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Women for WineSense Winemaking Roundtable hosts Wine & Spirits’ Luke Sykora, July 22nd at Lambert Bridge Winery


Women for Winesense 25HEALDSBURG, CALIFORNIA | JULY 1, 2015: The Napa | Sonoma chapter of Women for WineSense’s (WWS) Winemaking Roundtable will host Wine & Spirit’s professional California wine critic, Luke Sykora, at Lambert Bridge Winery, located at 4085 West Dry Creek Road in Healdsburg, California. The Roundtable will be held on Wednesday, July 22, 2015, from 3p.m.to 5:30 p.m.  Mr. Sykora will speak to the winemaker’s perspective on writing, critic’s evaluations and working with the press and other media.


Before joining Wine & Spirits, Luke Sykora earned a MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and taught creative writing at the University of Iowa and the University of San Francisco. He started focusing on wine in earnest when he moved to California in 2007, and has since visited wine regions throughout the West Coast as well as in France.  In 2010 he joined Wine & Spirits as a wine critic and has moved his way up to Senior Editor of the magazine.  He runs the blind tasting panels for all domestic wines from every region to qualify for reviews, and serves as wine critic for all California AVA’s (other than Napa Valley).

Based in San Francisco, Mr. Sykora has his ear to the ground as new wines enter the market, and visits growers and vintners throughout the state on a regular basis.  His perceptive commentary as a taster has impressed many.    Last year at the 10thannual Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood, he received the Frank Prial Fellowship award sponsored by Meadowood, the Napa Valley Vintners and Culinary Institute of America. In his spare time, he also writes about beer in DRAFT Magazine.


The roundtable meeting will open at 3:00 p.m. with welcome wines and networking followed by a brief behind-the-scenes winemaker tour at 3:30 p.m. with hosting winemaker Jennifer Higgins, a Sonoma native. She left medical school to pursue a career in wine twenty years ago mentoring with Zelma Long of Simi, then joined Lambert Bridge Winery five years ago, after serving as Lancaster Estate’s winemaker for years.

At 4 p.m., the group will gather in the meeting room to enjoy tasting and the speaker’s presentation, followed by a question and answer session.  Attendees are encouraged to bring a bottle of their wine for the Roundtable hosts and speakers.   Attendees can mingle after the session.  Carpools from Napa, Sonoma and other locations are available.

Roundtable chair Julie Hagler Lumgair noted, “We are honored to have Luke Sykora as our guest speaker.  His experiences with wines in Napa, Sonoma and beyond will provide a rich context for the discussion.  Our Roundtable is a rare opportunity to ask questions and interact with such an expert in a welcoming, and quite candid conversation.”

Lumgair continued, “The Winemaking Roundtable’s past meeting topics have focused upon the skills women winemakers need but aren’t always easy to get in the daily winemaking environment.” She further explained that, “Held at some of the region’s finest host wineries, these programs have been a fantastic opportunity for women winemakers to connect directly, in a friendly professional forum, with experts that they otherwise wouldn’t get to meet for personal advice and questions.  Some of our recent speakers and hosts have included global consultant and olfactory expert, Alexandre Schmitt, at Cairdean Estate, Wine Enthusiast’s critic and writer, Virginie Boone, at Gundlach Bundschu; winemaking and strategic innovation from Francis Ford Coppola’s CEO, Tracy Geldert; media training at Markham with Sonoma County Tourism’s CMO, Tim Zahner; winemaker’s financial finesse with St. Supéry’s CFO, Lori Felando; winemaker career development at Vineyard 29 with Courtney Andrain of The Cypress Group and a holiday meeting at HALL’s newly restored Bergfeld Winery.”

ABOUT THE WINEMAKING ROUNDTABLE: The Winemaking Roundtable meets approximately four to five times a year, taking a harvest break.  Each meeting provides a great time to reconnect and meet new colleagues. The free roundtable meeting is open to WWS Winemaking Roundtable members and, as space allows, to other interested women winemakers and viticulturists who have either emailed and/or received RSVP guest confirmations through the Winemaker Roundtable Chair. (See below.) Please, spaces are pre-approved; no walk-ins by non-members.

Details of this event can be found under “Events” on the WWS Napa Sonoma website. To RSVP, or for any questions on this event or future WWS Winemaking Roundtable events, please contact Ms. Lumgair at [email protected].

ABOUT WWS ROUNDTABLES: WWS’ eight current professional roundtables serve to provide a safe and confidential environment to meet in small peer groups on a bi-monthly or quarterly basis. According to WWS’ Professional Development Director Susan Kornblatt Idell, “Members network, provide advice and support for one another, as well as foster educational occasions by inviting guest speakers in their fields and discussing ‘hot issues’ facing members in their day-to-day work.” She added, “Multiple Roundtables have developed for our members in finance, accounting and human resources fields in the wine industry. We also have roundtables in winemaking and the marketing/direct-to-consumer fields.”

ABOUT WWS: Women for WineSense is a not-for-profit organization 501(c)6 formed in 1990 to help promote women working in the wine industry. WWS serves to help its members advance their careers in the wine industry by providing educational events, as well as aid wine enthusiasts in developing their wine knowledge. The Napa/Sonoma Chapter currently has more than 325 members of which 75% are professionals in the wine industry. To join or learn more about WWS’ roundtables, contact Susan Kornblatt Idell at [email protected], and for membership, please contact Ellen Reich Luchtel at [email protected] or visit the WWS chapter’s website: WWSNapaSonoma.com.



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