Forbes writer ‘called out’ about Oregon female winemakers

by | Feb 14, 2013 | News, Oregon wine | 10 comments

Melissa Burr of Stoller Family Estate in Dundee is one of more than 30 female head winemakers in Oregon. (Photo courtesy of Stoller Family Estate)

Melissa Burr of Stoller Family Estate in Dundee is one of more than 30 female head winemakers in Oregon. (Photo courtesy of Stoller Family Estate)

Editor’s note: We continue to work at keeping this list current, so please contact us with additions and revisions.

Forbes recently published what is billed as the first of a four-part series about Oregon female winemakers. The list stopped at six, according to the writer, Katie Kelly Bell.

“Based on purely anecdotal evidence, at last count I had Veronique Drouhin (Domaine Drouhin), Maggie Harrison (Antica Terra), Kim Kramer (Kramer Vineyards), Rebecca Pittock-Shouldis (Ghost Hill), Melissa Burr (Stoller Family Estate) and Lynn Penner-Ash (Penner-Ash)” Bell wrote.

Well, sometimes the online comments are as interesting as the story that inspired them. Ultimately, though, the opening segment on Kramer revealed just how many women are listed as head winemakers in Oregon.

Colleague provides list of Oregon female winemakers left off

Brianne Day, herself a winemaker, produced a long list of winemakers who were left off Bell’s list. On Forbes’ site, a worthy comment can be promoted by the staffer as “called out.”

“Very much looking forward to this series – but you should keep counting! Also included in this list are:
Kelley Fox, winemaker at Scott Paul Wines and Kelley Fox Wines
Anne Hubatch, winemaker at Helioterra and Whoa Nelly!
Sarah Cabot, winemaker for Precept Wine at 12th & Maple
Remy Drabkin, winemaker at Remy Wines
Julia Cattrall, co-winemaker at Ransom and Lumos
Tahmena Momtazi, winemaker at Maysara
Athena Pappas, co-winemaker at Boedecker Cellars and Pappas Wine Company
Leah Jorgensen, winemaker at Leah Jorgensen Cellars
Pam Walden, winemaker at Willful Wine Co.
Wynne Pederson-Nedry, winemaker at Chehalem
Isabelle Dutartre, winemaker at Duponte and 1789
Anna Matzinger, winemaker at Archery Summit
Me, Brianne Day winemaker at Day Wines
and the list could go on and on – especially if you included female assistant winemakers and vineyard managers. Chicks represent!!”

Tina Hammond is the winemaker and co-owner of Privé Vineyard in Newberg, Ore.

Tina Hammond is the winemaker and co-owner of Privé Vineyard in Newberg, Ore.

Subsequent comments added Linda Donovan (Pallet Wine Co., Linda Donovan Wines), Laurie Lewis and Renee Neely (Hip Chicks), Isabelle Meunier (Evening Land) and Rachel Rose (Bryn Mawr).

This writer pointed out that Patricia Green, Tina Hammond (Privé) and Luisa Ponzi were left off.

There’s also Meredith Bell (Statera Cellars), Elizabeth Clark (Airlie), Kim Coleman (Coleman Vineyard), Cheryl Francis-Tannahill (Francis Tannahill), Delphine Gladhart (Winter’s Hill), Sandra Glaser (Glaser Estate), Kathe Kaigas (Belle Fiore), Kelly Kidneigh (Dukes, Mad Violets, Trout Lily), Linda Lindsay (Stone Wolf), Rachael Martin (Red Lily), Anneka Miller (Burtan Bittman) Ximena Orrego (Atticus), Sandee Piluso (Piluso), Darcy Pendergrass (Tartan), Alexandrine Roy (Phelps Creek), Judy Thoet (Portlandia) and Lindsay Woodard (Retour).

Nearly 10 percent of Oregon winemakers are female

That’s 43 female winemakers. The Oregon Wine Board reports there are more than 400 wineries in the state.

Ultimately, Bell posted a reply to those commenters who achieved “called out” status.

