Updated: Apr 20, 2020
Women continue to make great strides in all kinds of industries. In California, there are 4,000+ wineries and about 10% of those have a female as the lead winemaker. I recently talked to three of these female winemakers. We talked about how they got their start in wine and turns out they all followed very different paths on their journey.
In the first of this three-part series, we’ll talk to Kathleen Inman and discover how she became so enamored by wine that she decided to start her own winery.
Winemaker & Winery Owner: Kathleen Inman
Kathleen Inman owns Inman Family Wines. She is also the winemaker, vineyard manager, harvester, bottler, marketer, you name it. She takes on every job for her winery.
The winery is located in the Russian River Valley which is part of Sonoma County in California. She planted her vines in 2000 and ushered in the first harvest in 2002. She produces 3,900 cases of Rosé, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Estate Sparkling Wine.
Growing Interest for Wine
Kathleen grew up in Napa Valley, during the time when orchards were being pulled out and replaced by grapevines. Even though wine or alcohol of any kind was not a part of her family life, she started her informal wine education through her friend’s parents who were collectors of fine wine. While others were drinking Gallo, she was tasting old vintages of Riesling and Burgundy wines. This unique opportunity was not lost on her.
She continued to learn about wine through wine tasting classes, working at a variety of wineries, and through her own growing collection of wine. However, she didn’t initially pursue a career in wine. Instead she married a man from England, whom she met while conducting her first wine tasting at one of the wineries in Napa. Kathleen and her husband, Simon, lived in England and raised a family, while she pursued a career in Finance.
Ever Present Love for Gardening
Kathleen always had a great love for gardening. She gardened with her father while growing up and continued gardening while in England. She has always incorporated organic practices, long before it was a trend. Her love for gardening was so strong that many times she would come home from work and go straight to the garden without changing clothes.