By Laurie Jervis

Contributing Writer

Angela Osborne, founding winemaker of Folded Hills Winery, Ranch and Homestead outside of Buellton, will leave the winery this month in order to focus on her own brand, A Tribute to Grace, a grenache-based label she created in 2006.

In announcing Osborne’s pending departure, Folded Hills owner Andrew Busch said: “We’re grateful to Angela for helping us create an identity around the kinds of wines we want to make. She has a light touch with grenache and other Rhone varietal wines, and translated our estate fruit honestly and beautifully.”

Busch is the son of August Anheuser “Gussie” Busch Jr., who built and grew the Anheuser-Busch Companies into the largest brewery in the world by 1957.

New Zealand native Osborne said she was “grateful to (owners) Kim and Andy” for her time with Folded Hills.

Michael Brughelli is the new winemaker for Folded Hills Winery.
Photo contributed

Michael Brughelli of Vignerons Consulting will replace Osborne and oversee all winemaking, working directly with the vineyard and cellar staff.

California native Brughelli is perhaps best known as winemaker for Scar of the Sea, a label he co-founded with Mikey Giugni. In 2019, Brughelli sold his portion of Scar of the Sea back to Giugni in order to launch his own consultancy, Vignerons.

Before launching his own firm, Brughelli worked at Bien Nacido Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley, where he rose from sales manager to director of sales to director of supply. A graduate of Cal Poly, Brughelli was a firefighter and EMT before turning to farming and vineyards.

“I’ve long been a fan of Angela and the wines she’s been producing,” Brughelli said. “And I’m proud and honored to have the opportunity to carry this torch. The Busch family’s ranch has incredible potential, and I’m looking forward to working with it.”

Sta. Rita Hills WGA shifts to online tasting events

In light of COVID-19 restrictions on public events, the Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance was forced to cancel its popular Wine & Fire event scheduled for August.

For more than a decade, the weekend affair has taken place at various wineries and vineyards throughout the Sta. Rita Hills, and featured a grand tasting at La Purisima Mission State Historic Park outside of Lompoc.

However, the alliance, like many other organizations, pivoted with the pandemic and has turned to Facebook Live with a weekly slate of regional winemakers and Matt Kettmann, a Santa Barbara-based wine and food journalist and critic.

The fifth installment of the live tasting took place last month with Kettmann interviewing and tasting with winemaking icons Greg Brewer (Brewer-Clifton, Diatom and Ex Post Facto) and Ken Brown, owner of his namesake winery and a longtime viticulturist who introduced several grape varietals to Santa Barbara County vineyards.

The following week (July 28), three winemakers who source from Fe Ciega Vineyard — Rick Longoria (Longoria Wines), Bill Wathen (Foxen Winery) and Adam Tolmach (Ojai Vineyard) — were featured, along with one or two of their respective Fe Ciega wines.

Go to for more information on events.

Meanwhile, speaking of writer Kettmann …

Journalist pens book on Santa Barbara County winemakers

Photo contributed

Matt Kettmann, one of the most prolific wine and food writers/backyard barbecue chefs I am honored to know, will soon release “Vines & Vision: The Winemakers of Santa Barbara County,” a book highlighting the people and the spirit of the county.

Kettmann has written for the Santa Barbara Independent since 1999 and is the greater California Central Coast wine critic for Wine Enthusiast.

Along with longtime photographer Macduff Everton, a fellow writer and publisher, Kettmann spent the better part of the past two years gathering stories about how both the region’s pioneers and up-and-comers live a life of wine. Kettmann has a knack for letting his subjects tell their own stories, so the book brims with viticulture history and the passion that various producers bring to the table.

Everton’s photography has been published in magazines such as National Geographic, Life and Saveur, and he photographed “The Book of Santa Barbara,” which contains essays by Pico Iyer.

“Vines & Vision” features profile chapters on more than 100 wineries/winemakers, as well as sections on history, geography, trends, a look at the effects of COVID-19 on the industry, and a year in the life of a vineyard, from pruning to bottling.

There is a special section called El Buen Equipo, or “The Good Team,” which highlights the efforts of farmworkers and other often overlooked people who proudly bring each vintage to market, such as publicists who work behind the scenes.

Kettmann and Everton said their book is headed to print this month, and copies should be available by October. While some books may be available at select wineries this fall (some of the wineries featured have secured copies for distribution), you can order online at Copies of the hardcover, 600-plus page book are $60 each.