Author: Helen Melville

La Voix Winery: Small Production Big Personality


In my experience, small production winemakers have big personalities. Whether they lean towards Science, Art, or Balance, there is something of the mad professor in their demeanor. They seem to possess childlike enthusiasm and curiosity along with very adult passion and focus. Steve Clifton (a founding partner at Brewer-Clifton Winery) and his wife, Crystal, fit…

Hilliard Bruce Wine Tasting Dinner


I’m not a big drinker. Seriously, in spite of my great love of complex, beautifully crafted wine, I only imbibe in social situations. This is why I have such a yummy collection of favorites to share on special occasions. What better way to present my latest Santa Barbara discovery, Hilliard Bruce, than at the birthday…

Santa Barbara Vintners’ Festival 2015


On the morning of the Santa Barbara Vintners’ Festival there was a 60% chance of rain, or so the weather report said. Taking no chances, I opted for layers topped by a Patagonia rain jacket. I had hoped to dazzle in a beautiful sundress with purple flowers (to match the color of my post swishing teeth).…