The Annual CALM Celebrity Authors’ Luncheon is always a lovely event to support a great cause.
On March 16, more than 600 book lovers will gather for a day of appearances and book signings from a variety of authors, both big-name and local, with all proceeds going to benefit the good work of Child Abuse Listening Mediation (CALM) and raise awareness and funds for its programs and services to prevent and treat child abuse and to promote healing.
International Women’s Day is coming up soon, and I can’t think of a better way to toast the occasion than by attending the third annual Santa Barbara County Women Winemakers Dinner.
I’ve been to the event every year and it’s a really delicious, heartwarming and fun evening—and it just keeps getting better and better! This year’s festivities benefit the Women’s Fund of Northern Santa Barbara County and bring together a great team of female winemakers, chefs, bakers and gourmet food purveyors.
Taking place at K’Syrah Catering & Events (478 4th Place, Solvang, kscateringandevents.com) on March 8, more than 20 female winemakers will be joined by some of the Santa Ynez Valley’s leading culinary luminaries, who are collaborating to create a four-course, sit-down dinner to pair with the wines.
In addition to the seated dinner portion of the night, this year’s event will once again feature more than 20 women winemakers at pre-dinner tasting reception, which includes passed appetizers and a cheese table.
Karen Steinwachs, Buttonwood Farm & Winery winemaker and co-founder of the annual Women Winemakers Dinner, stands back row, center, among Santa Barbara County women winemakers participating Winemakers at the 2018 event. Photo by Deborah Chadsey, In Paradise Photography.
Participating winemakers and wineries pouring in the tent for the reception are:
VIP-level tickets for this year’s event include both the tasting tent and the seated dinner, where guests will be treated to wine pairings by, and conversation with, an exclusive selection of some of Santa Barbara County’s female winemakers. A dessert reception will follow the seated dinner, where guests may continue to mingle with the winemakers.
The winemakers and wineries for the seated, VIP pairing dinner portion of the event include:
Dana Volk, D. Volk Wines
Annie Smith, CNAGY WINES
Lane Tanner, Lumen Wines
Brit Zotovich, Dreamcôte Wine Co.
Gretchen Voelcker, Luna Hart Wines
Helen Falcone, Falcone Family Vineyards
Adrienne St. John, Rideau Vineyard
Laura Roach, Loubud Wines
K’Syrah Catering & Events Executive Chef Brooke Stockwell (second from right), celebrates with collaborating Chefs Pink (aka Crystal DeLongpre, far right), Cynthia Miranda (center) and Alicia Valencia (third from left), after the 2018 Women Winemakers Dinner. Photo by Deborah Chadsey, In Paradise Photography.
In a working environment that sees about 10% of the global wine industry as female winemakers, Karen Steinwachs, co-founder of the annual Women Winemakers Dinner, says, “Santa Barbara County boasts a much higher percentage of women winemakers than most places in the world, with nearly double the average.”
Tickets are available at womenwinemakersdinner2019.eventbrite.com. Tasting Tent Tickets (5:30 -7:30 p.m.), which include appetizers and wine tastings, are $50. VIP Tickets, which include the tasting tent and the seated, four-course dinner with wine pairings, are $125 (VIP level ticket seating is limited, advance ticket purchase is required).
Proceeds benefit the Women’s Fund of Northern Santa Barbara County, a giving circle where individuals combine their money and/or time so that they can have a bigger impact on the causes most important to them, than they would by individually donating. In the past three years, the Women’s Fund of Northern Santa Barbara County distributed $140,000 in grants to organizations serving women, children, the arts and the community.
This is sure to be a wonderful evening, and it’s certainly a great cause. Hope to see some of you there! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.
When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”
Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) opens with world premiere of Diving Deep:The Life and Times of Mike deGruy, directed by Mimi deGruy. Closing night film is Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story, directed by Wyatt Daily. Just announced: Rami Malek to receive Outstanding Performer of the Year on Friday, Feb. 1. Plus tributes to Viggo Mortensen, Glenn Close, Melissa McCarthy, Michael B. Jordan and more, including 64 world premiere and 59 U.S. premiere films.
“SBIFF is an event that brings together a plethora of visitors—international, national and local filmmakers, Oscar contenders, vital educational programs,” said Executive Director Roger Durling at a kick-off press conference earlier this month. “We have entered this year with a renewed sense of purpose and continuity with the festival and understand more than ever the important role we play in the community. As such, we have chosen to bookend our festival with two films about iconic people and places in Santa Barbara to highlight the resilience, vitality and the talent within the Santa Barbara community.”
