About lesliedinaberg

When she's not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS Magazine, Leslie Dinaberg writes feature articles, columns and grocery lists.

2019 Best of Santa Barbara

SB Independent Best of

From the Santa Barbara Independent, October 17, 2019.

So, I had the honor of writing up the Santa Barbara Independent‘s Best of Santa winners this year. It was a huge, fun project. People were so happy to hear from me and so excited to have won! You can read the whole thing (203 winners at last count) by clicking here, or on the PDF below.

Santa Barbara Independent Best Of Oct. 17 2019_Part1

Santa Barbara Independent Best Of Oct. 17 2019_Part2

Santa Barbara Independent Best Of Oct. 17 2019_Part3

Best of Independent Cover

PIECE OFFERING

Piecework story, 805 Living Magazine, October 2019.

The humble jigsaw puzzle has been given a modern makeover thanks to Piecework (pieceworkpuzzles.com) co-founders Rachel Hochhauser and Jena Wolfe. Hochhauser, who was born and raised in Santa Barbara, discovered her love of the meditative qualities of puzzles when she was rained in during a visit to Yosemite. Soon the pair, who are partners at Major, a creative agency specializing in brand strategy and design, began working on puzzles as a way to unplug and unwind, but they were dissatisfied with the selection available.

“We decided to start Piecework because we wanted to bring thoughtful curation and design to an activity we really loved doing and to show people how much pleasure can be found in a puzzle,” says Hochhauser.  —Leslie Dinaberg

805 Living Magazine, October 2019.

Click here to read this story as it appeared in 805 Living magazine, October 2019 805 Living Pulse Oct 2019

LEVI GILBERT | Art Meets Action

Levi Gilbert interview from 805 Living Magazine, October 2019.

Falling down stairs, crashing motorcycles, and taking death-defying leaps off the sides of cliffs are all in a day’s work for Levi Gilbert, a 2017 Santa Barbara High School graduate who got his first Hollywood stunt job as soon as he turned 18 and was legally allowed to perform. This might seem like a crazy career choice to some, but stunt performing is in Gilbert’s blood. His grandfather Mickey Gilbert’s career dates back to the 1969 classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and his father, Lance Gilbert, was Mel Gibson’s personal stuntman.

“I got started doing stunt work with the guidance of my dad,” says the 20-year-old Gilbert, who has already appeared in TV series such as 9-1-1, 13 Reasons Why, Ballers, Daybreak, Silicon Valley, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as the upcoming Ford v Ferrari film, which is generating Oscar buzz. “He has always helped me by giving me every opportunity to learn something new and expand my skill sets.

“Directors know exactly what they want from the stunt performers, but it’s up to you to make it happen safely,” says the youngest of the Gilbert family stunt artists. “The most dangerous stunts I have done so far in my career would probably be stair falls.” He starred as a young naval lieutenant who fell to a dramatic death in an NCIS: New Orleans episode this year.

“Difficulty and danger often go hand in hand,” he says. “But for me the hardest stunt isn’t a stunt at all—it’s acting—which is something I am working on and trying to understand the art of.”

Leslie Dinaberg

805 Living Magazine, October 2019.

Click here to read this story as it appeared in 805 Living magazine, October 2019. 805 Living Oct 2019 The 805’s Got Talent

Growth Experience

September 2019 805 Living Magazine Story on Funk Zone Farm.

September 2019 805 Living Magazine Story on Funk Zone Farm.

Urban agriculture is having a field day at Funk Zone Farm (Instagram: @funkzonefarm) in Santa Barbara, which opens its farm stand on the first and third Saturdays of each month in the Funk Zone.

“The response has been nothing short of heartwarming,” says Carter Hallman, who runs the farm with Sami Weiss. The couple share a background deeply rooted in food and wine and a “passion for quality grown food and how food affects our environment, health, and culture,” says Hallman.

Created on unused land surrounding the Funk Zone’s Green House Studios artists’ workspace, the farm—which produces a wide variety of veggies, fruits, and flowers—comprises 30 raised beds and a small greenhouse and involves 50 tons of soil and 30 tons of compost.

“We are hoping to influence and educate more people on what local really means on the Central Coast, how good farming affects flavors and nutrients in crops, and how good farming greatly affects our environment,” says Hallman.

