Untucked Woman: Katy Gaffney

What keeps you on-the-go?

I’m the Assistant Winemaker for Kunin Wines in Santa Barbara County.  This means that I’m doing everything from scrubbing and greasing machinery to running laboratory analysis on grapes to then pouring wine for guests.  Having so many different hats to wear at once keeps life interesting; I never work the same day twice!  

Day-in-the-life?

I commute about 40 minutes to work, so waking up and putting coffee in my thermos and a bagel in the toaster is the first thing I think about!  The work in the winery directly corresponds to the seasons, so in the winter time, the focus is on putting the newest vintage into barrel, checking in on the older vintage barrels, thinking about bottling in the new year, and giving the cellar and all the grape processing equipment a post-harvest deep clean.

What do you wear to work?

I would be dead without my work boots! Blundstone makes wonderful work boots that are as comfortable as wearing slippers.  Jeans, a flannel, a vest, and on colder days, a beanie.

How would Untucked Workwear pieces be helpful for your lifestyle?

Because my commute is so long, if I have plans to meet up with friends after work, I need to pack a change of clothes. Since I need to be flexible in my day-to-day, I’m looking for pieces that can also transition well.  I’m fully confident these pieces will be something that I can grab and go for drinks or an industry event; something that will simplify my lifestyle.

Urban or Rural? 

I’ve always been a small town girl, so it’s great that my work is tied so intimately with agriculture.  The seasons are more than just the parts of a calendar year in the wine industry - each one brings new activity into the cellar, and anticipation for what the harvest will bring.

What does an Untucked life mean to you?

Balance.

The word “untucked” has always meant “relaxed” for me.   At first, it seemed like a juxtaposition to pair it with “workwear,” but the more I think about it, it’s actually a unique lesson in balance.  Just like a workplace doesn’t have to be a ginormous stress ball that you dread tackling every morning, your personal hours in your off-time don’t have to be devoid of activity or intention.  An Untucked life, is a balanced life, between work and play, activity and rest, exercise and relaxation.  It’s a balance I’ve yet to achieve, but boy, isn’t it fun to keep trying?    

How do we choose the right wine for dinner parties?

A good rule of thumb for hosting a dinner party is, “one red, one white, one sparkling.”  Offering guests a glass of something bubbly when they arrive puts everyone in a festive mood.  Sparkling wines are also extremely versatile, so don’t be nervous about food pairings.  

Bringing wine to a dinner party is a little more tricky.  Traditionally, it is seen as a gift for the host (or hostess), and although it’s more than likely that the bottle you bring will be opened, don’t count on it.  Hosting a dinner party means a lot of planning, so the Host may already have decided on the wines for the evening.

If you’re truly at a loss as to what to bring, grab some bubbles.  They might be opened immediately upon arrival, or they’ll get put in the fridge for another celebration at a later date.  Some people don’t like Chardonnay, some people don’t like Cabernet, but I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t like bubbles.    

Get to know your local wine shop; they will point you to excellent local wines, or interesting, under-the-radar foreign imports.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into my local shop and said, “Under $25 and interesting,” and I get a couple of bottles to choose from.  The great thing about wine is that no one knows everything, so there’s always something to learn!  

Stay in touch with Katy and her wine adventures on Instagram @ktkatgaff