Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard
About Buttonwood
Buttonwood People
Buttonwood Farm
Buttonwood Recipes
Buttonwood Art
Buttonwood Wines
Wine Clubs
Visit Buttonwood
Press & Trade

  Like Buttonwood on FaceBook Follow Buttonwood on Twitter Follow Us on Pinterest Buttonwords

Karen Steinwachs

Karen SteinwachsMany of us say we'd like to give up our regular job to follow a dream, but few of us ever reach the point when we forsake the progress we've made in one career to start all over in another. Every once in a while, though, you meet someone who has done just that- like our winemaker Karen Steinwachs.

In her previous life, Karen earned a degree in Business Management and spent 20 years in the high-tech world. In 2001 when she'd had enough of gazing into a computer screen in a high-rise tower for eighteen hours a day, she decided she needed a physical job. A job in the fresh air. A job with a stress level several notches closer to earth. Karen wondered if she could possibly break in to the world of winemaking.

During the years she spent based in Southern California, Karen had become a fan of wine in general, and of Santa Barbara County wines in particular. She and her husband Dave Robinson snuck regular trips up here and over time became acquainted with a handful of winemakers. After being turned down by a few, she asked Norm Yost, then winemaker at Foley Estates, for a harvest job. Norm wasn't at all encouraging saying it would be hard work, not nearly as romantic as people think, he could only pay her $7 an hour and she would be laid off when the harvest was done. She took the job, and although Norm was right about the work being hard, by the time harvest was over, Karen would never look back at her life of high-tech, high heels and power suits. Her original six week job at Foley stretched to three years before she was off to Fiddlehead Cellars and an assistant winemaking position working with Kathy Joseph.

Karen SteinwachsWhile at Fiddlehead, Karen honed and expanded on the skills she learned at Foley, taking on the day to day responsibilities of looking after the wine so that after three harvests at Fiddlehead, she knew she was ready to run her own show. Karen first became acquainted with Buttonwood when she worked down the road at Foley (Lincourt) and she admired that Buttonwood is a working farm with a variety of aspects that diverge as well as mesh with the wine side of the business. She imagined Buttonwood a place where dreams have been, and still wait to be achieved. And now here she is, crafting Buttonwood's old-vine fruit into wines of character and distinction. As she produces each wine with care, Karen continues to build on her dream of working with a team that produces an expression of the land as well as her dream of crafting wine that will provide pleasure at the table and in the glass. Come and visit and taste the stuff that dreams are made of.