“The biggest response is how joyful people look when they leave the farm. They share how we’ve inspired them to start their own backyard gardens [and] how they come back week after week to watch the crops grow, creating a connection and a newfound appreciation for what they’re eating.”  —Leslie Dinaberg

805 sept 2019 coverClick here to read this story as it appeared in 805 Living magazine, September 2019. 805 Living Pulse Sept 2019

Celebrating Mediterranean Foodways

As featured in 805 Living Magazine, September 2019.

As featured in 805 Living Magazine, September 2019.

Bring a taste of the Mediterranean home with Ojai Valley private chef Robin Goldstein’s new cookbook, Crafting a Meal Mediterranean Style (M27, September 2019; privatechefrobin.com).

“Crafting a meal means more than just recreating recipes,” Goldstein explains. “For me, kitchens are magical places. I love entertaining, and it’s a great way to get everyone together for a relaxing evening in the comfort of your own home. Simplified home cook–friendly recipes can be adapted to your tastes and what’s in season.” Her latest collection includes recipes for busy family weeknights as well as weekend entertaining with shared platters and tapas—foods, Goldstein says, “your guests will truly enjoy.”

For this edition, Goldstein handpicked her favorite dishes from the coasts of Spain, the Provence region of France, Italy, the Greek Islands, the Middle East, and Morocco. “Each culinary influence adds another dimension to the whole,” she says. She shares this recipe from its pages.

Green Shakshuka, from Robin Goldstein, Crafting a Meal Mediterranean Style (M27 Editions, 2019).

Green Shakshuka, from Robin Goldstein,
Crafting a Meal Mediterranean Style (M27 Editions, 2019).

GREEN SHAKSHUKA

Traditionally eggs poached in a spicy chili tomato sauce, this savory green shakshuka is a slightly different take on the classic Middle Eastern dish. In Israel it’s breakfast food, a one-skillet recipe of baked eggs to start the day with, a perfect way to celebrate garden greens. Serve it with a pile of pita or challah on the side.

Serves 4

1 bunch of leeks, sliced thin (about 2 cups) and washed well

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 garlic cloves, sliced

6 cups washed and chopped mixed kale, Swiss chard, and spinach

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano

1 teaspoon red chile flakes

Pinch of nutmeg

1 teaspoon sea salt

Ground black pepper

8 eggs

1/2 cup crumbled feta

2 tablespoons za’atar spice blend

Shake water off the leeks and sauce in an ovenproof frying pan with olive oil until leeks are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Stir in the chopped greens and cook until leaves are wilted, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the fresh chopped herbs, red chile flakes, nutmeg, salt, and a few grinds of pepper.

Preheat oven to 400. In the same pan, create eight nests of greens, break an egg into each well, and top with crumbled feta. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until eggs are done to your liking. Scatter with za’atar spices and serve immediately.

Recipe adapted with permission from Robin Goldstein, Crafting a Meal Mediterranean Style (M27 Editions, 2019).  —Leslie Dinaberg

Click here to read this story as it appeared in 805 Living magazine, September 2019. 805 Living Pulse Sept 2019

805 sept 2019 cover

Eggs Over Easy

September 2019 805 Living Magazine Story on Tombot.

September 2019 805 Living Magazine Story on Tombot.

“It’s Easter every day around here,” says Hayden Clark, founder of Cluck Farms (cluckfarms.com), the Ventura County–based home to 2,000 very happy chickens, who spend their days running around outside, bathing in the dirt (they like that), and feeding on grass, fresh fruits, and vegetables.

The 23-year-old entrepreneur started his fresh-egg delivery business last spring and personally brings the naturally pastel-colored beauties to individuals and businesses from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara.

“Local word of mouth has been great,” says Clark. “I really try to over-provide service and sometimes even give my customers extra eggs to share—and suggest they go meet their neighbors.” —Leslie Dinaberg

Click here to read this story as it appeared in 805 Living magazine, September 2019. 805 Living Pulse Sept 2019 

805 sept 2019 cover

Puppy Love

September 2019 805 Living Magazine Story on Tombot.

September 2019 805 Living Magazine Story on Tombot.

Are robot puppies the next frontier in dementia treatment? Tombot, Inc. (tombot.com), working with experts from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, has created a realistic robot companion that may help improve the quality of life for a senior who can no longer care for a pet.

