On International Women’s Day: Toast Women Wine Makers with Sonja’s Suds!

Today, Marsh 8, is International Women’s Day and the theme is “Make It Happen.” What better way to honor, celebrate, and toast women than by opening a bottle of wine made by one?


I chose to feature these two wine makers because today is International Women’s Day and these are truly international women! They have both been born in one country and now make wine in another. This month of March I will be focusing as much as possible on those 10% of wines made by women wine makers.

Today I may open that bottle of Casa Dumetz grenache you see in the tweet and I will probably open that gewurzt by Sandra Oldfield of Tinhorn Creek (that syrah I’m laying down for a few more years!)

Sandra Oldfield grew up in the US and learned how to make wine at UC Davis; she now makes wine in Oliver, British Columbia, Canada at Tinhorn Creek, where she is one of the co-owners. I met her online then in person when she came to the 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference to entice us to visit her for WBC13 in Penticton, B.C. Tinhorn Creek is one of the largest family owned wineries in Canada, and Sandra has been a wine-making owner for over 20 years. Tinhorn Creek and other wines from Canada are only recently readily available through mail order in the US.

On a much smaller scale, meet Sonja Magdevski of Casa Dumetz founded in 2004. Sonja’s family is from Macedonia and she grew up in Michigan where her dad made wine in the garage; now  she makes wine in Los Alamos, California at her winery Casa Dumetz.  I met Sonja April 2014–she wasn’t in the wine tasting room, but the beer tasting bar  down the street working elbow to elbow with her husband Emilio Estevez. Because of its small size, if you can’t get to Los Alamos to buy wine direct (located between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo), check out the Casa Dumetz Wine Club.

Casa Dumetz: Sonja’s Suds Methode Traditionale style Syrah Rosé. $35

Only 100 cases were made of this dry sparkling rose of syrah wine by owner/winemaker Sonja Magdevskibut. When we visited the tasting room April 2014 and I saw the bottle and heard the story, I had to buy it! I’m definitely keeping the empty bottle until I can get another one — I love it!

See: The color is much deeper and rosier than you’d expect from a rose, but much lighter than other sparkling shiraz I’ve enjoyed, because rose. In fact, it is the most colorful rose I’ve ever had. Very beautiful, it speaks of love.

Swirl: Nope, you’re not really supposed to swirl bubbles. It makes them pop, But it’s a habit that’s hard to break.

Sniff: Many roses and sparkling wines are delicate, but this one is lively. Yeast, stone, perfume, roses, licorice, cotton candy, root beer.

Sip: Dynamic. Strong. Unexpected. Delightful. Complex. Creamy. Wild Strawberries, watermelon, cranberry, and sasparilla. And my husband liked it better than beer!

Sparkle: Vibrant and long lasting, these bubbles are not sea foam but tiny toddlers, more rambunctious and fun.


Sonja’s Suds from Casa Dumetz: these beads make the bubbles!


Sonja’s Suds uses Santa Ynez Valley fruit grown at Tierra Alta Vineyard, and to make it bubble, she uses encapsulated yeast contained in these alginate beads (made from a natural polysaccharide extracted from seaweed.) The wine comes with a note attached that explains that the beads make the bubbles and while they won’t hurt you, you don’t want to drink them! They only showed up in the very last glass and were easy to avoid.

I paired this tonight with grilled pork chops stuffed with cornbread dressing (for my husband) and grilled wild salmon. It paired very well with each. I wish I’d picked up some oysters because that would be a match made in heaven. I would also encourage this as a great wine for Easter Sunday brunch–it would be festive and friendly and pair well with the salty sweet spice of ham.

Bottle cap. 13.5% alcohol. Santa Ynez Valley, CA.

“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization,” says Gloria Steinem, “but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”

So this month, toast women wine makers!

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