wine

The power of experience over stuff

Carefully selected wines, food, and music have the power to create unique experiences. These sparkling wines – one white and one rosé – are from the Boisset Collection.

I am consistently unamazed at how much more people talk about experiences than things. According to David Adler, CEO of BizBash, the market leader in event news, ideas, and resources, research shows that "today's buyers believe that experiences are the new bling," and I have found this to be exceptionally true, across generations and across the country and even the world. 

People are always looking for that "new" twist to their special events and in Los Angeles, which is an events town through and through, I find this to be even more pronounced. From real estate agents to financial planners, health coaches to those in the hospitality industry, people crave something memorable... something more than just a party with a Costco cheese plate (don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of Costco cheese plates) and some cheap wine from Trader Joe's (those who know me know what a complete and utter devotee I am of TJ's!).

A guest at Héritage Fine Wines in Beverly Hills listens carefully to the musical selections, each one hand-picked to pair with the wine, cheese, and chocolate served.

Most people – me included – do not consciously consider their senses on a daily basis, except perhaps to notice if they have a stuffy nose or their ears are popping after a long flight. We accept what the world throws at our senses without question and without much consideration of the fact that we do actually have the power to customize what we sense, at least to some degree.

As Julian Treasure often remarks in his speeches on conscious listening, we do not have earlids, and so entirely turning off the sounds of the world just isn't possible (even the best earplugs can't filter out the jackhammer noise from next door's rebuilding project completely – trust me, I know!). However, we do have the option of focusing on our senses and purposefully triggering and engaging them. 

Guests listen intently at a recent Five Senses Tastings event in Essex Fells, New Jersey. 

At Five Senses Tastings, we take this idea very seriously. We have all come to accept sound – or perhaps more appropriately, noise – as something that by its very nature is unspecific (and sometimes even annoying) in our lives. We have become inured to the idea that our senses, when carefully addressed one by one or in concerted unity, can center us in the moment and help to create and solidify memories.

Specifically triggering all our five senses – sound, smell, taste, touch, and sight – is our primary goal in our music tastings. We have shared it with hundreds already, and we can't wait to continue sharing this unique experience with our friends in Los Angeles. Whether you're planning an anniversary or birthday party, product launch, or client appreciation event, we can help create a special experience that your guests will not only enjoy but remember with all their senses.

HollyTales was a huge success!

The moment we finished our first event with Mikey Consbruck and his team at V Wine Room in August, I knew I had to come back for more... and more was had! What an amazing night we had last night!

The bar could not have looked more beautiful in all its sparkle, and the atmosphere was cozy and perfect for our first Holiday event of 2016! We had a lively crowd who filled the bar with laughter and appreciation, and we couldn't be more grateful for the warm reception and words of thanks we received for our music tasting.

Mikey Consbruck, Owner of V Wine Room, Adam Monte of V Cheese Shoppe, and Catherine von Ruden of EOS Chocolates arethe most amazing partners, and we feel so grateful every time we get to work with them. Their creativity in pairing and dedication to perfection in taste pairing andelegance of presentation is unmatched. Here you see Mikey preparing some of the cheese and chocolate plates... and the final result below. Doesn't it look so delicious?

As usual the wines Mikey chose for us were above and beyond delicious, interesting, and rare and it was up to us then to rise to the challenge with the musical choices as well. Luckily with Jacquelyn, Trevor, and Andrés on stage, it was pretty easy to make anything sound amazing!

Of course we presented some holiday standards (Sleigh Ride, O Holy Night, and my new favorite, Christmas in LA by Lawrence Well and his Orchestra) but I also made sure to throw in some pieces that I know would be unfamiliar to our guests. Probably the most daring piece we played was the cello movement from Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the end of time.

This piece is not "easy" to digest, but it was precisely this dis-ease that I wanted to highlight. I have always found one of the most rewarding things is when a guest approaches me at the end of a night and repeats back to me exactly what I had hoped to achieve with a particular pairing. Often I find that s/he even further enlightens me on the pairing, and it was no exception in this case as a gentleman told me that he would never have listened to this piece voluntarily but that the way it was presented together with the wine, cheese, and chocolate made it not only palatable but extraordinarily rewarding and meaningful to him. Couldn't really hope for anything more, could you?

As always, I can't thank the artists enough for their time and dedication to this difficult program. They are all a delight to work with (Jacquelyn and Andrés have now played with us several times), and I can't wait to welcome them to another music tasting soon!