As March is Women’s History Month, and Saturday March 8 is International Women’s Day, what better time to focus on women winemakers than now?
That’s the idea of the tweet-up on the first Wednesday evening of March–to taste and tweet about wines made by women March 5, 2014. We’re going to get started at 5pm Pacific Standard Time.
All you need to to do participate is locate a bottle of wine made by a woman and share it online with the hashtag #womenwinemakers.
And yes, this may take a bit of research on your part because even though 10% of all winemakers in California are women
It’s not like there’s a pink bow on the bottles at the grocery store to let you know which wines are made by women and which are made by men.
But women are making wine–and great wine at that.
For example, check out what Elaine Brown aka Hawk Wakawaka writes (and draws!) in “Keeping it Simple: Love for Cathy Corison Cabernet” link to post from last March. Jon Bonne raves in the SF Chronicle (12/1/12) that “One sniff of wine from Cathy Corison, our 2011 Winemaker of the Year, and you’re instantly reminded what Cabernet truly is.” Here’s a link to his article.
It’s not like women just started making wine either. Cathy’s been at it since the mid 1970s.
While I have yet to taste Cathy Corison’s wines, I have tasted the magic that Dawnine Dyer makes over at Napa’s Meteor Vineyards when I attended a release party in 2011. We even hung out together comparing notes about our alma mater, UC Santa Cruz!
Like Cathy, Dawnine started making wine in the 1970s; Dawnine was at Mondavi in 1974, then made sparkling wine for 25 years at Domaine Chandon. These days, she’s making Bordeaux style wines with her husband (who I also met and, like Dawnine, is one of the sweetest people you’d ever hope to meet) for their label, Dyer, and making wine at Meteor in a joint venture with Barry Schuler. Those wines, I must say, were some of the most memorable and exquisite California reds I’ve tasted. (Read Marcy Gordon’s discussion of the Meteor Vineyards release party here)
Obviously there is a long tradition of women making wine–as well as helping blend wines that others have made. More than once I’ve heard stories about how a blend came to be–and often it is the wife who has the magic touch.
In fact there’s a whole website devoted to California women wine makers like Cathy and Dawnine because women are making wine for small production and high end wineries as well as large ones with wines you’d find at the grocery store: at the International Food Bloggers Conference, I was on a fun wine and food pairing panel with Don and Son’s winemaker Michelle McClenden (pictured with Mike Wangbickler; photo from Foodista http://www.flickr.com/photos/foodista/6351324359/in/photostream/).
When I was on the way to Penticton last year for the Wine Bloggers Conference, I started in Seattle and stopped in Lake Chelan where I met and tasted the wines of former roller derby gal and now wine maker Angela Jacobs of Wine Girl Wines at the Blending Room in Mason WA.
Which reminds me: I have a bottle of My Derby Wife Malbec which I could open on Wednesday!
After the Wine Bloggers Conference, I was able to spend some time with winemaker, president and CEO Sandra Oldfield at Tinhorn Creek in Oliver which is south of Penticton.
In contrast to the tiny and youthful Wine Girl Wines, Tinhorn Creek is celebrating its 20th anniversary as one of the first and largest estate grown wineries in Canada (the website says 150 acres of vines!). I have a bottle of her spicy, racy, acidic, aromatic, and minerally Gewurztraminer and her luscious, succulent Merlot which I could open for the occasion.
And if not on Wednesday, sometime during March I’ll open one or both Tinhorn Creek wines because I have notes and photos from exploring the vineyards with chairman Kenn Oldfield plus notes from an in-depth interview to share about Sandra’s life as a leading winemaker who has consciously worked to keep the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit in mind in every element of their business practice.
So what am I going to open on Wednesday? What will the other Wine Predators bring to our twitter tasting party on Wednesday? Rumour has it there may be a Foley wine or two… you’ll just have to follow the hashtag #womenwinemakers on twitter on Wednesday starting at 5pm or wait for the blog post!
And don’t get fooled by our Wednesday #winechat diversion from 6-7pm when we will also be tasting and tweeting about two wines from Uruguay, a Sauvigon Blanc and a Tannat from Bodegas Carrau made by, they say, the men in the family, a family that’s been involved in making wine for 260 years! (note: these wines are samples for review consideration).