The Napa-Sonoma chapter is well on the road to achieving its 2012 scholarship fund goal due to the generous donations from many members for raffle ticket purchases, as well as wonderful auction item or gift certificate donations from individuals and businesses.
Most recently Donations Director, Geraldine Sbragia-Tyler, raffled off some terrific donation prizes at our last event at Back Room Wines: low-sulfite wine from Deerfield Ranch Winery, a gift certificate from My Girlfriend’s Closet apparel shop in Sonoma, and a not-yet-released bottle of wine from Villa Ragazzi!
Behind the scenes Geraldine has been racking up a host of donations for our upcoming raffles and silent auctions to benefit our scholarship fund. A big round of applause for our generous donors:

We are fortunate to be attracting companies that go above and beyond the call in such a tight economy! A BIG “Thank You” to Benicia Cork Supply for generously donating $500 dollars to the Women for WineSense Scholarship Fund. Did you know 100% of harvested corkwood can be utilized to make a variety of commercial and consumer goods? Therefore, at every stage from the forest onward, Cork Supply has developed closed-loop systems to capture all excess and sub-grade corkwood by-products. Cork Supply provides these to third-party manufacturers who use them to make technical corks, firewood briquettes and other items of value. Cork Supply was awarded the 2007 Sitevi® Innovation Medal for their patented INNOCORK® technique of removing TCA from natural corks.
Scott Laboratories, upon learning of our scholarship fund, generously committed $250! Thank you, Scott Laboratories, for your support! They have been in the wine industry for long enough to know all too well that the word “normal” does not really exist in the world of winemaking. But, after challenging harvests in the last few years, this year seems to be shaping up as “normally” as possible so far. Fermaid A, Exotics SPH and Scott’Tan FT ColorMax are some new products that Scott Labs has introduced this year that are meant to support the wine industry through harvest.

Scholarship funding can be fun when a shoe company, such as DSW (Designer Warehouse Shoes), offers five $50.00 gift certificates for our Napa/Sonoma Chapter silent auctions held during all of our events. Thank you for your support, DSW!
Did you know that DSW stores average approximately 22,000 square feet and carry approximately 24,000 pairs of shoes? It can be easier to find the shoes you really want when you are provided with so many choices!

Wine Rack Store chose to contribute to WWS’ fund by donating a 40 bottle wine cube stained amaretto, for our silent auction. “Our products always receive a lot of attention at auctions.” said Heather Hoskins, Wine Rack Store Director of Communications. “And anytime our products can be paired up in a wine like event setting, it’s even better.” 

In its more than 17 years in business, the online wine rack retailer has prided itself on giving back to the community. In 2011 alone, the store had donated wine racks to eleven different causes.
Remember: Even if you’re unable to attend our next event in Sonoma, you can still donate to our Scholarship Fund by going to the Eventbrite reservations page and selection the Donations ticket! Select any amount you’d like to donate to our fund.
Geraldine is looking for more donations for next month’s silent auction at the Women in Wine event on September 20th. As you can see from the above donations, anything from gift certificates, products, your expertise and wine make suitable donation items. 100% of proceeds go into our Scholarship Fund, awarded annually to four students in enology or related studies at U.C. Davis, Sonoma State University, Napa Valley College and Santa Rosa Junior College. Contact Geraldine at 707-337-3030.

With our big event, Women in Wine, coming up in September, I thought it apropos to highlight some recent stories in the news about women in the industry.
First up is the good news: There are More Women at Acclaimed Wineries! Kate Lavin, of Wines & Vines, reports on the latest findings by Dr. Lucia Gilbert regarding how women are doing in the wine industry. In fact, in “Gilbert’s new paper, ‘Evidence of Women Winemakers’ Success in a Male Dominated Field,’ which she co-authored with John Carl Gilbert, also revealed a promising development for women currently striving for winemaking positions as well as those considering winemaking careers: Wines made by women who serve as lead winemakers are more likely to be highly acclaimed.’


