“This wine we are sipping from Tuscany has been at the mercy of a woman’s hands. Not even sure if acknowledging gender is considered a selling point, but I’m claiming it because I find the wines to have a certain delicacy and grace.” Two weeks ago I made this statement sitting in North Carolina amongst male restaurant buyers and business owners. They nodded their heads in approval reaffirming the precision to which a woman will conduct her vine and wine management.
Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Donum Estate in Carneros. Anne Moller-Racke of Donum has dedicated her life to the vines. With over 30 years spent in Sonoma, she has truly become one with the soil. As I sat in the midst of the vineyards just a month shy of harvest, I noticed bunches of grapes on the ground. Almost exactly one bunch below each vine. “Most people claim that they drop fruit, but they don’t actually do it!” Why trim the fat? When we minimize the distractions, our lives become more focused. These berries are craving individual love from the vine. A little less fruit… so much more concentration. Donum doesn’t host tastings to the public. Their attention to the details remains outside the doors of their facility. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Just over the hill from Napa, a slightly cooler climate seeks these grape varietals. Sweeping winds hug the hillsides pushing out unwanted pests and facilitating the ability to conduct sustainable agriculture.
The Chardonnay sings a melody just perfectly in tune, with a beauty so approachable that all are seeking to be an audience. This is a wine I want to sit outdoors in 70 degree weather and sip all evening. The crisp stone fruit finishes with a subtle toasted nut flavor that melts in your mouth like warm apple pie.
The Pinot Noir emanates an aura that I hope to achieve daily in my professional life. Not manufactured and molded according to a standard. An expression of its surroundings and an embrace of the potential deeply rooted in its soul. This is a clean, honest Pinot with bright cherry fruit. Blanketed with a warmth from its spicy character, this is a friend I’d invite to any party.
I wake up every day reminded of how lucky I am to be a young woman in the wine industry. I am proud of my gender and grateful for my youth. In 30 years I hope to leave a mark as Anne Moller-Racke has done. Wines of such dignity often carry the soul of the force creating them.
Eat Well With Wine No Fuss! Picnic Lunch Spread
- Assortment of French cheeses/ artisanal American cheddar with apple slices & Marcona almonds- gorgeous with the Chardonnay
- Kalamata olives, paté, sliced baguette – pairs perfectly with Pinot Noir
Sip the wines of Anne- Moller Rack – both Stemmler & Donum label. Mangia Bene, Cin Cin!