IAN BLACKBURN – OWNER/FOUNDER, WINE LA & FOUNDER/CO-WINEMAKER, BEEKEEPER CELLARS
wineLA is about enhancing the wine culture of Los Angeles. To do so, wine must be in rhythm with fashion, music, food and other beverages. It must take advantage of the geography, the architecture and the centers of interest. Los Angeles is a giant playground with an amazing array of venues, spaces, wine bars, restaurants, beaches, roof tops, gardens, and magical views. We want to be a part of the LA lifestyle, the wine lifestyle, and celebrate the people, the place and the passion.
wineLA will promote significant events, occasional classes, and tastings of merit. This is phase two of what we started 20 years ago at LearnAboutWine.com - America’s first wine education website and first in wine event creation. LearnAboutWine will now evolve onto a digital platform; the transformation will take some time; so we will slowly rebrand our event efforts onto wineLA, reduce the number of activities we focus on, and elevate our efforts to focus on the next big thing… Doing what is best for the wine industry and the communities we serve. Edicts: innovate, evolve and excite.
We thank you for joining our newsletter, we will be sending fewer emails and packing them with amazing content. We want to be your wine content provider and would love to hear about your favorite places, your music, your locations - we want to be under the influence of what ignites your passion for Los Angeles.
ABOUT IAN BLACKBURN, CSW, JWE ‐ LEARNABOUTWINE & WINELA PROFESSIONAL SOMMELIER
Ian drinks wine for a living and plans 50-100 public and private events a year. Ian stays busy buying collectible wines for high profile clients, planning luxury wine trips for his audience, hosting corporate events, and studying for his Master of Wine. Since 1995, LearnAboutWine has done the hard work of building a better culture for fine wine, opening the doors for more quality products to enter the marketplace and has taught over 800,000 students. With a reach of over 80,000 current subscribers and followers, LearnAboutWine now focuses on the best quality events and classes, and wine credential programs which have graduated over 1000 wine students in the last 9 years with a Junior Wine Executive credential (JWE).
ABOUT BEEKEEPER CELLARS
Beekeeper Cellars is the vision of best friends and co-winemakers Ian Blackburn and Clay Mauritson. The two collaborated after adventurous individual careers in the wine business, and at last, decided to work together on a project of their own.
Clay, a 7th generation grape grower, and his family found themselves the owners of a significant slice of the Rockpile Appellation, through an amazing set of historical land transactions. The Mauritson family realized the potential and parented the creation of the ROCKPILE AVA. In 1998, Ian and Clay climbed the hill and watched the Madrone Spring Vineyard get planted, while discussing the future of Rockpile and the dream it represented.
In 2008, Clay saw the fruits of his family's labor taking shape and came to Ian with a unique opportunity to source some of the Rockpile fruit. He told Ian in the difficult days of 2008, “now is the time to get in and build the business and have it take shape as the market improves, and to not wait until business is strong as you will have a hard time getting access to the right quality assets.” Ian took heed of Clay’s wise comment and said "When your best friend is Clay Mauritson and he offers Rockpile fruit and to assist with winemaking…... you make Zinfandel.”
In Los Angeles, Ian operates a specialty wine marketing organization known as wineLA and has pioneered wine education for the past 20 years (since 1995) through www.learnaboutwine.com and www.wineLA.com. Beekeeper Cellars is also involved in Ian’s Masters of Wine Thesis project and provides him the winemaking training he requires to help pass the difficult Masters of Wine exam...an ongoing pursuit.
LARRY SCHAFFER FROM TERCERO WINES
The idea for tercero wines surfaced a number of years back. Larry Schaffer had been in the educational and trade publishing industry for a number of years and had achieved all he had set out to do. It was time for a change . . . . but to what? Larry’s dreams of becoming a professional volleyball player were never going to happen, so he looked towards something he had always been interested in but never understood completely – winemaking. One thing that really interested him was the ‘why’ involved – how in the heck do you start with a grape and end up with this wine? Or that one? He needed to know more – and he needed to challenge his brain.
Fast forward four years . . . and Larry begins his new career in earnest as the Enologist for Fess Parker Winery, a well-respected winery in the Santa Ynez Valley. Why Santa Barbara County? The winemaking community is willing and wanting to help each other, but more importantly, it is simply an incredible place to raise children!
Fast forward another year, and Larry is ready to ‘take the plunge’ and start buying grapes to make his own wines! It’s scary and challenging at the same time – no matter how much you read about it or do it for others, it’s quite different when it’s ‘your own baby’ . . . But it’s also a way for Larry to ‘marry’ his past with his present – to use his sales/marketing skills along with his technical winemaking skills to see what he can produce . . .