• Dominic Perri

3 Women-Led Vineyards: Cakebread, Lapostelle, Bruno Paillard

In an industry disproportionately dominated by men, here are some women who seriously know how to drink wine. These amazing brands below have long roots with influential women throughout their history, steering the continued success of their vineyards.

Cakebread Cellars, Napa Valley

Cakebread Vineyard Story

Cakebread is one of the country’s most recognizable labels in the Napa Valley region. Founded 50 years ago by high school sweethearts Jack and Dolores Cakebread, their legacy lives on through their wines, most notably in their Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc (and more recently, their Pinot Noir).

Cakebread Leadership

As a co-founder, Dolores Cakebread has had an immense influence in shaping their culinary program and what their brand has grown to be. Most recently, Stephanie Jacobs has taken the reins and led the charge as head of the wine-making operations at Cakebread.

With a career that spans a winery in the Sierra Foothills and Bogle Vineyards, Stephanie moved up the ranks at Cakebread Cellars from enologist, to assistant winemaker, and eventually lead winemaker. With nearly 15 years at Cakebread, she’s now championing their growth and expansion in Pinot Noirs.

Being a winemaker allows you to be creative, as well as practice science and adapt along the way.

Stephanie's Favorite Wine: Pinot Noir

On Pinot Noir, Stephanie said that it “has a mysterious personality about it. It's naturally lighter than other reds, but by no means weak. It's concentrated in aromas, flavors, and structure. There are many unique styles allowing a lot of creativity to capture a style that represents the individual vineyard sites.”

Lapostolle Wines, Chile

Lapostolle’s Vineyard Story

Would you believe me if I told you that Lapostolle Wines has a connection to the creator of Grand Marnier? Well, it does! Founded by Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle and her husband Cyril de Bournet, Alexandra was the great-granddaughter of Louis-Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle. Now, the name carries on in the wine industry as an influential producer of Chilean wines.

Tucked in the Apalta region in the Colchagua Valley, Lapostolle owns over 500 hectares in three different vineyards. Although founded in 1994, some of Lapostolle's grapevines are over a century old. That's some deep roots.

Lapostolle Leadership

Lapostolle has entrusted Andrea León as the Technical Director and Winemaker. She works alongside wine-making guru, Michel Rolland, but still carries out Alexandra’s founding principles and vision.

Andrea's experience spans over 20 years. Her journey began at Catholic University, majoring in viticulture and oenology. After traversing the world, she settled in Chile, working at Odfjell Vineyards and then at Santa Helena Winery. Now 16 years strong at Lapostolle, Andrea has been involved in many aspects of the winery, including grape growing, winemaking, and packaging. But she still consults and carries out the vision of co-founder, Alexandra.

Alexandra has her vision and taste. Michel plays with the raw material we give him to make a reality of Alexandra’s vision of the wine she wants to achieve.

In overseeing the wine production, Andrea notes that you need to be "very present in the vineyard, and very aware of the differences in order to be successful in your viticulture, and then you'll bring it to the wine.”

Andrea's Favorite Wine Regions: For whites, Alsace. For reds, Douro, Piedmont, Sicily. And Tokaji in Hungary.

Bruno Paillard, France

Bruno Paillard Vineyard Story

Although founded by Bruno Paillard in 1994, Bruno's Champagne legacy continues with his strong partnership and support of his daughter, Alice. In their household, Champagne was never a simple drink. It was a Sunday ritual to sip a tiny mini glass of Champagne only after a full eye and nose description was achieved.

Bruno Paillard is the youngest Champagne vineyard that has done what many thought was impossible, entering the Champagne market with a brand new product and quickly becoming a competitive, notable name. Their vineyard now spans over 32 hectares.

Bruno Paillard Leadership

In 2007, Alice Paillard decided to take a larger role in the continued success of the family business by joining her father. But this wasn't without prior experience. She had "worked in the vineyards, the cellar, and in management, co-managing the Maison with her father."

Putting together a wine is very like for a painter carefully choosing the origin of colors.

Most recently, she took over management, although her father is still very involved in the process with no plans to retire from the Champagne business any time soon. They work collaboratively in growing and expanding their brand, guaranteeing a long-lasting future for their family name in the Champagne region.

Favorite Sparkling Wine Pairings: Crab legs, ceviche, crab cakes, and raw tuna

Choice Wines for March:

  1. Cakebread's Chardonnay, 2018 Since 2004, Cakebread's production has been managed by Stephanie Jacobs

  2. Lapostolle's Cuvee Alexandre Merlot, 2015 Andrea Leon has been the Technical Director and Winemaker for Lapostolle wines

  3. Gosset’s Grand Millesime Brut Champagne, 2012 Gabrielle Bouby-Malagu is the assistant Cellarmaster for Champagne house Gosset

  4. Pierre Sparr’s Alsace Pinot Gris Grande Reserve, 2018 Alexandra Boudrot is the Cellarmaster for Pierre Sparr

  5. Bruno Paillard’s Brut, 2004 Alice Paillard represents the next generation of champagne

  6. Maysara’s 3 Degrees Pinot Noir, 2015 Tahmeine Momtazi is winemaker for Oregon biodynamic producer Maysara


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