Equine photograph by Dan Qunajon

Dan Quinajon's photographs of horses will be on display in an exhibit opening Friday evening in the newly remodeled tasting room at Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard in Solvang. The opening event will kick off the farm's Jubilee Year of events marking its 50th anniversary.

Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard in Solvang will kick off its Jubilee Year celebration of three anniversaries Friday evening by unveiling its remodeled tasting room and opening its first art show of the year.

The Jubilee Year will mark the 50th anniversary of the farm’s purchase by founder Betty Williams, the 35th anniversary of the vineyard planting and what would have been Williams’ 100th birthday, said winemaker Karen Steinwachs.

Williams purchased the property at 1500 Alamo Pintado Road in 1968 to create “a working farm based on good practices for people, animals and the earth,” Steinwachs said.

She started with horses, added organic vegetables and then planted the vineyard in 1983, and the yearlong celebration will recognize her vision as the farm and winery founder.

Steinwachs said Friday’s event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. will unveil the remodeled tasting room, with its focus on the beauty of the surrounding gardens and orchard, and will open the first art show of 2018 — an exhibit of equine photographs by Dan Quinajon, who is also a part-time tasting room associate.

“I think it’s great to have Dan’s work grace the walls of our tasting room and begin this anniversary year,” said co-owner and resident artist Seyburn Zorthian. “My mother started Buttonwood with horses and was herself an avid photographer.

“As an artist myself, I think Dan’s work is beautifully composed, shows the individual character of the horses and is simply stunning.”

Buttonwood’s award-winning wines will be available for purchase by the glass or bottle, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the “Horse Sense and Healing” workshops at Flag Is Up Farms.

Legendary “Horse Whisperer” Monty Roberts is presenting the free three-day resilience-building workshops for veterans, law enforcement and firefighting personnel and other first responders and their families who work closely with horses.

Steinwachs said the individuals and horses develop a special bond based upon mutual trust and respect that effectively addresses participants’ emotional trauma, antisocial behavior, withdrawal from society, anger, stress and post-traumatic stress injury.

Quinajon said working with horses had an effect not only on his photography but also his life after he began learning to ride dressage in 2009 and “became fascinated with the movement of horses, their physique and, of course, the variety of their individual personalities.”

“Through the training and care of several horses, I have learned a great deal of this species, and their impact on me has been life-changing,” he said. “But it is also important to note that for centuries the horse has been man’s partner in life, and they deserve our respect.”

After serving in the U.S. Navy as a military photographer, Quinajon took courses at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and Cal State Fullerton, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in communications and photography.

While studying for his degree, he worked as a freelance photojournalist for the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star News and Whittier Daily News.

Following graduation, he has hired as a technical photographer and video editor for the U.S. AirForce at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Friday’s event is open to the public. Reservations are encouraged, Steinwachs said, and can be made by visiting www.equinephotography.eventbrite.com or calling the winery at 688-3032.


News Editor

Mike Hodgson is news editor at the Santa Ynez Valley News, where he writes about local government, special events and the people who live in the Valley. He has been a photographer, writer, news editor and managing editor at weekly newspapers since 1972

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