Celebration of Harvest Archives - Please The Palate
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This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register.
The 25th annual Santa Barbara Vintners Celebration of Harvest Festival this past weekend included a seminar featuring six winemakers. Laura Roach, Denise Shurtleff, Kathy Joseph, Gabe Saglie, Tara Gomez, Sonja Magdevski, Erika Maldonado

It was an opportunity for them to share their stories and talk about their wine in front of an audience of wine enthusiasts. One of the unique aspects of this seminar was that all six winemakers were women. It is not uncommon to find female winemakers in California. But, according to a 2015 survey from Santa Clara University, the reality is that out of 3,400-plus wineries in California, only 10 percent of lead winemakers are female.

Santa Barbara County is a relatively small wine region with 27,000 acres planted to grapes. It is home to 199 wineries which, on average, produce fewer than 5,000 cases each. Of these 199 wineries, at least 20 are run by women. Each one of these winemakers has a story to tell and had a wine to share.

The 2014 harvest is almost complete. Most of the grapes have been picked and the grapes are in tanks and barrels so it was time to celebrate at the Santa Barbara Vintners Celebration of Harvest Festival (Oct 10-13). Over a three day weekend, Santa Barbara wineries opened up their tasting rooms with special offers and other events. The main event of the weekend was the Festival Grand Tasting. The Festival Grand Tasting took place outdoors at the Old Mission Santa Ines in Solvang. More than 100 members of the Santa Barbara Vintners were there, as well as local restaurants and artists. With all of the participants, the question always is, "which wines should we try? where should we go first?".
Traditionally, La Paulée is a Burgundian celebration held at the end of the grape harvest. So, hosting "La Paulée", which comes from the French word for sauté pan, poile, during the Santa Barbara Celebration of Harvest Festival, was fitting.....and lots of fun. To kick off the Celebration of Harvest weekend, La Paulée was hosted on Friday night. In addition to a ticket to the event, the only other requirement is to bring a bottle of wine with you. This BYO event does not mean that you grab the first bottle you find or run to the supermarket on your way. What you want to do is look into your collection of wines and bring something that you are proud to share. Santa Barbara Cebration of Harvest Fesitval La Paulee