Here’s an overview of the entire festival, which runs from Wednesday, January 30 through Saturday, February 9.
SBIFF 2019 will start with the Opening Night Film, presented by UGG®, on Wednesday, January 30, at the historic Arlington Theatre with the world premiere of Diving Deep:The Life and Times of Mike deGruy, directed by Mimi deGruy. A feature film documentary about Mike deGruy, an irrepressible biologist turned award-winning filmmaker who swam, dived and filmed in oceans around the world and in the process became the first to film many rarely seen creatures in their own oceans. He was also a passionate advocate of the ocean’s creatures and became increasingly outspoken as an environmental activist. In 2012, deGruy died tragically in a helicopter crash in Australia while filming for director James Cameron. Told through the eyes of his wife and filmmaking partner, Diving Deep celebrates deGruy’s remarkable life, career and what he passionately believed: we are destroying the ocean before we even know what’s there.
Following the film, the Opening Night Gala, sponsored by Amazon Studios, will take place in Paseo Nuevo Shops and Restaurants in downtown Santa Barbara. Always a fun event, the party features entertainment, food, libations, and a chance to celebrate the start of SBIFF.
The Festival will close Saturday, February 9 at the Arlington Theatre with the world premiere of Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story directed by Wyatt Daily. The Closing Night Film is sponsored by Winchester Mystery House.
Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story is an exploration of how one of the most significant corners of the world produced, and continues to produce, some of the most talented surfers and innovators. Deeper than all is a story of craftsmanship, work ethic, renegades and tradition. This is a film that goes beyond the time spent in the ocean to define how one spends a lifetime. Following the film, SBIFF will end with a final celebration at the Closing Night Party sponsored by Amazon Studios.
SBIFF has become an important showcase for Academy Award frontrunners, many of whom have arrived as nominees and gone on to win the Oscar. The 34th SBIFF proudly celebrates some of the year’s finest work in film.
Michael B. Jordan (Creed II, Black Panther) will receive the Cinema Vanguard Award presented by Belvedere Vodka on Thursday, February 7 at 8 p.m.
All tributes take place at the historic Arlington Theatre with the exception of the Variety Artisans Award which will be at the Lobero Theatre, presented by Toyota Mirai.
MIchael B. Jordan, courtesy SBIFF.
SBIFF has become renowned for creating smart, insightful panels that feature a who’s who in the world of filmmaking, including many Oscar contenders.
Producers Panel will be on Saturday, February 2 at 10 a.m., moderated by Glenn Whipp.
Writers Panel will be on Saturday,February 2 at 1 p.m., moderated by Anne Thompson.
Women’s Panel will be on Sunday, February 3 at 11 a.m., moderated by Madelyn Hammond.
All panels take place at the Lobero Theatre, presented by Toyota Mirai. Panelists to be announced.
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS AND FREE SCREENINGS
Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies – Named for renowned nature cinematographer Mike deGruy, Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies uses filmmaking to stimulate creative, confident, and culturally aware thinkers. The program is offered to 4,000 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students from throughout Santa Barbara County, and SBIFF provides free transportation to students from Title I schools. This year SBIFF presents Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse with directors Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti Jr., Rodney Rothman and Ralph Breaks the Internet with directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston. The directors will participate in a Q&A following the screenings with the students to discuss the craft of animated filmmaking. Sponsored by Montecito Bank & Trust, Patagonia, Union Bank, Bentson Foundation and Volentine Family Foundation.
Student Film Studies Program – Returning for its fifth year thanks to the generosity of Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin, the national student film studies program will bring 30 undergraduate film students from across the country for a three-day symposium with a focus on film appreciation, criticism, and analysis. Sixty college students in Santa Barbara have the opportunity to take an 11-Day Film Festival course through Santa Barbara City College.
AppleBox Family Films – SBIFF will again screen animated feature frontrunners free to families on the weekends of the Festival with complimentary popcorn and refreshments. This year’s screenings will include Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (10 a.m. on February 2), Ralph Breaks the Internet (10 a.m. on February 3), and Incredibles 2 (10 a.m. on February 9). Sponsored by Metropolitan Theatres.
10–10–10Student Screenwriting and Filmmaking Mentorship and Competition – In October, 20 high school and college screenwriters and filmmakers were accepted after a competitive application process before beginning a series of workshops, a table read, and a casting day. Since then, the ten writer/director teams and their crews have worked with industry mentors to produce short films that will be screened on Saturday, February 9 at 2 p.m. at The Arlington Theatre, with an announcement of the winning scripts and films following the screening. Sponsored by Final Draft Inc. and generously supported by Mary Beth Riordan.
