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By Joseph Knowles

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Williams felt strongly about preserving the local environment and cofounded the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County. In the early 1980s a vintner friend convinced her that the ancient riverbed would make an excellent vineyard site. In 1983 Williams and her son- in-law, Bret Davenport, started planting thirty-nine acres of sustainably farmed Bordeaux and Rhône-style grapes, and in 1989 completed a winery next to the vineyard. Her daughter and resident artist, Seyburn Zorthian, created label art influenced by studies with an abstract brushstroke master in Japan.

COSTA DE ORO WINERY Every Friday evening, local Santa Marians and visitors in the know head to the Costa de Oro Winery tasting room to celebrate the end of the workweek—and to launch the weekend in spirited style. They relax in the comfortable lounge, where they order appetizers and fine wines by the glass and bottle. They also listen to live music, ranging from rock to country and western, performed by various artists, including local Grammy Award winners and touring groups. This unusual, beyond-the-bottle blend of music and wine reflects the dual passions of Costa de Oro winemaker/musician Gary Burk.

It also holds the Blair Fox Cellars tasting room, where winemaker Blair Fox’s limited-quantity, handcrafted Rhône wines take center stage. C. Santa Barbara. C. Davis, where he took an enology class and found it so captivating that he switched career plans. Fox returned to Santa Barbara with a degree in viticulture and enology, and a newfound passion for Syrah, Viognier, and other Rhône varieties. After working at a small Santa Ynez winery for three years, Fox traveled through France’s Rhône Valley and then worked as a winemaker in the McLaren Vale wine region in Australia.

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