In the second half of March, I wrote the story Women in Wine Day ~ Let This Stand as Oak Ridge Winery’s Deserved Contribution, Only writing in part, I knew the second part would follow. Next, I drifted toward the management of Petite Sirah members and that PS Facebook Page. And, I became really inspired to focus on women for that category, many of whom I already known petty well. A few of them I’ve known for the last 30 years. It became very decisive to cover that next, the path became clear. I needed to pull back for a week from Oak Ridge winery, and have an old friend focus.

The research began with females winemakers, most I know closely, then slipped into their owners, and a president. Next, I segued into women behind the scenes, connections to owners and essential workers, people who don’t pop up on any websites. (Phone calls had to be made to get a couple of names.)

And, I soldiered on, but was I on the right track? Photos Credit of collage pieces Jo Diaz created with 123rf images

R. Heskett: You are always the most gracious reviewer

As a Woman in Wine myself, I sometimes wonder if I’m on the right track. Randall Heskett just reminded me, on my own Facebook page. I shared a post from the Petite Sirah I Love You Facebook page entry. The beginning of this Oak Ridge Winery story encouraged and taught me a lot. It begins with the fact that I don’t define wine, winemaking, and who’s who in wine by gender, as a rule. What I do is bust ceilings everywhere I go, because I see beyond any imagined barrier. I don’t even know I’m doing it at the time. Roadblocks are nebulous, at best. I’m historically one of the first women to direct a school at the age of 23, who knew? I just did it, now I think back and say, “Wow.” I’m also one of the first women to enter Rotary International and become a first board of director member in my club. I was in radio during the early 80s, with a community issues talk program, when radio was pretty male dominated, at the time (although my husband was hiring at the time, and he understands the yin/yang balance,so I wasn’t the only female). I am the first female wine/publicist in the world to start her own wine blog. At the time, Tom Wark is the first male n that same category. When it happened, I didn’t send up any flags of gender, neither did he. (He’s assumed, I’m the unexpected. Yin/Yang) Yes, there are differences in gender, each with our own roles. This will always beg the debate from my own gender, however when I make a global statement. The yin yang symbol proves it. In comments to my first story on this topic, I was challenged by another woman when I wrote “behind every woman there is a man.” So, she commented, “What garbage. Woman can be and are successful on their own terms without a man supporting them.” Well, if there was never, and I mean never, a man that contributed to that egg, we’ve got another Virgin Mary, ladies and gentlemen. Because a yin without a yang doesn’t exits.

Their sheer balance got my attention. Photo credit: 123rf

PHOTO: 123rf photo yin yang

BALANCE: Women and men are so much better off when we understand and practice Yin Yang’s energy. I had this explained by, yes, another woman in my shoes. Barbara Lyons Stewart, AIA, EDAC was an architect and designer, whether it be buildings, landscapes, or even an airplane terminals. When Barbara passed (much too early), she was in the process of designing the San Francisco’s International Airport terminal. When I’m now in it, Barbara’s spirit is everywhere. I mean everywhere. I was introduced to her through Ron Rubin, when his Ron Rubin Winery was being Feng Shui designed, by Barbara. Upon meeting her, She shared her practices and philosophies. She was a woman in wine, whom might not have even been recognized being associated with wine; she knew how to morph. Memories linger, though her life’s intent. Barbara had a way of elevating the way I thought, and through our lunches she became such a dear friend. Her take on Yin Yang: within each paisley there is a dot of the opposing color. That in turn makes a whole. If open, we’re then able to mitigate an opposition,maybe with a bit more understanding and/or clarity, maybe even some acceptance. If we can focus on the two parts being part of a whole, there’s balance. To answer “What garbage,” I responded, “Thanks, Rachel. Obviously, you’re one of them. (Not sarcasm.) I was sincere.”

And, I find that balance at Oak Ridge Winery

Oak Ridge Winery: Women Driven for success, the three women are also joined by their father. He’s the balancing ingredient. (Rock Sculpture is in balance, no hard and fast rules. It just balances. Perhaps the years I made mobiles with driftwood, beads, and things, was more of a blessing, in retrospect… I was just fun.

It’s always fun to make new friends, and as the Girl Scout song goes, “Make New Friends, but Keep the Old…”

Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver, the other is gold.
A circle is round, it has no end.
That’s how long, I will be your friend.
A fire burns bright, it warms the heart.
We’ve been friends, from the very start.

In their own words, these women have a great trifecta.

Raquel Cassidy is one. As a fourth a generation grape grower in Lodi, Raquel is passionately striving to build upon past generation practices, because it will enrich the lives of the next generation. By adopting sustainable farming practices, for example, she knows that her age group is preserving the vitality of their land, as a result of all he did beforehand. According to Raquel, she feels honored to be on the same path as great-grandfather Angelo Maggio, began on when he left his homestead in Italy for a better life in the USA in 1906.

Lisa Kammerer is another. Family is important to me, and there are lots of versions of it. By blood, by choice, by career – I aim to make connections in all aspects of my life. When I was a nurse, I wanted to be there for my patients. As hospitality manager, I want to make the most welcoming, familial atmosphere for our customers and my staff. It reminds me of festive holiday gatherings, of summers by the river, of afternoons with my grandchildren…it reminds me of home.

Shelly Maggio Woltkamp is the third.The pride I have for my heritage and Oak Ridge Winery is rooted in childhood memories I have on the vineyard. Swimming in the ditches was a fun afternoon for me and my sisters, but made extra work for our dad when we would break the irrigation berms. I became aware at a young age of the long hours and sacrifice for a farmer, and to see years of farming culminate in a product that is enjoyed in households across the country brings me great joy; it?s like an extension of our Maggio family hospitality.

Oak Ridge Winery’s Collection

BACK LABEL: Five generations of grape heritage enables us to craft this delicious expression of Lodi’s unique terroir; jammy with milk chocolate, boysenberry and mocha flavors, and a supple mouth feel. Enjoy!

Over time, I have receivd Oak Ridge Winery’s wine samples. Their Old Soul wines arrived first, then three more wines that represent three women’s choices.



Let’s review their brands with my thoughts.

Wines not tasted, but in their portfolio, their words


Wines also tasted ~ Old Soul

Believe me, Old Soul wines are not an afterthought. This story is ending on a very high note. I find symbiosis in just the name. It’s the pure yin/yang. I truly enjoyed both bottles, and that was before the second wine request came in. So, this all came on petty quickly. I have a massive story waiting in the cue on Paraguay…then came shingles, then came Christmas and the shingles still very active until just a few weeks ago. Old Souls felt like a quick project. I had tasted (enjoyed) both wine, and was going to do something quick, then came “Women in Wine Month.” Well there went that good idea, and then came the samples. Nothing comes easily around here, while still actively working. I recommend either of these two wines. I really did enjoy them.

What a joy to make new friends!, and now back to the old ones on a deep dive, off to Paraguay!