Celebrating the Women Winemakers in Sta. Rita Hills
Celebrating the Women Winemakers in Sta. Rita Hills
The Sta. Rita Hills wine region is well known for amazing wines, it is also unique in the number of women winemakers who call this region home. Since March is Women’s History month, we want to celebrate the amazing Women Winemakers of Sta. Rita Hills!
Listed below in no particular order, be sure to add these incredible wineries to your itinerary during your next visit to Santa Ynez Valley.
Samra Morris - Winemaker at Alma Rosa
Having experience in Sarajevo and Napa, Samra brought her talents to Buellton in 2019. She is best known for thoughtfully blending the science and art of winemaking and has been described as having a refined palate and excellent judgement.
Alma Rosa’s wines are produced in small batches of less than 400 cases, and represent the best of the Sta. Rita Hills. Explore their selection of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines, as well as some delightful Rhone varietals, including Syrah and Grenache.
Visit Alma Rosa at their tasting room in Buellton at 181-C Industrial Way.
Wynne Solomon - Winemaker at Peake Ranch
Wynne grew up in Sonoma County in the town of Windsor and fell in love with the wine culture there. She moved to the Central Coast to study wine and viticulture in 2010 and has been making wine in this region since then. She joined the Peake Ranch team in 2018 with a strong desire to create wines that focus on the unique attributes of this area while emphasizing balance.
At Peake Ranch they believe that by working hard in concert with nature, exceptional wines can be achieved. Their collection includes: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah and Grenache.
Peake Ranch is located at 7290 Santa Rosa Road, approximately 4 miles west of Highway 101.
Mireia Taribo and Tara Gomez - Winemakers at Camins 2 Dreams
A team of two winemakers, wife and wife, whose paths first crossed in 2006 through their work in the wine industry, led to their dream of opening a boutique winery where they could focus on crafting natural wines from vineyards in Sta. Rita Hills. Mireia was born and raised in Catalonia, earned a Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry from the University of Barcelona and moved to California in 2014 working as a wine consultant. Tara is best known for blending her Chumash heritage with old world winemaking techniques. She earned her degree in Enology from Cal State Fresno and worked at several Central Coast wineries before the Chumash tribe purchased the Camp 4 vineyard and she started Kita Wines.
Camins2Dreams grapes are sourced exclusively from vineyards in Sta. Rita Hills, a unique appellation in Santa Barbara County. Their philosophy is to make hand-crafted, terroir-driven wines that are fermented with natural yeast and use minimal intervention in the winery. They believe wine is made in the vineyard and they want to showcase the typicity of each site where the grapes come from. They both agree that they are lucky both to live and make their wines in Sta. Rita Hills, where foggy mornings and cool nights combine with marine soils to make the perfect ingredients for outstanding wines.
Camins2Dreams is located at 313 North F Street in Lompoc at the western edge of the Sta. Rita Hills wine region.
Kathy Joseph - Winemaker at Fiddlehead
Kathy Joseph established Fiddlehead Cellars in 1989 to capture the pure essence of two distinguished grape varietals – Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. The dream began when this Chicago native moved to California to utilize degrees in microbiology and chemistry in the winemaking process. After earning graduate degrees in enology and viticulture, and years of industry mentoring, Kathy decided to focus on place driven wines, especially the lesser-appreciated varietals, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.
Kathy's passion has always been to make Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir wines that are beyond the ordinary, that have a unique expression of place and finish with textural rewards. Her primary focus is to make wines that are attractive to all discriminating palates, wines with modest alcohol and layered fruit and wines that develop over time. She embraces “elegance” and “seamless expression of place” in lieu of the “big”, “extracted” and “overworked” wines that are showy only in the short term.
Visit Fiddlehead Cellars is at 1597 E. Chestnut Avenue in Lompoc at the western edge of the Sta. Rita Hills wine region.
Karen Steinwachs - Winemaker at Buttonwood
In her previous life, Karen earned a degree in Business Management and spent 20 years in the high-tech world. In 2001 when she’d had enough of gazing into a computer screen in a high-rise tower for eighteen hours a day, she decided she needed a physical job. A job in the fresh air. Karen studied with several of the best in business including earning an assistant winemaker position working with Kathy Joseph at Fiddlehead Cellars. She eventually found a home at Buttonwood where she crafts Buttonwood’s old-vine fruit into wines of character and distinction.
