A sellout crowd of mostly women packed an event and catering center in Solvang March 8 to celebrate good food and wine, womanhood and general camaraderie for International Women’s Day.
Organized by Karen Steinwachs, general manager and winemaker at Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard, and Danielle Dauphinee, director of events and sales at the venue, K’Syrah Catering and Events, the event sold out in advance and had a wait list of nearly 30 people, Steinwachs said.
The guests were treated to a high-spirited night of local wines — many poured by the women who made them — as well as a seven-course meal prepared by a team of female chefs, cheese makers and bakers.
Among those pouring wines were winemakers Steinwachs; Sonja Magdevski of Casa Dumetz; Alison Thomson of Lepiane; Clarissa Nagy of Nagy Wines; Robin Bogue of William James Cellars; Marisa Matela Beverly of Bevala Wines; Lane Tanner of Lumen Wines; Tara Gomez, Kita Wines; and Jessica Gasca, Story of Soil.
Santa Barbara County has more than the national average of women winemakers, a fact showcased by this event.
Upcoming Garagiste Wine Festival
The fifth-annual “Southern Exposure” Garagistee Wine Festival returns to Solvang Saturday, April 1, at the Veterans’ Memorial hall.
As in prior years, the festival will celebrate artisan “garagiste” winemakers, many of whom will offers attendees their just in time for spring rosé wines.
“Garagiste Festival attendees certainly are no fools,” said Doug Minnick, co-founder of the Garagiste events, which launched in Paso Robles in 2011.
“They know that nowhere else in the world will they experience such an amazing variety of carefully nurtured, micro-production wines that showcase the rich diversity of Santa Barbara County’s AVAs — and all under one roof,” he said.
Seven of the event’s featured winemakers will be first-time participants in this year’s tasting, Minnick said.
The event will kick off Friday night, March 31, with a “Rare and Reserve” party featuring various winemakers’ club only, verticals, library and pre-release bottles.
From 11 am to 12:30 p.m. Saturday will be the two featured seminars, “What’s Wrong with this Picture? Educate Your Palate About the Most Common Wine Flaws,” and “An Exploration of Grenache: Not Just for Blending Anymore.”
The grand tasting will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 1.
The Garagiste Festivals are favorites of mine for the organizers’ devotion to small winemakers, and in turn, the winemakers’ passion for cutting-edge wines not generally available in tasting rooms.
Garagiste Festivals benefit the Garagiste Scholarship at Cal Poly’s Wine and Viticulture Department in San Luis Obispo.
Tickets are limited, and routinely sell out. For more information, or to buy tickets, visit the website.