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A Woman's Touch: 5 Women Vintners Changing the Industry

Palm Beach Illustrated
April 11, 2016
By Mark Spivak

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There is a theory backed up by serious scientific research that suggests women are better wine tasters than men. The research was conducted by Professor Linda Bartoshuk at the University of Florida, who discovered a percentage of the population has more taste receptors on their tongues than others, and more of those “super tasters” are women.

If that is true, we can assume that women must be better winemakers as well. Despite the fact that most studies find only 10 percent of U.S. wineries currently have women in charge of their cellars, things are starting to change. The shift is largely due to the impact of the first generation of female winemakers, who made huge contributions in the field. That group includes Heidi Barrett, dubbed “the first lady of wine” by Robert Parker; Helen Turley, superstar consultant and proprietor of Marcassin; Merry Edwards, master of Pinot Noir in the Russian River Valley; and other luminaries, such as Cathy Corison, Eileen Crane, Delia Viader, and Mia Klein. The following are five women to watch in the years ahead. 

Kathleen Inman | Inman Family Wines, Sonoma
Inman describes her role as “grape grower, winemaker, salesperson, accountant, and forklift driver.” She has operated her own winery with her husband, Simon, since 2002, and is beginning to hit the top of her stride. Highlights of the Inmans’ production include a Provence-style rosé made from Pinot Noir, a remarkably well-crafted Chardonnay, and a bevy of Pinot Noirs, including releases from her family-owned Olivet Grange vineyard.