“Seniors in general and particularly seniors with dementia have been ignored by the tech world,” says Westlake Village–area resident Tom Stevens, founder and CEO of Tombot. Inspired in part by his mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease and subsequent need to give up her beloved dog, Stevens and his team have concluded a successful Kickstarter campaign and are now ruggedizing the design specs to ship their first robotic dogs in August 2020. The basic model bot costs $450. With the World Health Organization reporting nearly 10 million new cases of dementia every year, the future looks bright for helping seniors with a new kind of puppy love. —Leslie Dinaberg

Click here to read this story as it appeared in 805 Living magazine, September 2019. 805 Living Pulse Sept 2019 805 sept 2019 cover

Sommelier Q & A Wine Wisdom

Originally appeared in 805 Living Magazine, https://www.805living.com/archive.html.

Local experts share their insider knowledge.

By LESLIE DINABERG

Wine has become synonymous with the Central Coast—but that doesn’t necessarily
mean it’s easy to navigate the plethora of local producers, not to mention the
bottles that find their way here from distant vineyards. Luckily, there’s never a shortage
of skilled vino veterans, like those here, ready to offer some purchasing pointers.

Originally appeared in 805 Living Magazine, https://www.805living.com/archive.html

Paolo Barbieri, owner, winemaker, Barbieri Wine Company, Los Olivos, barbieriwines.com, Master Sommelier

Paolo Barbieri was born in Parma, Italy, and spent more than 30 years working in the restaurant business, managing numerous world-class wine lists in Europe and later in the United States. With the help of longtime friend and winemaker Joey Tensley, Barbieri started Barbieri Wine Company, producing 375 cases in 2005 from Colson Canyon Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley. Co-owner and assistant winemaker Erin Kempe joined the business in 2007, and today the couple, now married, produce single vineyard wines and some blends under the Barbieri and Kempe wine labels.

What are some of the best local wine buys for people on a budget?

Some of the local rosés together with European whites like albarino, vermentino. Also gamay and grenache represent good values.

If money were no object, which wines from this area would you recommend?

Even though Santa Rita Hills gets the most attention for the pinot noirs and chardonnays, I think Rhône varietals, especially syrah and grenache, are very high-quality options.

What’s the most surprisingly good wine and food combination you’ve tried recently?

Saumur-Champigny, which is a cabernet franc from [France’s] Loire Valley, paired with foie gras and roasted potatoes, black truffles, and pancetta.

Originally appeared in 805 Living Magazine, https://www.805living.com/archive.html

Koen Masschelein, director of food and beverage, certified sommelier Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, fourseasons.com/westlakevillage

Koen Masschelein previously held the position of director of food and beverage at Four Seasons Sydney, Australia. His career in the international hospitality industry has also taken him to Manila, Singapore, Beijing, Abu Dhabi, New York, and Paris.

Who are some of your local wine heroes?

The pioneers, people that set out to discover and do the hard work so a lot of others could step in the path they created. Everyone knows the big names of the Northern California areas but some time from now, there’ll be a lot to say about our local pioneers as well. A hundred years ago, there was wine that was grown here but only recently modern viticulture kicked in, and I tip my hat to everyone doing their thing now as it is not the glamorous career aspiration a lot of us think it is. It’s hard work!

What local chefs are using wine in interesting ways?

Not enough. I feel like the focus in the area is more on the rise of craft breweries and beers than on wine, but it is growing. With the increasing number of good eateries, more wine comes into play as well. There remains a lot to be said about the local Malibu wine scene—which does not get enough attention—growing year after year, and they definitely deserve it. Our own chefs here at Coin & Candor, Jose Fernandez and Jesus Medina, really do appreciate a good wine pairing, so we’re off to a good start.

What local wines or winemakers are you most excited about right now?

Villa Creek is one out of Paso Robles. I also came across an Aja Vineyards 2012 Shiraz recently and was blown away by the quality of that wine. We’ll have it on pour by the glass very soon here at the hotel.

What are people from Old World wine regions most surprised to learn about wines from the Central Coast?

The fact that there are so many wineries here. Very little of it makes it out, practically none overseas, so you get to see, taste, and try very little of it until you are in the 805 area. But as always, it’s the people that make the wine and we have a bunch of really passionate and energetic people here, so when you get to try some of the individual growers, people are convinced of the quality and potential.

