Cocktail Corner: SB County Women Winemakers Dinner

Santa Barbara County Women Winemakers Dinner is March 8.

Santa Barbara County Women Winemakers Dinner is March 8.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

International Women’s Day is coming up on March 8, and I can’t think of a better way to toast the occasion than by attending the second annual Santa Barbara County Women Winemakers Dinner.

Last year’s festivities were, quite simply, amazing, delicious and fun, with a great spirit of collaboration and mutual admiration among the winemakers and chefs taking part.  Because the inaugural event—which was planned, executed and sold out within the space of a few weeks—was so popular, the event’s organizers have expanded this year’s dinner to accommodate more guests and to provide different levels of options for participation and support. 

I can’t wait! 

The charitable event, which runs in its entirety from 5:30-9 p.m. at K’Syrah Catering & Events (478 4th Place, Solvang, www.kscateringandevents.com) will, for the second year, benefit the Women’s Fund of Northern Santa Barbara County. Tickets to the March 8 event are currently on sale, at womenswinemakerdinner.eventbrite.com.

Last year's Women Winemakers Dinner, photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

Last year’s Women Winemakers Dinner, photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

More than 20 female winemakers will be joined at the March 8 event by some of the Santa Ynez Valley’s leading culinary ladies, the latter of which are collaborating to create a four-course, sit-down dinner to pair with some of their winemaker colleagues’ wines. In addition to the seated dinner portion of the evening, this year’s event features a tent on a closed-to-traffic street in front of K’Syrah’s downtown Solvang venue. Housed inside the tent is a pre-dinner tasting reception (available as a separate ticket), where more than 20 women winemakers will be on-hand to pour tastes of their wines and talk with event guests from 5:30-7 p.m. The tent festivities also include passed appetizers and a cheese table from local female cheesemonger Janelle McAtamney of Solvang’s Cailloux Cheese Shop.

Participating winemakers and wineries confirmed include: Karen Steinwachs, Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard; Sonja Magdevski, Casa Dumetz Wines; Brooke Carhartt, Carhartt Vineyard & Winery; Alison Thomson, Lepiane Wines; Lane Tanner, Lumen Wines; Adrienne St. John, Rideau Vineyard; Gretchen Voelcker, Moon Unit Wines; Jessica Gasca, Story of Soil; Tara Gomez, Kitá Wines; Angela Osborne, A Tribute To Grace; and Kimberly Smith, LaMontagne Winery, with more to be announced  soon.

Chef Brooke Stockwell, Executive Chef at K’Syrah Catering & Events, will be joined in the kitchen by baker Amy Dixon, of The Baker’s Table in Santa Ynez; Theo Stephan, owner of Los Olivos’ Global Gardens; and additional Santa Ynez Valley chefs and food crafters, to be announced as the event nears. 

VIP-level tickets for this year’s event will 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, who will also be announced in the coming weeks. A dessert reception will follow the seated dinner, where guests may continue to mingle with the winemakers.

International Women’s Day has been celebrated worldwide since 1909, with a focus on working women’s achievements and issues. In a working environment that sees about 10% of the global wine industry as female winemakers, Santa Barbara County boasts a much higher percentage of women winemakers than most places in the world, with nearly double the average. The March 8 event will bring together a good portion of the County’s female winemakers in a show of support for each other, and other working women, world-wide; those who toil and labor while honing and elevating their craft in their workplace, while also balancing work-lives with family and community service.

It’s going to be a wonderful evening. Hope to see some of you there! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

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.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 9, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Wine & Fire Weekend

Wine & Fire Weekend, courtesy Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance.

Wine & Fire Weekend, courtesy Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

Sta. Rita Hills Wine Alliance hosts the annual Wine & Fire Weekend Aug. 18-20. In addition to special events and tastings throughout the weekend at member wineries, there is also a Barn Party at Dierberg Star Lane on Friday Aug. 18, where member wineries will share their library stashes, large format bottles and small production wines to get you warmed up for the weekend.

