Bâtonnage Forum: One of the Best Things I Did Last Year is Back for Round 2!

One of the most exciting and rewarding things I got to be a part of last year was Bâtonnage, a forum to open up the conversation on women in wine, in all aspects of the wine industry. It was a day-long event that took place on a private estate in Napa at the end of July with a wonderful slate of panels on provocative topics. The event was spearheaded by Stevie Stacionis, one of the owners of Bay Grape. where I work. I headed up social media outreach (still do) and also moderated a panel.

Batonnage 2018 Organizers: Samantha Sheehan, Sarah Hughes Bray, Stevie Stacionis, and me, Nicole Ruiz Hudson. Photo by Rachel Renee

We had an AMAZING group of superstar panelists that were willing to open up and be vulnerable in their discussions. The day of conversations was followed up by a tasting event featuring wine from equally stellar women-led wineries that included wines from legends like Laura Catena, Cathy Corison, to newer rock stars like Martha Stouman, Ryme Cellars, Inconnu, Tessier, and so many more. The best part was that even given the sensitive nature or topics discussed, and the fact that it was a hot summer day, the tone of the event remained positive.

The panel I had the pleasure of moderating, Women in Management and Leadership, was probably the feistiest of the day thanks to the incredibly strong participants: Jill Klein Matthiasson, Jena Dominigue, Debby Zygielbaum, Debbie Zachareas, and Molly Madden. (Debby Zygielbaum passed away tragically later last year, which was a horrible loss to our industry as she was a very important voice and advocate for the agricultural side of the business. All I can say is that I’m happy to have had the opportunity to get to know her, even if briefly. )  There were some intense moments and some pretty comical incidents as well. If you’re interested, you can listen in on the panel here. Listen carefully and you’ll also catch a sanitation truck rolling up to fix the port-a-potties.

My panel on women in leadership. I think Greg took this picture.
This event brought together women from all different areas on the industry and I was so proud to participate. Shortly after the event, journalist RH Drexel kept the love going by inviting many of us that participated in the event to contribute to an all woman issue of her online publication, Loam Baby. What an honor to contribute! You can read the issue here.

During the event we quickly saw that there was so much still so much to discuss, soooooo much still to do, so we got to work on round two. And just like that it’s here! Bâtonnage 2.0 is happening next weekend in Napa on 5/4. This year I'll be leading a panel called Pathways to Inclusion: But How, Really? 

There are still a few tickets left and everyone is invited – ladies, guys, industry, general wine fans. If you can’t make it to Napa, you can actually still help the event by purchasing a wine tote filled with six wines from women-led wineries. There’s some seriously cool wine in these. 

Since the event, I’ve also been more conscientious about featuring women winemakers in the rotation on SommsTable.com. Here’s a few:

I also did a two-part interview with one of my collaborators, Sarah Hughes Bray, discussingt Sicily in general (part 1) and Passopisciaro, one of the wineries she works with (part 2). 

Samantha Sheehan Pouring Mommenpop Spritzers. Photo by Greg Hudson

I’ll also leave you with a simple cocktail recipe, in case you can only toast with us from a afar. Our Hostess With the Mostest Samantha Sheehan of Poe Wines, also makes a beautiful line of all-natural Vermouths with no added sugars called Mommenpop. Greg and I tore through the bottles we had. During lunch last year we offered a simple spritz made up of a 1 to 4 ratio of vermouth (a couple of option were available) and sparkling wine. Easy!

She also shares a few fab looking cocktail recipes on her site as well. 

Vermouth Spritzers. Photo by Greg Hudson.

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