Picture: Deborah Brenner and Christian G.E. Schiller
International Women Day 2010 and Wine
At the occasion of the 2010 International Women Day, the Eatonville Restaurant in the U-Street Corner of Washington DC organized a wonderful wine event with wine book author and winery CEO Deborah Brenner and winemaker Lori Corcoran.
International Women Day
March 8 is International Women Day. It started as a socialist political event in the early 1900s and is now celebrated in many countries around the world. In countries with socialist roots, like China and the former Soviet Bloc countries, it is a national holiday.
Picture: A 1932 Soviet poster dedicated to the 8th of March holiday (Wikipedia). The text reads: "8th of March is the day of rebellion of the working women against kitchen slavery" and "Down with the oppression and narrow-mindedness of household work!” Originally in the USSR the holiday had a clear political character, emphasizing the role of the Soviet state in the liberation of women from their second-class-citizen status.
Eatonville Restaurant in Washington DC
Eatonville is a very important town for African-Americans in Florida, as it became the first African-American town in the US in 1887.
The Restaurant Eatonville is located in the historic U Street Corridor, where Zora Neale Hurston and fellow writer/poet Langston Hughes, both famous African-Americans, enjoyed a lively social and cultural life during the early 1920s. Zora Neale Hurston, a writer and anthropologist, was one of the brightest lights of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1930s. Hurston was considered by many to be the pre-eminent black female writer in the country.
Pictures: Eatonville Owner Andy Shallal and Guests
The Restaurant Eatonville pays homage to Hurston’s Washington DC’s connections. It is named for her childhood hometown in Florida, the setting of her most famous novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God”.
Deborah Brenner, her Winery and her Wine Book
The evening was organized around Deborah Brenner. She is the author of the book “Women of the Vine” and she is the CEO of the “Women of the Wine Cellars” winery, featuring hand-crafted, limited production wines, all made by female winemakers.
It all started with a trip to the Napa Valley and a lunch with Karen Cakebread, from Cakebread Cellars. Curiosity and her journalism education prompted Deborah Brenner to do more research on women in the winemaking business.
The idea for the book “Women of the Vine” was born, and Brenner was soon trekking to California to interview passionate winemaking women entrepreneurs. In the book, Brenner presents wide-ranging interviews with 21 women involved in the wine industry, including award-winning winemakers like Heidi Peterson Barrett and Kristin Bedair.
In the process, Brenner realized that along with the book, she could champion women in wine more directly by going into the wine business herself, so the “Women of the Vine Cellars” label was born. Women of the Vine Cellars currently comprises the following group of female winemakers: Heidi Barrett, Alison Crowe, Marketta Fourmeaux, Dorothy Schuler, Carol Shelton, and Signe Zoller.
Understandably, the excellent wines we taste were somewhat on the back-burner this evening, with the Restaurant Eatonville becoming a new intellectual center of the African-American community in the City and with so much focus on feminism with Deborah Brenner’s presence.
Here are some of “Women of the Vine Cellars” wines.
2007 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc by Marketta Fourmeaux
Tasting notes: Single Vineyard from Marketta’s mountain Estate Vineyard. Wonderful with food – fresh, floral, citrusy yet round and mouth filling. $19.00. 300 Cases Produced.
2007 Santa Barbara Chardonnay by Signe Zoller
Tasting notes: The intensity of tropical fruit, delicate oak, and citrus with a soft, succulent taste and lengthy finish is stunning due to the marine climate that keeps the vineyards cool, preserving the aromatic depth of the wine. This wine was fermented and aged in oak barrels for 10 months. $22.00. 500 Cases Produced.
Picture: Wines served at the Eatonville event
2006 Napa Valley Syrah by Heidi Peterson Barrett
Tasting notes: Deep black ruby in color with enticing aromas of rose petal, ripe plum, black cherry, and spice. Big, lush, and round in the mouth with flavors matching the aromas. Layers of earth and toast integrate. The balance is very good with good length and persistent flavors. $65.00. 224 Cases Produced.
2006 Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon by Marketta Fourmeaux
Tasting notes: This wine is a blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Malbec from Marketta’s mountain Estate Vineyard. It is elegant and flavorful. Compares to the best from Bordeaux or Napa Valley. $52.00. 224 Cases Produced.
Lori Corcoran and Her Seyval Blanc
Unrelated to the Women of the Winecellars is female Virginia winemaker Lori Corcoran of Corcoran Vineyards, who also presented a wine. Lori Corcoran is the winemaker and proprietor of Corcoran Vineyards located in Loudoun County, VA. Corcoran is boutique winery which produces around 2000 cases of wines.
Lori graduated from San Jose State University back in 1989 with a degree in Administration of Justice. Her intent was to join the FBI. Butshe got sidetracked and decided to open a winery and become a winemaker instead. When not making wine, Lori is busy raising four kids on the farm and also volunteers whatever other free time she has to numerous worthy causes.
2007 Seyval Blanc, Corcoran Vineyards, Virginia
Alcohol Content: 13%; residual sugar: 40 grams per liter; Seyval Blanc is a French hybrid grape.
Tasting notes: straw-yellow in the glass, citrus flavors and herbal characteristics on the nose, a sweet, but not overly sweet wine, flavors of fresh lemons and limes, the grape’s firm acidity balances well with the residual sugar for a tart, satisfying finish.
Corcoran Vineyards, Virginia
Hillary Clinton serves Women of the Vine Cellars Wine
The day before, a State Department reception hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – with First Lady Michelle Obama as special guest – had featured a Merlot from Women of the Vine Cellars. The Merlot and the winery's Chardonnay were also served that evening at a Kennedy Center gala benefiting Clinton's Vital Voices Global Partnership non-profit organization.
Ntsiki Biyela is First Female Black Winemaker in South Africa
Finally, a jump over to South Africa to Ntsiki Biyela. She is the first black female winemaker in South Africa. She grew up in the small village of Ulundi, in KwaZulu-Natal, without any contact to wine. Ntsiki went to Stellenbosch University to study viticulture and enology and graduated 2 years ago. She now is in charge of the wine cellar at Stellekaya, a small winery specializing in premium red wines. In 2009, she received the South Africa Women Winemaker of the Year Award.
The Stellekaya winery is situated in the famous town of Stellenbosch. Stellekaya produces a collection of red wines that typify the Stellenbosch terroir and also meet international super-premium quality standards.
Picture: Ntsiki Biyela receiving the South Africa Women Winemaker of the Year 2009 Award
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