The Grape Nation: Women in Wine

The Grape Nation is dedicated to demystifying the world of wine. In June the show celebrated its fourth annual ‘Women in Wine’ month.

Host Sam Benrubi interviews women working as sommeliers, importers, and wine makers throughout the year but June is an added opportunity to shine a spotlight on women’s stories. June’s episodes feature a range of career journeys and perspectives from women who grew up surrounded by vineyards as well as those who discovered their love and passion for wine later in life. Enjoy these conversations as well as recommendations for what to sip on this summer.

By: Zoe Denckla

Episode 189: Amanda Smeltz: Poet turned sommelier turned poet, Amanda Smeltz left Pennsylvania to study at Marquette in Milwaukee. She stayed in Milwaukee, one of the world’s great food and wine capitols to learn hospitality before returning to New York. A longtime Brooklynite, Amanda has worked at groundbreaking Roberta’s in Bushwick, Daniel Boulud’s Bar Boulud and Boulud Sud, and eventually Estela and Café Altro Paradiso with Iggy Mattos. Amanda is a published writer and poet and just packed everything in, we’ll explain.

Episode 188: Camille Riviere, Camille Riviere Selections: Camille Riviere was raised in Paris and the Loire Valley. She fell in love with wine at an early age; so like any good mom Camille’s enrolled her in wine classes. She interned, worked, and studied her way through France. Camille made her way to the United States working at Morrell and Frederick Wildman learning the business side of the industry. Her realization and gravitation towards natural wines convinced her to start her own wine import business, Camille Riviere Selections in Brooklyn. Camille travels back and forth to France, remaining dedicated to translating the narrative and mission of each of her producers.

Episode 187: Jaimee Motley, Jaimee Motley Wines and Stony Hill Vineyards: After growing up around a restaurant family and finishing college in Maryland, Jaimee headed west to pursue the arts. Jobs at Locanda and RN74 in SF changed her course, where she found her love for wine. Jaimee traveled to intern in Europe, went on to assist Pax Mahle, started her eponymous wine label, and was made winemaker of storied Stony Hill Vyd in 2020. Jaimee makes serious but drinkable wine and avoids chasing any trends.

Episode 186: Sara Perez, Mas Martinet: You can’t talk about wines from the Priorat region of Spain without recognizing the impact the Perez Family has made in the last four decades. Sara Perez is the wine maker and owner along with her family of Mas Martinet, one of the five founding wineries in the Priorat. Sara farms organically, is a magician with the Garnacha and Carignane grape and produces some of the most sought after and interesting wines in the world.

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