The most wonderful advantage of living and working in wine country are the relationships that are being built here. When my daughter and son-in-law (to be, at the time) were thinking about where to exchange vows, they came to me and asked, “Don’t you have a friend in Mendocino who has a winery?”
They were thinking of Sally Ottoson, who’s the proprietor and winemaker for Pacific Star Winery. Sally and I met through PS I Love You, the Petite Sirah advocacy group that I founded with Louis Foppiano of Foppiano Vineyards. We’ve now worked together for the last four years, and our professional lives have segued into one of friendship. When I asked Sally if Melanie and Heath could exchange vows cliffside on her bluffs, she gave us an excited and immediate “Yes.”
Little did we know how gorgeous it would be, and that the day would turn out to be Mendocino’s most beautiful day of the year, according to the locals! Melanie and Heath exchanged their vows on an autumn day, with the Pacific Ocean raging, and nary a cloud in the sky, with a thermometer reading of 85 degrees.
After the ceremony, I send my immediate family in Maine a couple of these images, since 3,500 miles is very far away, but the Internet offers a immediate click into our lives. (Don’t you just love the Internet?!)
My cousin Margo wrote right back to me saying, “What an interesting CA life you are living!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
I have to leave in all of Margo’s exclamation marks, because it just wouldn’t be the same without every one of them. You see, Margo had just seen some wedding images, and did some Juicy Tales reading. This allowed her to get somewhat caught up in what the last 14 years have been for me in California. Living in Maine and working for WBLM for 11 years, allowed me to be meeting and photographing rockers of the 80s and 90s (from Brian Adams to ZZ Top, and everyone in between, including my favorite… Tina Turner). As exciting as that was, my opportunities to expand were a lot more limited.
Now… the sky seems to be the limit.
If anyone is thinking about a Mendocino wedding, Pacific Star Winery offers an ideal location for those whose hearts and daring match the energy of the mighty Pacific.
If you want your vows to be heard, make sure that you have a microphone with working batteries, as the ocean’s incoming power, and crashing of waves below into caves that are directly under the winery, will create thunderous crescendos…. Nature’s music will accompany your intent. Pelicans will fly over. In October you might even see whales; although for my grandsons, it was sea lions that they spied.
Sally also recommended a bouncing house. Whoda thunk it? What a memory for children, who will occasionally in their lives reflect on the day they were at the ocean during a wedding, and they spent nearly the entire time bouncing. They didn’t even eat cake!
The energy was raw and profound at this Mendocino winery… The day was gorgeous! What a blessing for all…