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Women for Winesense Winemaking & Viticulture Roundtable Will Host “Growing Grapes, Careers and Impact” GM Leadership Discussion

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NAPA / SONOMA, CALIFORNIA |April 2, 2021:  On Wednesday , April 7th, 2021,  from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 pm the Napa | Sonoma chapter of Women for WineSense’s (WWS) Winemaking & Viticultural Roundtable will hold a  panel discussion with noted general managers and viticulture experts from top California and Pacific Northwest regions as part of their ongoing senior level career building series.  The theme is “Growing Grapes, Careers and Impact.”   Discussion topics will be tailored for general managers, senior level winemaking and viticulture careers, and rising stars will certainly benefit from the information as well.  The event will be hosted live online with private zoom registration links for active Roundtable members.  

ABOUT THE EVENT:   These expert GM viticulturists cover a diverse area of top winegrowing regions and progressively practice vineyard farming systems ranging from sustainable to organic and biodynamic.  Beyond the field, they are masters of multi-functional leadership, building brands, growing teams and strategic planning while giving back to the industry and community.

Panelists include Mayacamas Olds, General Manager, Gloria Ferrer, Sonoma / Napa, CA., Sadie Drury, General Manager, North Slope Vineyard Management, WA., and Molly Scott, Director of Grower Relations, Justin Vineyards & Winery, Paso Robles, CA, and Landmark Vineyards, Sonoma / Monterrey / Santa Barbara, CA. The panel moderator will be Lise Asimont, Viticulturist, Winemaker and Co-Founder of Dot Wines, past President of ASEV. 

This candid, interactive discussion will share their stories, how they rose to their level of expertise and the journeys they chose to become wine industry powerhouses.  Topics will include lessons learned, advice on success skills, technical, career and personal development insights and welcome questions from attendees.

At 3:15 p.m. early log-ins will be admitted for zoom pre-mingle to enjoy informally reconnecting.  At 3:30 p.m., Roundtable leaders will cover announcements .  At 3:40 p.m. panel discussion begins, followed by interactive Q&A.  Advance questions welcomed by email to Roundtable program committee member, Melissa Apter Castro ([email protected]) or attendees can use event zoom chat. 

Roundtable chair Julie Lumgair noted, “This is an exceptional opportunity for attendees to converse directly with talented industry leaders that have walked the walk in our functional boots and excelled to the highest levels in many organizations.  Each will openly share leadership lessons, insights and answer candid questions in a very friendly, relaxed environment of peers.”

RSVP DETAILS:  The free roundtable meeting is open exclusively to WWS Winemaking & Viticulture Roundtable active members.  Qualified interested women winemakers and viticulturists that have emailed and received RSVP new member confirmations through the Roundtable Chair may join prior to the event and attend.  To RSVP, or for any questions on this event or future WWS Winemaking Roundtable events, please contact the Chair ([email protected]).

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS:

Mayacamas Olds was born and raised on Mt. Veeder in Napa Valley. Growing upon her family’s small estate winery and vineyard operation, her love of the wine industry and sustainability was engrained from a young age. In 1996, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Fermentation Science from University of California, and in 2000, embarked on a lifelong career in the wine industry–first at Penfolds in South Australia as a Winemaking Liason.  She then went on to become General Manager of Sky Vineyards, her family’s winery, for nine years, where she touched on every part of operations, from sales to marketing to the vineyards. Seeking a new challenge and the opportunity to fine-tune her passion for sustainability, she joined Sonoma Community Gardens in 2003, developing their educational programs to promote organic and sustainable ethnobotany.   She went on to oversee 700 acres of certified organic and biodynamic vineyards at Enterprise Vineyards; oversee independent farmers and promote fiscal sustainability at Sunshine Organic Consulting; and manage sustainability, technical, and fiscal farming for 5,200 acres of California vineyards as the Director of Vineyard Operations & Grower Relations at Diageo Chateau & Estates.  After some time in business management roles iconic Napa Valley’s Huneeus Vintners and Newton Vineyards, in 2020, Ms. Olds was appointed General Manager of Gloria Ferrer, where she draws on her comprehensive and diverse range of experiences to oversee Operations, Hospitality, DTC, Marketing, Winemaking, Viticulture, and Sustainability.  Her love of regenerative agriculture and preserving the heritage and culture of Sonoma Valley is a driving force behind her passion and vision for the future of Gloria Ferrer.  

She has fostered strong community relationships as a member of Napa Valley Grape Growers and of the Mayacamas Volunteer Fire Department Board.  She holds an MBA in Corporate Sustainability from Presidio Graduate School.

