Santa Barbara County’s wine country kicked off Women’s History Month last Sunday, March 6, with the fifth annual Women Winemakers Celebration at Roblar Farm in the Santa Ynez Valley. With nearly 40 female winemakers and culinary artisans in attendance as well as more than 100 of their fans, the event was a vibrant spectrum of food, culture, wine, and spirit.
One of the attendees was Marlen Porter, who co-owns Amplify Wines with her husband, Cameron Porter, and is also a founding member of Natural Action Wine Club, a nonprofit that raises money and exposure for BIPOC students in wine. “I was really looking forward to reconnecting with my friends and small business owners and to be able to support each other,” said Porter of why she attended. “It was great to see how all of us have pumped through this past year and become stronger as business owners in a pandemic.” She poured her “Duke & Ella,” a super fresh riesling and viognier blend that was “named after Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald, this homage to the wavelength we share as husband and wife winemakers.”
A newer face at the event was Alice Anderson, who showed off a series of her unreleased Âmevive wines. Anderson is using regenerative techniques to farm the Ibarra-Young Vineyard, which she said is “right around the corner and one of the oldest here in the valley, originally planted in 1971.” She takes a low-intervention approach to winemaking, which she believes allows the vineyard’s natural state to express itself. She shared her 2020 marsanne and an array of “pre-release” mourvèdre, syrah, and gamay, the latter of which had no added sulfites.
This year’s event boasted the largest number of culinary ladies to date, including Chef Golzar Barrera of Santa Ynez Valley’s All Purpose Flower, who whipped up Persian-inspired dill spiced salmon over a creamy couscous salad, and Chef Brooke Stockwell, who served a seared ahi tostada with a wasabi crème fraîche. For dessert, Shante Norwood of Té’Stees Cupcakes and Jessica Foster of Jessica Foster Confections served up sweet treats. With nearly 30 winemakers pouring their wines, it was quite easy to make a food and wine pairing.
The event raised more than $10,000, which will be donated through the Santa Barbara County Vintners Foundation to Community Health Centers of the Central Coast (CHC), with funds earmarked specifically for women’s health needs.
This article was underwritten in part by the Mickey Flacks Journalism Fund for Social Justice, a proud, innovative supporter of local news. To make a contribution go to sbcan.org/journalism_fund.