Posts

Celebrating the Women Behind Wine

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

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:

Biltmore Reserve Chardonnay North Carolina 2018, SRP $24

Biltmore Estate American Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, SRP $22

Megan McCullough

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

Smith & Hook Proprietary Red Blend 2017, SRP $25

Smith & Hook Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, SRP $45

 

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:

Reata Sonoma County Chardonnay and Three County Pinot Noir ($25)

Silver Spur Lake County Sauvignon Blanc 2019 ($18)

Silver Spur Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 ($28)

Elunda Basson

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!

NV Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc ($18)

Contact Alex Parker, parker@bensonmarketing.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.

Positive on Paso: Why you should be looking at Paso Robles for Cabernet Sauvignon

Positive on Paso: Why You Should Look to Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon

Cab is still ‘king’ in the U.S. wine market, but 2020 has shown it’s time to start looking at the areas these wines come from differently. According to Sovos ShipCompliant data, Cabernet is still the most ordered varietal, but the price per bottle is dropping.

And why is that?

COVID-19 lockdowns drove many people to buy online, and many of those buyers were in the Gen X and Millennial generations, an important demographic for the present and future of the wine industry. Looking for good value in the bottle, they migrated towards Cabernet’s NOT from pricey areas like Napa Valley.

Enter Paso Robles.

This region has long been known as a region that delivers all of the fruit and structure wanted in a Cab for more approachable prices. These are wines to enjoyed with family and friends at any time and not stored away for special occasions. But don’t take our word for it. Explore these Paso Robles clients, their winemakers and wines with our webinar, “BensonLive Presents: Positive on Paso Cab,” an interview with four winemakers taped June 24, 2021, located here on our YouTube channel.

Clockwise from top left: Kip Lorenzetti, Anthony Riboli, Roy Takigawa, Megan McCollough

Megan McCollough, Smith & Hook, Hahn Family Wines
Megan McCollough, Smith & Hook Winemaker, leads Hahn Family Wines’ Central Coast red wines that pay homage to the Hahn family’s first Monterey County properties. With nearly a decade of winemaking experiences under her belt, McCollough is setting an example for other young winemakers in California. Try one of her latest wines from Paso Robles: Smith & Hook Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, SRP $45

Kip Lorenzetti, Chronic Cellars
Kip Lorenzetti’s winemaking career has taken him around the world, but he has called Paso Robles home for more than five years. Prior to Chronic Cellars, he was the winemaker at Wild Horse Winery & Vineyard, a pioneer in the Paso Robles area. It is the mission of Chronic Cellars to bring the nuances of the 11 different sub-AVAs in Paso into its wines. Good wine is in the winery’s bones.
Check out something noble with Chronic Cellars Sir Real Cabernet Sauvignon, SRP $15

Rob Takigawa, True Myth
Rob has been making wine in SLO County for over 20 years. Each vintage has furthered his knowledge of growing and making excellent wine in Paso Robles. A native of the Central Coast, Rob is a graduate of Cal Poly with a Soil Science Degree. After first understanding the science side of wine, Rob was inspired to get his hands dirty and ventured into the in winemaking side in 1997. From there he has never looked back. Taste his experience in Paso through the latest vintage of True Myth Cabernet Sauvignon, SRP $24

Anthony Riboli, Highlands 41, Riboli Estates Group
Fourth generation family winemaker Anthony Riboli received his M.S. in Viticulture from the University of California, Davis. Since apprenticing under Michael Weis at Groth in Napa Valley, he has lead winemaking and grape growing for the California portfolio at Riboli Family Wines. Anthony’s foremost goal has been a meticulous focus in the vineyards as well as winemaking at Riboli Family’s state-of-the-art facility in Paso Robles. Start your Paso Robles adventure here: Highlands 41 Cabernet Sauvignon, SRP $15

Contact Thea Schlendorf at schlendorf@bensonmarketing.com to connect with these winemakers and their wines.