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Women for Winesense Winemaking & Viticulture Roundtable Presents “Let’s Talk Sustainability: Leading Change, Sharing New Insights,” Wednesday, June 15, 2022

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NAPA / SONOMA, CALIFORNIA |June 10, 2022:  On Wednesday, June 15, 2022,  from 3:00 – 5:30 p.m. the Napa | Sonoma chapter of Women for WineSense’s (WWS) Winemaking & Viticulture Roundtable will host a comprehensive tour and dynamic conversation with leading local sustainability experts, Haley Duncan, Christiane Schleussner and Mayacamas Olds. The event will be generously hosted at Silver Oak’s state-of-the-art LEED Platinum certified winery and vineyards, located in Alexander Valley, 10 minutes east of downtown Healdsburg at 7300 Hwy 128 in Sonoma County.  

ABOUT THE EVENT

Discussion topics will be tailored for general managers, senior level winemaking and viticulture attendees as they seek to drive more sustainable changes with their business ownership and teams. 

Early arrivals will meet at 3:00 p.m. to enjoy time for mingling and catching up with peers and our speakers while sampling an assortment of Silver Oak wines.  At 3:30 p.m. Christiane Schleussner, Silver Oak Alexander Valley’s winemaker, kicks off this roundtable with a production tour highlighting her LEED Platinum Winery’s core sustainability elements, impact and future plans.  Following the tour, Haley Duncan, Safety & Sustainability Manager of Silver Oak and Twomey, will sit down with Mayacamas Olds, COO of Enterprise Vineyards and Winery Sixteen 600, to share firsthand insights and examples of her work towards a more sustainable future as well as her thoughts on next big things to make a difference in sustainably for the wine industry.  A lively question and answer session among all the speakers and attendees will follow.

Roundtable Chair Julie Lumgair notes, “This is an excellent opportunity for winemaker and viticulture decision makers and leaders to compare ideas, listen and interact with experts on one of the greatest priorities in our industry, then and ask their own questions in a very friendly, private and relaxed environment.”

Attendees are asked to bring a bottle or two of their wine as thanks for the both the host team and speakers.

RSVP DETAILS

lease, no walk-ins. The free meeting is open exclusively to active WWS Winemaking and Viticulture Roundtable member winemakers and viticulturists and qualified guests 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, Julie(at) Lumgair (dot) com.

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS

Haley Duncan is a third-generation vintner at Silver Oak and Twomey. Her grandfather, Ray, co-founded Silver Oak in 1972, and her father, Tim, has worked at the wineries for over 30 years. 

After graduating from Skidmore College in 2013 with a degree in Environmental Studies, Haley moved back to California to learn the family business first-hand, working in the vineyards, cellars and customer service department. She then applied her background in sustainability to her new role as project manager for the construction of the state-of-the-art Silver Oak Alexander Valley Winery in Healdsburg. 

Under her guidance, Silver Oak achieved LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for Building Design and Construction (BD+C) in 2018 and Living Building Challenge (LBC) certifications by the International Living Future Institute in 2020. During construction of the new winery, she also led sustainability initiatives at the Silver Oak Napa Valley Winery, which became the first existing building certified LEED Platinum in 2016.  Haley is also a key member of the HR team and works tirelessly on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives such as the company’s new apprenticeship program.

In June 2022, she will complete her MBA from the University of California, Davis. The Napa native enjoys spending time with her family and is an avid equestrian.

Christiane Schleussner oversees all winemaking and cellar activities at the LEED Platinum certified facility in Healdsburg for Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet.  Since joining the Duncan Family of Silver Oak in 2003 as associate winemaker, she has been the go-to person for exploration of new winemaking practices.

In 2007, Christiane conceived an industry-changing quality control process with Cork Supply to improve the sensory performance of natural corks. This innovation allows non-destructive, individual cork sensory evaluation using the principle of water vapor pressure. Christiane presented the “dry cork sensory screening” process at the 2009 American Society for Enology and Viticulture National Conference, and today, there are several natural cork suppliers that offer a proprietary process—a development based upon Christiane’s research—with the guarantee of TCA-free closures.

