Key to Wine Country Weekend is a new endeavor in Santa Barbara County. We were able to attend the first one in June 2014. On the final day on a beautiful Sunday Morning, we gathered at the top of the mesa for a guided tour of Buttonwood Farm. This weekend you get the chance to taste and visit some of the other Hidden gems in Santa Barbara Celebration of Harvest Festival Weekend
Watch the Highlight Video to give you a sense of Buttonwood Farm
Karen Steinwach, the winemaker for Buttonwood, started us off pouring a Glass of “Zingy”, their Sauvignon Blanc. She spoke about the history and about how Betty Williams started the farm. She also told a little story about how “Zingy” the name came about, along with her interactions with a prim and proper Matron Betty, who didn’t like the name, but loved the wine. In the end the marketing team was thrown under the bus, but the name stuck.
Karen explained that she makes wine that she loves to drink and since she can’t drink it all, Buttonwood sells the rest. The essence of Buttonwood Farm is their mission to make and provide produce and wine affordably with excellent quality. The wines have an aroma, taste and quality you would associate with far more expensive wines, yet a bottle of Zingy is $20.
Karen proceeded to lead us through the Winery on the hill. Buttonwood Farm is a completely self contained operation; growing, harvesting, barreling, bottling, and selling all on their Estate.
We wandered the Vineyard as she explained the landscape, grapes, harvest and philosophy of Buttonwood.
Karen discussed how they use some of their smaller grape throw aways to make Verjus for chefs. (We will release a future version of this talk, along with Chef Pascale explaining how chefs use this)
The original 39 Acre vineyard plan was relatively simple, with largish blocks each containing a single grape varietal: Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The focus was on Bordeaux-style wines.
Later Grenache Noir, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, Viognier & Malbec were added.
This led us back down the hill to the gardens for a private Chef Demo with Chef Pascale Beale. She had just released a recipe book called “Salade” with a wide variety of recipes for fresh Salads. She gave us several helpful hints about preparing farm fresh salads and we then paired them with Buttonwood Wines. The salads were bright, fresh, and paired wonderfully with the wines. (We will release a Video just on the demo in the near Future)
We have passed by Buttonwood several times on our trips to Los Olivos, not realizing what we were missing. It is now on our radar to stop in and check out the newest wines and speak with the friendly knowledgeable staff on every trip to the Los Olivos area. It truly is a hidden gem.
Watch for more Video’s on our trip to Buttonwood, and some features on Los Olivos in the up coming months.
For more information on Santa Barbara County