Originally appeared in 805 Living Magazine, https://www.805living.com/archive.html

Ali Rush Carscaden, owner, certified advanced sommelier, 15c Wine Shop and Bar, Templeton, 15degreescwines.com

Ali Rush Carscaden got her start with a job in the tasting room at Castoro Cellars in Paso Robles and later, armed with a master’s degree in agriculture, worked in sales for Eberle Winery, also in Paso, and as a fine wine specialist for the Henry Wine Group. She founded 15c Wine Shop and Bar in 2007 and enjoys leading special trips to France and Spain to enjoy the fruits of her passion’s labor.

Who are some of your local wine heroes?

I am a huge fan and supporter of females in the industry, including Jordan Fiorentini, an amazing winemaker for Epoch Estate Wines. She is sweet and humble with an amazing energy and charisma. Amy Butler, affectionately known as Calamity Jane, is a winemaker for her own label, Ranchero Cellars, and is also a very sought-after consulting winemaker for many labels. Stephanie Terrizzi, a mother of twins and viticulturist, also has an incredible fresh pasta shop called Etto Pastificio in Tin City. All these women are very driven, successful, and manage to balance life including families, work, and health.

What are some unique wine-education or wine-pairing experiences you would recommend to people in this area?

I teach a six-week wine-university wine-education course that goes over all the major wine regions of the world and includes blind tastings and food pairings. Ian Adamo at Somm’s Kitchen does a great job, as well as my friend Jenna Congdon, who does pop-up wine school classes at SLO Provisions on Sundays. Also, by appointment only, L’Aventure Winery does a great food pairing and tasting.

How is wine being used with food in interesting ways locally?

At 15c we do some pretty fun pizza and wine pairings as well as our drunken mushroom dish cooked in a wine reduction. Also, we do a frosé—a frozen rosé slushy.

If money were no object, which wines from this area would you recommend?

Ledge reds, Scar of the Sea single vineyard varieties, El Lugar Pinot Noir, Tablas Creek Esprit, and The Farm Cardinal.

What’s the most surprisingly good wine and food combination you’ve tried recently?

I was in Málaga and tasted a dry muscatel paired with the freshest seafood ever: cuttlefish and fried baby shrimp that look like french fries with eyes.

What are people from Old World wine regions most surprised to learn about the wines of the Central Coast?

I think that the alcohol in some of our wines gives us a bad rap in the Old World, but once they taste the wines and see how well balanced some of them are, they are blown away.

Jill Tweedie

Originally appeared in 805 Living Magazine, https://www.805living.com/archive.html

Jill Tweedie, owner, Breakaway Tours and Event Planning, Central Coast, breakaway-tours.com

When Jill Tweedie founded her company in 1995, it was long before the Central Coast was popular as a wine region. She’s a Level 1 Sommelier and WSET [Wine & Spirit Education Trust] Level II in Wine & Spirits.

Who are some of your local wine heroes?

Women winemakers. Women sommeliers for that matter, too. When I began my career in wine 24 years ago, women were primarily in the hospitality side, not production, vineyard management, owners, nor somms. Now, 10 percent of the more than 4,000 wineries in California are led by women. They inspire me with their finesse, passion, talent, dedication, and persistence.

Cheers to a few of my faves, in no particular order: Jordan Fiorentini, Epoch Estate Wines; Amy Butler, Ranchero Cellars, LXV, and Pelletiere Estates; Janell Dusi, J Dusi Wines; Hilary Graves, Mighty Nimble; Kamee Knutson, Edna Valley Vineyard; Jill DelaRiva Russell, Cambria Winery; Karen Steinwachs, Buttonwood Winery & Vineyard; Kat Gaffney, Spear Vineyards & Winery; Lane Tanner, Lumen; and Kathy Joseph, Fiddlehead Cellars.

What are some unique wine-education or wine-pairing experiences that you would recommend to people in this area?

A few standouts are Steinbeck Wines in Paso Robles with a Crash Course Jeep tour of its 500-acre family vineyard, mostly with owner Cindy Steinbeck herself.

Also in Paso, LXV offers the unique experience of pairing to exotic spices and seasoning blends, inspired by various regions, traditions, and stories.

At Autry Cellars in San Luis Obispo, winemaker Steve Autry personally conducts barrel tastings of not only his big wines but of his brandy as well.