Cathy SchubertCurrently at the top of the wine industry glass (stemware) ceiling is the recent news of Claudia Schubert named Diageo wine president. Headquartered in Napa, Ms. Schubert will lead Diageo’s wine business, effective September 1st.


Complimenting Dr. Gilbert’s findings, you may enjoy this infographic showing Women in Small Business. Key reporting: “From 1997 to 2007 women-owned firms grew 44 percent, twice as fast as men-owned firms.” And from Mashable comes this report on 44 Female Founders Every Entrepreneur Should Know. Though not necessarily in the wine business, these women who are highlighted could all likely use a glass of wine with their busy work schedules!


Good signs that women are making inroads in the wine business across the globe, W. Blake Gray posted a story on Young female enologists prepare to take over Santorini, Greece. (As a side note, I just enjoyed some very fine wines from Santorini at a recent tasting at the Valley Wine Shack in Sonoma where we’ll have our next event on August 23rd.)


If you’re compelled to search out the best in wine crafted by women winemakers, then you should get in on the International Women’s Wine Competition. In this video, Monique Soltani interviews women winemakers and participants.


In this fascinating video interview on, Natalie speaks with Arlene Dickenson, an acclaimed businesswoman in Canada on the nuances of Persuasion for women in business. And if you’re in need of a good chuckle to lighten your day, check out Natalie’s Drinking and Wine Quotes Part 4: A Literary Laugh.


If you’re not yet familiar with Madeline Puckette’s Wine Folly blog and instructional site, you may want to subscribe to her fun and visually-oriented blog posts. This month she highlights Famous Winemakers in California, three of whom are women winemakers (and it’s a short list).


Finally, if all the wines highlight have whet your palate but you have allergic reactions to some wines, check out Mythbuster: Do Sulfites in Wine Cause Headaches? Many presume wine headaches are always caused by sulfites (but we know that isn’t necessarily true!)

Do you have a great women-in-wine story to share with us? Send in your links or stories. We love to offer our fans and members guest blog posts to read.

We’re so thrilled to announce two new additions to the Napa-Sonoma WWS board! Tracy Lynne Parker and Stacy Su join us as Program Director and Events Director, respectively. Both are extremely well-experienced in event creation, planning, management and more. So expect the bar to be raised in our upcoming events. Read on for details on their backgrounds. Welcome aboard, ladies!

Stacy Su, WWS Events Director; Owner of Stacy’s Wine Tours

From Stacy: “Since becoming a member of Women for Winesense in 2010 I fell in love with this non-profit organization. It is such a wonderful opportunity for women in the wine industry to connect, share information and make life- long friends. My involvement with non-profit organizations for over the past 16 years will serve me well in Women for Winesense.
With my abilities to bring people together to work for the greater cause, set short and long term goals, implement annual calendars, coordinator large and small groups of people, working with budgets, contacts in the industry, marketing experience and understanding that a great event only is great by strategic planning, marketing and getting everyone involved has provided me with the skills needed to help lead the Events Team.”
Stacy currently offers palate-driven wine tours in Napa and Sonoma. Each client is interviewed; and then she sets up a custom wine tour based upon their palate preferences and the experience they’re looking to have.
Reach Stacy at or cell: 707-322-3837.

Tracy Lynne Parker, WWS Program Director; Wine Club Coordinator for Foley Family Wines

Tracy Lynne is currently responsible for coordination of all aspects of a multi-brand wine club, including Kuleto Estate Wine Club and Chalk Hill Estate Wine Club. Her work includes everything from increasing customer service levels and member satisfaction to managing club wine shipments, events, databases and more.
Tracy Lynne has earned her Tasting Room Management and WSET Level 2 Intermediate Certifications, as well as trained in numerous wine education, marketing and hospitality programs throughout the local wine degree college programs (to whom our scholarship funds are awarded each year!) and specialty wine training firms, such as the WISE Academy.

