With each glass selected, we have the opportunity to champion women and the other underrepresented winemakers in our communities.
To celebrate Women’s History Month, today we spotlighted four spirited women from coveted regions across the U.S. as well as South Africa in a virtual tasting for press. (For some additional background, these stories in Uproxx and News-Press feature women in wine including our clients described below.)
Sharon Fenchak, Winemaker for Biltmore Wines
Sharon joined the team at Biltmore Wines (you’ll recognize that name from the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC) in 1999 and is Head Winemaker as of 2018. She oversees wine production not only from Biltmore’s estate vineyards in North Carolina, but also with fruit sourced from key growers and partners in prime wine appellations on the west coast as well. In this way, she is crafting a storied wine portfolio for Biltmore to continue the legacy of hospitality set by George Vanderbilt himself. Share in some of this storied Vanderbilt hospitality by enjoying a Biltmore wine with your friends and family! Two wines to try:
Megan McCollough, Winemaker for Smith & Hook, of Hahn Family Wines
Megan McCollough, Winemaker for Smith & Hook, leads Hahn Family Wines Central Coast red wines that pay homage to the Hahn family’s first Monterey County properties, known today as the Smith Vineyard and Hook Vineyard. With nearly a decade of winemaking experiences under her belt, McCollough is setting an example for other young women winemakers in California. Try some of her latest reds:
Smith & Hook Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, SRP $25
Linda Trotta, North Coast Winemaker, WX Brands
Linda Trotta – With 30+ years in the industry, Linda has worked harvests around the world including Italy, South Africa and Chile. One thing she is most proud of in her career is that in her leadership role(s), she mentored and developed talent who have gone on to make their own marks of excellence in winemaking and viticulture. In her role with WX Brands, she she has received numerous accolades for her wines, including a Wine Spectator Top 100 selection for her 2018 Reata Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. We recommend:
Silver Spur Lake County Sauvignon Blanc 2019 ($18)
Silver Spur Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 ($28)
Elunda Basson, Winemaker for Steenberg Vineyards
Steenberg Cellarmaster Elunda Basson is an accomplished winemaker and respected specialist of her craft. She joined South Africa’s Steenberg Vineyards in June 2019 at the pinnacle of an illustrious career spanning more than two decades making still and sparkling wines for leaders in the industry. Located in South Africa’s storied Constantia wine region, Steenberg Vineyards can also boast of being the oldest registered farm in the country, dating to 1682. Today the property thrives under Elunda’s expertise, producing some of the best Sauvignon Blanc wines in the country. Steenberg’s distinctive terroir results in wines exhibiting freshness, elegance and finesse. Alongside Sauvignon Blanc, the vineyards are home to Bordeaux varietals and one of the few investments in Nebbiolo in the Cape area.
Check out this truly unique take on Sauvignon Blanc — traditional method sparkling twist on everyone’s favorite varietal!
Contact Alex Parker, email@example.com, to connect with these women and their wines.
Among many other outlets, FirstLeaf (not a client of Benson) featured a blog post in March on women re-imagining the industry.