Buttonwood Farm, Winery and Vineyard
Los Olivos, one of the most picturesque wine regions in California, produces some true wine gems and offers some terrific values. Within this fairly new AVA you’ll find such top notch wineries as Brander and Beckman and the towns of Los Olives and Solvang. Just about 2 hours North of Los Angeles it is an absolute must for a day trip from So Cal, or a romantic wine tasting weekend.
Buttonwood is one of my favorite places to stop when I’m in Los Olivos. In a way, it seems more like a farm stand than a winery. And I mean that in the best possible sense. The tasting room is tucked in behind hedges and trees on a two lane road that runs through the middle of the gentle rolling hills. You pull into the gravel drive and park right in the midst of persimmon and pomegranate trees.
As you walk to the casual but modern tasting room, off to the right you will see a barn and tractors of this real working farm and vineyard -106 acres planted to olives, fruit and nut trees and of course wine grapes. The owner, Betty Williams, was a pioneer in the arena of sustainable farming and minimal intervention in tending the crops and orchards. This is what I believe gives the wines of Buttonwood their distinct quality. Even if you can’t articulate the subtle complex notes that you get on the nose and palate of their various wines, you will experience a brightness and purity of the fruit, on-point varietal characteristics and a sense of land on which they were grown.
The wines are made and blended with great care and love by winemaker, Karen Steinwachs (who’s back story is a bit like mine), but they seem almost effortless. Tasting Buttonwood’s wines is like picking that perfect piece of fruit off the tree and biting into it right then and there. Compare that to the fruit you buy at the supermarket and you’ll get what I’m talking about. Karen’s style tends to be more old world, but with plenty of fresh juicy fruit. I guess that’s why I’m such a fan.
Here are a few of the standout wines that I tasted on my last visit to Buttonwood:
In addition to the wines, as a former creative professional and Art Center grad, I must remark on the beautiful art that decorates the labels and the walls of the tasting room. They are gorgeously designed by Seyburn Zorthian.
I’m struck by the dichotomy of the friendly, farmy feel at Buttonwood and the sophistication of the wines. I guess I would call it a simple, natural elegance. Every part of the operation fits together seamlessly – the farm, the vineyard, the tasting room and the friendly staff, as well as the delicious wines.
Find out more about them on the Buttonwood website.