Participating Wineries include: Babcock Winery, Bratcher Winery, Brewer-Clifton, Byron Winery, Crawford Family Wines, Dierberg, Fiddlehead Cellars, Flying Goat Cellars, Foley Estates, Hilliard Bruce, Hitching Post Wines, Ken Brown, La Voix Winery, LaMontagne, Loring Wine Company, Lutum Wines, Montemar, Peake Ranch, Sanford Winery & Vineyards, Seagrape Wine Company and Spear. Plus, antipasti and wood fired pizzas by Bello Forno, a cheese buffet presented by Central Coast Specialties and great music by the T-Bone Ramblers will set the pace for a weekend of wining and dining.

Wine & Fire Weekend, photo by Jeremy Ball, Bottle Branding, courtesy Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance.

Wine & Fire Weekend, photo by Jeremy Ball, Bottle Branding, courtesy Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance.

Next up on Saturday morning is a Focused Tasting and Lunch Featuring the Vineyards of Santa Rosa Road. The morning will begin with a Sparkling Reception, followed by a “virtual” tour as you travel through the mile markers of Santa Rosa Road. The event takes place at El Jabali Vineyard and Matt Kettmann, from Wine Enthusiast, will act as tour guide.

Vineyards and producers representing: Bentrock – Bratcher, Babcock, El Jabali – Alma Rosa, Fe Ciega – Longoria / Fiddlestix Vineyard – Dragonette, Fiddlehead, Hitching Post / La Rinconada – Sanford / Lafond Vineyards – Lafond, Sweetzer Cellars / Peake Ranch – Peake Ranch Wines / Quinta Santa Rosa Vineyard – Prodigal / Radian – Ken Brown, Crawford Family Wines, Montemar / Rancho La Vina – Seagrape, Temperance Cellars, LaMontagne / Rio Vista Vineyard – Thorne, Flying Goat, Montemar, Temperance Cellars / Rita’s Crown Vineyard – Babcock,  Sweetzer Cellars / Sanford and Benedict Vineyard – Hitching Post, Sanford and Ken Brown.

Wine & Fire Weekend, photo by Jeremy Ball, Bottle Branding, courtesy Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance.

Wine & Fire Weekend, photo by Jeremy Ball, Bottle Branding, courtesy Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance.

After the tour is lunch and a sampling of Rose wines produced by the members.

Finally, on Sunday, Aug. 19 is the Grand Tasting, where more than 40 wineries and sizzling local chefs and farmers will be on hand for an evening of chilling and grilling at the beautiful, historic La Purisima Mission, located on the edge of the AVA. Babe Farms, Campbell Farms, Central Coast Specialty Foods, Homegrown Cowboy, The Hitching Post II, Los Amigos BBQ, Tollhouse BBQ, Scratch Kitchen, The Ballard Inn and the Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers will be serving up an amazing selection of local food favorites!

Participating Wineries: Alma Rosa, Ave, Babcock, Bratcher Winery, Brewer-Clifton, Byron Winery, Buscador, Clos Pepe Estate, Crawford Family Wines, Dragonette, Fiddlehead Cellars, Flying Goat Cellars, Foley Estates, Hilliard Bruce, Hitching Post Wines, Ken Brown, Kessler-Haak Wines, Kitá Wines, La Voix Winery, Lafond Winery, LaMontagne, Liquid Farm, Longoria, Loring Wine Company, Lutum Wines, Montemar, Moretti Wines, Pali Wine Company, Peake Ranch, Sanford Winery & Vineyards, Seagrape Wine Company, Spear, Sweetzer Cellars, Temperance Cellars, Thorn – The Prisoner Wine Company, Transcendence and Zotovich Vineyards & Winery.

For more information, visit staritahills.com/wine-fire.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

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.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on August 18, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: Santa Barbara Wine Festival Gets Better With Age

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

Santa Barbara Wine Festival—the first festival of its kind on the Central Coast—returns for the 29th year, hosted by the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (2559 Puesta Del Sol Rd.) on Saturday, June 25 from 2-5 p.m.

