Women of the New World
With March being Women’s History Month, I wanted to celebrate the women of the new world wine industry. New world simply refers to wine growing regions outside of Europe. Old world wines have been made in Europe for hundreds even thousands of years. In most new world countries, we have been making wine for decades to a couple of hundred years. The women being showcased this time around have made an impact in the young industry of the new world and produce wines expressive of their regions, passion and tenacity.
I’ve had the pleasure of being in the business of wine for decades and one thing that still holds true is that it is a male dominated industry. That never stopped these women. I am going to go out on a limb here and say they don’t even give it much thought. The wines I chose for this release not only celebrate women, they will pair perfectly with your Easter Sunday feast and spring shenanigans.
Areyna by Casarena Torrontes, Valle de Cafayate, Argentina
Grapes where brought to Argentina by Spanish missionaries centuries ago, but it wasn’t until the 1990’s that Argentina was recognized as making world class wines. Torrontes is the native white grape of Argentina and is known for it’s aromatics and food friendly qualities. We recently had a blind tasting seminar led by a Master Sommelier. He poured Torrontes and I was reminded of how much I love this little grape. I thought it would be a great springtime sipper and had to include it in wine club.
Casarena Winery was built in 1937 in the heart of Mendoza’s historic winemaking region. They celebrate single vineyard wines and the sandy soils of the dessert. Winemaker Martina Galeano is as youthful and tenacious as her wines. She earned her enology degree in Mendoza then was awarded a scholarship to pursue her master’s at US Davis. Keep an eye on this one, she is going places!
The red grapefruit and dried apricot on the nose are enough to love but the palate is what will keep you coming back for more.
Great with Thai food, sushi and a day in the garden.
Founders – Dartley Family Winemaker – Martina Galeano
Retail - $18
Bella Grace Barbera, Amador County 2018
This is not your Italian grandmother’s Barbera! The Amador sunshine has beefed this baby up and is fuller bodied than its Italian counterparts from Piedmont where it’s known to be light and fruity. In the 1800’s missionaries and European settlers planted wine grapes all over California. Amador county was considered a hot spot for wine grapes during the gold rush but did not survive prohibition. About 65 years ago vintners started to recognize (or remember) the perfect growing conditions of Amador County for producing robust full-bodied reds.
In the last 30 years Amador has attracted several small family owned producers and is known for over delivering for the price. Co-founder and winemaker Michael Havill (yes Michael is her name) followed her passion for wine and she and her husband left the corporate world for Amador. “We bailed out totally from our corporate jobs and became grape growers” Michael said. Her husband Charlie learned everything he could about sustainable farming and she learned to make wine. What is not to love?
Pair with Focaccia Boi pizza, anything with marinara and true crimes mobster stuff.
Founders – Michael & Charlie Havill Winemaker – Michael Havill
Retail - $30
BACA Double Dutch “Dusi Vineyard” Zinfandel, Paso Robles 2020
I can go on and on about Baca founder Kathryn Hall. She has not only made a big impact on the wine industry as co-founder of Hall, Walt and Baca wineries but she has made a huge impact on society for her humanitarian efforts and philanthropy. She learned her work ethic from her parents who were dedicated grape growers and managed their vineyards for a few years before becoming assistant city attorney for Berkley, California. She then made her way to Texas always knowing she would make her way back to the vines.
In Texas she was the co-founder of North Texas Food Bank, served on the U.S. House of Representatives Hunger Advisory Committee, was the vice president of Texas Mental Health Association and served on the National Advisory Counsel for Violence Against Women. Before returning to her life as vintner, Kathryn also served as United States Ambassador to Austria.
This Zinfandel is everything a Paso Zin should be, full, round and yummy but it sneaks in a kiss of acidity. And get this, the entire sales, marketing and winemaking teams are made up of women!
Enjoy with smoked meats, anything with bbq sauce and a cause you believe in.
Founders – Kathryn & Craig Hall Winemakers – Allison Hollister & Meghan Gunderson
Elderton Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa, Australia 2018
Boy, tasting this wine was a blast from the past. Decades ago, when I started studying wine (I was usually the only woman in a meeting or tasting back then) I could always pick out a Cabernet from Barossa just by the nose. I would always call it in a blind tasting before even tasting it. You will get what I mean, just put your nose in the glass a take a big sniff of eucalyptus, rosemary and a bit of heat. That nose…nothing else like it.
Chairwoman and co-founder of Elderton Wines Lorraine Ashmead moved to Barossa 40 years ago with her family as her father recognized the potential of the land. She and her husband diligently breathed life back into the Cabernet vines on their property and started producing wines expressive of the region. Lorraine’s children are now at the helm of building a sustainable future for the third generation of Ashmeads and beyond. Julie Ashmead, Lorraine’s daughter in law happens to be 5th generation winemaker of Cambells and head of production at Elderton over seeing winemaking and viticulture.
This rustic hearty cab will pair perfectly with Easter lamb topped with chimichurri, a break from lent, and the gift of salvation.
Founder – Lorraine Ashmead Winemaker – Julie Ashmead