Winemaker Judd Finkelstein of Judd’s Hill could not have seemed happier. Surrounded by friends and colleagues, he proudly presented a new episode of his Web-based show, “Wine Booty.”
“Wine Booty” is a pirate-themed wine-and-food-centered talk show. The main characters are Captain Whylee Raven and Finkelstein himself. Each episode focuses on a local wine and food persona.
“I bring on anybody whom I feel is interesting here in the valley and is involved in wine and food and showcase them,” Finkelstein said.
The screening of the new episode in the show, third in a series, took place at a secretly located grog shop. Guests of honor were Finkelstein, his loyal team member Captain Whylee Raven, and winemaker Marketta Fourmeaux, proprietor of Handmade by Marketta.
“I like her wine and admire her winemaking skills,” Finkelstein said. “Knowing what a character she is, I knew she would make the perfect guest for ‘Wine Booty.’”
Fourmeaux, who has been awarded by the French president and government for outstanding achievements in her profession, built her winery in a Victorian house in historic downtown Napa. The winery produces handmade wine series in small quantities of 100-400 cases each.
Guests watched the unusual interview, in which Fourmeaux shared the story of her winery while wearing a pirate outfit and being dazzled by the charm of Captain Raven.
“Wine Booty” is the second Web-based series Finkelstein has been filming. His previous show, “Judd’s Enormous Wine Show,” was launched in 2009 as a way for Finkelstein to use his degree in TV production from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.
“After 15 years in the wine business, I realized that I haven’t been using my degree. The show was my way of putting my career and my degree together in a fun and offbeat package,” he said.
The ease of producing a show helped in launching “Judd’s Enormous Wine Show,” Finkelstein said.
“These days, with new technology, one can make TV series without making enormous investment or production center,” he added.
The humorous series showcased Judd’s Hill winery as well as many familiar faces in the valley. It has also introduced to the world Captain Whylee Raven, the winery’s pirate.
The show got great responses. “The feedback was tremendous. I have been getting emails from people who wanted to visit the winery after watching the video,” Finkelstein said. “I was a little bit surprised, but very happy. It’s always nice when a creative endeavor is received well. It’s both satisfying and encouraging.”
While “Judd’s Enormous Wine Show” focused on Judd’s Hill, in “Wine Booty” the audience gets to know some of the other interesting and intriguing characters of the Napa Valley.
“‘Wine Booty’ also works as a travelogue for those who would like to explore the Napa Valley,” Finkelstein said.
Finkelstein said that among all the wineries in the Napa Valley, Judd’s Hill is the only winery that has a resident pirate. “The pirate became such a popular part of ‘Judd’s Enormous Wine Show’ and people showed up and looked for him,” he said. “I knew that in the new show, ‘Wine Booty,’ I had to include him.”
Finkelstein encourages viewers to come for a visit. “I want people to come to Judd’s Hill and know that they are going to have a good time,” he said.
“We are a small family winery that has been making wine in the Napa Valley for over 30 years and my sizable nose gets stuck into every barrel,” Finkelstein said.
The winery has offered a custom “MicroCrush” service since 1992, and produces small wine lots by demand. Finkelstein said he sees a link between the Web-based wine shows and the MicroCrush wine production.
“Our webisodes offer an electronic way for us to connect with people and our MicroCrush is our hands-on way of connecting with wine lovers,” he said.
Finkelstein said he hopes the sense of fun and playfulness that is presented in the show will be passed on to the viewers and the visitors. “We take our wine very seriously and that shows in the glass, but that being said, I want people to know that they are going to have a good time.”
To watch the third episode of “Wine Booty” — as well as past episodes and “Judd’s Enormous Wine Show” — and to learn more about Judd’s Hill wines and MicroCrush, visit JuddsHill.com or call 255-2332.