Vineyard runs and friendly feasts

Liz Dodder and Amber Ortiz enjoyed a relaxing evening at Buttonwood Farm Winery on July 26.

Danielle Laudon, Contributed photo

Under the blanket of the cool morning Sta. Rita Hills fog, over 250 people began their day with a 5K run through La Rinconada and Sanford & Benedict vineyards. Now in its third year, the Vintners 5 Miler serves up a beautiful and unique trail run, with participants getting a glimpse into the wine region’s history, rewarding runners with sweeping views as they run through the historic, lichen-covered Sanford & Benedict barn. Even more satisfying, once the runners made it through the finish line and back to Sanford Winery, they were rewarded with live music, local wines and protein-fueled breakfast options from Industrial Eats and Hitching Post II among others. Runners included David Whitehair, Marisa Yott, Adrienne St. John, Laura Roach, Katie Grassini, Nicole Sattler Liddi and Riley Jeanne Slack.

As wine is always a hot topic within the Valley, EconAlliance held a forum at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, bringing together elected officials, key county, city and community leaders, wine growers and tourism experts to explore the long-term viability of the wine and tourism sectors in our county. Panelists Francesca Lindley, Katy Rogers and Sonja Magdevski spoke passionately about how storytelling in the tasting room and vineyard creates an emotional connection for guests, which is integral to the industry’s sustainability. Tourism leaders Paul Patel, Glenn Morris, Shelby Sim and Jennifer Walker also led a lively panel discussion on how tourism and wine intersect, and helped define the varied audiences each respective territory targets. The forum ended with a look at county regulations with Santa Barbara County District Supervisors Steve Lavagnino and Das Williams and San Luis Obispo County District Supervisor John Peschong. Lavagnino encouraged the crowd to stay engaged with thoughtful and articulate positions in order to make sure their voices are heard, paraphrasing a quote often attributed to Al Capone, stating “You’re either at the table or on the menu.”

After vineyard runs and animated panel discussions, community members came together for a fun evening out at Buttonwood Farm Winery for Edible magazine’s summer issue party. Celebrating all things food and wine, Amber Ortiz, Liz Dodder, Laurie Jervis, Sonja Walker and Michelle Castle were among the crowd enjoying a relaxing evening on the patio while perusing the latest issue. Winemaker Karen Steinwachs and her team poured some of Buttonwood’s latest releases while Conrad Gonzales provided Valle Fresh tacos, Theodora Stephan offered up Global Gardens’ olive oils and Bruce and Diane Steele shared samples of Winfield Farms’ bratwurst. With clear skies and a nice evening breeze, it was another perfect summer evening in the Santa Ynez Valley.

A lifelong Valley resident, Danielle Laudon is the director of marketing for Visit the Santa Ynez Valley. To have your event considered for coverage in People & Places, email danielle@visitsyv.com.

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