For those who are not familiar with the Jefferson Hotel, it is an institution in Washington, D.C. Let me paint a picture – think old world-charm, white-glove service, distinguished, stately. This is one of my favorite hotels in the district.
As an expat of DC, I was thrilled to attend The Jefferson Vintage Wine Tasting & Summer Soiree. Marking its first official visit to the West Coast, the Jefferson hosted a vintage wine tasting at the newly renovated Hotel Bel Air for an intimate crowd of 75 VIP guests that included celebrities including Kate Flannery (The Office), Sarah Drew (Grey’s Anatomy), Ivan Hernandez (FOX’s The Following), Amy Yasbek (Wings), just to name a few. Also in attendance were history buffs and wine lovers.
This was no ordinary VIP-studded affair in LA. This event offered guests a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Let me explain.
First, on display were authentic Thomas Jefferson artifacts on loan from the Jefferson D.C.’s exclusive collection. This was the one and only time these artifacts will ever be in LA. The pieces included a check written on November 14, 1802 by President Jefferson and a letter written while Jefferson was serving his second term as the then British Colonial Governor of Virginia. This letter is the oldest Jefferson document, dated April 27, 1781.
More importantly, guests had the opportunity to taste Madeira wine flown in from Washington D.C. from The Jefferson’s private wine cellar. The Jefferson’s Director of Wine & Sommelier Michael Scaffidi orchestrated the vintage Madeira tasting. After each of Michael’s explanations, a team of servers emerged from the back with glasses of D’Oliveira, Verdelho, from 1912 and Borges, Sercial from 1810.
Beyond the wine tasting, another highlight for me was meeting Philip Wood, managing director of The Jefferson and a long-time friend of our fearless leader, Pamela Sorensen, founder of Pamela’s Punch and The Pacific Punch. Philip was widely entertaining and dynamic as he stood in front of the crowd sharing true tales and personal memories of the hotel. Loved him – he just makes you smile.
People waited patiently, including moi, to get their silhouette cut-out by artist Karl Johnson from Cut Arts. That was a cool experience. Not only did guests go home with a copy but he made a second copy that will be put in a guest book and will live on forever in the prestigious Book Room at the Jefferson hotel.
As attendees exited, Philip said goodbye to everyone while handing out $2 bills. How very appropriate, don’t you think?
The Jefferson Hotel is known for unparalleled attention to detail and service – even 2300 miles away at a different venue, it stayed true to its credo and high standards. Fantastic event, and kudos to everyone involved in making it happen.
Kristin Martell is a Pacific Punch Correspondent and Author of Damn the Odds. A recent Los Angeles transplant from Washington, DC, she’s pursuing her dream of acting while working as a PR consultant. Visit her at www.damntheodds.com. Follow the Pacific Punch on twitter @ThePacificPunch.