KCRW - March 2022

Women in wine: Celebrate CA winemakers dominating the industry

Four bottles of wine on a counter

The world of wine is one in which women still struggle to rise, but slowly the numbers are growing. 

A 2016 study from The Grape Collective showed that women comprise a majority of wine drinkers in the United States — 57% female v. 43% male. And yet only 13% of wineries have women winemakers, and only 4% are women-owned. 

But if one focuses on California, the numbers are more positive, especially if we take active spouse co-ownership into account. With co-ownership at 25%, and 13% female-only ownership, the numbers move up to 38%. 

Let’s take the opportunity of Women’s History Month to celebrate a few California women winemakers and owners and two local wine sellers. 

Brix Wines - San Diego
Emily Towe is the co-owner, co-winemaker, and head of content and design here. On its website, the company touts “alive wines from soulful California vineyards.” 

You can get natural wines such as counoise, pinot gris, pinot meunier, riesling, carignan, merlot.

Emily Towe is co-owner and co-winemaker of J. Brix in San Diego. Photo by Anne Watson Photography.

D’Alfonso-Curran Wines - Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara County
Kris Curran is a winemaker and co-owner here. “I have come to appreciate the unique personality of each varietal with which I work. I combine this understanding with my scientific knowledge in pursuit of crafting the best wine possible,” she says. 

You can buy traditional wines such as verdelho, vermentino, arneis, chardonnay, viognier, albariño, and more.

Holus Bolus - Santa Barbara County
Amy Christine, co-owner and co-winemaker, says, “We work with grapes grown in four vineyards … from some of the unique and special cool climate sites located throughout Santa Barbara County.”

You can buy traditional wines such as syrah, cabernet, pinot noir, chardonnay, and rousanne.

Amy Christine is the co-owner and co-winemaker of Holus Bolus. Photo courtesy of Holus Bolus.

Camins 2 Dreams - Central California
Tara Gomez and her wife, Mireia Taribó, are co-owners and co-winemakers here. 

Their wines come from grapes grown in the Santa Rita Hills. The cool mornings and evenings — in concert with marine soils — create a characteristic terroir. Natural fermentation and foot stomping are part of their minimal interventionist philosophy.

You can buy natural wines such as grüner veltliner, rosé of syrah, and syrah.

Mireia Taribó (left) and Tara Gomez (right) own Camins 2 Dreams Winery. Photo courtesy of Camins 2 Dreams. 

Donkey and Goat - Berkeley
Tracey Brandt is the co-owner and winemaker here. 

Sustainable and ecological concerns touch every part of the decision-making process in the vineyard and the cellar. Ingredients are listed on their wine labels, which is still a radical thing to do. The drinks are made with biodynamically farmed grapes from the Sierra Nevada, Mendocino County, and Napa Valley. They occasionally use foot stomping.
You can buy natural wines such as grüner veltliner, chardonnay, gris rose, mourvedre, grenache blanc, grenache noir, pinot noir, and syrah.

Meyer Family Cellars - Yorkville and Mendocino
Karen Meyer is the co-owner and co-winemaker. Their range of production is unusual in that it includes vineyards in Anderson Valley, Yorkville Highlands, and Oakville appellations.

You can buy traditional wines such as chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and petite syrah.

DomaineLA - Melrose
Jill Bernheimer is the owner of this shop on Melrose in Los Angeles. Her website touts “wines made by people, not manufactured by corporations.”

Jill Bernheimer is the owner of wine shop Domaine LA on Melrose in Los Angeles. Photo by Dylan + Jeni.

Vinovore - Virgil Village and Eagle Rock
Owner Coly Den Haan is committed to sharing the breadth and talent of women working in the wine world, whether as a vineyard or winery owner or as a winemaker.

Coly Den Haan owner of Vinovore

Coly Den Haan is the owner of Vinovore in Virgil Village and Eagle Rock. Photo courtesy of The Wine Zine.

The cold cases at Vinovore Eagle Rock

Vinovore’s playful wine types to help choose your wine. Photo by Jenny Caloca. 

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