I covered The 15 Most Influential Wine Men in my Life back in 2011, even needed a part two, but realize now that I never covered the women. I even reran both parts on the men in early 2016. With more male than female winemakers, sommeliers and educators I had an excuse not to write about the women I knew in the wine industry. But, on hindsight I’ve come to realize that there are some wonderful ladies that have influenced me over the years, and it’s high time to pay tribute to them.
My Wine Ladies (in no particular order)
Jeannie Carpenter, co-owner Compa vineyard, founder Sunset in the Vineyard, Assistance League Santa Clarita: This hard working local volunteer knows a lot about wine, knows everyone in town and has been a supporter of my non-profit events for years. Jeannie replies to our weekly Dear Wine Friend newsletter, often remarking on how much I have learned about wine over the years.
Julie Brosterman, founder Women and Wine: Julie was probably one of the first women in the wine world that I met. I wrote some blog pieces for her wildly popular website, have been invited to her home to cover events and have met many wonderful wine people simply due to her influence.
Claudia Sheridan, fellow student Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2, social media educator and author at ClaudiaSheridan.com: Claudia has been my “wing man” not only through WSET but also on various wine trips. She knows a lot about wine, people, event organization, and now has literally written the book on social media. She is my biggest female supporter and true wine buddy. I like to tease my young friend when she uses descriptors like “Jolly Rancher candy” to describe a wine we may be tasting, but the fact is, her palate is pretty damn good.
Suzanne Phifer Pavitt, proprietor Phifer Pavitt Wine: Suzanne is filled with Southern-girl charm. She was the first vintner to invite me into her Calistoga home for an overnight stay, and has suffered through many interviews, even one on her Wine Dog. Her DateNight Cabernet Sauvignon is not to be missed, every vintage has been noteworthy.
Lil Lepore, former owner Vino 100: I miss Lil. Back in the day she and partner Shari Frazier, opened a nice wine store and bar in Valencia that not only gave wine to every event in town, but hosted wine tastings, lessons, women only nights and even film showings. Learned, made some wine friends that I still have to this day and tasted a lot in those years thanks to Lil and Shari.
Tanya Green, owner Wine 661: Tanya took over Wine 661 and it suddenly became a place to hang out – especially for women that aren’t looking for a bar atmosphere in my opinion. It’s a top choice for me to meet a pal there for a glass or a bottle, or take my newly minted 21 year-old daughter in for some pink Champagne. The wine racks always hold something new each time I come, and even though it’s small, live bands and dancing are more than welcome there.
Judy Cox, co-owner Mystic Hills Vineyard: I’ve known Judy since she ran the Betty Ferguson Foundation and I was a volunteer about 10 years ago. Fast forward and she, along with husband Joel Cox and other family members, picked up and moved to Paso Robles. Fast forward some more and they decided to plant vines and become vintners. I was lucky enough to work with them when they started out promoting their wines in press releases and events. At “press” time every single wine they produced has won at least one award. I especially like their Unforgiven Bordeaux blend and Rose.
Denise Lowe, fellow student Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2, wine educator Goddess of Wine: Loved bantering wine with Denise, she kept me on my toes testing my knowledge and then she moved to Morro Bay where she has since become more involved as the area’s wine educator.
Nina Rosenblatt Sventitsky, Board Member and Secretary General for the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Rioja Specialist: Nina got her hands on me for the American Wine Certification course I recently took and passed. Her wealth of knowledge is immense. I look forward to many more years of education.
Marlee Lauffer, Foundation President at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, wine lover: Marlee is a good pal, and like Jeannie Carpenter, a supporter – and more recently a co-host – of events I have produced and promoted (with the help of many). Marlee’s main function in my wine education has been to promote Pinot Noir – kind of an inside joke – and has introduced me to several wineries that I hadn’t known about.
Kathy Lockhart, founder Wine-y Women Unwind Meet-up and Facebook group: Kathy also supports many of the events I’ve promoted. Along with that, she has created a growing group of female wine lovers – over 300 I believe – that are interested in all kinds of wine-centric activities. I wish I had Kathy’s energy!
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com