The beautiful grounds of Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History are a wonderful spot to appreciate being out in nature, and what better way to enjoy a summer weekend than sipping wine underneath the oaks along Mission Creek? Guests will sip, swirl, and savor a variety of wine from 75 wineries complemented by tasty hors d’oeuvres and desserts from famed local restaurants, farm-to-table caterers, and other top shelf food purveyors.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

They’ll also be celebrating the museum’s 100th birthday with, what else … bubbles! As a commemorative presentation this year, Santa Barbara Wine Festival features Sparkling Way; a special area dedicated to sparkling wines and the perfect opportunity to raise a glass to the occasion. Also, new to the event this year is the VIP Redwood Lounge, where VIP ticket holders can enter the festival one hour early and enjoy a private tasting before everyone else arrives.

Winemakers Paul Lato and Morgan Clendenen will be in the VIP Lounge from 1-2 p.m. to pour their world class wines, along with savory bites from Chef Pete Clements. The lounge will also offer access to intimate seating, delectable treats, late , and complimentary chair massages throughout the festival.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

The Cork Pull raffle is always one of my favorite things at this festival. For $30 to pull a cork, participants are guaranteed to win a prize worth at least $30, many of which are terrific wines and other prizes valued at $50 and above. Plus, all proceeds benefit the museum’s exhibits and education programs.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Participating wineries include: Alexander & WayneAlma RosaAndrew Murray VineyardsArthur EarlAu Bon ClimatBabcock WineryBeckmen VineyardsBedford WineryBlair Fox Cellars, Brander VineyardBrewer-Clifton ButtonwoodByronCambriaCargasacchi/Pt ConceptionCarr Vineyards and WineryCasa DumetzCebadaCinque StelleCOREConsilienceCrawford Family Wines, Daniel Gehrs WinesDierberg/Star LaneDe Paola VineyardEpiphany CellarsFalcone VineyardsFeliz NocheFess Parker Winery & VineyardFiddlehead CellarsFlying Goat CellarsFoxenGainey VineyardGrassini Family VineyardsGypsy Canyon, Jaffurs Wine Cellars  and Jamie Slone Wines.

Also pouring are:KalyraKen Brown WinesKenneth Volk VineyardsKita WinesKoehler WineryKuninLaFondLarner Wines and General StoreLongoriaLoring Wine CompanyLumenMargerum Wine CompanyMelvilleMosby Winery & VineyardMunicipal WinemakersOreanaPalminaPotekQupéRancho Sisquoc WineryRefugio RanchSanta Barbara WinerySilver WinesSunstone WineryTablas CreekTatomerTercero WinesToucan WinesTranscendence WinesWhitcraft WineryWilliam James and Zaca Mesa.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Photo courtesy Santa Barbara Wine Festival. The event takes place Jun. 25 at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

In addition, participating food vendors are: BarbarenoBenchmark eatery, Brophy Bros., Ca DarioCountry CateringCoffee Bean and Tea LeafDuoFarmer BoyFinch & ForkFreezerMonkeyIl FustinoIndustrial EatsJessica Foster ConfectionsMichael’s CateringMr. E’s FreezeMulberry LoveNectar Eatery and LoungePacific Pickle WorksThe Stonehouse at San Ysidro RanchVia MaestraVillage Modern Foods and Patxi’s Pizza.

For more information and to purchase tickets for the Santa Barbara Wine Festival, please visit http://www.sbnature.org/winefestival.

Hope to see you there. Cheers!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

Leslie Dinaberg

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.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on June 17, 2016.

Cocktail Corner: The Garagiste Festival

Courtesy Garagiste Festival

Courtesy Garagiste Festival

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg  |

GARAGISTES (gar-uh-zhē-stuh)—which comes from a term originally used in the Bordeaux region of France to denigrate renegade small-lot wine makers, sometimes working in their garages, who refused to follow the “rules” of traditional winemaking—may not be a well-known word around here YET, but it will certainly be flying off the tongues of the lucky folks who gather for the second annual “Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure” in Solvang March 29-30.