Reach Tracy Lynne at or cell: 415.305.9111.

Welcome aboard, Ladies! We’re looking forward to some fabulous events with you.

Erica Rosasco!

You may recall in our last newsletter a call to complete your online WWS profile. Several members submitted their profiles in hopes of winning the prize (a lovely, hand-selected bottle of wine, of course!) Some terrific submissions came from several members, including Jackie Egidio, Controller at Rudd Wines, and Kathie Barclay, President of Barclay Marketing Solutions.

Now, if you just tried those links to Jackie or Kathie’s profiles, you’ll have discovered that you must be logged in as a Member of WWS in order to view their wonderful biographies. The privileges of membership!

Here’s the cincher to making the most of your membership: Was one of the reasons you joined WWS to network and connect with other wine enthusiasts and industry representatives? Perhaps you hope to make a connection to your next, great career move in the wine biz? I, myself, have received a few phone calls and emails from interested parties for new business specifically because of my WWS profile! This is exactly what membership in WWS is all about.

And yet, the vast majority of members either have not filled out an online profile or have not made that profile available for view by other members!

Are you now wondering whether or not the profile you so carefully filled out is viewable by your co-members? Here’s how you find out:

  1. Go to the Membership Directory on our website.
  2. Select the Search By Last Name (default) field and type your last name in the Search For field. Press Search.
  3. If your name displays in the results list with the View button shown to the right, you can click on View to see the profile. If the View button does not display, no one can see your profile—only your name information shown in the results list.

To make your profile public for viewing:

  1. From any page on the WWS website, click on Profile to the right of the Logout button above the left column menu. (You must be logged in for this to work!)
  2. Now edit your Biography page and make this selection here for full viewing:

  1. Save your changes on this page.

The Visibility field offers many options. You don’t have to show everything. Click on the drop down arrow to see all the options for viewing (or not).

Just remember: no one can learn about you unless they can SEE your information.

If you’re flummoxed by the technical hurdles in our website to create your profile, easy-to-follow instructions for How to: Complete Your Profile in a Snap! are available on our blog, printable or downloadable as a PDF.

Oh, and Erica? She’s a whiz-bang litigation attorney in the Sacramento area. She comes from a cattle ranching family, is married and has a little girl. And, yes, she loves a nice glass of wine after a hard day at court! Congratulations, Erica, in winning a lovely bottle of wine to celebrate another victory in court with your winning profile.

We’d very much like to feature other member profiles in future issues. But even those of us on the Napa-Sonoma board of directors cannot see your profile to do so if you haven’t chosen a public visibility option!

Guest post by WWS member Susan DeMatei – Susan is the owner of Vinalytic, a consulting firm specializing in Direct Marketing for wineries. She is the winner of a Direct Marketing Association Achievement Award, a Certified Sommelier, a Certified Specialist in Wine and has over 20 year’s experience in Direct Marketing in the luxury digital arena. You can read her blog at

An Introduction to Franciacorta Wines

There is no doubt about it, we are a festive nation. In 2011, the Wine Institute reported shipments of sparkling wine and champagne were the highest in the last 25 years, reaching 17.2 million cases, up 13% over 2010. And not just champagne and domestic Sparkling Wine strong sales came from a variety of different producers and regions worldwide. Prosecco and sparkling Moscato were among the winners, and champagnes, other sparkling wines and California methode champenoise wines also experienced gains.

A Quick Primer on Sparkling Wine

Every Country has their Bubbles.  Spain offers Cava, Italy has Prosecco, Germany toasts with Sec, but one of the least known, but most lovely, is Franciacorta.

Paul Wagner, of Balzac Communications & Marketing, recently agreed to speak to Women for WineSense about this little known region.

Also named for the region, Franciacorta is the sparkling wine made from that territory in the Lombardy area of Italy.  It was awarded DOC status in 1967, the designation then also including red and white still wines. Since 1995 the DOCG classification has applied exclusively to the sparkling wines of the area.


