Talk of the Bay from KSQD
Talk of the Bay from KSQD
Women at the center of Santa Cruz's early winemaking industry

The Santa Cruz Mountains American Viticultural Area (AVA) stretches along the mountains, the only AVA in the US to be defined by terrain rather than geographical boundaries. Before there was an AVA in these mountains, there were women: women in the vineyards, women in the cellars, and women writing about, promoting, and selling the wine to the public. This interview features three women at the core of the early wine industry in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Prudy Foxx of Foxx Viticulture, June Smith of the Roudon-Smith Winery, and Valerie Ahlgren of Ahlgren Vineyard. Val and June were full partners to their husbands in a time when the “women behind the men” were less likely to be recognized. These three women had very different roles in the winemaking process, but each gave her all even though it wasn’t her name that ended up on the bottle. This wide-ranging conversation reminds us of what life was like in the county in past years. Land was cheap and besides a few well-established wineries, the industry hadn’t quite discovered our little corner of the world yet.

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