The Coastline Tour at Presqu’ile in Santa Maria includes seasonal culinary pairings, an estate and cave tour, and finishes with a side-by-side tasting of single-vineyard pinot noirs.

If money were no object, which wines from this area would you recommend?

Jonata, located in Ballard Canyon AVA, Santa Ynez Valley, a sister winery to Screaming Eagle. Matt Dees, a natural-born winemaker, along with Drew Pickering, makes exceptional wine. I’m a fool for cool climate syrah and blends. The Ballard Canyon AVA is so interesting to me not only for its distinct terroir but also because it’s America’s only syrah-focused appellation.

What local wines or winemakers are you most excited about right now?

I’m a big fan of Carhartt Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley. Brooke Carhartt, a self-made winemaker, with her first vintage in 1998, is not only talented but the loveliest of people. I find their wines extremely balanced with great structure. Coupled with Old World alcohol levels, they hit my all my markers. For collectors, visiting the ranch (by appointment only) is an experience not to be missed. Its hospitality is as top-shelf as its wines, which are soldexclusively through the tasting room and online.

What’s the most surprisingly good wine and food combination you’ve tried recently?

Claiborne & Churchill of San Luis Obispo is one of my favorite producers for my go-to summer wines. I repeatedly vacillate between its riesling and gewürztraminer, both dry, complex, and refreshing. We recently enjoyed its Estate 2016 Riesling with a beautiful chilled peach soup. Perhaps not a surprising pairing but on a warm evening at Lake San Antonio, nothing is finer.

Kristen Shubert

Originally appeared in 805 Living Magazine, https://www.805living.com/archive.html

Kristen Shubert, owner, sommelier, founder of Wine Wars, 2018 Wine Tasting U.S. Open champion, VinTura Tasting Room & Wine Rack, Ventura, vinturatastingroom.com

Kristen Shubert was a member of the U.S. team that placed third at the World Wine Tasting Championship in Provence, France, in October 2016, and she was the first woman on the team. As the owner of VinTura Tasting Room, she currently presides over 72 types of wine served by the taste, glass, flight, or bottle.

Who are some of your local wine heroes?

Matt and Elissa Lester, owners of Lester Family Cellars, and Eddie and Stephanie Schwartz from Labyrinth Winery are my heroes because they are mom-and-pop start-up wineries. They knew they wanted to create their own wines and found a way to make that happen in Ventura. They are all the most incredibly down-to-earth people who will talk wine with anyone who walks into their tasting room. Matt Lester is also very knowledgeable about winemaking and sponsors a small group of home winemakers in the L.A. area.

Richard Sanford is a legend in the Central Coast area. We call him the Grape Whisperer. He was the first to plant pinot noir in 1971, realizing the weather patterns of the CentralCoast were ideal for the grape. He was instrumental in creating AVAs in the area.

What are some unique wine-education and wine-pairing experiences that you would recommend to people in this area?

Karen Stuart at Four Brix has created wine and cheese–pairing events with local cheesemonger Fritz Leon. They create custom pairings with the Four Brix wines and cheeses from around the world. At these events, Fritz lectures about the origins, history, and traits of the cheeses.

As far as educational experiences, Labyrinth Winery has a class each month that features wine pairings or wines from selected countries accompanied by tasting and a brief lecture by sommelier Greg Leon.

What local chefs are using wine in interesting ways?

Café Zack offers wine dinners that are limited in attendance, so everyone receives attention. They have excellent pairings from favorite wineries like Justin. Their next wine dinner features the wines from Laetitia, a real treat!

If money were no object, which wines from this area would you recommend?

There is a great sparkler at Laetitia. The grenache or any of the Rhône varietals from Tablas Creek are true to the varietal. Older Justin vintages of Isosceles, Daou Reserve Cabernet for big reds, Alma Rosa and Sea Smoke for a beautiful pinot noir, or Stolpman Ruben’s Block Syrah.

What local wines or winemakers are you most excited about right now?

McKinney Family Vineyards. Matt McKinney was a world-class volleyball player who attended UCLA but fell in love with wine when he sampled wines from around the world while competing. He has a Bordeaux style blend, Napoleon’s Secret, which is a stunner from the Santa Ynez Valley.

What’s the most surprisingly good wine and food combination you’ve tried recently?

I read about Dom Perigean Champagne and pepperoni pizza. It was actually a great combo.

