Chaucer’s Book Signing Winemaker Iris Rideau

**Events may have been canceled or postponed. Please contact the venue to confirm the event.

Date & Time

Thu, Jul 28 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Address (map)

3321 State Street Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Venue (website)

Chaucer's Books



Chaucer’s Books will host local vintner and author Iris Rideau for an in-store book signing on Thursday, July 28 at 6 p.m.
This book is a reflection on my life, lived in a world of contradictions, confusion and success.
My formative years were spent in New Orleans under the oppressive atmosphere of segregation. During those impressionable years I lived as both white and black. My light skin allowed me a life of privilege. I was able to go wherever I wanted, eat wherever I wanted, shop wherever I wanted — all without experiencing the degradation imposed on “negroes” (blacks) living in a segregated south. When I moved about the city as “colored” (black), I experienced racism so demeaning it was unfit for any human being. I was told where I could not eat, drink or shop, and being told to step off the sidewalk when a white person came by was one of my most impressionable and lasting memories.
In the 1940s, we joined the migration of Creoles to California who were looking for a better life for themselves and their children.
As an adult I fought to never experience those early days of suppression again. This decision drove me the rest of my life. In 1967, I founded my first company, an insurance agency, which earned me the title of being the first African-American woman on the west coast to own an insurance agency. Then, in 1978, I founded my second company, a financial securities company, specializing in pension planning for public employees, this time earning the title of the first African-American woman to own a securities company on the west coast. After 32 years, I retired from the financial and political world. In 1995, I founded a winery in the Santa Ynez Valley, an appellation in Santa Barbara County, thus earning the title of the first African-American woman in the country to own a winery. Now, retired for the second time, I am spending my time reflecting on my life and writing my memoir.-From
Iris Duplantier Rideau was born in the Crescent City section of New Orleans in 1936. She learned how to “pass for white” from her light-skinned grandmother. To escape the blatant racism of the South, Rideau convinced her mother to move to Los Angeles when Rideau was 12 years old. Forced to drop out of school when she became pregnant at 15, Rideau enrolled in night classes, determined not to spend her life working in dead-end jobs available to women of color. On her own, she landed a front-office job at an insurance agency.
In 1967, Rideau founded her own insurance business, becoming the first minority/woman-owned firm to specialize in federally funded programs. She assisted LA’s Mayor Tom Bradley in developing the city’s first Affirmative Action Program. In the 1970s, she founded Rideau Securities and Investment Firm that specialized in pension planning for municipalities , ultimately leading to her illustrious career as California’s state director for a national pension planning company. She was awarded the city’s Deferred Compensation Plan contract, resulting in $500 million under management by the time Rideau retired in 1999.
Rideau left Los Angeles to build her dream home in the Santa Ynez Valley. Nearby, she discovered an abandoned Santa Barbara Historic Monument adobe house built in 1884 sitting on 22 acres of property. Combining her love of entertaining with her business savvy—(though nothing in the winery world!)—Rideau boldly purchased the property and restored the old house. She planted the vineyards to imported Rhone vines from the south of France, built the winery, and created the award-winning Rideau Winery, one of California’s top wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley.
Rideau has always given back to her communities, first Los Angeles, then the Santa Ynez Valley. As a woman-owned winery, she hired female winemakers, assistant winemakers, and tasting room staff —something unheard of in the 1990s. During her lifetime, Iris Rideau has proved that her belief in a higher power and her confidence in herself have guided her successful life’s journey—shattering those glass ceilings one by one.



Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.