Free Public Screenings – SBIFF will again offer critically acclaimed film screenings free to the public at the Lobero Theatre presented by Toyota Mirai everyday throughout the Festival.
Filmmaker Seminars – SBIFF will again present educational seminars that will be free to the public and will take place in the Festival Pavilion daily at 11 a.m. Filmmaker Seminars are sponsored by Driscoll’s.
Super Silent Sunday –On Sunday, February 3, SBIFF will present the 1927 influential German science-fiction film Metropolis at the Arlington Theatre completely free to the public. Live accompaniment will be provided by Adam Aceto on the theatre’s Wonder Morton pipe organ. Super Silent Sunday is sponsored by Winchester Mystery House.
Youth CineMedia – SBIFF presentsa documentary film series produced entirely by teens involved in the Youth CineMedia program. Striving to help children transition away from gang life, drugs, and alcohol and into college and careers in music, photography, and video production, the organization offers creative tools, training, and support for underprivileged and at–risk teens. Free to the public with Q&A following on Saturday, February 9.
FOCUS ON SANTA BARBARA
Santa Barbara Filmmakers – The Santa Barbara filmmaking community continues to captivate and inspire audiences with this year’s impressive lineup. Santa Barbara filmmakers provide a diverse, thought–provoking series of features and shorts.
The “Stand Up” Award sponsored by ADL – The Santa Barbara Tri–Counties Region of the Anti–Defamation League will be sponsoring and presenting the “ADL Stand Up Award” to a dramatic film in the festival that represents an important addition to the efforts of the ADL “to secure justice and fair treatment for all.”
The Tribute Awards were once again specially designed by Santa Barbara’s own Daniel Gibbings Jewelry. The award is inspired by the iconic steeple of Santa Barbara’s historic Arlington Theatre, is handcrafted in metal, and is 24 karat gold–plated, with a custom marble base.
34th Festival Poster – Barbara Boros has designed the SBIFF poster each year for 16 years, this year highlighting Butterfly Beach.
Official Festival Hub – The official festival hub will again be located at Hotel Santa Barbara, returning for their 16th year as supporters of SBIFF.
Below is the list of feature and short films at the 2019 SBIFF. For the complete list of films, synopses, and other special events, visit www.sbiff.org.
20 WORLD PREMIERE FEATURE FILMS(listed alphabetically)
Babysplitters, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Sam Friedlander
Better Together, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Isaac Hernández
The Bird Catcher, Norway, UK – World Premiere
Directed by Ross Clarke
Cemetery Park, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Brandon Alvis
Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Mimi deGruy
Enormous: The Gorge Story, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Nic Davis
Find Your Groove, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Michael Kirk
Guest Artist, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Timothy Busfield
Ham on Rye, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Tyler Taormina
Here and Now (Aquí y ahora), Costa Rica – World Premiere
Directed by Paz León
Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Jason Baffa
Making Apes: The Artists Who Changed Film, USA – World Premiere
Directed by William Conlin
The Map to Paradise, Australia – World Premiere
Directed by Danielle Ryan and James Sherwood
Ordinary Gods, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Pascui Rivas
Peel, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Rafael Monserrate
Quiet Storm, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Johnny Sweet
Silent Forests, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Mariah Wilson
Spoons: A Santa Barbara Story, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Wyatt Daily
Working Man, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Robert Jury
Zulu Summer, South Africa, USA – World Premiere
Directed by Joseph Litzinger and Eric Michael Schrader
51 U.S. PREMIERE FEATURE FILMS(listed alphabetically)
Alone at My Wedding (Seule à mon mariage), Belgium – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Marta Bergman
Amá, UK – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Lorna Tucker
Angel Face (Gueule d’ange), France – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Vanessa Filho
The Apollo of Gaza (L’Apollon de Gaza), Switzerland, Canada – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Nicolas Wadimoff
Belmonte, Uruguay, Spain, Mexico – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Federico Veiroj
Betrayal (Traición), Mexico – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Ignacio Ortiz Cruz
Break (Recreo), Argentina – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Hernán Guerschuny and Jazmín Stuart
Breaking Habits, USA – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Robert Ryan
Celeste, Australia – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Ben Hackworth
Crystal Swan (Khrustal), Belarus – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Darya Zhuk
The Dead and the Others (Chuva é cantoria na aldeia dos mortos), Brazil, Portugal – U.S. Premiere
Directed by João Salaviza and Renée Nader Messora
Emma Peeters, Canada, Belgium – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Nicole Palo