The garagiste movement is responsible for making some of the best wine in the world, much of which will be showcased later this month when 56 of Santa Ynez Valley’s and Santa Barbara County’s high-quality, limited-production commercial garagiste winemakers gather at the beautiful, Mission-style Veterans Memorial Hall, 1745 Mission Dr., Solvang.

Last year’s one-day event sold out and, in response to both consumer and winemaker demand, the nonprofit festival (which benefits Cal Poly’s wine and viticulture program) has expanded to two days full of tasting seminars, high-quality wines, first-time and “soon-to-break-out” discoveries, personal winemaker interaction and diverse varietals.

Courtesy Garagiste FestivalWith almost 50% of the winemakers pouring at the event for the first time—13 pouring their first vintage, and 80% lacking  tasting rooms—this festival offers a truly one-time-only opportunity for guests to discover some of the hottest, yet-to-be-discovered wines.

Winemakers pouring on Saturday, March 29 from 2–5 p.m. include: Archium Cellars*, Ascension Cellars*, Carucci Wines*, Casa Dumetz, Cholame Vineyard, Cordon Wines, Crawford Family Wines*, Dubost Ranch*, DV8 Cellars*, Graef Wines*, Ground Effect Wines, Harrison Clarke Wines, Kaena Wine Company, Kessler-Haak Winery, Kita Wines*, Larner Winery, Luminesce, Moretti Wine Co.*, Pence Ranch, Press Gang Cellars, Roark Wine Co., Ryan Cochrane Wines, Seagrape Wine Company, Shai Cellars, Tercero Wines, Transcendence Wines, Turiya* and Vinemark Cellars*.

Winemakers pouring on Sunday, March 30 from 1–4 p.m. include a-non-ah-mus, Baehner-Fournier, Bradley Family Winery*, Brophy Clark Cellars*, C. Nagy Wines, Calilove Winery*, Cloak & Dagger, Clos Des Amis*, Dascomb Cellars*, Desperada*, Dilecta, Fontes & Phillips*, Frequency Wines, Gioia Wines*, Guyomar Wine Cellars*, J. Wilkes Wines, La Fenetre Wines, LaZarre Wines, Montemar Winery*, Nicora Wines, ONX Wines, Plan B Cellars*, Refugio Ranch, Scott Cellars*, Solminer Wine*, STANGER Vineyards, Weatherborne Wine Co.* and Zinke Wine Company*.

(Wines designated with an asterisk * are new to the festival.)

In addition to the grand tastings, each day will feature one of the festival’s popular (and limited seating) morning tasting seminars. On Saturday from 11 a.m.– noon is Rhones Rule: The Wines of Ballard Canyon, focused on Santa Ynez Valley’s brand new AVA, Ballard Canyon, and featuring Michael Larner of Larner Vineyards, Larry Schaffer of Tercero Wines and Mikael Sigouin of Kaena Wine Company. Sunday from 11 a.m.– noon the seminar is A Pinot Noir Primer from the Roots Up, featuring Joshua Klapper from La Fenetre Wines, Adam LaZarre from LaZarre Wines and Clarissa Nagy from C. Nagy Wines.

The nonprofit Garagiste Festivals showcase high-quality, cutting-edge, small-production commercial wineries that produce fewer than 1,500 cases a year. “One of the most fulfilling things about Garagiste Festival events is seeing important new winemakers not only get discovered for the first time but, in many instances, explode out of the box,” says Garagiste Festival co-founder Doug Minnick.

“With Southern Exposure, Garagiste Events is proud to continue to serve as both starting gate and incubator for some of the Central Coast’s (and the world’s) most important small-lot winemakers and to offer consumers the unique joy of connecting with artisans whose passion and maverick spirit pulse through the terroir’ of their wines,” says Garagiste Festival co-founder Stewart McLennan.  “And all at an event that is heavy on fun and light on pretension—which is perhaps the thing we are most proud of. As our attendees will attest, Garagiste events are a blast!”

Tickets are now on sale at http://californiagaragistes.com/buy-tickets/.

Cheers!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns. Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on March 7, 2014.

Leslie Dinaberg

Leslie Dinaberg

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.”