Flowering trees, such as the beautiful almond tree above, are one of the best examples of feng shui plant life. Not only do most of these trees sprout delicious nuts or fruit, but their blossoms give off an alluring scent that carries on the air. Flowering branches also have auspicious symbolism. Because they usually bloom in winter or early spring, these floral tendrils represent longevity and overcoming great burdens. There are not many blossomy trees in my neighborhood, so I usually resort to the Japanese Cherry Blossom lotion from Bath and Body Works (the smell is to die for). However, on a recent trip to Solvang, a generous collection of these beneficial plants reside at Buttonwood Farm.
Originally an equestrian ranch established by philanthropist Betty Williams, the property now boasts a vast vineyard, tasting room, and organic farm. Pictured above is is the back entrance to the tasting room, which leads out to their intricate and beautiful gardens.
The tasting room is stylish and very serviceable. Two tasting bars reside on either side of the space, allowing for easy flow of patrons. I love the living chandelier of leaves – a highly conducive and artistic example of the wood element.
Buttonwood also has many farm-fresh products for sale, including olive oils, preserves, salsas – and my personal favorite – the Raspberry Grenache-Syrah Chocolate sauce. Decadent and loaded with antioxidants, this sauce is ideal for desserts or a chocolate martini.
Wine barrels are used as support for an elegant table in the middle of the room. I love barrel furniture, and it’s a green and economical way of reusing these vessels. Powerful and striking images painted by Seyburn Zorthian grace the walls. Much of Seyburn’s art is highly influenced by her study of Shoudo, the passionate brush stroke technique of Japanese and Chinese writing. She also creates the artwork featured on Buttonwood’s wine labels. For more information about her art, please visit her website here: http://www.seyburnzorthian.com/artist.html
I was captivated by this gorgeous fountain nestled in a private garden outside the tasting room. Working fountains with clear, clean water add beneficial and peaceful chi (energy) to an environment.
Daffodils were in full bloom when we visited. Also known as narcissus or jonquils, these flowers have a myriad of symbolic meaning. In feng shui folklore, the white ones represent the flowering of one’s talents and skills, and can be used in furthering one’s career. I also think they are great examples of spring; they remind me of hunting for Easter eggs as a kid.
There were many different wines l sampled. My favorites were:
- 2010 Devin – An irresistible sauvignon blanc. Influences of honey, lemon and apricot come through in a charismatic fashion. Crisp and complex.
- 2009 Marsanne – A decadent white. Hints of honeycomb and marzipan contrast nicely with a crisp taste and rich body. Flavorful and refreshing. (Sold Out)
- 2010 Cabernet Franc – Sage and raspberry take center stage with this enticing red. Very easy to drink. Silky and sophisticated.
- 2009 Trevin – An intoxicating red blend composed mostly of Cab Franc. Vanilla, rhubarb and dark berries were the notes highlighted on my palate. Tasteful with a lingering finish.
- 2010 POSH – One of the best ports I’ve had. Dark cocoa and espresso make their presence known, with a holiday influence of cinnamon, orange and cherry. (A bottle came home with me.)
I also got to meet fellow feng shui consultant, writer and interior designer Rhea Peake (pictured left here with my friend Victoria). She has many years experience in creating sacred spaces and improving environments, as well as a plethora of other skills and talents. In addition to her strong ties with Buttonwood, she is based in Santa Barbara, Hawaii and Vancouver. For more information, please visit her website here: http://www.rheapeake.com
Comfortable seating is placed purposefully around the gardens, encouraging guests to linger with some wine and a picnic lunch. In addition to their tastings, Buttonwood also hosts many different events throughout the year, including a crawfish boil. I also suggest checking their website for some stellar recipes (I will be trying the olive oil cake recipe first) as well as their informative blog Buttonwords. I am going to try to come up at least one more time before the seasons dramatically change, so I can sit under a flowering tree with a glass of Cab Franc and just immerse myself in the auspicious environment that is Buttonwood Farm.
Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard
1500 Alamo Pintado Road, Solvang, CA 93463
Hours: Open Daily 11:00 am – 5:00 pm