BROOKS PAINTER, DIRECTOR OF WINEMAKING, CASTELLO DI AMOROSA
His previous position was Winemaking Operations Manager at Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville, California, and Brooks was formerly with Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Leeward Winery and Felton-Empire Vineyards.
Brooks was born in San Francisco and raised in Northern California. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and Biology from University of California, Santa Cruz in 1980, during which time he discovered his interest and passion about wine. His work has been published in The American Journal of Viticulture and Enology, Biochemistry, Practical Winery and Wines & Vines. Brooks is a professional member of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture and a former chair of the Microbiology Committee for C.E.R.A. (California Enological Research Association). He is the past Board President for the Napa Valley Wine Technical Group and a technical reviewer for enology research proposals submitted to the American Vineyard Foundation, a non-profit organization funded by the wine industry to provide grant money for research and development projects of importance to the industry. Brooks previously taught classes on wine and grape growing for the California Academy of Sciences, Adult and Family Education, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California.
Brooks and his wife Beth have lived in Napa for the past fifteen years. Their two children, Miles and Emily, are presently attending Occidental College in Eagle Rock, California. They are actively involved in the local Napa Valley community and charitable organizations; they participate in long-range public planning issues for local city and county government.
ABOUT: Castello di Amorosa is a castle and a winery located near Calistoga, California. First opening its doors to the public in April 2007, the castle is the pet project of 4th generation vintner, Dario Sattui, who also owns and operates the V. Sattui Winery named after his great-grandfather who originally established a winery in San Francisco in 1885. The winery sits on property that was once part of an estate owned by Edward Turner Bale.
THE CASTLE: The castle interiors, which include 107 rooms on 8 levels above and below ground, cover approximately 121,000 square feet (11,200 m2). Key details and building techniques are architecturally faithful to the 12th and 13th century time period. Among many other features it has: a moat; a drawbridge; defensive towers; an interior courtyard; a torture chamber; a chapel/church; a knights' chamber; and a 72 by 30 feet (9.1 m) great hall with a 22-foot (6.7 m)-high coffered ceiling.
The torture chamber has an authentic 300-year-old iron maiden which Sattui states he bought for $13,000 in Pienza, Italy, a replica rack, prison chambers and other torture devices. The great hall features frescoes painted by two Italian artists who took about a year and a half to complete and showcases a 500 year old fireplace.
The masonry, ironwork and woodwork was fashioned by hand using old world crafting techniques. Building materials included 8,000 tons of locally quarried stone, in addition to paving stones, terra cotta roofing tiles and some 850,000 bricks imported from Europe. Extending into the hillside adjacent to the castle lies a labyrinth of caves some 900 feet (270 m) in length. Beneath the castle are a 2-acre (8,100 m2) barrel cellar and tasting rooms where visitors can sample the wines-all sold only at the Castle.
Due to Napa County restrictions, the castle and grounds cannot be rented for weddings or receptions, but are available to rent for corporate gatherings and fund raisers. In May 2012 the county ordered the winery to cease holding a weekly Catholic Mass in the chapel located on the grounds due to lack of use permits, reviews by county agencies, including traffic and building code compliance. The services were among just a few in the area where Catholics could attend a traditional Latin Mass.
ANDREW PONCE - SOUS CHEF, RUTH'S CHRIS STEAKHOUSE- WOODLAND HILLS – MENU ITEMS
Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Woodland Hills is situated in the Westfield Promenade Shopping Mall, just north of the 101 on Topanga Canyon Blvd. The light woods with copper overtones in our steakhouse create an atmosphere of sophistication and easy elegance, and the numerous private dining rooms of our restaurant offer a variety of settings for 18 to 65 guests. Whether it’s a romantic steak dinner for two, an important business meeting or a private party, Ruth’s Chris Steak House can accommodate your needs. Our Woodland Hills steakhouse provides guests with a warm, comfortable atmosphere.
Ruth's Chris Steak House is a chain of 136 steakhouses across the United States and in several international locations. The restaurant is regarded as an upscale fine dining establishment, marking a gradual elevation in its status since its founding in the 1960s. Ruth's Chris is currently the largest luxury steak company in number of locations, operating income, and overall profit, larger than The Palm and Morton's. On May 22, 2008, the company underwent rebranding and became part of Ruth's Hospitality Group after its acquisition of Mitchell's Fish Market. The group has its headquarters in Winter Park, Florida.