ONCE A WALL STREET SECURITIES ANALYST, LISA DONNESON has traded in that rigorous and stringent career for a no less intense but much more creative and autonomous role as entrepreneurial wine maker. Bouké (as in “bouquet”) wines just released its first three lines, as fresh and crisp as their name and label — one each of white, red, and rosé — made from Long Island’s North Fork grapes, selected by Bouké’s resident consultant, Gilles Martin.
Donneson, whose background is rooted in music (she played violin, banjo and guitar), at one time entertained so extensively that she enlisted the help of a culinary school to help her produce the events. A connection from the school mentioned to Donneson that master sommelier Andrea Robinson was giving a class on winemaking, and after attending Donneson became hooked. She later earned her diploma in Wines and Spirits from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust.
In developing Bouké over the course of the last year, Donneson’s goal was to make wine that is accessible and friendly to an emerging generation of wine drinkers “who share her belief that wine should be an everyday pleasure for the senses.”
“I didn’t want a dusty, intimidating kind of wine,” she says.
The price is right, too, at less than $20 per bottle. A warm summer evening constitutes a special-enough occasion to pop the cork.
Ever the versatile businesswoman, Donneson oversees every aspect of her company’s day-to-day operations. She can alternately be found climbing around her tanks in Mattituck, Long Island, with Martin, or acting the part of sales and distribution for the region. Already, Bouké wines can be found in nine outlets between Brooklyn and Manhattan, with several more in Long Island.
Donneson chose to debut Bouké in Brooklyn because Brooklyn Heights is home. She lives with her husband Henry Weisburg (with whom her first date was grape picking in the Tuscan Hills) and their two daughters. The influence of her Long Island childhood is apparent in her choice of operations base and ingredients.
Last year was an adventure of newness for Donneson — developing the labels, extensive wine tasting, the unavoidable complexities of allotting startup capital — but the final product has been well received. Donneson’s toughest skeptics may be those she lives with, and not yet of age, at that: her daughters, who will be entering eleventh grade and college in the fall, weren’t so sure that this was a good idea.
“At first my daughters didn’t take it seriously,” said Donneson. “But when I started getting reviews and placement, they were proud.”
Visit www.boukewine.biz for outlets and more info.
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IN OTHER NEWS:
JOHN DOMAN, A HEIGHTS RESIDENT OF 28 YEARS, has taken a new role in the second season of FX’s heavily Emmy-nominated show “Damages.” The richly detailed legal drama, featuring Glenn Close, films close to home at Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Doman’s first day on the job was yesterday.
The only dishing Doman is able to do about his new character, Ron Kendrick, is that he is a “bad guy,” a part Doman is ready to embrace among such talented company that includes Ted Danson, William Hurt and Rose Byrne.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “It’s a hot show. And it’s shooting right here in Brooklyn.”
Working close to home would be a big plus for most, but especially for an actor whose steady gig through the last several years has placed him in downtown Baltimore, where he played gruff Deputy Commissioner William Rawls on HBO’s “The Wire.” That role, which he has called one of his favorites, ended with the closing of the show this spring.
It has been said of “Damages” that it could be “the most meticulous and calculating show on television.” At the end of last week, “Damages,” (with AMC’s “Mad Men”) made history as the first basic-cable shows to earn Primetime Emmy nominations in the best series category.
Doman’s love of acting can be traced to a fortuitous night of back-to-back screening of “Midnight Cowboy” and “The Graduate” in the San Francisco of 1969, he once told the Eagle. It was Doman’s first week back in the U.S. after serving as a Marine Corps officer in Vietnam, and he was impressed and gripped by Dustin Hoffman’s mastery of the distinct roles. Doman used advertising as his vehicle to New York City, and only 20 years later did he find a way to pursue his acting passion full time. He discovered he was a natural.
NYC COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY (City Tech) hospitality management student Theresa Gwizdaloski was recently awarded the 2008 Les Dames d’Escoffier/International Culinary Center’s “Make a Difference Scholarship” valued at $40,000. Over the course of several months, Gwizdaloski will study for 10 weeks at the Italian Culinary Academy in NYC, then for nine weeks at the International School of Italian Cuisine in Parma, Italy, and finally work for another nine weeks in the kitchen of a noted restaurant in Italy. Food and Finance High School student Elizabeth Ubinas was named recipient of another Les Dames d’Escoffier scholarship awarded through C-CAP and will attend City Tech beginning this fall.
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SHAREKA NEWTON of Fort Greene received a Master of Divinity from Drew University at the university’s 140th commencement.