“I consider myself a practical researcher,” says Christiane, whose background in research began when she attended university in her native Germany. “I like to see the day-to-day applicability of what I’m looking into.”

Introduced to winemaking—and the possibility of utilizing her research background to pursue a career she loved—through a six-month internship at Sebastiani Vineyards, the mother of identical twins and avid dog-lover held successive winemaking roles at Sterling Vineyards, Marimar Torres Estate and Chalk Hill prior to Silver Oak.

Mayacamas Olds was named in March, 2022 to the newly created Chief Operating Officer position for both the well-known organic vineyard management company, Enterprise Vineyards, and Winery Sixteen 600 by their iconic founder, Phil Coturri, who noted she is known as much for her leading-edge farming techniques as her sharp business sense.  She now oversees Enterprise’s vineyard operations for some 35 properties in Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties, growing grapes for the regions’ renowned labels.  All are certified organic by the CCOF. The company’s 100-plus employees use organic and regenerative techniques to produce high quality grapes that are made into distinctive, character-filled wines for numerous acclaimed wineries and the family’s Winery Sixteen 600.

“Mayacamas Olds is one of the most talented viticulturalists I know,” Coturri said. “We share a dedication to organic and regenerative growing and have the same vineyard sensibilities. She’s developed innovative ways to farm naturally and respectfully in every vineyard situation in which she’s worked, whether on the 14 acres of her family’s vineyard or for Diageo Chateau & Estate’s 6,800 acres spread across California. Her deep experience in the vineyard and skill in management gives Mayacamas unique insight into the workings of Enterprise Vineyards and will enable us to create a structure that will guarantee that we remain a family business.” 

Olds grew up on her family’s Sky Vineyards property on Mt. Veeder in Napa Valley. After graduating from the University of California, Davis with a bachelor’s degree in fermentation science, she served as general manager at Sky Vineyards, as business manager and viticulturalist at Enterprise Vineyards, and as a sustainability consultant while earning an MBA in corporate sustainability from the Presidio Graduate School. She was named director of vineyard operations and grower relations for Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines and then worked as the head of viticulture at Newton Vineyards in St. Helena before signing on in 2020 as general manager of Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards in Sonoma.

Olds is well known for her focus on the future, noting, “As the climate continues to change, we will shape our vineyard management approach to focus even more on resiliency and regeneration. Our emphasis on farming organically will continue to be our primary sustainability tool, but we will also make use of innovative and regenerative technology to enable Enterprise to continue growing world class grapes to be made into world class wines.”

ABOUT THE HOST

Designed to “frame the vineyard,” the Silver Oak Healdsburg winery features panoramic views of the Alexander Valley bench and surrounding 113-acre estate with 75 acres of prime Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard. Upon arrival, guests are welcomed in a modern barn-inspired tasting room adjacent to the iconic Silver Oak water tower. Visitors gain a deeper understanding of how sustainable vineyard management contributes to wine quality, as well as the technologies and practices we apply toward resource management and vineyard health.

ABOUT THE WWS WINEMAKING & VITICULTURAL ROUNDTABLE

This WWS Roundtable meets approximately six times a year, taking a harvest break.  During the pandemic, events moved online.   Beginning in March 2022 events will resume in person at host member wineries with added virtual options.

Roundtable Program Committee member, winemaker Melissa Castro, noted “Our past meeting topics have focused upon the C-suite professional skills and insights women winemakers and viticulture professionals need but aren’t always easy to get in their daily work environment.”

She further explained that, “Held online since Spring 2020 and held pre-pandemic at some of Napa and Sonoma’s finest host wineries, for over seventeen years our Roundtable 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 recent speakers have included top wine publication critics and senior editors, iconic winemakers, leading academics, 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.  It is a great way to expand skills while reconnecting and meeting new industry professionals.  To renew, join or check current membership status, please email the Roundtable Chair.

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, hillaryfrasersilva(at) gmail (dot) com.

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 2022 and beyond.  To join or learn more, please visit www.womenforwinesense.org.

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