Many 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
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.
While 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.