Featured Flight for March: Women Winemakers

Posted on: March 8th, 2017 by Jen Cornell No Comments

Throughout the month of March, we’re celebrating women winemakers with a special wine flight. Our featured winemakers and their thoughts on wine:

Jessica Munnell – Mercer Estate, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington

“The terroir of the Horse Heaven Hills creates wines that are balanced and elegant with graceful power and structure.  These are the reasons that winemakers all over Washington state seek out fruit from the Horse Heavens, and why I count myself as one of the lucky few who get to work with it exclusively.” – Jessica Munnell

Grew up in the heart of Washington Wine Country

Holds M.S. degree from Washington States University (Go Cougs!!) in Enology & Viticulture

Has traveled extensively through wine growing regions around the world

Began career as a viticulturist, working with over 32 growers in the state of Washington.

2012 Mercer Estate Merlot, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington

Aromas of ripe cherries and blackberries are laced with hints of warm baking spices. The lush fruit flavors are framed with supple, velvety tannins and balanced acidity. Well integrated oak adds a touch of complexity to the nose and roundness in the mouth. This lovely Merlot is powerful and elegant, making it perfect to pair with a meal.

The grapes for this Merlot come from our estate vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills.  The Merlot came from our Princeton Vineyard, the Syrah from Dead Canyon and the Cabernet Sauvignon from Big Teepee Vineyard.


Lisa Evich – Simi Winery

Lisa Evich, a Sonoma County native hailing from Santa Rosa, CA, fell in love with the rich food and wine culture surrounding her at an early age. At Sonoma State University, Lisa studied Environmental Studies and Planning with a dual emphasis in Water Quality and Hazardous Materials Management. Serving as a lab technician at William Hill Winery during harvest season, Lisa became enchanted with the world of winemaking.

Captivated by the art and science of winemaking, Lisa spent the next nine years at SIMI Winery before transitioning to work as an Enologist at Pine Ridge, followed by a term as Assistant Winemaker at Arrowood. Three years later, SIMI is happy to welcome Lisa back as Winemaker. In her new position, Lisa works alongside Director of Winemaking, Susan Lueker, and the SIMI winemaking team.


2014 Simi Estate Merlot, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California

Deep garnet with a ruby edge, rich, dark notes of blackberry and plum with cocoa, nutmeg, and earthy hints of cedar and bay laurel. Smoky bacon notes frame bright fruit aromas into a compelling mixture of bright fruit with exotic spice and toast. Red and dark fruits play off each other with layer after luscious layer—both youthful and concentrated.

Janet Myers – Franciscan Estate, Napa Valley, California

Janet Myers has worked all over the world but now she says, “Oakville is one of the best spots in the world for growing Bordeaux varietals, so Franciscan’s estate vineyard in Oakville is the perfect place to devote myself.”

Traveling a wine road wasn’t Janet’s original path. In what now seems like another life, she gave up her pursuit of a doctorate in Biological Anthropology to move to London, where she worked in the restaurant industry. Living above a wine shop, she enjoyed sampling the wares of her downstairs neighbor and decided to learn about wine production. “When I realized that this was an industry that combined science and agriculture—which is my family’s background—I enrolled at UC Davis and haven’t looked back.”

Her first harvest was at the Robert Mondavi Winery in the Napa Valley. After graduating from UC Davis with a Master’s in Enology, she pursued harvest abroad to enrich her experience. Wanting to connect to her roots by spending time in Italy, her mother’s ancestral home country, Janet turned to the Antinori winemaker in Italy, who offered her a harvest internship at the Santa Cristina Estate in Chianti.

Before coming to Franciscan Estate in August of 2003 as Associate Winemaker, Janet also enjoyed stints in Australia’s Margaret River region and at big Cabernet producers Beaulieu Vineyard, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Louis Martini Winery. Janet was promoted to Director of Winemaking of Franciscan Estate and Mt Veeder in August 2005.

Janet finds that Franciscan’s venerable Oakville Estate vineyards have their own unique signature. “These vineyards give us very supple, full, elegant wines with beautiful cassis flavors and mouth-filling fine tannins,” she says. “That’s pure Oakville.”

2013 Franciscan Merlot, Napa Valley, California

Deep scarlet with a lovely plum nose, rich fruit, violets, and dark chocolate. Hints of licorice, vanilla, blackberry, and tobacco envelop the fruit. Smooth and full bodied with a core of dark cherry fruit and layers of anise, spice, and cocoa. Well-knit with a vibrant yet plush midpalate, and a textural plummy finish with sweet notes of white pepper, cassis, and chocolate. 97% Merlot, 3% Malbec