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Meet the Purple Hands of Santa Barbara

Assistant Winemakers Gather for Second Annual Tasting Dinner


Having a network to troubleshoot, find fruit, or just grab a beer with is priceless when you need help,” explained Nic Donahue of Alchemy Wine Productions, following the second annual post-harvest celebration dinner for the Purple Hands of Santa Barbara. The wine industry boom does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon, and its growth has prompted a younger generation of assistant winemakers to start their own labels. This flurry of new labels has prompted Donahue to organize what he calls an “assistant winemaker guild”-the Purple Hands-to promote partnership and camaraderie within the industry. A dinner held December 7 in bouchon’s Cork Room (the restaurant’s private dining area that appropriately has a cork-covered ceiling) and sponsored by Los Alamos’s Garden Station celebrated the organization. The loosely set menu included three courses with four choices for each course, and the winemakers brought their own bottles. Attendees included Ryan Ralston and Cameron Bendetsen of Santa Barbara Winery, Matt Brady of Jaffurs, Drake Whitcraft of Whitcraft Winery, Brandon Sparks of Demetria, Danny Miles of Cellar 205, Nico Cueva of Ampelos, Sonny Courtney of Sol Vino, and Donahue of Carr Winery. Ambitions for the organization’s future include an annual Purple Hands tasting that would allow the public access to the independent wine brands from the most promising young winemakers in Santa Barbara. Expect great things from these hands.

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