A campaign to bring attention to women winemakers is about to reach a national television stage — with the Napa Valley wine country as its backdrop.
Wineries and shops in the county are the settings of a segment the CBS network recorded Friday and Saturday for its program “CBS This Morning.” The feature will highlight Women of the Vine, a company launched by Deborah Brenner to market California wines crafted by women.
Brenner was filmed recording an interview Friday with Al Jabarin at his downtown Napa wine bar, 1313 Main Street, where she presented wine varieties marketed under the Women of the Vine brand.
She also was slated to appear in segments shot at a Carneros winery and the Westin Verasa Napa hotel, which hosted a Friday tasting event spotlighting female owners and winemakers from half a dozen wineries.
“I found them to be incredibly inspiring, and some remarkable, who have inspired me,” Brenner, 45, said Thursday after recording the segment with Jabarin.
No air date has been scheduled, according to Brian Bingham, the CBS producer for the Napa County feature.
A former public relations executive and marketer of TV and film computer technology, Brenner shifted gears five years ago after visiting the Napa County wine country and writing the book “Women of the Vine.”
The book, which detailed the often hidden roles of women in the industry, was promoted by Wine Spectator magazine and inspired Brenner to build a wine brand of the same name, featuring varieties from Napa County and the Central Coast.
“I didn’t (then) realize how male-dominated the wine industry was,” said Brenner, who lives in Piermont, N.Y. “But I was working in high-end technology in New York City, and I knew what it was like to be a woman in that business.
“It’s a very difficult business — doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman. You’re dealing with agriculture where Mother Nature is your boss,” she said. “But the women I was interviewing, these were women who were not just winemakers. They were part scientist, part CEO, entrepreneurs, and often have families and children. And they’re running this incredible business.”
Jabarin, the wine bar owner and a 22-year Napa resident, was hopeful the TV feature would open some viewers’ minds about the people behind their favorite vintages.
“The country, when they think about winemaking, they think about men winemakers,” he said. “But when they can see the phenomenal female winemakers, I think it can have an effect on the way they see the industry, the way they see the role of the women in the industry.
“It’s been really substantial for a long time, but in the last 10 or 15 years it’s been more in focus, and people finally are noticing.”