Ether (Eter), Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Ukraine, Italy – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Krzysztof Zanussi
Fine Lines, Hong Kong – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Dina Khreino
Fly by Night (Fei chang dao), Malaysia – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Zahir Omar
Freaks, USA – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Adam Stein and Zach Lipovsky
Helmet Heads (Cascos indomables), Chile, Costa Rica – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Neto Villalobos
Here and Now, Israel – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Roman Shumunov
Holy Tour (La grande messe), Belgium, France – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Méryl Fortunat-Rossi and Valéry Rosier
I Act, I Am (Igram, sem), Slovenia – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Miroslav Mandic
Joel, Argentina – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Carlos Sorín
José, Guatemala, USA – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Li Cheng
Journey to a Mother’s Room (Viaje al cuarto de una madre), Spain – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Celia Rico Clavellino
King Bibi: The Life and Performances of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel, USA – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Dan Shadur
Land of Hope (Oma maa), Finland – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Markku Pölönen
Land of My Children (Im land meiner kinder), Germany, Switzerland – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Darío Aguirre
The Laps: Tasmania, Australia – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Dustin Hollick and Angie Davis
Les Dames (Ladies), Switzerland – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond
Metal Heart, Ireland – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Hugh O’Conor
Murderous Trance aka The Guardian Angel, Finland – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Arto Halonen
My Own Good (Il bene mio), Italy – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Pippo Mezzapesa
Nose to Tail, Canada – U.S. Premiere
Directed by Jesse Zigelstein
Not Quite Adults (Tampoco tan grandes), Argentina – U.S. Premiere
I’m always excited to hear about partnerships between local wineries, local businesses and local nonprofits. After all, when good wine benefits a good cause … well, it’s all good!
Most recently, Belmond El Encanto collaborated with the beautiful, family-owned Santa Ynez Valley winery Sunstone Winery to craft two custom blends in partnership with GO Campaign to support Youth Interactive, one of my favorite local organizations that works to create youth-led businesses to help participants explore their creative and entrepreneurial talents.
Belmond El Encanto worked directly with winemaker Bion Rice and the Sunstone team to craft each wine.
The first custom blend, released in December, is Enchanted Riviera (pictured above). It is a 2017 cuvée consisting of 50% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre. Each of the four lots used to compile this blend originated from the 28-year-old Sunstone Estate Vineyard.
The white blend, Charming Vista, will be available in early 2019. A select panel from Belmond El Encanto and Youth Interactive’s Board developed secret blends for a blind tasting at Sunstone Winery, and a Level 2 Sommelier from the winery chose the winning blend.
Youth Interactive Artist Jack Miles with his artwork that is featured on the “Enchanted Riviera” bottle. Courtesy photo.
“Youth Interactive means a lot to me. It is a safe place where I know that I can always come to and feel free to be myself and express myself. I am able to meet important people in the community and expand on my skills to become a better person,” says Miles, who hopes to find a job that allows him to utilize his talents and give back to the community.
Founded in 2012, Youth Interactive Santa Barbara is a grassroots after school Entrepreneurial Arts Academy that bridges opportunity and social divisions by providing creative young adults from all walks of life with the keys to self-sufficiency. Sold exclusively at the hotel, Belmond El Encanto will donate five dollars from each bottle sold to the organization.
You can also check out some of Youth Interactive’s other products at their new gallery space, the State Gallery @ YI Shop, located at 1219 State St. across from the Granada Theatre in Downtown Santa Barbara.
Sunstone Winery, courtesy photo.
“Collaborating with both Sunstone Winery and Youth Interactive is the perfect match for Belmond El Encanto,” says Colleen Huther, General Manager of Belmond El Encanto. “Being a strong advocate for sustainability, we appreciate the environmental preservation and organic growing that is inherent with Sunstone Winery. A majority of our local community outreach efforts focus on youth, the future stewards of our planet. We can’t think of a better youth organization to support than Youth Interactive.”
Cheers to good wine and good causes! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.
When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.
Actresses Allison Janney, Margot Robbie and moderator Scott Feinberg speak onstage at the Outstanding Performers Honoring Margot Robbie and Allison Janney Presented By Belvedere Vodka during The 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on February 8, 2018 in Santa Barbara. Photo by Rebecca Sapp, Getty Images for SBIFF.
