Enthusiast's Corner December 1, 2006
Women are assuming positions of responsibility at wineries founded by their fathers—it may not be news, but it's enough to make all fathers proud.
Reading the story entitled "Like Father Like Daughter" in this issue made me think immediately of my own two wonderful daughters, Erika, 23, and Jacqueline, 20. Since childhood, both of them have had a desire to participate in the world of wine, like their dad. And why not? When you read the story, which begins on page 26, and enjoy the stories of the wonderful bonding that all of our Father-Daughter teams share, you will find that the mutual respect and love they share as parent-child is mirrored by their deep love of wine.
In the story, Steve Heimoff and other contributors profile 17 daughters from California, Oregon, France, Italy and Portugal who have chosen to be winemakers, marketing managers, vineyard managers or are embracing ownership and full responsibility in wineries their fathers have founded. These are not the only women who have chosen this path, to be sure, and some of them have done so after detours in other fields. We asked our contributors to emphasize the relationships with their fathers and the lessons learned in terms of responsibility rather than their maturity in clonal selection, punch-down methods or marketing strategies. We wanted to know what makes these relationships tick, and how they evolved from the predictable tensions that occur in adolescence and young adulthood (on the part of the daughters; I assure you the fathers are never the cause of such tensions) to the warmer, closer relationships that develop as the years go on.
Obviously, as a father with two daughters, I found these stories to be inspirational.
Erika, a graduate of Tulane University, has worked with The Robert Mondavi Winery and for Food and Wines of France, an organization that promotes French products internationally. She is currently employed by an internet company. Jacqueline, a junior at George Washington University, worked for a time at Sotheby's in its wine department. She is now studying in Paris on a semester abroad program. Both of my daughters have traveled extensively, both on their own and with their parents, visiting vineyards in Europe, New Zealand, South Africa and even India. It has never ceased to amaze me how excited they are to challenge themselves with new culinary pursuits.
Any parent who owns a company can relate to my dream: that my girls will consider joining Wine Enthusiast in some capacity in the future. Certainly, all parents share one of the most thrilling sensations life can offer—pride in our children for who they are, no matter what they decide to pursue. They are our legacy and our hope for the future.
If rich legacy and a shared vision of the future is a loose theme for this issue, then look no further than Roger Voss's article on white Burgundy. Voss refers to Burgundy's Chassagne-Montrachet as the home of Chardonnay, its soils as "sacred ground." That's poetic license, to be sure, but understandable, considering how exquisite these wines are, vintage after vintage.
Michael Schachner looks at Argentina wine regions outside Mendoza, particularly Patagonia and Salta. Some of Argentina's top producers are exploring this region, as are international consultants and winemakers with an adventurious spirit. California's Donald Hess, for example, is developing a property at an elevation of some 8,000 feet. This is why Schachner calls his article "Extreme Argentina."
Our Italian editor, Monica Larner, offers a great guide to olive oil—how to taste, buy and use—for our Pairings department. And Gary Regan reports on an interesting phenomenon occurring in the world of vodka in our Proof Positive article. What could be new? Distillers the world over are now creating vodkas…not from grain, not even from potatoes, but from grapes.
The wine industry—in America and the world over—has justifiably prided itself on being one of the last that clings to family legacy. Something to consider, and to appreciate, every time you raise a glass. Cheers!