Wonder Women: 10 female California winemakers to watch

Stephanie Terrizzi

5 Stephanie-Terrizzi credit Erik CastroOne to watch Stephanie Terrizzi fell in love with wine while working at a bar in Illinois, which inspired her to take her WSET sommelier exams and become a wine consultant for Sonoma County’s top restaurants, including Ca’Bianca.

Keen to get her hands dirty, after attaining an oenology degree from Fresno State, Terrizzi interned at a number of Napa and Sonoma wineries before becoming the vineyard manager of Luna Matta in Paso Robles, which specialises in Italian varieties.

A decade ago Stephanie launched her own wine project with her husband Brian called Giornata, working with Italian grapes planted at Luna Matta with the aim of making “balanced and subtle” Italian-inspired reds.

Using the same clones employed by Italy’s top producers, the pair have won plaudits for their Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Aglianico and Barbera, and would love to eventually export their wines to Italy. “Nebbiolo is the hardest grape to grow and the most mischievous in the cellar. It has taught me patience and has pushed my creativity to make it work,” she says, citing Trentino-based Elisabetta Foradori as her winemaking inspiration.

While looking after twin daughters, Terrizzi also finds time to consult for a number of local wineries and works with Brian on a side project called Broadside in collaboration with Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars. Looking ahead, she’s keen to be one of the first winemakers in California to make a Nerello Mascalese.

9 Responses to “Wonder Women: 10 female California winemakers to watch”

  1. Very enjoyable and thorough article, but am surprised you missed Bibiana González Rave, winemaker for Wayfarer and the San Francisco Chronicle’s Winemaker of the Year.

  2. Steve Bslmutj says:

    How did you leave off Jordan Fiorentini from Epoch.

  3. Sandra Roberts says:

    Missed one…Danielle Cyrot. Cade Estata, Howell Mtn

  4. Kent Benson says:

    Didn’t know WSET ever had “sommelier” exams. Might want to double check that. First paragraph of Terrizzi profile.

  5. Kent Benson says:

    Re Barrett profile: Since the topic is winemakers, give credit where credit is due. The person who “made” the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay was Mike Grgich.

  6. Penny Gadd-Coster is a winemaker in Sonoma County who won “Winemaker of the Year” in 2013 in the inaugural Wine Industry Awards, a great achievement considering contenders were from the entire Napa, Sonoma and greater Bay Area winemaking regions! She’s also won over 30 Best of Class, Best of Show, Sweepstakes, Gold medals and 90+ point ratings for four wines in the past few years!

  7. Bob Kugler says:

    You missed Signe Zoller at 72 years young, graduated from Davis with a MS in enology chemistry. Founding winemaker for Jess at Kendal Jackson and now winemaker for AVE.

  8. Nice article, and I’m sure we all have additions to make. Mine are Milla Handley of Handley Cellars in Anderson Valley and Shauna Rosenblum of Rock Wall Wine Co.

  9. Carlos Rodda says:

    Agree with Kent above, it was made by WINEMAKER Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, winery was OWNED by the Barretts!

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