Felipe Molina

Artist Felipe Molina will have his work on view at Standing Sun Wines in Buellton from Sept. 30-Nov. 30. Courtesy photos.

Artist Felipe Molina will have his work on view at Standing Sun Wines in Buellton from Sept. 30-Nov. 30. Courtesy photos.

Wine and art make a great pairing when Standing Sun Wines presents new work by artist Felipe Molina, who was recently inducted into the Album Art Hall of Fame for his Counting Crows album covers. The exhibition opens on September 30 at Standing Sun Wines, 92 Second St., D, Buellton,  and remains on view through November 30. 

For more information, visit www.standingsunwines.com. 

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 29, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: Kings Carey Wines

Kings Carey's first wine releases include (L-R) 2014 Grenache, 2015 Grenache and 2016 Rose of Grenache. Courtesy photos.

Kings Carey’s first wine releases include (L-R) 2014 Grenache, 2015 Grenache and 2016 Rose of Grenache. Courtesy photos.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

No matter how many times I’m reminded that you can’t judge a book by its cover, I’m still a sucker for an interesting wine label, so I was particularly intrigued by the samples I recently received from Kings Carey Wine, the new label by Liquid Farm Winemaker James Sparks.

It turns out the eye-catching labels are by Philadelphia-based illustrator and artist, Hawk Krall.

Kings Carey Grenache 2014 label, designed by Hawk Krall.

Kings Carey Grenache 2014 label, designed by Hawk Krall.

James Sparks! Hawk Krall! Do these guys sound like movie character names or what! But they’re also both very talented. Krall’s work was familiar to me from the beloved and vanished foodie mag Lucky Peachbut he’s been working his artistic magic for more than a decade. He’s well known for his food illustration, in particular, as well as his humorous editorial illustration, gallery showings and installations.

Kings Carey Rose 2016 label, designed by Hawk Krall.

Kings Carey Rose 2016 label, designed by Hawk Krall.

In SAVEUR Magazine, another foodie fave, Krall pens and illustrates a recurring series of pieces in the publication, “Hawk’s Illustrated America,” which “follows his journeys through the back roads of the U.S. in search of our country’s most obscure and delicious regional specialties.”

Of course, this wine is more than just a pretty package. We tasted the first three wines—a 2014 Grenache (John Sebastiano Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley AVA); a 2015 Grenache (John Sebastiano Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills AVA); and a 2016 Rosé of Grenache from new Santa Ynez Valley AVA vineyard, Brick Barn—and enjoyed every last drop.

“I’m trying to produce ‘untypical’ wines of typicity,” says Sparks. “It’s not that this region can’t produce these types of wines; it’s just that you don’t see it very often. These are not fruit bombs. These are clean expressions of the fruit at-hand.” 

In addition to his private Kings Carey label, Sparks continues to create Liquid Farm’s variety of wines (currently five Chardonnays, a Rosé of Mourvèdre, and two Pinot Noirs). 

The Kings Carey winery space is located in Lompoc. Visits and private tastings are by appointment only, and reservations may be made by emailing info@KingsCarey.com.

Kings Carey Wines may currently be found in these locations:

Restaurants & Bars
Cecco Ristorante | 475 First St., Solvang, CA 93463
First & Oak | 409 First St., Solvang, CA 93463
Community Craft | 2446 Alamo Pintado Ave., Los Olivos, CA 93441
Bell Street Farm | 406 Bell St., Los Alamos, CA 93440
Scratch Kitchen | 610 N. H St., Lompoc, CA 93436

Retail
Nielsen’s Market | 608 Alamo Pintado Rd., Solvang, CA 93463

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 September 15, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: Brave & Maiden Tasting Room Breaks Ground

Brave & Maiden tasting room, courtesy image.

Brave & Maiden tasting room, courtesy image.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

Brave & Maiden Estate recently broke ground on its new winery and tasting room, which will be located on the winery’s 60-acre estate along Refugio Road in Santa Ynez. The sustainably farmed vineyard takes its name from the “Legend of Nojoqui” (pronounced Naw-ho-wee), an indigenous incarnation of Romeo & Juliet. Set at the nearby Nojoqui Falls, the legend recounts the story of star-crossed lovers who choose death over separation.

