Mini profile: creator behind Jordan Winery’s remarkable Halloween invites

A zombie-faced Oscar statuette and outer space-themed light projector were just two of the clever invites to the winery’s Halloween bash.|

On a recent day, Lisa Mattson was busy prepping the barrel room at Jordan Vineyards for the holidays, directing traffic to hang strings of lights, wreaths and chandeliers.

Mattson, the creative force at the Healdsburg winery, has worked there for 13 years. Her responsibilities have run the gamut from overseeing the website to inventing parodies of music videos. But she’s best known for the inventiveness she shows in creating the elaborate invitations to the winery’s annual Halloween party.

This year, the invitation contained a zombie-faced Oscar statuette. The theme for the party: Dead Hollywood. Party goers dressed as their favorite deceased stars. The year before that, invitations for the “Alien Invasion” bash revealed the party details only once invitees turned on a mini light projector included with the invitation.

The invitation for the 2018 Halloween party, “Denial on the Nile,” was a mini mummy in a ceramic coffin, with the details of the event on a scroll wrapped around the mummy.

The imaginative themes of these invitations, sent to Jordan’s special clients and people in the wine trade, have helped make Jordan’s Halloween parties among the most anticipated in Wine Country.

“My brain is filled with an endless stream of ideas,” Mattson said of her creative process.

“Some ideas come to me in dreams. Others come from a story I read in a magazine, a video or photo I see on Instagram or a building design feature I see while traveling,” she added.

Destined to be a creative

“Being an artist and a builder of some sort was always in my blood,” said Mattson, now 48. “My mom (Evelyn Crawford) was a painter and a musician in her spare time. My brother (Jason Kermashek) is a graphic artist, and my dad (Bill Kermashek) was a carpenter. I was a poet and dabbled in painting.”

After growing up in Girard, Kansas, Mattson left the Midwest for Florida when she was 20. She worked as a waitress and bartender while studying at Florida International University. On a lark, she took a wine class in 1996.

“I fell in love with the wine industry,” she said. “I moved to northern California in 2001 and have called Santa Rosa home since 2009.

“I will always be indebted to (the late) Chip Cassidy, my wine professor who got me into this business,” Mattson said. “I’m sure I would have been creative in some other industry if I never met him. But it’s so much more fun to do this type of creative work in the wine space.”

Shifting roles

Mattson said she stepped down as marketing and public affairs director earlier this year and is moving into the role of consultant.

“The pandemic forced people to re-evaluate their lives,” she said. “I decided it was time to move into a different phase of my life with Jordan, where I can work from anywhere.”

Mattson and her husband, Damon Mattson, will spend their summers in Santa Rosa and winters in Mexico. She hopes to buy property in Mexico and is currently checking out La Paz.

“We fell in love with La Paz, its beaches, the mountains, the cacti fields, the bars and restaurants, the gorgeous bay views and the sunsets,” she said. “We get to enjoy stunning sunrises in Santa Rosa and sunsets in La Paz. I love that.”

A nature lover, Mattson also has cultivated a side project of designing succulent gardens.

“The process of rebuilding my own yard took me down a new creative path that I also enjoy very much,” she said. She plans to launch her website, sonomasucculentsdesign.com, in early 2023.

At Jordan, Mattson said she’s excited to continue doing special projects like parodies of music videos. She has a new one coming out this month but preferred not disclose anything about it yet.

“I want to go out with a bang,” Mattson said.

Question: What was your favorite video parody and why?

Answer: “Grape Thrills” (a harvest-themed rendition of Sia’s hit “Cheap Thrills”). It was the first one where I wrote the lyrics to accompany a parody. (See it at bit.ly/3AULz8F.)

Q: What was your favorite Halloween invitation?

A: While there were several, I loved this year’s “Oscar Zombie for Dead Hollywood.” I’m so glad marketing was able to find someone to make a zombie face and shoulder on an Oscar.

Q: Why are you well-suited to be a creative?

A: My endless string of ideas.

You can reach wine writer Peg Melnik at peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com or 707-521-5310.

Peg Melnik

Wine, The Press Democrat

Northern California is cradled in vines; it’s Wine County at its best in America. My job is to help you make the most of this intriguing, agrarian patch of civilization by inviting you to partake in the wine culture – the events, the bottlings and the fun. This is a space to explore wine, what you care about or don’t know about yet.

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