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The Women Behind Some Of Napa And Sonoma’s Best Wines

By Michelle Williams
Forbes - May 21, 2020

In the male dominated wine industry, it’s necessary to shine a spotlight on women in the business. While female winemakers and women owned wineries attract rightful attention, the axiom “wine is made in the vineyard” illuminates an ignored sector in this growing awareness. Although the number of female vineyard workers has increased in Napa Valley and Sonoma from 5% to 30% between 2013 and 2017, historically only about 25% of vineyard manager positions are held by women.

... Growing up in Napa Valley, Kathleen Inman’s passion for the grape, specifically Pinot Noir, and gardening began early. However, working as an accountant in England kept her away from viticulture for almost two decades. “When I lived in England gardening was my hobby. I made my own compost, had a worm farm, used worm teas and did everything organically,” she explains.

She returned to Sonoma, and launched Inman Family Wines in 2000, where she wears many hats—vineyard manager, winemaker, boss, farmer, and “grape groper.” She oversees a small team including her sister, Diane, and assistant winemaker, Madelyn, who joined her last summer. While Inman enjoys mentoring women, she did not intentionally hire an all-female staff. However, she confesses... 

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