“Thanks for reading, and in fact many winemakers were left off the list – but this is a wine/food/travel site and I’m really just highlighting some female winemakers, no promise of a full list. That said, I do appreciate all of the many names that have been sent my way … which begs the question, are there more women making wine in Oregon than anywhere else in the USA? Seems so.”

Regardless, those of us in the Pacific Northwest enjoy following what national and international media has to say about our wine industry. The opener on Kim Kramer was posted Jan. 8, and the second segment featured Pittock-Shouldis.

Heck, the series could have just as easily kicked off with Kimberley’s mother Trudy – the original “Queen of Yamhill” who started making her family’s wines in 1990.

In the past few weeks, posted reviews of two excellent wines made by Pittock-Shouldis — the Ghost Hill Cellars 2011 Bayliss-Bower Vineyard Spirit of Pinot Noir Rosé and the Ghost Hill Cellars 2011 Bayliss-Bower Vineyard Pinot Noir Blanc.

About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the President and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for a decade. He is a frequent wine judge at international wine competitions throughout North America and orchestrates 10 Northwest competitions each year.

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  1. Dixie Huey

    I’d like to take this opportunity to weigh in on this conversation since three of our clients were featured in Katie Kelly Bell’s Forbes piece.

    We can certainly understand frustration about not being included in a press article, but I believe this position demonstrates a lack of understanding in our industry and region about how to work effectively with the national media. Katie writes on a number of topics and on deadline; she can not possibly be expected to become an expert on every single one of them. Just because she wants to highlight some female winemakers doesn’t mean her interest is in supplying a complete list of those working in the industry. This was not the angle of the story, which was more of a human interest piece. (I do appreciate this new publication’s follow up piece highlighting the many talented woman who were not mentioned.)

    This Forbes piece is a great example of how a communications firm can benefit its clients by keeping in close contact with the media. We are constantly striving to provide members of the media with stories that fit their readers’ interests. It is an active pursuit — there’s no waiting for the phone to ring!

    When we heard that Katie was interested in interviewing female winemakers for a planned story, we provided her with our list of amazing women — Melissa from Stoller, Rebecca from Ghost Hill and Kim from Kramer. (One of the highest compliments paid to a communications firm is when we have developed a relationship with a member of the media who looks to us to provide information.) There was never an expectation that all three would be featured, or an attempt to change Katie’s angle. We were simply delivering the information for our valued clients who entrust us with this service.

    Again, I wish to thank Eric and Andy for creating a unique follow up piece, as well as the many female winemakers who serve the industry with their beautiful wines. The best part about the Forbes piece and this discussion is that we’re showing the tremendous amount of talent here in Oregon!

    • Aaron

      Interesting. I guess more folks need to hire your firm so they can garner the national attention they deserve! :)

  2. Russell

    You can add Delphine Gladhart, of Winter’s Hill Vineyard to the list.

  3. Aaron

    What about Delphine Gladhart of Winter’s Hill!

  4. Michael McAuley

    One of the stars in So OR, Rachel Sullivan-Martin, owner/winemaker of Red Lily in the Applegate Valley. She makes wonderful Tempranillo. Oh, please note Sarah Powell of Foris and Sarah Powell wines, RIP.

  5. Jeff Salata

    Tahmiene Momtazi!

  6. Mark Bjornson

    You missed Isabelle Meunier at Evening Land.

  7. Robert Volz

    All of these winemakers are doing a terrific job. I own a small wine bar and I proudly feature many of the wines listed in both the article and the subsequent list from Brianne Day.

    However, I would chose or not chose a wine by the winemaker’s sex no more than I would if they were French, Irish, Catholic or Jew.

    Maybe I’m more open minded than most, and only judge whats in the glass, but I hope we reach a day when the sex of a winemaker doesn’t qualifty as news.

    • Andy Perdue


      Great point. For the past few years, we have been pitched “women winemakers” stories at Wine Press Northwest. It was kind of a big deal back in the ’80s and ’90s. But it’s sort of a nonissue anymore.

      That said, the high percentage of women winemakers in Oregon is pretty darned interesting. Between the list we compiled and those that have weighed in since that we missed the first time around, the fact that perhaps 10% of the Oregon wine industry has female winemakers is fascinating.

      Thanks for weighing in.


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