New red wine honours big wave rider Peter Mel in California

October 15, 2009 | Surfing

"Maverick's: Everest of the Seas"

Two of Northern California's most famous institutions –- big wave surfing and the wine country -– will merge this month at a unique event in Sonoma County.

The Longboard Vineyards Tasting Room in Healdsburg will reveal its latest surfing-themed wine while hosting the acclaimed photography exhibition "Maverick's: Everest of the Seas," featuring the award-winning images of some of action sports' best lensmen.  The festivities take place during the weekend of October 23-25, 2009.

The highlight of the weekend will be the Friday evening reception featuring the introduction of a new red wine honoring one of California's true big wave legends.  Oded Shakked, a longtime surfer who founded Longboard Vineyards, will be unveiling his latest release, The Peter Mel/Mavericks Cabernet Sauvignon. This signature wine will be blended by not only Shakked but guest vintner, Peter Mel.

Mel, one of the most respected names in big wave surfing, is known as perhaps the most skillful surfer ever to ride Maverick's, the famed spot off the Half Moon Bay. In October of 1998 Mel was towed into what is now considered one of the biggest waves ever ridden.

Mel will make a personal appearance at the Friday night reception along with the featured photographers, surfboard shapers, wine makers and a wide range of Maverick's elite. The reception will begin at 5 P.M. and run until roughly 9 P.M.

Longboard Vineyard has always had a soft spot for surfers. It has gained a reputation a place where you can hang out at a redwood-surfboard bar, or sample one of its award winning wines while kicking back on a comfortable sofa watching surf movies.

For this harvest weekend event Shakked has enlisted “Mavericks: Everest of the Seas,” the heralded collection of Mavericks surf photography from Frank Quirarte, Doug Acton, Seth Migdail and Ed Grant.

“Everest of the Seas” first made its debut recently at the Coastal Arts League Gallery in Half Moon Bay, drawing large crowds and an enthusiastic response. It just finished a one-month highly successful run at San Francisco’s world class Museum and Gallery, SFMOMA.

“Everyone who sees the exhibit is just blown away,” said Grant, the curator of the Coastal Arts League Gallery. “Both surfers and non-surfers can’t help but get caught up in the energy and stoke that surrounds Maverick’s, the surfers and photographers who put it on the line every time they go out there.”

The event also represents a high point in the career of Oded Shakked, who was born in Israel and grew up near a beach just north of Tel Aviv. Immersed in surfing from the start, he made several trips around Europe’s Atlantic coast while discovering, to his delight, that “it was easier, cheaper and safer to drink good red wine than bottled water.”

His twin loves of surfing and wine brought him to California, where he studied winemaking at UC Davis and became enamored with the people, climate and rich soil of Sonoma County. He founded Longboard Vineyards with the motto “Wine, waves and soul,” making it a highly unique fixture in wine country.

The October 23-25 weekend will also feature a display of Maverick's memorabilia, including an array of big wave guns (some of which were used by the winners of the Maverick's Surf Contest), high surf rescue gear and  Doug Acton’s acclaimed book, “Inside Maverick’s.” The public is invited and admission is free, with RSVPs to the reception requested via the Longboard Vineyards website.

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