Women in the vineyard

Outstanding in Her Field: Meet the women turning male-dominated vineyard management on its heels

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Actually, some women want to drive tractors. While women have broken through barriers once keeping them out of the winemaker spotlight, vineyard management is still mostly dominated by men. Here in Oregon — perhaps more than any other wine region — women are changing the status quo. Small in number only, these forthright leaders are turning on its heel the notion that managing
vineyards is a man’s job.

Jessica Cortell, owner of Vitis Terra Vineyard Services, is no stranger to decidedly male environments. At 18, she fought forest fires to pay for college; she’s also raced mountain and road bikes among top competitors. Yet she’s always been a plant person. She studied chemistry for her doctorate before realizing her preference to work outside, not in a lab. Early in her career, while working with Dai Crisp in the ’90s at Croft Vineyard, she helped prune vines, a task not routinely assigned to women at the time. She recalls being the fastest and finest on the crew, earning respect from her male peers. Read the full story of these women winegrowers here on Oregon Wine Press.

Domaine Serene wine tasting by Terry Richard

Oregon wine scores are on the rise, and sales tend to follow

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Sometimes what makes a wine great is its score.

Arguably, the wine was great before it received a score in a prominent wine publication. But when a wine earns a high score with the critics, the national or international recognition sells that wine, and likely subsequent vintages as well. Good scores can catapult a wine, winemaker and winery into the spotlight. And some of the most revered critics have been scoring Oregon wines particularly high lately, especially compared to neighboring regions.

Take Colene Clemens Vineyards, a Newberg winery that focuses on pinot noir. Although consistently highly reviewed, this winery broke into Wine Spectator’s top 10 this year, with its 2015 Dopp Creek Pinot Noir ranked seventh out of 100. Try and find a bottle of that vintage somewhere.

All told, Wine Spectator recognized Oregon with six Willamette Valley wines in its Top 100 issue for 2018. That’s 6% of the spots in the top 100 this year, a new record for a state that produces only 1.5% of domestic wines. Read the rest of the story here in The Oregonian.