dot429 = Connecting the Gay Community
Manuel Merjil, Daniel Casabonne
It’s what we all strive for in our lives, that feeling of being connected to one person or a group of people. I believe that is what makes one’s life a full life. dot429 (429 spells out G-A-Y on a phone) is all about connecting the Gay Community to each other. Founded just over two years ago in San Francisco and New York, this LGBT networking organization has now expanded to other major cosmopolitan cities such as Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle and Chicago, to name a few. And just this past weekend, dot429 came up to our Wine Country for an “outing” or as they liked to call it, an ESCAPE to Wine Country.
It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon gathering at Ma(i)sonry in Yountville where a group of more than 50 from our community gathered to meet and network in a stunning stone building rich in history dating back to 1902. Richard Klein, founder of dot429, managed to bring together people from San Francisco and Wine Country, including, myself, Manuel Merjil and Daniel Casabonne.
Walking into Ma(i)sonry, one is transported back in time, but with a contemporary feeling, thanks to the renovations that were done in 2007 by its current owner, Michael Polenske. The place blends artisan wines with exquisite art and furnishings. As we walked in, we were greeted with a choice of Ma(i)sonry 2008 Marsanne or the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc (yes, they even have their own label). Mingling among the art that is spread about the property, we then were escorted to the backyard courtyard where a gorgeously set long wooden table awaited us. As we sat amongst the art under a beautiful summer afternoon sky, Michelin Star Chef Dominique Crenn from Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, treated us to an amazing brunch.
Crispy pork belly, miniature potatoes, bok choy with a sake glace and an heirloom tomato salad all paired perfectly with the 2010 Blackbird Rose or the 2008 Ma(i)sonry Tempranillo. As inspiring conversation flowed, a selection of sweets, including a sumptuous chocolate cake and homemade caramels were served. Oh, how sweet the day.
As the afternoon was coming to a close, the guests who came from the city were then being whisked back in brand spanking new 2011 Cadillac Escalades. Talk about riding in style. For a moment, I wish I were heading back into the city, (along with the bevy of men that I had just met). But alas, I realized that I too was extremely fortunate as I got to drive away with the top down in my convertible under the beautiful skies of my Wine Country.