Cellar Talk with Anne Dashe
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Honoring Women in Wine:
Dashe on learning to never take no for an answer and doing what she loves
Interviewed by Elizabeth Smith
1. How did you get your start in wine?
I was studying biochemistry at the University of Bordeaux in the late 1980s. I found myself torn between becoming a perfumer or a winemaker.
What ultimately put her over the edge? When a professor told Anne that she’d never get into the school’s enology program because she was a woman.
I discovered the Institute of Enology on campus and realized that I could easily switch to winemaking.
Even though there were very few women in the field or in the program at the time, I found this to be immensely appealing as a career path.
2. Where are you in your career now?
I founded Dashe Cellars in 1996 with my husband, who is also a winemaker, and we have owned and operated this mid-sized winery for 25 years.
3. How do Naked Angels empower you as a winemaker?
It is wonderful to have Naked Wines, and the support of Angels give me the opportunity to concentrate on winemaking and not on the business aspects of selling and marketing wines. I’ve been able to find great, small, family-owned vineyards and focus on making wines I’ve always wanted to make.
4. What’s a BIG lesson you’ve learned along the way?
I’ve learned to never take no for an answer. There is always a path forward, even when trying to enter a male-dominated industry.
5. What’s the message you have for other women winemakers?
To keep doing what you love, and don’t listen to naysayers. Also, remember that women have more sensitive palates than men.
6. What is your big hope for women in wine in the future?
That women continue to be recognized for their contributions to the industry and that being a woman is not considered anything unusual in upper echelons at wineries.
Elizabeth Smith is a freelance wine, food, and travel journalist well as a communications and social media specialist based in the Napa Valley.