“Magic Hour” is a common term shared in the world of still photographers and filmmakers alike. It simply means the first and last hour of light during the day. As Social Media Manager & Filmmaker for the Wagner Family of Wine it’s my job to tell the story behind each wine to the best of my ability. To do so I need to see where the vineyard is grown to understand how the climate and valley contribute to the overall character of the wine. One of my major goals with every film is to always shoot in the mornings so that the crisp golden “Magic Hour” light is diffused by the fog. This hard light source coming from the east makes the vineyard leaves glow and sometimes I’ll be lucky to capture beams of light shooting around the thick branches of an oak tree.
But enough with the poetry. I’m here to brag about the beauty of the Santa Lucia Highlands. This enchanted place is located in Monterey County and is only forty five minutes away from the beautiful town of Carmel. There is fog every morning, which quickly burns off by the sunrise, producing the Magic Hour lighting I speak of. By noon the valley is hit with warm sun and strong winds from the north. These are perfect conditions for photography and winemaking.
The Santa Lucia Highlands are home to many great wine producers such as the Pessagno Family, Talbott Vineyards, Charlie Wagner of Mer Soleil Vineyards and the legendary Gary’s Vineyard by Gary Franscioni & Gary Pisoni. This is a great wine growing area for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
One of the greatest thrills about my job is occasionally working in the Santa Lucia Highlands to make a film for Conundrum, Mer Soleil and Belle Glos Las Alturas Pinot Noir. Every time I go I’m blessed with the best scenary and light to make my films. This is the most beautiful vineyard I have ever seen! I consider myself one of the luckiest men alive to have access to this private vineyard to see where these great wines come from.