I've spent the past few weeks celebrating women's contributions to America. March is Women History Month and it's especially rich In a year when we have the first African American First Lady as well as the third female Secretary of State.
In the 21st century there are countless women business leaders, college presidents, members of Congress to acknowledge. Still there are a lot of long overdue firsts just happening, and a long way to go to gain parity in pay, and opportunity. Okay, enough speechifying.
In a down economy, best to be up about the good stuff--the pioneers, the pathmakers, the innovators. Plenty of women in those ranks, none more so than the ones in the world of wine.
Not since Lucille Ball stomped around in a tub of grapes during the iconic episode of "I Love Lucy," have so many women been players in the wine industry. Women winemakers, marketers, vineyard owners, and wine experts. Of course a good wine product is a good wine product, but I feel a special sense of pride when enjoying a wine that is woman created.
But don't take my word for it. Take a taste of some of my favorites. Pop the cork on J Cuvee' Brut NV Russian River Valley. It's got plenty of citrus, with a crisp toastiness, and a delicious finish. The J stands for owner Judy Jordan, Founder and CEO of J Vineyards and Winery. I am also a fan of J Vineyards' Viognier, a floral white that never disappoints.
Delia Viader is the winemaker at Viader Vineyards in Napa Valley. The Argentian born winemaker heads a team of family members who all work at the vineyard. Delia's 2006 Viader Napa Valley is rich with plum and chocolate, and touches of spice, perfect for hours long sipping.
Winemaker Susana Balbo stayed in Argentina, and now her vineyard produces a white wine I first tasted a couple of years ago. Crios de Susana Balbo Torrentes is made from a grape native to Argentina. I showcased this dry crisp wine in a wine tasting for a girlfriend's retreat and claimed some new enthusiasts.
There's so much good wine in Washington state and a lot of it is created by women winemakers. I love the rich smooth red wine Meritage from Three Rivers Winery in Walla Walla, guided from grape to bottle by winemaker Holly Turner.
I've mentioned the wines of Sugarleaf Vineyards in Virginia, a winery co owned by Lauren Bias. Sugarleaf's Vidal Blanc is a good sip.
At book club meeting last month, I opened a bottle of Seven Sisters Chenin Blanc named "Yolanda" after one of the real life sisters of the South African winery. It was a big hit. Another woman, Selena Cuffe, has helped raise the profile of Seven Sisters wines in the US through her Heritage Brands wine import business. I am a big fan of the Chenin Blanc which is light with honey and citrus notes.
We're just past the Ides of March which means there is plenty of month left to sample one of the wines from my Women's History Month sixpack.
I'm going to spend the time searching out a new woman produced wine to add to my wine rack. It's not the grape throwing fight Lucy endured way back when, but women in the wine industry are still struggling to get that Aretha R-E-S-P-E-C-T from peers and consumers. So this month, acknowledge the history and promote the future--pour one for the women.