March 6, 2020
WineSpeed - by The Wine Bible Team
People to Know

SANDHI “Sanford & Benedict” Pinot Noir 2015 
(Sta. Rita Hills, CA) $54

Here's a terrific wine you should try.
See Karen's review here.

Buy it easily right now at

People to Know

Carole Meredith

Interviewed by Karen MacNeil

For 22 years Carole Meredith was a professor in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California at Davis.  She conducted ground-breaking research in grape genetics, using DNA typing to discover the origins of some of the greatest old grape varieties. We asked Carole to explain how her team tracked down zinfandel's home and the epic saga was too good to cut short ... Continue Reading

Wine Question of the Week

What is the primary grape variety used in making the Greek wine retsina? (Note: Retsina was a recent Wine Word—do you remember?)

A.   Malagousia
B.   Savatiano 
C.   Xinomavro   
D.   Moschofilero  


Here's the answer...

Fascinating Facts

Viva Les Veuves!

The history of Champagne is liberally sprinkled with the success of larger-than-life women, many of them widows. Unlike many women in the early 19th century, widows (veuve, in French) enjoyed the independence necessary to run a business. While unmarried women were dependent on their fathers or brothers and married women were forced to rely on their husband's money, widows were allowed to own property and businesses and control their own finances.  In fact, the Champagne Widows were so successful that some Champagne houses without their own widow added “Veuve” to their labels anyway!  Some of the most famous widows and their iconic Champagne houses include:

Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin Clicquot
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin
Louise PommeryPommery 

Mathilde Emilie Laurent-Perrier

Elisabeth "Lily" Law
de Lauriston-Boubers Bollinger - 


Status of Women
in the Wine Industry

It’s oddly fitting that disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was convicted of two felony sex crimes just 12 days before International Women’s Day on March 8.  For the last several weeks, I have found myself thinking more and more about the current status of women in the wine industry. I’ve thought about the huge strides made and the long list of phenomenal women in the industry—starting with Jancis Robinson at the top. But I’m also more aware than ever of so many seemingly intractable obstacles. In 2017, I wrote my first report on the status of Women in the Wine Industry. I wrote a second Status Report in 2018. Both pieces generated huge buzz. These are the stories of what it means to be a woman in wine today. Has much changed? I’d like to hear from you, here.

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Number of female chefs de cave (head winemakers) among the 24 historic Champagne houses known as the Grande Marques.  The Grande Marques (“great brand”) houses are a self-anointed syndicate originally formed in 1882. While the membership roster has changed a bit over the decades, the prestige now associated with the term is a testament to the marketing savvy of these prominent Champagne producers. Among its members are producers of some of our past Wines to Know:
Charles Heidsieck, Bollinger, and Gosset.

Percent of wineries in Spain's coastal Rías Baixas wine region with women winemakers.  Historically, women have always played a leading role in the vineyards and bodegas here because men, who make up the vast majority of local fishermen, have gone to sea for long periods, leaving women to tend to the vines and make the wine. 

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Amount (in U.S.$) that Peet’s Coffee will donate to The Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship in Columbia for every pound of their “Anniversary 2020” coffee sold this month, International Women’s Month. The Center helps poor women in Columbia develop small businesses. Peet’s, founded in Berekely, CA, in 1966, was one of the first suppliers of craft coffee in the U.S. 

More Numbers...
The WineSpeed Blog

Do Women Have Better Wine Tasting Ability? Here’s What the Research Says

by Karen MacNeil
March 6, 2020  

Somm BrainWe’ve all heard it said a hundred times—women are better at tasting wine than men. But can that possibly be true? For most of my professional wine career I, for one, have been skeptical of the idea. But in honor of International Women’s Month, I thought we should …Continue Reading

One last note: In 2018, I interviewed over 70 women winemakers and asked their opinions on this topic. You can read that piece here.

Women and men of the same size and body weight are equally affected by the alcohol in wine.


New True or False questions are posted every Thursday on my Facebook & Twitter pages.


See what a fiasco is here.

More Wine Words

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About Karen
Karen MacNeil—author of The Wine Bible, named as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the Wine Industry in 2018, recipient of nearly every major wine award, and considered one of America's foremost wine teachers—conducts private wine tasting seminars for individuals, groups, and businesses around the world. Among her clients: Audemars Piguet, General Electric, Lexus, Merrill Lynch, University of Notre Dame, and several international law firms. Karen is one of America’s leading wine presenters and gives keynote speeches at industry and consumer conferences worldwide. Karen MacNeil & Company creates one-of-a-kind wine experiences for clients at exclusive wineries in the Napa Valley and other wine regions. Contact Karen here.


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