A joyous celebration of the art of cinema, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is one of the leading film festivals in the U.S., offering its 90,000 attendees (comprised of an eclectic mix of locals and visitors from around the world) an 11-day experience jam-packed with 200+ films, tributes and panels.
Among the highlights of the 2019 festival, taking place Jan. 30 – Feb. 9, are the celebrity tributes at the historic Arlington Theatre. First up (at press time) is the American Riviera Award honoring Viggo Mortensen on the afternoon of Feb. 2. Mortensen will be recognized for his many attributes to the art of film over the years, and most recently, his work in Green Book.
Viggo Mortensen, courtesy SBIFF.
“Viggo is one of the steadiest acting forces in cinema and one of its greatest chameleons,” says SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling. “As Tony Lip in Green Book, he delivers the capstone to his remarkable career. He encapsulates the American Riviera Award. We greatly admire and love him.”
“Glenn Close is one of the great actresses of our time. Versatility is her hallmark, and there is clearly nothing she can’t do. She became a star with her first feature film, The World According to Garp, and has gone on to play everyone from Cruella de Vil to aging silent-film star Norma Desmond in the stage musical of Sunset Blvd. I can’t wait to spend an evening with her onstage at the Arlington Theatre,” states Maltin.
“Melissa McCarthy—always a compelling talent—triumphs as Lee Israel in Can You Ever Forgive Me?” says Durling. “She’s funny, dark, caustic and oh so vulnerable. SBIFF is so pleased to be able to award this performance and her career so far.”
SBIFF Virtuosos Award presented by UGG honoring Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Sam Elliott (A Star is Born), Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Claire Foy (First Man), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace), John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman),and Steven Yeun (Burning). Photos courtesy SBIFF.
“From talented teenagers starring in their first feature films to veteran actors shining in career-best performances, this year’s
Virtuosos prove that you can have a breakout moment at any point in your career,” says Turner Classic Movies host Dave Karger, who will preside over the evening for the eighth consecutive year.
“It’s thrilling to honor Michael B. Jordan this year for the emboldened way he’s shown us what it means to be a movie star for the 21st century—mixing sensitivity with swagger, choosing important material that remains full of integrity yet become world phenomenon, and forging a cinematic partnership with visionary director Ryan Coogler,” says Durling.
SBIFF educational offerings include a Film Studies Program for undergraduate students from around the U.S., and the 10-10-10 (Ten Writers – Ten Directors – Ten Films) Screenwriting and Filmmaking Mentorship and Competition. There are also numerous other educational opportunities for local students and community members. For more information and the complete schedule, visit sbiff.org.
Actor Sam Rockwell speaks onstage at The American Riviera Award Honoring Sam Rockwell during The 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on February 7, 2018 in Santa Barbara. Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer, Getty Images for SBIFF.
Buy local and help support the nonprofit Youth Interactive this weekend at their Makers Market on Saturday, December 22. This unique nonprofit creates youth led businesses to mentor students’ creativity, help ignite their imaginations and provide them with new opportunities to develop the life skills needed to succeed beyond school.
YI Shop (located at 1219 State St. across from the Granada Theatre) is filled to the brim with local artists and craftsman working alongside students to celebrate the holiday season and create beautiful items for lucky holiday shoppers.
For the perfect gift, unique, LOCAL, handmade and crafted with love, stop in the YI Shop for everything you will need to make the holiday season shine bright for everyone on your list.
Photo courtesy YI Shop.
YI Shop is partnering with some of the Central Coast’s most creative artisans to support our youth. Among the gift items, you’ll find:
Founded in 2012, Youth Interactive Santa Barbara (YI) is a grassroots after school Entrepreneurial Arts Academy that bridges opportunity & social divisions by providing creative young adults from all walks of life with the keys to self-sufficiency.
Past participants say, the YI approach has changed the pathway of their lives from a place of darkness & failure to success! Click here for more information.
Youth Interactive Holiday Market is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 22 at 1219 State St. in Downtown Santa Barbara. www.youthinteractive.us
San Marcos High School Kids Helping Kids program has to be one of the most interesting and unique. During the course of 16 years, students have raised more than 3.1 million dollars for charitable purposes—to improve the lives of disadvantaged children both globally and locally. This year’s student-run gala benefit concerts feature Ben Rector on Friday, Jan. 11, and JOHNNYSWIM on Saturday, Jan. 12.