The new facility and tasting room has been in the works for many years. Brave & Maiden Estate was established in 2011 and occupies the land they purchased in 2010. Planted to 46 acres of vineyards—including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache, and Sauvignon Blanc—Brave & Maiden’s wine program, led by winemaker Paul Hobbs, has found success in both restaurants and bottle shops throughout Southern and Central California, earning accolades for their single-vineyard estate wines and red blends.

Entrance to Brave & Maiden tasting room, courtesy image.

Entrance to Brave & Maiden tasting room, courtesy image.

The new facility will offer an entirely new tasting experience, along with a production facility for up to 8,000 cases. “We are thrilled to see the project get underway,” says Jason Djang, Managing Director. “The plans have been in the works for some time, so we’re excited to finally see earth moving and our vision coming to fruition.”

The project is designed by renowned wine country architect group Backen, Gillam & Kroeger Architects, known for projects such as Harlan Estate Winery, Larkmead Winery and Meadowood Napa Valley, among others. The space is Backen, Gillam & Kroeger Architects’ first project on the Central Coast, and is designed to prominently showcase views of the picturesque vineyard overlooking the Santa Ynez Mountains.

Brave & Maiden winemaker Paul Hobbs, courtesy photo.

Brave & Maiden winemaker Paul Hobbs, courtesy photo.

 “At Brave & Maiden, our goal is to not only be great vintners, but gracious hosts as well,” states Djang. “Hospitality will be central to our DNA as we create a unique and unforgettable experience with our wines, and the estate.” 

The winery and tasting room will open its doors by appointment the second half of 2018—a milestone the Brave & Maiden team feels will expand their goals as a brand.

“Santa Barbara County truly is a world-class wine region and I welcome the opportunity to be involved as the area embraces growth,” says Hobbs.

 “We were humbled by the market’s reception of the brand in 2014, selling out of our first two vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon,” says Djang. “Now, with construction of our new winery underway, we’re eager to open our own doors for guests to experience our wines first-hand. Obviously, we believe in the greatness of Santa Barbara County as a wine region and have invested accordingly.”

Brave & Maiden vineyard, courtesy photo.

Brave & Maiden vineyard, courtesy photo.

For more information, visit braveandmaiden.com.

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 July 28, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: Local Restaurants Earn Wine Spectator’s Top Honors

The Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch, courtesy photo.

The Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

As if there were any doubt that Santa Barbara County is Wine Country, Wine Spectator recently honored 20 local restaurants with their highest honors for excellence.

“Wine Spectator‘s Restaurant Awards recognize restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers,” according to the guidelines.

The Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch earned The Grand Award, which is Wine Spectator‘s highest honor, given to only 89 restaurants around the world. According to Wine Spectator, this honor is “given to restaurants that show an uncompromising, passionate devotion to the quality of their wine programs. These wine lists typically feature 1,000 or more selections, and deliver serious breadth of top producers, outstanding depth in mature vintages, a selection of large-format bottles, excellent harmony with the menu, and superior presentation. These restaurants offer the highest level of wine service.”

Angel Oak at the Bacara Resort & Spa, Los Olivos Wine Merchant & CafeOpal Restaurant & Bar and Wine Cask all earned The Best of Award of Excellence. “These wine lists display excellent breadth across multiple winegrowing regions and/or significant vertical depth of top producers, along with superior presentation. Typically offering 350 or more selections, these restaurants are destinations for serious wine lovers, showing a deep commitment to wine, both in the cellar and through their service team,” according to Wine Spectator.

“We are thrilled for the honor in our first year of opening,” says Anne Elcon, Director of Marketing & Communications at Bacara Resort & Spa.

Angel Oak Wine Cellar, LaFemme Photography, courtesy photo.

Angel Oak Wine Cellar, LaFemme Photography, courtesy photo.

Also receiving The Award of Excellence, for “wine lists, which typically offer at least 90 selections, feature a well-chosen assortment of quality producers, along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style,” were several other local restaurants: BarbareñoBella Vista at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, Bouchon Santa Barbara, Chuck’s Steak House Of Hawaii, Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant, Olio Pizzeria, Olio e Limone Ristorante, S.Y. Kitchen, Sly’s, The Harbor Restaurant, The Hitching Post II, The Lark, Tre Lune and Willows at Chumash Casino Resort.

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 July 14, 2017.