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A dear friend needed some wine for a reception. I had been waiting for this day since I started bottling wine. Matt Tyrnauer and I had been friends for 20 years (in fact, he was a student in my first teaching assignment, at Crossroads school in my first year out of college). He had helped me with excellent advice as I have been trying to understand how to create and sustain a brand. A commercial question and not in any way less interesting for being so; a question of survival or at least prosperity too. I was delighted that someone who had helped me was now in a position where some of my wine could help him.

I volunteered to supply wine to all of the receptions that would occur in conjunction with the openings of Matt's movie, Valentino: the Last Emperor. He and I agreed on this just before its grand opening in the US, at the Miami Film Festival. At that time, he thought that the movie might open in 3 more cities, maybe 4. I am happy to say that while I have provided wine only in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Miami-- the movie has opened in a dozen or two more cities and opens in new ones every week. The movie is an unprecedented success and it has been an honor for my wines to be present at a few of the occassions which have celebrated it.

At the gala for which I have reproduced the menu below, the story goes that Valentino, at the head table, reached across the table to shake the hand of a devoted fan (and philanthropist). In his excitement, he spilled a glass of wine on the guest seated at his left. In this way, Anne Hathaway came to wear Gardens of Babylon on her Valentino gown and had the maestro sign the gown itself to commemorate his creation and vinous baptism of it.
I would love a photo of this event, but have not been able to find one. Perhaps Valentino and Hathaway's grasp of representation is more powerful than mine.