Cellar Talk with Alex Farber
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Honoring Women in Wine:
Farber on her passion for Chenin Blanc, Angel empowerment, and trusting her gut and the vineyards
Interviewed by Elizabeth Smith
1. How did you get your start in wine?
After graduating with my degree in viticulture and enology from the University of California at Davis, I interned at Trefethen Family Vineyards in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley. It was my first time working in a winery after college and I LOVED IT! The harvest energy is infectious (probably shouldn’t use that word!) The harvest bug bit, so I interned the next spring at Veremonte in Casablanca, Chile. I returned to Trefethen, then landed at Pine Ridge Vineyards.
2. Where are you in your career now?
In college, I minored in managerial economics. After being an enologist/assistant winemaker for over two decades, I didn’t think I could be a winemaker. I refocused on the business side while still trying to make it as a winemaker. I took a job with Naked Wines, bringing with me the passion I’d gained for Pine Ridge’s Chenin Blanc. Angels loved my Chenin Blanc and they have supported me ever since. I now make wines exclusively for Naked Wines!
3. How do Naked Angels empower you as a winemaker?
The direct feedback and connection I receive every day is undeniably the greatest driver for me. Knowing that I am the Angels’ hands-on-the-ground advocate for making wines they’ll drink every day empowers me to make the best wines from the finest grapes.
4. What’s a BIG lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Trust your gut and the vineyards. It’s important to allow a vineyard to tell you what it can produce and bring to fruition as wine. Knowing what it doesn’t deliver allows the winemaker to refocus and discover.
5. What’s the message you have for other women winemakers?
Stand up for what you believe in and don’t be afraid speak up. It’s important to listen and learn from others, but others can also listen and learn from you!
6. What is your big hope for women in wine in the future?
Women in all industries should have equal pay and power of positions!
Lastly – is there a women’s empowerment organization or cause you support or would like to?
Girls On the Run is an afterschool enrichment program that helps young girls break the glass ceiling and become empowered women!
Elizabeth Smith is a freelance wine, food, and travel journalist well as a communications and social media specialist based in the Napa Valley.