Robin Puricelli

Originally appeared in 805 Living Magazine, https://www.805living.com/archive.html

Robin Puricelli, assistant director of food and beverage, sommelier, Lido at Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa, Pismo Beach, thedolphinbay.com/lido

Robin Puricelli oversees Lido at Dolphin Bay’s wine cellar of more than 900 local and international wines, each expertly selected to pair with the restaurant’s coastal cuisine.

Who are some of your local wine heroes?

Brian Talley of Talley Vineyards, Mike Sinor of Sinor-LaVallee, James Ontiveros of Rancho de Ontiveros, Ryan Deovlet of Deovlet Wines, and Coby Parker-Garcia of Claiborne & Churchill Winery, to name a few. Not only are they responsible for the success of the SLO County wine region—along with several more producers—they are the nicest people, and so humble and supporting of each other and everyone in the community. And the best part is their wines are delicious. Angela Osborne of A Tribute to Grace is also my inspiration for making beautiful, expressive grenache from several different single vineyards. Her wines are so pure and truly showcase the site. Not to mention she is a badass!

What are some unique wine-pairing experiences that you would recommend?

I’ve been challenged lately to pair red wine with fish, especially for our chef’s tasting menu, which has several seafood choices. The progression of the dishes did not match my ideas for wine progression, so I had to get creative. One would automatically think pinot noir, but I like to go farther. I paired the Field Recordings Cabernet Franc with the crab-stuffed sole in red-pepper cream sauce—that was just perfect. The dish was a heartier style, which matched well with the herbaceous cab franc.

What local chefs are using wine in interesting ways?

I love what we are doing here at Lido restaurant with our chef, Richard Pfaff. It’s inspiring to work with a chef who incorporates wine in many of his dishes and uses it to highlight the main component as well as harmonize with the featured wine pairings we offer. We are planning a Beaujolais dinner in the fall in which he will use the featured wine to make vin chaud to poach seasonal pears and accompany the warm, spiced wine drink with the dish. Our Baked Brie en Croute with a blackberry-syrah reduction can be an appetizer or a savory dessert. It pairs beautifully with the spicy Stolpman syrah blend or a port dessert wine.

If money were no object, which wines from this area would you recommend?

Alban Pandora Grenache is magical. The aromatics are wild and exotic with long-lasting flavors and pure, dense, and rich fruit. It’s a serious stunner. Saxum is a staple showstopper and the James Berry Vineyard put Paso Robles Rhône blends in the spotlight. Intensely perfumed and richly concentrated, they are always a winner.

What local wines or winemakers are you most excited about right now? We’d love to hear about some up-and-comers.

Monochrome, Hubba wines, Lady of the Sunshine, El Lugar, and Ann Albert.

What’s the most surprisingly good wine and food combination you’ve tried recently?

Our elegant and light-bodied local grenache from Locura Wine pairs beautifully with fish. The local halibut with Mediterranean couscous and stone fruit was complemented by the wine’s juicy acidity and highlighted the exotic spices and savory edge of the wine, which never overpowered the delicacy of the fish.

Hayden Felice

Originally appeared in 805 Living Magazine, https://www.805living.com/archive.html

Hayden Felice, wine director, Acme Hospitality, Santa Barbara, acmehospitality.com

As the wine director for Acme Restaurant Properties—which include The Lark, Lucky Penny, Santa Barbara Wine Collective, Loquita, and Tyger Tyger—Hayden Felice offers a knowledgeable view into the depth and breadth of the 805 wine scene.

Who are some of your local wine heroes?

Richard Sanford is a local legend. Talk about ahead of his time: He planted pinot noir in Santa Rita Hills in 1971. The vineyard is still one of the top vineyard sources in the county. He’s also one of the most patient, knowledgeable, humble, and kind people I’ve met inthe wine industry and an incredible human.

Rajat Parr and Sashi Moorman, partners in the Sandhi and Domaine de la Côte wine labels, are part of the vanguard. Raj, a brilliant but humble force of nature, brings his epic tasting ability and entrée into the greatest domaines in the world to bear on Santa Barbara County and Oregon’s Willamette Valley. He is always looking to help people in the wine community move the ball forward. He is generous with both his considerable knowledge and extremely limited time. Sashi is a passionate, reflective, sharp, and searching winemaker who executes their shared vision, focusing on biodynamic vineyard care and high-density planting.

