12 Most Wine-derful Women in My Wine World
Keyword here: ‘my’ wine world. Everyone’s wine journey is unique, our lives take different twists and turns and, hopefully, cross paths with exceptional people who influence, encourage or challenge us.
I am not a wine maker, but a mere wine lover whose 30 year exploration of the grape has gone from simple wine sipper, curiosity seeker, avid reader, ridiculous collector and now to wine writer. The women I list here have left a thumbprint on my life, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them.
1. Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin Clicquot — The First Lady of Wine
Most commonly referred to as Veuve Clicquot or The Widow Clicquot. Being a single working mom isn’t an easy job, try doing it in 1805. Widowed at a young age, most thought Barbe-Nicole would pack it in or find another husband and turn her wine business over to him. Neither option sat well with her. She took control of the wine business, introduced new techniques for champagne production and opened the door for future women in wine. For that, I raise my glass to you Barbe-Nicole!
2. Pauline Sabin — Activist
If I had met Pauline Sabin in 1919, she and I would have been on opposite sides of the fence. Initially, she supported the Volsted Act ushering in the dark years of Prohibition. After living with the crime, corruption and downright depression the country was in, she snapped out of it and began work to repeal it by forming the Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform. Her efforts, along with others, returned the country back to normal; ushering in the recovery of our nation’s vineyards. Her influence on my wine world is obvious.
3. Jancis Robinson — Wine Critic, Writer and Editor
Being wine consultant to the Queen of England hasn’t stopped her from sharing her breadth of knowledge with us mere commoners. World renowned expert on wine, when Jancis speaks, I listen.
4. Karen McNeil — Wine Writer and Educator
Her book, The Wine Bible, is never far from my reach. Her friendly, approachable writing style makes reading this book as fun as sitting down with friends chatting away and sipping wine. It was after reading this book — backward and forward — that I decided to take my next step and to study for the Certified Specialist of Wine exam. Thumbprint factor here: huge.
5. Cathy Corison — Wine Maker/Owner Corison Winery
About the time Cathy Corison began crafting her wines, I was taking my wine hobby to the next level; collecting. It was with one case of Corison Cabernet Sauvignon that I began my wine cellar. While that first case is now a memory, it was the foundation on what has become my approach to collecting wine; taking a leap of faith once in a while.
6. Tammy Schaefer — Owner Pacific Coast Vineyards
Much like how I started collecting Corison Wines, I took a leap of faith when I learned about Pacific Coast Vineyards. When I called the vineyard to place my first order I was lucky enough to speak directly with Tammy. We talked endlessly about the wines she and her husband Todd were making. The wines sounded so gorgeous I wanted to reach thru the phone to grab a sip. That first conversation led to wine festivals and barrel tastings; I am truly grateful for her continued support in my wine exploration and writing.
7. Gay Callan — Owner Chatom Vineyards
Does wine taste better when you’ve met the vineyard owner? I don’t know, but the enthusiasm Gay Callan exudes is infectious. When I met Gay, she already had decades of award wining wines to her credit. She certainly didn’t ‘need’ my endorsement of her wines, but was genuinely appreciative that I took the time and interest to write about them. Meeting Gay taught me that the faces behind the labels can be as approachable as the wines themselves.
8. Marie Payton — Wine Writer
A wine lover, writer and student of the grape, she also hosts the weekly Wine Chat on Twitter. Marie invites a Guest Host to join her, and together, they talk about a wine topic of the week. She has taught me, and thousands of followers, that wine exploration is a journey, and as a community it’s our mission to share our knowledge and enthusiasm with others along the way.
9. Rachel Taylor — Wine Lover and Editor
A wine lover, WSET Advanced Certified, and Social Media Monger; Rachel understands that social media is the way to connect with the new generation of wine lovers. Rachel has influenced my wine world by taking a leap of faith in me by giving me the opportunity to write for 12 Most. Cheers to you Rachel!
10. Leanne Laine — Wine Artist
Leanne has showed me a different way to express the love of the grape. Wine is an art, and Leanne brings it all to the canvas in ways that are as thought provoking and complex as wine itself.
11. My Girlfriends and Family
For letting me talk endlessly about aromas, flavors and finish. And for putting up with me as I read — aloud — the wine list each and every time we go out!
12. Wendy Kelly — Graphic Artist
For simply telling me to start writing about my passion; I took her advice, another leap of faith, and haven’t looked back!
Although some of these women I have never met, collectively they have built a bridge for wine explorers, from one generation to the next. I hope to continue building this bridge one glass at a time!
Who has had an impact on you and your passion? I would love to know.
Featured image courtesy of jawcey via Creative Commons.