Gail is what happens when you care as hard as you work.
Dan and Pat O’Brien, the brothers behind Gail Wines, are my great friends; photographing them was a totally unique experience. In 2007 they unexpectedly lost their mother, Gail, to a rare condition - something that changed their lives in many ways. Their hometown of Providence, RI didn’t feel the same, and they moved West to California to pursue careers in wine. Since arriving here, they’ve created something special – a small, personal project that creates a bright future while always honoring their past - and their family - along the way.
Dan and Pat are the salt of the earth. They are passionate about Sonoma Valley, and the off-beat grape varietals they vinify. When you talk with them about their wines, you get the sense that there’s something at stake… that not everything is a settled sure thing. To me, that’s the magic behind Gail - knowing that it’s something people are fighting for.. A risk, with consequences... There are so many great projects out there that spare no expense and leave nothing to chance - Gail is not that. Winemaking for them isn’t just a joyful hobby, or a lifestyle choice.. It’s a responsibility, and it’s a job to be done well. In a word, it’s real, and that makes it feel different.
Photographs for Gail were mostly taken in the first half of 2019. In addition to shooting locally in Sonoma Valley, we took a trip East to their home state of Rhode Island. We visited the places of childhood, the house where they grew up, and saw members of their family - documenting it all as we went. Gail is always a celebration of friends and relationships - I never played the role of photographer, but was there instead as a friend with a camera - I feel strongly that sentiment shows through in the finished work.