Singer and songwriter, Ben Rector is most notably recognized for his smash hits such as “Drive” and “Brand New,” and he just released his sixth album, titled Magic, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Americana/Folk Charts and No. 44 on the Billboard 200 chart. The Oklahoma born and Nashville based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist uncovers that feeling of “magic” within 13 anthems equally rooted in whimsical nostalgia and excitement for the future. His ceaseless touring and prolific output paid off in a big way on the 2015 breakout Brand New. Clocking 41 million-plus streams on Spotify, the single organically landed over 40 film and television placements, including a trailer for The Edge of Seventeen, a TV spot for Disney’s Moana, and MLB World Series and Olympics primetime spots.
Kids Helping Kids is thrilled to bring back JOHNNYSWIM as the headliner for this year’s Saturday show on Jan. 12. Previously an opener for KHK, JOHNNYSWIM became a KHK fan favorite when they won over the crowd with hits like “Home” and “Diamonds.” Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano Ramirez make up JOHNNYSWIM. The pair met in Nashville in 2005. They clicked together musically and personally, beginning a romantic relationship along with their creative connection. JOHNNYSWIM can be easily recognized by their popular songs “Diamonds,” “Take the World,” and “Home.”
Presqu’ile Winery scores big in National Tasting Room Rankings, releases Rescue Wine Collection; The Pillars Wines showcase Bien Nacido Estate; Brick Barn Wine Estate Scores Big in Competition; Guarachi Wine Partners Acquires Parker Station; Cambria Estate Winery joins Stewards of the Land with Leonardo DiCaprio
Presqu’ile Winery Rates #2 in USA Today’s 10 Best Tasting Rooms in the U.S.
Presqu’ile, the Murphy Family’s contemporary estate winery in the hills of Santa Maria, placed second in USA TODAY’s 2018 National Readers Poll of 10 Best Tasting Rooms across the United States, serving as the only representative and entry from Santa Barbara County.
“Our mission at the Presqu’ile tasting room is to share our passion for the wines from Santa Maria Valley and our estate vineyard in a relaxed, elegant setting while providing world-class hospitality,” states Matt Murphy, co-founder and president. “The nomination for the top 10 Best Tasting Rooms and second place finish in the poll is a testament to the hard work our team puts in daily to deliver this experience. They are an extension of our family and do an incredible job living up to our high expectations for the guest experience at Presqu’ile. A huge thanks to our friends and extended family who voted for us; we are so appreciative of the support.”
Nominees for USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards categories are chosen by a panel of relevant experts. Presqu’ile (pronounced press-KEEL) is a small, family-run winery dedicated to making exceptional cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Presqu’ile is a multigenerational collaboration between Madison and Suzanne Murphy, their three adult children, Matt, Anna and Jonathan, and their daughters-in-law, Amanda and Lindsey. No strangers to agriculture, four generations of the wine-loving Murphy family have been farming land in Louisiana for almost a century. Led by eldest son Matt Murphy, the family founded Presqu’ile—the Creole word for “almost an island”—both as a tribute to a beloved Gulf Coast family gathering place that was lost in Hurricane Katrina, and because they envisioned Presqu’ile as an island-like haven amid the vines. Also on the team is rising star winemaker Dieter Cronje.
Left: Murphy family members Charlie, Anna, Matt, Pokey, Suzanne and Madison; right: Assistant Winemaker Mike Chase with Gus and Nyla. Photo courtesy of Presqu’ile.
Rescue Wine Collection
Presqu’ile also recently joined forces with the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society to release the Rescue Wine Collection named for the winning dog and cat of the Presqui’le Spokesdog and Spokescat Contest honoring the second annual Presqu’ile 5K9 Run & Walk held this fall. The contest and event benefited the work of the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society.
The Miller Family Releases of The Pillars Wines, Historically Inspired to Represent the Foundation of the Bien Nacido Estate
Nicholas Miller, Stephen Miller and Marshall Miller, proprietors of the Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills Estates. Courtesy photo.
The Miller family, owners and stewards of the Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills Estates, recently announced the release of The Pillars, a selection of three historically inspired wines from the most exceptional parcels within Bien Nacido Vineyard.
Since Bien Nacido Vineyard’s inception in 1973, the most impressive parcels of the vineyard have commanded the highest demand and demonstrated the greatest quality. It’s with this understanding that, after 45 years, the Miller Family has decided to craft these three special wines, anchored in the rich history of Bien Nacido and appropriately called the Pillars to represent the foundation of the winemaking program.
“The Pillars Wines were created to honor our family’s history, leadership and vision for growing the world’s best grapes and producing the highest quality wines from the Bien Nacido Estate,” shares Nicholas Miller, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “The name was really inspired by the pillars of our family.”