In 1961, an ambitious young winemaker names Franco Zilian who was working for the established producer of still wines, Guido Berlucchi, produced 3,000 bottles of a sparkling wine under the name Pinot di Franciacorta. Instant interest allowed the following vintage production to be increased to 20,000 bottles, and eventually the annual production to 100,000 bottles.  By the time the region was granted DOC status in 1967 there were 11 producers of sparkling Franciacorta, although Berlucchi represented more than 80% of the production.  As of 2006, sales of Franciacorta were approximately 6.7 million bottles.

Franciacorta became the first DOC to specify that its sparkling wines must be made by the same methods in the champagne region in France.  In 1990, the Consorzio per la tutela del Franciacorta was formed, instigating codes of self-regulation with a gradual reduction of yields and elimination of the use of Pinot grigio in the blend. The advent of DOCG status declared vineyards extend only 2,200 hectars (5,400 acres) and the blend permitted is 85% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir and 5% Pinot Blanc.   This governing body considered responsible for the efficient elevation of sparkling Franciacorta to DOCG status in 1995. Since August 1, 2003, Franciacorta has been the only Italian wine not obliged to declare its DOCG appellation on the label, in the same manner that a Champagne is permitted to exclude from labels its AOC.

Other than the blend, the production process, aging, styles, sweetness variations and wines are similar to champagne.

So, why aren’t Americans toasting with the same wine they do a Milan Fashion Week?  Paul Wagner has the answer; “They drink it all in Italy!”

Paul explains that the Italians love their dolce vita and premium wine so much that very little gets exported.  In fact, so little is available for trial, Paul’s company, Balzac Communications & Marketing, has been hired to introduce “those in the know” to the unknown wine. Thus, he’s scheduled reviews with Sommeliers, Masters of Wines, Educators and enthusiast groups like Women for WineSense to “educate the educators.”

“Our first phase is designed to introduce those palates that will appreciate the wine of Franciacorta, because only with this educated demand will the Italians be persuaded to give up such a treasure.”

So, what to do if you miss Paul’s presentation and tasting?  Try a high-end restaurant, is his best advice.  He says on-premise is more likely to carry Franciacorta than retail.

And, don’t forget that every day is a chance to celebrate.


Women for WineSense will be hosting Be Inspired by Franciacorta Italian Wines at The Valley Wine Shack in Sonoma on August 23rd, 6-8 p.m. Paul Wagner, owner and founder of Balzac Communications & Marketing, will be presenting the Franciacorta bubbly for tasting and speaking to attendees. For more information or reservations, visit our ticket site at:

Here’s a guest post from WWS Member, Ann Reynolds, on the confusion and craziness of winery compliance. Ann is offering an online compliance course, beginning in July, to aid staff in managing this complex staff. Take a look:

Course Summary: upcoming online training for winery production staff who are managing day to day winery compliance tasks and want to stop pulling their hair out about them, develop systems to manage them and feel more on top of their compliance.

 The winemaking process has many steps that need to happen in order to transform grapes into wine.

Perform these steps out of the right order and the result is a flawed finished product.

The same logic applies to another very specialized area related specifically to winemaking and that is compliance tracking.

The same undesirable end result often applies here.

That is, if the day to day compliance tasks (work orders, monthly reports permit & license updates) are being done incorrectly the finished product means frustrated staff, fines and late notice mailings from government agencies and valuable time wasted.

What is the missing ingredient needed to clear this up?

Effective training specific to their compliance needs!

Just such a training is coming up next month. Starting Monday July 9th a course designed to help wineries fix their compliance messes is being offered.

