With International Women’s Day on the horizon (March 8), Sonoma Valley, a 17-mile long valley within Sonoma County that is home to more than 100 premium wineries, is proud to celebrate the remarkable accomplishments that the multitude of women in wine in the Valley have achieved. From head winemakers of award-winning labels to business owners and entrepreneurs, the women behind the wine in Sonoma Valley are leading the charge, one bottle at a time.
Margo Van Staaveren, Winemaker I Chateau St. Jean
Margo Van Staaveren has celebrated more than 37 harvests at Chateau St. Jean and plays a pivotal role in every facet of the winemaking process. Van Staaveren, who was named “Winemaker of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast magazine in 2008, makes the final decisions involving blend and style to produce consistently high quality wines in the super premium and luxury category. Van Staaveren joined Chateau St. Jean as a Laboratory Technician in 1980 and was named Winemaker in 2003. In 2016, Treasury Wine Estates, the parent company for Chateau St. Jean, named Margo the Director of Luxury Winemaking.
Sondra Bernstein, Owner I the girl & the fig
In 1997, Sondra Bernstein started what has now become a mini-empire in Sonoma Valley, acclaimed and beloved restaurant the girl & the fig. Today, Bernstein is the owner of the girl & the fig; Suite D, a catering company and pop-up event space; the fig rig food truck and The Rhone Room, a wine studio and lounge. In addition to being a leading businesswoman in Sonoma Valley with multiple successful concepts, Bernstein also publishes a quarterly newspaper called fig chronicles and is the founder of Sonoma FIG Foundation which assists in funding for start-up entrepreneurs in food, farming, food media, wine and spirits.
Cindy Cosco, Owner and Winemaker I Passaggio Wines
Cindy Cosco grew up in an Italian household where her grandfather made wine in the basement. Following in her grandfather’s footsteps, in 2004, she left a 15-year career in law enforcement to pursue winemaking. While working as a lab manager at Crushpad in San Francisco, CA she launched Passaggio Wines with 50 cases of Unoaked Chardonnay. Today, Passaggio Wines has a dedicated tasting room in downtown Sonoma and produces around 1,700 cases of wine a year.
Jayme Powers, Owner I SIGH
In 2012 Jayme Powers opened SIGH, a Champagne bar in the heart of Sonoma’s historic plaza. Rated as the number eight wine bar in the U.S. in 2018 by Yelp, as voted on by users, Powers has brought her love of bubbly to locals and visitors alike. Powers was born and raised in Sonoma and has been known for teaching customers how to use a saber to open a champagne bottle.
Katie Bundschu, Vice President of Marketing and Sales I Gundlach Bundschu
As a sixth-generation vintner, Katie Bundschu always knew she’d be involved in the wine business. From pruning and tying vines to harvesting grapes as a child, the Gundlach Bundschu Winery, California’s second winery, established in 1858, runs deep in Bundschu’s roots. In Fall of 2016, Bundschu launched her own wine label called Abbot’s Passage, a boutique collection featuring small-lot, co-fermented field blends sourced from storied family vineyards in Sonoma and beyond.