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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

06/27/2016 - Protea Restaurant; Bruce Cohn of B.R. Cohn Winery

In the much celebrated Yountville, CA, a new kid has arrived in town. Protea is a Latin American inspired casual eatery, where Chef Anita Cartagena creates mouthwatering treats, inspired by her Puerto Rican roots, using local produce.

Then we are delighted to welcome the esteemed Bruce Cohn, of B.R Cohn Winery to talk about his life, wine, olive oil and concert series.  He is joined by the winery General Manager, Debra Eagle.

Anita Cartagena
Executive Chef/ Owner
Protea Restaurant

Protea is a fast casual restaurant with the highest quality and execution standards in the industry.  They prepare many slow roasting, braising, and high level cooking techniques of the worlds various street foods.  On their daily changing menu, you might find items such as empanadas, Tostadas, Cubano Sandwiches, Rice Bowls, and Fish Tacos.  

About Anita:

Born in Cleveland, Anita returned to Puerto Rico with her family at the tender age of 6 months, where she stayed until she was 10. She remembers many a day standing on a stool to help her mother cook Puerto Rican food, developing a fond love of both cooking and the soul of her native cuisine.

Back in Cleveland, she began modeling and acting, but her love of cooking remained, until she finally gave in to it after her (now) husband Dwayne, treated her to a dinner at the French Laundry.  After many dinners like this and poring over the cookbooks he gave her, she enrolled in culinary school and has not looked back.

At Protea, Anita brings her passion for food with soul, marrying a taste of her Puerto Rican roots with local and imported ingredients, and an eclectic wine list that she "manipulates" the food to pair with.

Anita brings experience and drive forged in some of the country’s best restaurants, including most recently Ciccio in downtown Yountville, CA.   But she is particularly suited to take the exacting and strict standards of a Michelin Star quality restaurant and translate it to the more causal, affordable, and back to basics world of hand crafted sandwiches, soups, and salads.

Bruce Cohn
Founder and Owner

The B.R. Cohn history is rich and is one of the greatest wine stories to be told, a true piece of Americana.

Winery founder Bruce Cohn was introduced to the music industry at an early age. Prior to moving west from Chicago, Illinois, his father sang Italian Arias and his mother was known to have sung with Frank Sinatra in the Chicago nightclub scene. The family also had a strong business acumen owning and running a successful retail shoe business, named Four Cohns. In 1956, the family relocated to the Bay Area and settled in Sonoma County. Bruce later attended the University of San Mateo. While at school, studying broadcasting and communications, he became intimately involved with the San Francisco music scene, running a music rehearsal studio by day and serving as a television engineer at night. It was a heyday for great music and Bruce was often found alongside younger brother Martin Cohn at the many up and coming San Francisco nightclubs and bars which today are known to have spurred the careers of many rock and roll legends. It was around this time, in 1970, that Bruce met and became the manager of the Doobie Brothers. He helped them climb the charts, catapulting them into Rock and Roll stardom.

Bruce and the Doobie Brothers

Agricultural Retreat

In 1974, to keep some sanity and preserve quality of life, Bruce purchased an old dairy in Glen Ellen which evolved into Olive Hill Estate Vineyard, so-named for the property’s grove of 140-year-old French Picholine olive trees. With drive to cultivate the existing vineyard, Bruce purchased books on viticulture and read them during long periods of traveling with the band. He soon became intensely involved with all aspects of growing grapes, from planting and pruning to grafting and trellising techniques. A decade after taking ownership of the land and having great success selling grapes to other wineries, Bruce founded B.R. Cohn Winery at Olive Hill Estate in 1984

The vineyard in 1978

Award Winning Wines & Olive Oils

After selling wine grapes for many years to August Sebastiani and Gundlach Bundschu and seeing the numerous awards the wines with fruit sourced from the Olive Hill Estate were receiving, Bruce took the advice of good friend and mentor Charlie Wagner from Caymus winery and began producing his own wines from the Olive Hill Estate in 1984. Charlie bestowed the greatest honor upon the winery, permitting the use of Caymus’ trademarked “Special Selection” on the best lots from B.R. Cohn Olive Hill Estate. B.R. Cohn Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon as well as the entire portfolio continues to receive amazing reviews and accolades. The B.R. Cohn library wines continue to impress our wine family members as well as the wine community as they compete with the best from Napa to Bordeaux.

In the 1990’s the family embarked on the journey of processing the olives at the Olive Hill Estate, creating California’s first single estate Picholine Olive Oil and B.R. Cohn Olive Oil Company was founded. Today we produce some of the world’s finest Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Giving Back to the Community

Always looking for ways to give back to his community, Bruce brought his two life passions together in 1987 by inaugurating the B.R. Cohn Charity Fall Music Festival. Every year, wine lovers and music fans alike flock to Sonoma Valley to revel in the beautiful wine country while enjoying top music acts. The proceeds from the concert benefit many local children and veteran charities as well larger national charity organizations.

The Sonoma Music Festival, coming up in October, was born from the desire of BCCE to change up its annual fall event formerly held at B.R. Cohn Winery and move it closer to town for a more community event. This year’s beneficiaries include national and local veteran’s organizations including Fisher House and American Legion Post 489, the Redwood Empire Food Bank and others.

     “This is a very important milestone year” exclaimed Bruce Cohn.  “We needed to top last year and we think we have with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and first time BCCE festival performer John Fogerty plus Hall of Famers Steve Miller Band and Dave Mason Saturday and we are going country with superstar Toby Keith and up and comer Andy Velo whom I’m now managing, on Sunday.”

And the Story Continues…

Bruce and his family live in the Sonoma Valley where he continues his lifelong career in the music business

Debra Eagle
General Manager

Over the course of her 20+ year career, Eagle has developed marketing and sales strategies for many of the industry's top wineries.  Most recently, Eagle was General Manager for Hestan Vineyards, an ultra-premium winery in Napa Valley. Prior to Hestan, she was General Manager of Clos Du Val Winery and Director of BOND, the sister property to Harlan Estate. Eagle has also held Marketing Director positions at Sutter Home Winery, Robert Mondavi Winery and Kenwood Vineyards. A native Californian, Eagle has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Mills College, Oakland, California and an MBA from the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley.


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