Women Winemaker participants + Culinarian participants at the 2024 Santa Barbara County Women Winemakers & Culinarians Celebration grand tasting event at 27 Vines, Santa Ynez, CA | Photo: Deborah Chadsey Photography

Despite the ongoing reports of financial struggles in the wine industry, the generosity continues to flow, as evidenced by these recent events to support nonprofit organizations.

Mental Wellness

Alma Rosa Winery recently announced that its fifth annual Peace of Mind: 10,000 Steps in the Right Direction fundraising walk and luncheon raised $210,000, surpassing previous walks in both attendance and funds raised. All proceeds will benefit One Mind and Santa Barbara’s Mental Wellness Center.

Alma Rosa Winery’s Peace of Mind: 10,000 Steps in the Right Direction fundraising walk and luncheon, May 2024 | Photo: @almarosawinery

Alma Rosa Proprietors Bob and Barb Zorich, and General Manager Debra Eagle launched the annual Peace of Mind fundraising walk in 2020 to support community services for mental health, as well as research on the causes, treatment, and potential cures for anxiety and depression. The event took place on May 18, when 275 participants gathered at the base of Alma Rosa’s 628-acre estate to participate in this year’s 10,000 step, approximately 4.5-mile, walk across the hillside vineyards.

“The fifth annual Peace of Mind event saw an outpouring of support and generosity from the community, with attendance at our estate surging by over 36 percent from last year,” said Eagle. “As depression and anxiety continue to profoundly affect lives, we’re honored to be part of a positive change. I’m proud to announce that this year’s walk raised the highest funds to date, and we look forward to furthering our commitment next year!”

To amplify the efforts of this year’s walk, the Zorichs matched individual donations dollar-for-dollar up to $35,000 for each charity, for a total of $70,000 and matched corporate donations up to $25,000. The winery has raised over $955,000 in the past five years for One Mind and Mental Wellness Center.

Women Veterans

The final results of the seventh annual (renamed in 2024) Santa Barbara County Women Winemakers & Culinarians Celebration (SBWomenWinemakers.com), held in various locations in the Santa Ynez Valley this spring were a $20,000 donation to the “She Raised Her Hand” Women Veterans Initiative, a new nonprofit.

“We have a higher percentage of women winemakers here in Santa Barbara County than anywhere else, and along with our women chefs and food crafters, we have built a strong network in support of each other and others in our community. Each year, we use our annual celebration to raise funds for a charitable organization that all of the participating women elect,” said Karen Steinwachs, co-founder of the annual Women Winemakers & Culinarians Celebration and owner/winemaker, Seagrape Wine Company.

Donation presention, from left: Kate Ferguson, She Raised Her Hand Committee Member; Andrea Cabanas, SRHH Committee Member; Karen Steinwachs, S.B. County Women Winemakers & Culinarians Co-founder & Seagrape Wine Co. founder; Allison Wales, SRHH Committee Member; and Allyson Bycraft, S.B. County Women Winemakers & Culinarians & Babcock Winery & Vineyards | Photo: Courtesy

For the past seven celebrations the Women Winemakers & Culinarians Celebration, held each year on or near International Women’s Day (annually, March 8), has donated event proceeds to a variety of Santa Barbara County nonprofits, all aimed at aiding underserved groups within the region’s communities.

“This year, the new She Raised Her Hand initiative was overwhelmingly selected by the group. We are honored to help them get off the ground in their beginning stages,” Steinwachs said.

The spring 2024 events were heavily sponsored by a number of regional entities, the support from which allowed the Women Winemakers & Culinarians to donate the $20,000 sum to She Raised Her Hand. Along with donations from the event’s winemakers and culinarians and a dedicated team of event volunteers, other notable sponsors were: 27 Vines, Jump On The School Bus, Visit the Santa Ynez Valley, Allan Hancock College, Debbie Douglas Designs, Nick’s Production Services, Deborah Chadsey Photography, Craft & Cluster, Pacific HR, Inc, ForFriends Inn & Village, Melanie Davis Design, Inklings Printing Co., El Rancho Market, Santa Ynez Valley Elite Events, and Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café and Café Farm.

Tickets for the 2025 Santa Barbara County Women Winemakers & Culinarians Celebration will start to be available in December 2024, for the event dates of March 6-9, 2025. Please visit SBWomenWinemakers.com for updates.

Alma Rosa Winery’s Peace of Mind: 10,000 Steps in the Right Direction fundraising walk and luncheon, May 2024 | Photo: @almarosawinery

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