Over the years we have taken many risks. Sometimes those risks earned us gold medals and other times, we admit, created challenges.
In the end, it was a risk and challenge behind our 2016 3 Graces Blanc that helped us win the hearts of judges from Wine Business Monthly and named us one of America’s “Top Ten Hot Brands” in their February issue (read the full story on page 98). You can also read it here.
If “wine is bottled poetry,” as Robert Louis Stevenson so famously observed, then what takes a wine from being good to a masterpiece?
We asked our poet, Michael Havill, about her thoughts on wine and winemaking. Not only has she proven to be an award winning winemaker, she’s creating a path for the elite few female winemakers in California.
What makes a winemaker great?
Years of consistency would be my definition of a great winemaker. Someone who you know is going to be producing a product that does not disappoint.
What do you love most about winemaking?
The most exciting and fulfilling part of winemaking is standing in front of a consumer who tries what we have made and says "Mmmmmm - that is delicious!"
What do you love most about wine?
It surprises me. The way it changes is always interesting, sometimes good, sometimes not so much!
Do you have a favorite wine?
What time of day is it, what time of year, with food, just to sip, no favorites. And as my chemistry changes, so does my palate.
You are one of elite few female winemakers in California. Why do you think there’s so few women working in your position?
It is a man's world. In my prior life I was one of very few women executives. It is isolating to be the only woman in a work situation. It is also physically hard and I need the guys around me to do the heavy lifting without being condescending. I need for them to appreciate that I cannot do that part of the work.
The Graces Blanc was the catalyst for helping Bella Grace to earn Wine Business Monthly’s “Top 10 Hot Brands.” What do you think made it so special?
It was the result of the drought. We had low yields and not enough of any one to make it worthwhile. So we put them all together and voila!
What was your reaction when you heard the news about the recognition from Wine Business Monthly?
I can remember when I started, I wished for a gold medal. It is positively overwhelming to us to be given such a terrific recognition. We are humbled!