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Women for WineSense Winemaking & Viticulture Roundtable Will Present February 7th Third Annual GM Leadership Panel at Spring Mountain Vineyards

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NAPA, CALIFORNIA | FEBRUARY 6, 2018:  The Napa | Sonoma chapter of Women for WineSense’s (WWS) Winemakers’ & Viticultural Roundtable will hold its third annual panel discussion about General Manager Leadership Development specifically through womens’ winemaking and viticultural career tracks,  Wednesday, February 7th, 2018, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 pm at one of Napa Valley’s most historic landmarks since 1873, the 850 acre Spring Mountain Vineyard estate, in their exclusive private residence, Miravalle House, located at 2805 Spring Mountain Road, Saint Helena, CA 94574.

ABOUT THE EVENT:  Our focus will be Leadership Development to help attendees in their own career and personal developmentThe Roundtable will be generously hosted by panel speaker and fellow WWS member, Susan Doyle, GM and Technical Director of Vineyards & Winemaking, Spring Mountain Vineyards.

Susan Doyle
Susan Doyle

Ms. Doyle  will be joined by panel speakers Chris Kajani, Winemaker and General Manager, Bouchaine Vineyards and Shannon Donnell, Grower Relations and Vineyard Operations Manager, Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards, for an interactive panel discussion of their unique experiences and success skills working from entry-level production and viticulture roles all the way to General Managers, building highly noted brands and talented teams along the way. 

Panel moderators will be 2016 panelist Elizabeth Vianna, Chimney Rock General Manager and Head Winemaker, and Jennifer Higgins, Lambert Bridge Winemaker and WWS Program Committee Member.

Early arrivals will meet at 3:00 p.m. in the famed Miravalle House to enjoy networking and while sampling outstanding Estate wines. 

The roundtable meeting will open at 3:30 p.m. with a behind-the-scenes winemaker tour, followed by additional wine tasting, announcements and panel discussion.   Attendees are encouraged to bring a bottle or two of their wine as thanks for  the Roundtable hosts and speakers.   Carpools from Napa and Sonoma are available.

Chris Kajani
Chris Kajani

Roundtable chair Julie Lumgair noted, “This is an exceptional opportunity for attendees to converse directly in the mingle and program times with talented peers and three notable industry leaders that have walked the walk and excelled in our functional tracks.  Each will openly share leadership lessons, answer candid questions and much more in a very friendly, relaxed environment.”

RSVP DETAILS:  Please, no walk-ins.  The free roundtable meeting is open to WWS Winemaking and Viticulture Roundtable members and qualified interested women winemakers and viticulturists that have emailed and received RSVP guest confirmations through the Roundtable Chair.   To RSVP, or for any questions on this event or future WWS Winemaking Roundtable events, please contact the Chair.


Susan Doyle was named General Manager at Spring Mountain Vineyard in 2015 after many successes as Technical Director of Winemaking and Viticulture.  Born and raised on farming in the Australian island state of Tasmania, she  has a world of knowledge and experience gained from more than 20 international and domestic harvests including Director of Winemaking and Innovation for all domestic and international brands for Diageo Chateau & Estates Wines and heading up winemaking and vineyards at MacMurray Ranch in Sonoma County in addition to numerous international roles.

Chris Kajani is the sixth winemaker in Bouchaine Vineyards’ 35-year history, and the first woman to hold that position, as well as the post of GM.  With she completed her M.S. in Viticulture and Enology at U. C. Davis, she was hired by Pahlmeyer and was immediately seduced by its newly launched Pinot Noir project, then rounded out her experience at Saintsbury prior to many successful years at Bouchaine.

Shannon Donnell

Shannon Donnell began her journey at UC Davis, working with Dr. Andy Walker, researching grapevine genetics and studying viticulture.  After a harvest at Cakebread, the vineyards called.  She worked as a Pest Control Advisor in both Napa and Sonoma, Viticulturist for Duckhorn Vineyards,  then Sonoma-Cutrer Grower Relations department, working with many of the best area grape growers.  Now she oversees internal management of 1,100 acres of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, in addition to continuing to manage all of the winery’s numerous Sonoma County growers.  She holds an Executive MBA in Wine Business from Sonoma State University and has served on industry boards such as Russian River Valley Winegrowers and the Sonoma State University Mentor Program.

ABOUT THE WINEMAKING & VITICULTURAL ROUNDTABLE: This Roundtable meets approximately six times a year, taking a harvest break.  It is a great time to expand skills while reconnecting and meeting new industry professionals.

Roundtable Chair, Ms. Lumgair noted, “Our past meeting topics have focused upon the C-suite professional skills and other key industry insights women winemakers and viticultural professionals need but aren’t always easy to get in their daily work environment.”

She further explained that, “Held at some of Napa and Sonoma’s finest host wineries, these programs have been a fantastic opportunity for women winemakers  and viticulturists 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 have included leading wine publication critics and senior editors, global sensory consultants, sommeliers, media trainers, CFO’s and GM’s in panel discussions and key recruiters.”

Professionally qualified winemaker and viticulture guests may attend up to two Roundtables before deciding to join.  To RSVP, or for any questions on this event or future WWS Winemaking Roundtable events, please contact the chair at [email protected].

ABOUT ADDITIONAL WWS ROUNDTABLES:  WWS’ eight current professional roundtables serve to provide a welcoming and confidential environment to meet in small peer groups on a bi-monthly or quarterly basis. 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. Multiple Roundtables have developed for WWS industry members in finance, accounting, human resources, winemaking/viticulture and marketing/direct-to-consumer fields.

The Napa/Sonoma Chapter currently has more than 400 members of which 80% are wine industry professionals. To join or learn more about WWS’ roundtables, please visit www.womenforwinesense.org.  For inquiries about  other WWS roundtables for additional functions besides winemaking and viticulture, contact the Napa| Sonoma Chapter’s Roundtables Director, Lisa Bishop Forbes, [email protected]

ABOUT WOMEN FOR WINESENSE:  WWS is a not-for-profit organization 501(c)6.   The Napa| Sonoma Chapter founded in 1990 is the founding chapter of this national organization which provides outstanding educational and networking opportunities to both wine industry professionals and wine enthusiasts by presenting educational, insightful and stimulating events in a welcoming, fun environment.  Both men and women of legal drinking age are welcome to join.  There is an exciting line-up of events planned for 2018.  To join or learn more, please visit www.womenforwinesense.org

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