Buttonwood Farm Hop On

Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard’s Brand New Hopped Sauvignon Blanc

Buttonwood Farm Hop On: Brewers are longtime fans of incorporating elements of winemaking into their ales, from adding grape must to aging in used barrels. But the tables are turning, thanks to winemaker Karen Steinwachs at Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard, who just received what she believes is the first federal approval for adding hops to sauvignon blanc. “I love hops and I love IPAs and I come from a brewing family, so I thought, ‘What if?’” said Steinwachs, who was inspired by a Scar of the Sea hopped cider that she tasted during a World of Pinot Noir technical session years ago.

She bottled the hopped sauv blanc last fall, but it took about a year of wrangling with the feds to determine what it could be called — it’s “white wine with natural flavors,” technically — and what would be allowed on the label, as the vintage, region, and even grape variety had to be removed due to backward alcohol laws. (Why does the government want you to know less about what’s in the bottle?) The result is Hop On, in which Galaxy and Glacier hops give a pleasantly floral and slightly skunky kick to the nose of the stereotypically grassy wine. “I wanted the IPA aromatics, but without the bitterness,” said Steinwachs.

The blessing in disguise from not being able to include a vintage is that Buttonwood can crank out the Hop On as needed, and batch No. 2 is already in the works, with Pacific Valley Hops from Lompoc to be added in fresh form. In addition to the 25 initial cases, Hop On will also be available around the area in kegs, so expect to see it at Firestone Walker and other on-tap purveyors soon.


To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Biggest Storm Since 1/9 Approaching Santa Barbara

The storm system brings increased threat of flash floods and debris flows.

Jack Johnson Tours Montecito Disaster Area Ahead of Benefit Concert

Jack and Kim Johnson met with Bucket Brigade leaders to see the destruction firsthand.

Iron Chef Caused State Street Pedestrian Death

Famous Chef Larry Forgione charged with misdemeanor for driving into Gilbert Ramirez on February 24.

Lavagnino’s Sudden Victory

5th District supervisor a shoo-in as filing window closes; Gregg Hart also unopposed for 2nd District.

One Half of Old Town Streets to Get Sidewalks

Walkways planned for one side of Goleta neighborhood streets; parking, lighting talks at community meeting March 22.