What local winemakers are you most excited about right now?

Raj and Sashi again. Amy Christine and Peter Hunken of Joy Fantastic, Kyle Knapp at Stolpman, Justin Willett of Tyler, Wenzlau, and soon-to-be other projects, Matt Brady of Samsara, and Drake Whitcraft of Whitcraft.

What’s the most surprisingly good wine and food combination you’ve tried recently?

Sushi Bar Montecito’s 17-course omakase menu with a 1-liter bottle of Les Vins Pirouettes by Christian Binner, Le Sylvaner Glouglou d’Hubert et Christian.

What are people from Old World wine regions most surprised to learn about the wines from the Central Coast?

Wines here can be very low alcohol, crunchy, and mineral-driven.

Click here to read these stories as they appeared in 805 Living magazine, September 2019. 805 Living Sept 2019 Wine Wisdom 805 sept 2019 cover

Getting Schooled in Museum Education

student interns strike a pose. Courtesy UCSB Art, Design & Architecture Museum.

Art, Design & Architecture Museum student interns strike a pose. Courtesy UCSB Art, Design & Architecture Museum.

Interns at the Art, Design & Architecture Museum earn academic credit and valuable experience

By Leslie Dinaberg
Wednesday, August 28, 2019 – 06:00 Santa Barbara, CA

When this year’s cohort of interns take their place at UC Santa Barbara’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum (AD&A Museum), they’ll have the opportunity not only to add valuable skills to their own resumes, but also serve to the University and the broader Santa Barbara community.

“We are contributing to the development of the museum field by fostering future professionals,” said Elyse Gonzales, AD&A Museum’s acting director. “I also see the internship program, and all of our efforts really, as a means of developing future museum visitors, members, and donors for our museum and all museums in general. Our goals for the undergraduate internship program at the AD&A Museum are quite ambitious.”

Internships for academic credit are offered in the curatorial, collections management, archival management, programs/events, education outreach and public relations departments of the AD&A Museum. The museum also offers collaborative internships with the University Library’s special collections department; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, where interns serve as gallery guides for students in grades six through 12; and with online platform impactmania — in collaboration with the Neuroscience Research Institute, Department of Religious Studies and global partners — where interns work to deliver a suite of interviews, interactive presentations, and events related to the topic “Human Mind and Migration.”

“I approach all of our UCSB students — really all students — who come to the museum the same way, with a warm welcome, emphasizing that the museum is for them,” Gonzales said. “If we can get them to visit while they are at UCSB, give them a positive experience and help them understand that the museum is not an intimidating place — this is not a place that is about exclusion, it’s about inclusion — then you’ve hooked a museum-goer for the rest of their life.

The more we can reach out to and engage younger generations, the better we are going to be in the long run. And when I say ‘we’ I mean the AD&A Museum, but also museums in general.”

Gonzales credits much of the vision for the internship program to Bruce Robertson, the recently retired museum director. “Studies reveal that most museum professionals and others in the arts became interested in these fields because they had a pivotal moment with an object or a formative creative experience. Knowing that, and with education as the imperative of the entire university, we immediately understood that we could make a significant contribution to our field,” Gonzales said. “But, also the reality of our situation is that we have a lot of tasks, projects, and events that need to be executed and managed and loads of ambitions to do even more. Knowing this, it became clear that working with students would not only help them but help us achieve our goals and mission.”

Focused on professional development, the resulting program pairs students with employees at the museum.

“The students have been great to work with — they are excited to learn new things, go ‘behind the scenes’ at the museum, and are able to explore possible career paths,” said Architecture and Design Collection Reference Archivist Julia Larson. “The students are eager to come in for their intern shifts because they are working on concrete projects — putting materials in folders, organizing and labelling collections, assisting with cataloging which they can cite as examples of work projects for future jobs or grad school. They also ask a lot of good questions and force me to think through my work and how best to explain things.

“The students learn how to process archival collections,” she added, “which is very hands-on work.”

Said Susan Lucke, collections manager and registrar, “We rely on our interns so much. They’re just not doing entry-level work. They actually get to do work that I would do. We need the help, and they gain a lot of experience and that’s so useful when they start to look for a job.