Long before “green” practices became popular, Buttonwood Farm has been sustainably managed. We farm using natural products to replenish the soil and provide nutrients and protection to the vines. The uniqueness of their wines can be attributed to warm air flows over the nearby San Rafael range to the east that meet cool Pacific breezes from the west, providing an ideal climate for their Bordeaux and Rhone varietals.
Buttonwood is located at 1500 Alamo Pintado Rd. in Solvang.
Gretchen Voelcker - Winemaker at Luna Hart
Gretchen grew up on a horse and lavender farm in Coatseville, PA, and also spent some time living abroad. She used that opportunity to visit many different French wine regions and that is where she fell in love with the craft of winemaking. After studying Business & French at Georgetown University and earning a degree in plant science from University of California, Santa Cruz, she moved to Santa Barbara County. Here she worked with some of the best winemakers in our region until she was prepared to realize her dream: Becoming a winemaker producing minimal interference wines from organically grown Estate grapes at Luna Hart Wines.
Luna Hart Wines is a boutique wine company specializing in small batch, handcrafted wines in the Santa Ynez Valley. Gretchen makes select wines in which she explores the techniques and nuances that continue to stoke her passion for wine. The project was started making Sauvignon Blanc under the label of Moon Unit Wines but will move forward focusing on Grüner Veltliner and Cabernet Franc.
Luna Hart Wines is located at 84 Industrial Way in Buellton.
Sandy Newman - Winemaker at Cebada Winery
Her passion for the land began at an early age planting vegetables with her grandmother, and has never diminished. Sandy would earn a B.S. and M.S. in Plant Science from the University of Delaware and spend years saving until she could finally purchase her dream, a 100 acre parcel in the Santa Ynez Valley in 2002. Originally planting apple and blueberries until 2007 when, in conjunction with University of California, Small Farms Co-operative Extension, she planted 6.2 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and made her first wines in 2011.
A scant 12 miles from the icy Pacific, her Cebada Vineyard enjoys cool nights and luxuriates in warm days; a perfect mesoclimate for the artisanal Burgundian-style wines she vinifies. Sandra, who carries a Bachelor and MSc in Plant Science, is a meticulous viticulturist, and firmly believes in the winemaker’s adage that what happens in the vineyard is 90% of what ends up in the bottle. Her Pinot Noir and Chardonnay showcases a wine of tremendous finesse, with silky notes from the sandy loam soil, hints of sea air, and intense fruit complexity.
Forbidden Fruit Orchard and Cebada Wines is located at 4001 Forbidden Fruit Ln in Lompoc at the far western edge of Sta. Rita Hills.
Laura Roach - Winemaker Loubud Wines
Laura Roach is the talented entrepreneur behind the boutique Santa Barbara County wine label named "Loubud". Laura began her wine pursuits at U.C.- Davis, where she earned a viticulture and enology degree. While at Davis, Laura was awarded a prestigious scholarship to work in Burgundy for a year. After graduation, Laura worked in Napa Valley and South Africa, before settling down in Santa Barbara County to make her mark. That career path took planning and persistence, which culminated in the passion project everyone else knows as Loubud Wines.
Loubud’s wines are made with careful consideration and respect for the fruit and vineyard. Sourced primarily from a cool, western-most vineyard within Santa Barbara County, the Pinot noir fruit is expressive of its location. The sandy loam soil of Cebada Vineyards and the Pacific coastal marine layer influence the structure and flavors of the fruit. It seems as if the ocean’s salinity is translocated through the vine into the fruit. A constant flux of temperature surrounds the fruit; cool mornings and evenings sandwich warm afternoons, blanketing the valley with a thick, cool marine layer. Ripening under this daily warm sun over a lengthened growing season, the Pinot develops slowly and beautifully.
Visit Loubud Wines at 4001 Forbidden Fruit Ln in Lompoc at the far western edge of Sta. Rita Hills.