifies the convergence of modern and old-school flavors.
Do you think community is important to creativity? If so, how?
Community means everything to creativity. Ideas don’t germinate in a silo. The energy that’s shared between creators is what propagates new ideas. There’s this romantic idea of being a creative in solitude that I don’t really understand. Sure, there’s a time to be alone in the physical act of creating, but without inspiration it feels more like work. Maybe I don’t believe in 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. How about 50% perspiration and 50% inspiration.
What would you say is the driving force behind your creative work?
We created a space that’s conducive to the concept of openness and lightness. Our tasting room feels more like a living room from the midcentury over the traditional, often formulaic construct of Napa Valley tasting rooms. We wanted our guests to feel at home. I wanted to put a sign up, and I’ll probably get to it one of these days, that says “Home”. The winery has an area that’s called The Park, which feels just like that. Green, grassy rolling berms compliment the surrounding vineyards. Classic California wines in classic California architecture. The Postcard Fantasy of the California Dream, straight out of a Slim Aarons photograph.
How is your work inspired by or influenced by nature and your surroundings?
Once I knew the wines we would be making – classic, elegant California wines that were representative of site and vintage – I knew the architecture would need to follow suit. The midcentury California wines inspired us, so why shouldn’t the architecture? I contacted Barbara Bestor of Bestor Architecture after a former colleague of mine from Grand Royal (the Beastie Boys record label and fanzine) had recommended her and that she had actually done some work to our former offices, which I loved. She really understood the soul of the era and would be able to get it right. She did just that. I’m so lucky to have worked with this talented bunch.
Describe the path that led you to the work you do now.
I am a disillusioned former creative executive having worked mostly to bridge the gap between brands and music. My last post was at Capitol Records, where I oversaw everything from album art, music videos to brand partnerships. Hunter S. Thompson said it best: “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.” I leaped out of the plastic hallway into the living, breathing rows of vineyards. It’s real, sometimes too real, but that’s comforting having come from multimedia.