It’s that time of year when we celebrate mom. Whether my actual mother or other mother-figures, there are so many wonderful women in my life that I admire and love to celebrate. I hope that I provide the same inspiration for my children and others that I “mother.” Ahem…the correct answer for Thing 1 and Thing 2 is… At any rate, given that so much of my interest in wine comes from the stories behind the wine, I was thrilled to find some mother-daughter duos doing their thing in wine. Even better that they are crafting delicious, swoon-worthy wines. Here are a couple of mother-daughter wine teams that are worth checking out.
I still remember the first time that I tried Lail Vineyards’ Blueprint Sauvignon Blanc. The experience stood out for a couple of reasons. First, I don’t always love Sauvignon Blanc and I really enjoyed this one. The second reason the Lail Blueprint SB stood out was when I read more about the woman behind the wine. There was some serious wine royalty in that bottle. Owner Robin Daniel Lail can trace her heritage back to 1879 when her great-grand uncle founded Inglenook Vineyards. The family winemaking heritage was carried forward many years later by Robin’s father John Daniel, Jr. and then on to Robin. She inherited her father’s passion for wine and has had a hand in some of the most prestigious brands in California. She worked as the personal assistant to Robert Mondavi, co-founded Dominus Estate with Christian Moueix, and co-founded Merryvale Vineyards with Bill Harlan, where she served as president for a decade. Then she turned to her own venture, Lail Vineyards, which she founded with her two daughters Erin and Shannon, in 1995.
Today, the three work alongside winemakers Philippe Melka and Maayan Koschitzky to craft critically-acclaimed wines year after year. These efforts have resulted in several 100-point wines. Daughter Erin helped set up the company’s infrastructure while Shannon is responsible for Lail’s social media as well as makes key decisions on a daily basis. Of course, Robin is the company’s heart and soul of the company and is quite committed to the fight against climate change. She is the U.S. Ambassador for Porto Protocol, which is an international foundation that fosters climate solutions for the wine industry. In fact, 10% of Lail’s online sales is donated to organizations that work against against climate change.
Wine to Try: 2020 Lail Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc. As I mentioned, I sometime struggle with Sauvignon Blanc. Well, I should say that I prefer mine with slate/stone or tropical and stone fruit, which makes me really selective whenever I have any. Too green and grassy, and I’m not a big fan. Too much oak influence and not enough acidity and again, you miss me. So many times I’ve ended up disappointed by SB. It was all of my SB “baggage” that made my enjoyment of this one all the more surprising. There was richness, but not overbearingly so, accompanied by a floral freshness, stone fruit, apple, orange and enough acidity to please this acid head. I loved it even more on day 2.
I had the pleasure of visiting Bricoleur Vineyards last fall (more on that to come soon) and so enjoyed my experience. Their six-course Rooted tasting experience is truly divine. Created with the winery’s culinary advisors James Beard Award-winning chefs Charlie Palmer and Nate Appleman – and in-house chef Thomas Bellec who had a formidable career at The Four Seasons, it really is art on a plate. And while I went in for the wine and food, I came away with so much more.
Bricoleur Vineyards was co-founded by husband and wife team Mark Hanson and Elizabeth Wall Hanson, and their daughter, Sarah Hanson Citron. The family can trace their Sonoma wine roots back over a century. Elizabeth’s great-grandfather was the oenologist for Sonoma’s historic Italian Swiss Colony in the 1800’s, which makes Sarah the face of the family’s 5th generation in Sonoma County winemaking. And Sarah’s one-year old daughter Isla Rose Citron, who represents the sixth generation, is getting in on the act early. The winery recently released its first ever Isla Rose California Brut Rosé. By naming the wine for Isla Rose, the family wanted to honor the entrepreneurial spirit of all of the women in their longstanding winemaking family.
As a mother-daughter wine team, Elizabeth and Sarah have not only learned from each other, but each has inspired the other.
Elizabeth on working with her daughter: “My daughter, Sarah, and I have always enjoyed creating unique designs in our home, so it’s fun to do it now for our business.”
Sarah on working with her mom: “It has been amazing to work with my mom on building our vision for Bricoleur and to work together on the design of our brand, our estate and future of our company.”
Elizabeth on what she has been able to teach Sarah about juggling work and motherhood: “Since I was and still am a working mom, I am able to help Sarah and guide her through the challenges of being a working mom and constantly adapting to the ever-changing needs of work and family.”
Sarah on what she has learned from Elizabeth about juggling work and motherhood: “I’m extremely grateful to my mom for all that she did for us growing up. I am proud to have had an amazing role model who worked full time, running her own business, and was able to balance it all while raising my brother and me. She has taught me that you always have to juggle what life throws you.”
Sarah on how her mom has inspired her: “My mom’s work ethic is extremely inspiring. She’s running multiple businesses and is also able to be a very present mother and grandmother to my brother, my daughter Isla Rose, and me. I also love that she has become an amazing role model for my friends and our female employees at Bricoleur Vineyards. She is always available for advice and constantly supports and empowers women to be the best version of themselves.”
Wine to Try: Isla Rose Brut Rosé, which I also included in my lineup of tasty springtime bubbles. It’s crafted from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that is sourced primarily from the cool Carneros region and offers up bright red berry fruits, rose blossoms, and great minerality. Carneros was the region that got me into wine so it will always be special to me.
As a working mom trying to be a great role model, not only for my daughter, but for other black, female attorneys, I so loved learning about these fantastic mother-daughter wine teams. It reminds me that there is purpose to what I do and that there is always someone watching.
Looking for some other fantastic mother-daughter wine teams? Check out the work that Barbara Banke and daughters Katie and Julia are doing at Jackson Family Wines and mom Janet Trefethen along with daughter Hailey Trefethen are doing at Trefethen Family Vineyards.
*Cover photo of Robin, Shannon, and Erin Lail courtesy of Lail Vineyards.