His is a story of a man from a small town who left the family business to find out "what else there was in the world." Only in this case, the small town is Napa Valley and the family business is a winery —the pull of which is a little stronger than, say, if it were a shoe store in Iowa. Armed with a degree in television production and a couple years of Hollywood experience under his belt, Judd Finkelstein returned to Judd's Hill Winery, and has spent his time well. Besides making wine, Finkelstein is showing what can be done with a pirate and a marketing budget.
His web series called Wine Booty takes well-known characters in Napa Valley out of the winery, the vineyard or the restaurant, and into a world where the size of one's tiki glass collection matters more than your case production. As a result, a dialogue about wine and the Valley emerges as something you may not be used to: It's fun.
His latest episode featuring perhaps Napa's most elegant vintner, Marketta Fourmeaux, premiered on Monday night at the Wiki Wiki Grog shop (the location of which guests were informed they would have to walk the plan, should they disclose it).
Finkelstein, whose family founded White Hall winery in the 70s before selling it to start Judd's Hill in 1989, is doing more than just making a fun, silly and slightly absurd show. In the competitive world of the wine industry —particularly Napa Valley— Finkelstein is as Ms. Fourmeaux puts it, "not just for his own wine, but for every wine." (He has been known to invite other producers to pour their wine in his tasting room) Also, it's comforting to know that somewhere deep in Napa Valley, there is a tiki bar.
Judd's Hill is open from 10-4 daily and if you're lucky, Captain Whylee Raven may just stop by.