Sadie Drury is a Walla Walla native who has been passionate about agriculture since her first job of picking strawberries at the age of 12.  In 2007 she decided to combine her passion for agriculture with her love for quality wine by attending the Center for Enology and Viticulture at Walla Walla Community College and pursuing a career in viticulture. In 2008 she started an internship at Ciel du Cheval Vineyard where she moved up the ranks to Assistant Vineyard Manager. Ms. Drury joined the North Slope Management team in early 2013 and took over the reins of Operations Manager and Viticulturist later that year. She currently manages eight vineyards including Seven Hills Vineyard.  Environmentally sound and sustainable vineyard practices are at the core of her management philosophy. 

Ms. Drury is involved with many winegrowing organizations. She’s a past Washington Technical Chair for LIVE Certified (Low Input Enology and Viticulture), currently sits on the board and technical committee for Vinea Sustainable Trust, is a member of the Education Committee Washington Winegrowers, and serves  on the Oregon Wine Standing Committee on Research. She is committed to growing the highest quality wine grapes possible while improving sustainable practices industry wide.

Molly Scott grew up in Seattle’s wine business then studied Wine & Viticulture in California.  It only took one quarter of classes in the vineyard and she was hooked on farming.  In 2009, after graduating from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with her Bachelor of Science degree in Viticulture, Ms. Scott’s need to understand how to grow a grapevine and make wine led her to become an integral part of the vineyard team at JUSTIN over the past decade.  She  has successfully built her career in wine while driving the development of JUSTIN’s vineyard management program. When she joined the team in 2011, her role was specialized in research trials and certifying their vineyards as sustainable. Nine years later, she is honored to be JUSTIN’s Director of Grower Relations, overseeing all grape sourcing for JUSTIN, Landmark and JNSQ wines.  In this role she  has developed a broad expertise in many of California’s top grape growing regions including Paso Robles, Sonoma County, Monterrey and Santa Barbara.  As an integral piece of JUSTIN’s winemaking team, she has established relationships within the wine industry which are incredibly special to her and the winery. She  values what she can learn from their oldest growers, experts, and winemakers and continues to fine tune her wine expertise by understanding their palates across many vintages.

Believing in giving back and building community, she has served in many regional and state industry organizations including her work in the last three years on the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium’s Program Development Committee.   She, her husband and two boys are proud to call Paso Robles home.  

ABOUT THE MODERATOR:  Lise Asimont studied anthropology at Saint Mary’s College of California and Environmental Horticulture at the University of California, Davis with a specialization in Viticulture.  She studied under Dr. M. A. Walker  and conducted her master’s research on grapevine rootstock resistance to root-knot nematodes.  After graduating, she worked as assistant vineyard manager for Cambria Vineyard and Winery in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara County, then Geyser Peak Winery in Sonoma County.  In 2006, she joined the winemaking team at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery and collaborated on the creation of new Sonoma County and expanded California wine programs.  As director of grower relations, she spearheaded their viticulture program, sourcing grapes from thirteen different counties throughout California.

As CEO for VinSense LLC in 2017, she paved the road for technology for wine grape growers bringing functional soil modeling and data integration for perennial agricultural systems.  In 2019, she became Director of Vineyard Operations at Cakebread Cellars, in Rutherford, Napa County, responsible for 580 acres of certified sustainable estate vineyards in Mendocino and Napa Counties and grower relations in Sonoma and Napa Counties.

In 2016, her family launched Dot Wines, specializing in Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.  In 2020, she launched LA Winegrowing Consulting, and enjoys bringing sustainable practices and winemaking to her clients.  Sharing her valuable knowledge and passion, she is a strong voice for the American Society for Viticulture and Enology; Unified Wine & Grape Symposium Executive Committee and other industry groups.   She lives in Healdsburg with her family and enjoys the amazing agrarian life of Sonoma County.

ABOUT THE WINEMAKING & VITICULTURAL ROUNDTABLE:  This WWS Roundtable meets approximately six times a year, taking a harvest break.  During pandemic, the events have moved online and will resume at hosted member wineries with celebration when safety allows.

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

She further explained that, “Held online in since Spring 2020 and pre-pandemic at some of Napa and Sonoma’s finest host wineries, these programs have been a fantastic opportunity for over 100 member 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 noted speakers have included numerous top wine publication critics and senior editors, leading academics, global sensory consultants, sommeliers, media trainers, CFO’s and GM’s in panel discussions and key industry career coaches and top level recruiters.”

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, Hillary Silva ([email protected]).  

ABOUT WOMEN FOR WINESENSE:  WWS is a national 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 2021 starting virtually, with plans to migrate to a mix of virtual and in person events as pandemic conditions safely allow. 

To join or learn more, please visit www.womenforwinesense.org.

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