“I think it’s helpful for kids to look at all their options in school and this is a really a good program,” Lucke continued. “It’s not like sitting in a classroom with 300 other kids. It’s more of an intimate experience, and students get a lot of one-on-one attention plus it enables them to look at another side of life.”

AD&A Museum interns have gone on to graduate school; the Peace Corps; and to careers at many different kinds of museums, including the Smithsonian, the Peterson Automotive Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara and the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara, among others.

For-credit internships are open to undergraduates in all majors. “We find that many of our interns love art and architecture but also feel like they need to have a degree in something else, something they perceive as being more stable,” said Gonzales.

“The impetus behind this internship program is primarily to help give students professional experiences but also to help alleviate student and parental concerns about future career opportunities,” she added. “In addition, one of my goals is to help reflect the diversity of our campus and to create opportunities to diversify the field for future museum leadership.”

What she feels most proud about the internship program is that when students leave, they have concrete real- world experiences they can put on a resume and several individuals willing to give them a great reference. “A really smart and committed intern can do wonders,” Gonzales noted. “We should know, our museum wouldn’t function half so well without their terrific help.”

Originally published in the UCSB Current on August 28, 2019.

Bells Will Be Ringing

Performance by university carillonist Wesley Arai celebrates the 50th anniversary of Storke Tower

By Leslie Dinaberg

Tuesday, August 20, 2019 – 12:00, Santa Barbara, CA

University Carillonist Wesley Arai, courtesy photo.

University Carillonist Wesley Arai, courtesy photo.

From a small space atop Storke Tower, the music Wesley Arai creates on a 61-bell carillon rings out across the UC Santa Barbara campus.

Audiences will be treated to a special program Sunday, Aug. 25, when Arai, the university carillonist, gives a recital as part of series celebrating the 50th anniversary of Storke Tower. Free and open to the public, the concert begins at 2 p.m. Listeners are encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs to sit on the grass beneath the tower.

“I realize that most people aren’t familiar with the carillon, so I try to make my recitals accessible and varied,” said Arai, who also oversees the maintenance of the instrument and organizes guest carillon recitals as part of his duties. The summer concert will include well-known classical music, popular songs and some music written specifically for the carillon. As a tribute to the 50th anniversary, Arai said, “I’ve been trying to also include music that is significant to the university and its carillon. Going with that theme, the concert will likely include some music written for the campus carillon, music written by past university carillonists and school songs.”

Arai, also a lecturer in the Department of Music, has performed extensively across the United States and abroad. He has recently performed in Australia, at the Eighth Berkeley Carillon Festival, at the Springfield International Carillon Festival and at the Congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America, which this year took place in Lake Wales, Florida. In addition, he gave the dedicatory recital for the carillon at the University of Washington. Arai also performs annually at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Spokane, Washington.

In addition to the carillon, Arai has studied piano, trombone and voice, and has performed in a variety of concert bands, marching bands, jazz bands, orchestras and choral groups. He also enjoys arranging music and occasionally performs some of his own arrangements on the carillon.

An alumnus of UC Berkeley, where he received bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and in statistics, Arai discovered the carillon as an undergraduate student. “I would hear the bells all the time while walking to class,” he said, “and I heard there was a class to learn how to play — so I signed up and have been playing ever since.”

Enthusiastic to share his passion and skill, Arai invites UC Santa Barbara students interested in learning to play the Storke Tower carillon to email him at warai at gmail dot com to schedule a piano audition. Enrollment is limited to three students per quarter.

Storke Tower and its carillon were a gift from Thomas More Storke, former publisher of the Santa Barbara News-Press. The instrument consists of 61 bells cast by Petit & Fritsen of the Netherlands, with the bells weighing from 18 pounds to 2.5 tons and spanning five octaves. The carillon at UC Santa Barbara is a much larger modern copy of historical instruments that were invented approximately 500 years ago in the Low Countries of Europe. Then, tower bells were used to signal time, much like a clock chime, and as a means of additional notifications (e.g. an enemy is approaching) and directives, such as to close the city gates or go to church.

Eventually, the number of bells was increased and they were connected to a keyboard to facilitate the performance of music. A melody was often played to attract the attention of the townspeople before the hour bell tolled the time throughout the day. A carillon is played with the fists and feet, and the action is completely mechanical. To vary the dynamics of the music, the performer must strike the key harder or use a lighter touch, much like a piano.

Originally published in the UCSB Current on August 20, 2019.