Bien Nacido & Solomon Hills Estates are part of The Thornhill Companies, the industry-leading umbrella brand owned by the Miller Family—one of California’s premier winegrowing families who have been farming California’s Central Coast for five generations. In addition to the Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills Estates, The Thornhill Companies includes such well-respected brands as J. Wilkes, Ballard Lane, Smashberry and Barrel Burner wines, French Camp vineyard in Paso Robles and the custom crush facilities Central Coast Wine Services and Paso Robles Wine Services.
2016 Albariño: Block 1 / Albariño Clone 1 / 1.9 acres. A lively rendition of this classic Spanish variety. Bright white flower aromatics build in the glass, leading to a crisp and direct core of exotic citrus and pear. These qualities are enhanced with extended skin contact, light pressing and extended cold settling prior to fermentation and aging in stainless steel. 2018 Sonoma County Harvest Challenge: Best in Class, Best in Show, Best White, Double Gold and Best of the Central Coast.2018 San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition: Double Gold.
2016 Vermentino: Block 7 / Vermentino Clone Tablas A / 2.1 acres. An aromatic white that offers both crispness and length. Grown in a wind-protected block behind the winery, this wine shows delicate floral notes of peach and honeysuckle followed by vibrant white fruit flavors—all layered over a fresh sea breeze salinity and a lasting, stony finish. 2018 San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition: Sweepstakes Winner White Wines.
2017 Grenache Rosé: Block 2 / Grenache Blanc Clone 141 / 3.28 acres Alive with a vibrant fragrance of rose petal and chalk followed by a juicy core of fruit and beach stones. This wine is whole cluster pressed, settled and co-fermented with Grenache Clone 136, Grenache Clone 513 and Grenache Blanc. 2018 Sonoma County Harvest Challenge: Silver Medal.
2016 Chardonnay: Block 5 / Chardonnay Clone 4 / 5.04 acres Block 6 / Chardonnay Clone 809 / 2.96 acres. A focused, terroir-driven Chardonnay. Bright and alluring tones of citrus and pear are driven by a crisp mineral structure derived from the alluvial sands of our estate’s lower blocks. 2018 Sonoma County Harvest Challenge: Gold Medal.
2016 Cabernet Franc: Block 18 / Cabernet Franc Clone 332 / 2.64 acres. Grown in the upper blocks of our estate vineyard, this wine derives power and finesse from an east-west row orientation along a rocky, hillside terrain. Deep red fruit and spicy aromatics lead to flavors of currant, pepper and dark cherry, all supported by firm, structured tannins. 2018 Sonoma County Harvest Challenge: Gold Medal
The 35-acre Brick Barn estate vineyard, which opened its Buellton tasting room in 2018, is open to the pubic daily. For more information, visit www.brickbarnwineestate.com.
Guarachi Wine Partners Acquires Parker Station from Fess Parker Winery
Parker Station Wine, courtesy photo.
Guarachi Wine Partners and Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard recently announced Guarachi Wine Partners’ acquisition of Parker Station, a Central Coast Pinot Noir brand. Guarachi Wine Partners will be representing and supporting the brand by leveraging its experienced sales team, developing marketing campaigns and national distribution to grow brand awareness and overall volume. The wine will continue to be produced by Fess Parker Winery for a period of five years.
“Ten years ago, I saw an opportunity to expand past South American wines and into California produced wines. Our domestic portfolio now features Guarachi Family Wines —a high-end luxury label sourced from micro lots within Estate vineyards in Napa and Sonoma, and a gathering of high quality wine brands at reasonable prices including Black Ink, tenshǝn, Surf/Swim and BACON,” says Alex Guarachi, founder of Guarachi Wine Partners and owner of Guarachi Family Wines. “Parker Station is the perfect addition and fits a niche for our portfolio with its great price point Pinot Noir and drinkability that consumers are looking for. Part of the future plan for the brand is to extend the line to include Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. I’m excited to share this wine with everyone and looking forward to a long term partnership with Fess Parker.”
Tim Snider, President of Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, adds, “As we enter our 30th year as a family owned and operated winery here in Santa Barbara County, we feel a return to our core identity by focusing on our higher-end and single-vineyard wines is the best path forward for the family.” Snider continues, “Connecting with Alex Guarachi about his vision to grow the Parker Station label is a mutually beneficial opportunity, and we know the brand will continue to flourish as part of their portfolio, which represents the richness and diversity of the global wine world.”
