The Queen Mary will be presenting a winemaker's dinner on October 10, 2013, featuring wines by the B. R. Cohn Winery with a paired menu by the Queen Mary's Executive Chef, Todd Henderson. I had a chance to talk with Dan Cohn at his family's winery, B. R. Cohn Winery. Dan discussed wines, the winemaker's dinner, the family's history with rock icons the Doobie Brothers and much more. Dan is Senior Vice President and National Sales Manager for B. R. Cohn Winery.
Bruce Cohn grew up in the Sonoma wine country. With a passion for music, he began managing the Doobie Brothers in 1970, overseeing their rise to fame as one of the top rock groups in the world. Today, he still manages them, maintaining his presence in the music world. In 1974, he decided to raise his family in the Sonoma wine country, wanting his children to grow up in a peaceful, beautiful area. Bruce bought the 90 acre Olive Hill Estate Vineyards in 1974, selling grapes to other prestigious wineries while gaining the knowledge to open his own winery. In 1984, he established B. R. Cohn Winery, with acclaimed winemakers Helen Turley and Merry Edwards both spending time at B. R. Cohn Winery. Since 2004, Tom Montgomery has been the winery's winemaker, currently overseeing all day to day operations of the B. R. Cohn Winery.
Dan Cohn lived a very interesting childhood, growing up with one foot in the rock and roll world and another in the Sonoma winemaking circles. “It kind of sped things up growing up”, said Dan. “ Having all the music around me was a neat way to grow up. The Doobie Brothers are one of the few bands to have the same manager, my father, for 43 years”. Dan, the oldest of Bruce Cohn's four children, also gained a deep appreciation for food and wine as he grew up. In 1993, he officially joined B. R. Cohn Olive Oil on the product development team, later moving over to the winery side and his present position. “We are one of the few wineries left that are still owned by the family”, Dan told me. “We are known as an ultra-quality winery, trying to be the best. Having the music history and steeped in the olive oil and wine history too, we want our customers to have a direct relationship with our family”.
It was very interesting to sit in Dan's office, surrounded by posters from classic concerts by the Doobies, gold and platinum records on the wall for exceptional album sales and other items from rock history.
Dan is looking forward to the winemaker's dinner at the Queen Mary. “Twain [Schreiber, Director of Food and Beverage for the Queen Mary] has been a long time supporter of B. R. Cohn wines. The Queen Mary is our largest account in Southern California, so the winemaker's dinner is a great way to build product awareness for B. R. Cohn Winery and support our account”, Dan explained. “We'll also be featuring our B.R. Cohn Olive Oil, from our 145 year old Picholine olive trees on the property”. Dan worked with them on the wine list, bringing a lot of small production wines and olive oils to pair with the dinner. “We let Todd taste the wines and then let him do his magic at creating the menu”, said Dan. “Plus, I know Twain will be playing some Doobie Brothers music for our guests!”.
Dan talked about the uniqueness of the area where the Br. R. Cohn Vineyards are located. “We have our own micro-climate here. There is a hot springs on the property that keeps the soil warmer, enabling the grapes to achieve excellent quality. Most of our wines are estate grown here. That's a legacy that can't be duplicated”, according to Dan. He continued, “We don't buy any grapes on the bulk market. We do buy some grapes from vineyards that we have long term contracts with, to enable us to produce some other wines, but only from quality, small production vineyards”. As Dan showed the wines in the tasting room, he said, “People go elsewhere to taste. They come to B. R. Cohn to drink”. He talked about the uniqueness of the Wine Club at B. R. Cohn. “Not only do Wine club members get benefits on tasting and buying wines, but it also allows them to sit in special section for our annual music event. This year, our Fall Charity Music Festival at the winery is featuring Bad Company, Heart, the Gin Blossoms, and of course the Doobie Brothers!”.
The Queen Mary's B. R. Cohn Winemaker's Dinner will be held on October 10. Information about tickets can be found on the Queen Mary's event website. It promises to be a delicious night of fine wine, fine port and fine food.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
6 to 10pm in the Queen's Salon
1126 Queens Highway
Long Beach, CA 90802
Information: (877) 342-0738