FIRST THOUGHT: Family Roots
Some of my fondest childhood memories are of going to the nursery each spring and picking out plants with my mom. There’s something so satisfying about creating a landscape of flowers—full of color and life—whose only job is to soak up the sunrays.
What outdoor activities did you love as a kid? Maybe it was pitching a softball back and forth with friends, or creating intricate sidewalk designs with colorful chalk. Today, while you’re working at your desk or running errands, try to bring a little bit of that carefree, wind-in-your-hair attitude into the mix.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 20 to 30 Percent
I bet you’ve heard this before: “Oh, women just aren’t good at such and such.” And I bet some people think that applies to the field of agriculture. A recent study by Farming First, an international coalition of farmers, scientists, engineers and agricultural organizations, found that women farmers typically achieve yields that are 20 to 30 percent less than men.
But here’s the kicker: Women are working just as hard as men in the field, and are just as productive and efficient. The difference is that, worldwide, women don’t have equal access to resources and services. However, studies show that if we empower women farmers by giving them access to the same quality resources and services given to male farmers, women could easily achieve the same agricultural yields.
What’s more: Bridging the gender yield gap would boost food and nutrition security on a global scale, and the amount of undernourished people in the world could be reduced by as much as 17 percent.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Erin Gore, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Gore Family Vineyards
Today’s enterprising woman to watch didn’t start her career in the farming industry, but she has discovered that it’s definitely her happy place. After earning a chemical-engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin and managing a $76 million global adhesives business, Erin Gore happily entered the next phase of her life.
Gore runs a really cool—emphasis on really cool—boutique winery in Healdsburg, California called Gore Family Vineyards. It’s truly a family business, and Gore works alongside her husband, Tom Gore Jr., as well as her brother-in-law and her sister-in-law, Jimmy and Elizabeth Gore.
While many of us profess a love of vino, wine is very personal for Gore. She feels connected to her past by cultivating the vineyard’s historic vines, and tied to her future by teaching her children how to eventually care for those same vines. The Gore family’s roots run deep, dating back to the California gold rush. And the much-loved family patriarch, Tom Gore Senior, along his wife, Geralyn, hand-crushed their first zinfandel in 1972, laying the groundwork for what would become a wildly successful family-run vineyard and wine business.
Erin Gore is building on that legacy. Gore Family Vineyards recently made its first public release of its well-balanced family zinfandel and its cabernet sauvignon. The long-awaited zinfandel is aged for 30 months in oak barrels and then another three to four years in the bottle, and the cabernet sauvignon has been bottle-aged for four years. The Gore family produced at most 150 cases of each velvety wine varietal, making these vinos extra special.
In addition to producing wine, Gore produces some really amazing estate olive oil, honey and more than 70 varietals of fruits and vegetables that she sells to restaurants and locals in her community.
Gore says her transition from the corporate world to farming was rewarding, albeit terrifying. But she is so glad she made the leap and is never looking back. After all, she always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and nature is her muse. She revels in riding her bicycle through the California countryside and planting veggies in the rich Sonoma soil.
Gore’s choice to make a career out of getting her hands dirty in lieu of a traditional 9-to-5 gig is a reminder that we should all take a close look at life and sip, swirl and savor it.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Is there anything more satisfying than hearing the pop of the cork after opening a wine bottle? After all, as Pliny the Elder, a historic Italian philosopher, once said:
“In vino veritas,” Latin for “In wine, there is truth.”
That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.