“From Chaos to Clarity”

 6 week course, Monday’s July 9th through August 13th

This course is being offered online via tele-conference calls on 6 consecutive Mondays starting July 9th through August 13th. The calls will be from 1 til 2:30, Pacific Time. (All calls are also recorded)

This program will walk participants through each piece of their winery production compliance and cover specific how-to’s related to:

  • Winery permits- specifics to know & when updates are needed
  • Winery records such as work orders, bills of lading & weigh tags
  • Winery reports to the TTB such as the monthly report & excise taxes
  • In addition participants will receive:
  • Handout materials including examples of completed winery compliance records covered
  • Templates to fill for their own site’s compliance specifics
  • Guides for interacting with federal and state agencies & details about their online resources
  • A chance to ask questions specific to their site’s needs
  • A great opportunity for networking with fellow winery staff also working in this specialized area of the wine industry. (Great contacts to have for future use!)
  • Access to recordings of all class calls

This course is being offered by Ann Reynolds of Wine Compliance Alliance who is an expert in the area of wine production compliance with over 20 years of winery background.

Ann has developed entire compliance systems for several wineries ranging in size from 500 to over 500,000 cases in annual production, among them Napa Valley College Estate Winery, Sterling Vineyards, Caymus Vineyards and Conundrum Winery.

If you have more questions, please contact Ann at (707) 320-8575, or to sign up, please go to:

By Leah McNally

Did you join us for the 2012 Women for WineSense Grand Event in Napa Valley May 4th -6th? This year’s line-up officially started with The Grand Tasting at Mondavi Winery on Friday Evening. Fifteen individual wineries, Volcanic Mineral Refresher of Ashland, Oregon and a selection of Washington wines presented by Washington winemaker, Judy Thoet were featured along hors d’oeuvres and chocolate. Grand Dame Margarite Mondavi welcomed us in conjunction with National President Rebecca E. Moore. The evening was mild and the wines were fantastic, and the colorful light-up rings, compliments of Stella and Dot Jewelry that came with the welcome bags made everything more glamorous.  There is nothing like a group of women, dressed to the nines with glasses of wines and twinkling lights on their fingers to set the mood.

Some members took advantage of Friday morning as well for pre-event tours and tastings and those lucky ones (who didn’t have to be at work like I did on Friday) visited some of the most exclusive wineries in the valley- Harlan Estate, Peter Michael, Rudd and Joseph Phelps. Saturday was devoted to more winery tours, and vintner dinners at Idell Family Vineyards of Sonoma, Linked Vineyards in Santa Rosa and Domaine Chandon in Yountville.

Sunday featured the Grand Event Educational Seminars. I attended three that focused on wine and food pairing, including a chocolate tasting and an overview of the wines of Texas. There were two panel discussions – Making Wine a Women’s World that focused on the new generation of millennial women winemakers and Career Ambitions/Career Transitions: Making Wine Your Industry.

My favorite moment of the day was the luncheon and an inspiring awards ceremony. The WWS Hall of Fame award went to Ramona Nicholson of Nicholson Ranch in Sonoma, who spoke to us about the challenges and rewards of raising a family and a winery at the same time. The Rising Star awards featured several notable women. Kathleen Inman is the winemaker and owner of Inman Family Wines in the Russian River Valley, and creates Pinot Noir from her vineyard and winery which is entirely powered by solar energy. Kathy Johnson and Stacy Lill created O Wines in Woodinville, Washington. O Wines gives 100% of its net profits to fund educational scholarships and mentor low income youth. We also recognized our own Professor Liz Thach of Sonoma State University, who was awarded the title Master of Wine in 2011- one of only seven women in the U.S. who hold that title. The Lifetime Achievement award recognized Lorraine Helms of Rochester, New York. With 30 years in the wine industry and as a certified Sommelier, Lorraine founded the Rochester WWS chapter and is currently the head of the Wine Education department at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Thank you to all the volunteers and sponsors who put so much effort into making The Grand Event a reality. You did a great job! If you didn’t attend this year, I hope you can make it in 2014 for the next Grand Event. Cheers!