Cambria Estate Winery Partners with Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation for “Stewards of the Land” Grant Program
Courtesy Cambria Estate Winery.
Cambria Estate Winery recently announced the launch of its “Stewards of the Land” environmental sustainability grant program in partnership with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF). LDF has worked on environmental issues globally for the past 20 years and pulled from their broad network of leaders and organizations in the space to nominate the women for this new grant program.
The Cambria “Stewards of the Land” grant program identifies and empowers female leaders who are making meaningful contributions to environmental and community-based causes. In partnership with LDF, Cambria Estate Winery’s co-proprietors Julia Jackson and Katie Jackson selected two recipients who will each receive a $25,000 grant to further their mission as Stewards of the Land. The inaugural grant recipients, Calla Rose Ostrander and the Women’s Empowerment Program of Amazon Frontlines, were selected for their demonstrated commitment to environmental conservation and excellent stewardship of our natural resources, in California and around the globe, respectively.
“Our ‘Stewards of the Land’ program is not only focused on identifying inspiring female leaders in important environmental causes here at home, but the program seeks to extend its impact and reach to places around the globe that are not normally in our day-to-day conscience, like the Amazon,” says Julia Jackson, co-proprietor of Cambria and Family Ambassador for Jackson Family Wines. “We’re very excited to support Calla Rose Ostrander’s work to improve carbon capture and regeneration, and the Women’s Empowerment Program of Amazon Frontlines for its dedication to protecting over five million acres of rainforest that is vital to worldwide oxygen supply and sequesters vast amounts of carbon.”
“We are excited to use our vast network of environmental change makers to help Cambria Estate Winery identify and champion women who are leading impactful efforts to protect the health of our planet,” says LDF Executive Director Justin Winters. “The inaugural grant recipients, Calla Rose Ostrander and the women from the Women’s Empowerment Program of Amazon Frontlines, are incredible examples of the type of thoughtful, innovative and collaborative leadership that we believe is the key to ensuring a vibrant our future.”
“We are proud to partner with LDF to help bring worldwide attention to environmental stewardship,” says Katie Jackson, co-proprietor of Cambria Estate Winery and Vice President of Sustainability and External Affairs for Jackson Family Wines. “We are supporting innovative initiatives that will have a real, lasting impact on improving soil health, while also empowering women to become environmental leaders in their own communities.”
Throughout its history, Cambria Estate Winery has taken serious, continuous steps to preserve and protect the land, take care of its employees, and support the local community. Every aspect of the winery’s operations, from the cellar to the estate vineyard, practices sustainable farming and winemaking techniques. For more information, visitcambriawines.com/stewards-of-the-land.
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When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.
Looking for a fun, holiday performance to take the kids to? Everybody Dance Now! Invites you and your family to the Everybody Dance Now! Holiday Performance on Friday, December 14 at 5:30 p.m. at the Santa Barbara County Education Office Auditorium(4400 Cathedral Oaks Rd., Santa Barbara).
Everybody Dance Now! courtesy photo.
“We are excited to continue building our diverse dance community, transforming our youth through the power of dance, and showing how a strong culture of unity and love can be created through the arts. Anyone who has attended one of our performances can tell you, the night is super high energy! In fact, you probably won’t stop smiling,” say the organizers. “This year we have performances by our weekly youth dance classes, guest dance performances, parent dance-offs, yummy baked goods, activities for the kids, and prize giveaways. This is an event for everyone, so invite your friends and family for a night of dance and holiday cheer!”
Guest artists include DJ Sparx and MC Omar Khan in what is sure to be a fun, high-energy night of entertainment.
The event is donation-based and is free to attend. Everybody Dance Now! will allocate all funds raised towards continuing to offer free or low-cost dance classes to hundreds of dancers each week. For more information about the event and this terrific organization, visit www.everybodydancenow.org.
Jackman is best known for Oscar-nominated films The Greatest Showman and Les Miserables, and for starring as Wolverine in The X-Men franchise. Jackman will next be seen in Jason Reitman’s The Front Runner, in theaters this month.
“I am delighted that Hugh Jackman will receive the 13th annual Kirk Douglas Award. He’s an exceptional talent of stage and screen, and one of the nicest people in the business. It’s my honor to have my name linked with his on this year’s award,” states Douglas.
Since 2006, the annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film has been awarded to a lifelong contributor to cinema through their work in front of the camera, behind, or both. Past honorees include Dame Judi Dench, Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda, Jessica Lange, Forest Whitaker, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Quentin Tarantino, Ed Harris and John Travolta.