The month of March not only brings us longer days with more sunshine, it celebrates women’s achievements across all industries, known as Women’s History Month. Like any other industry, the wine industry also suffers from gender disparity. We sat down with Laura, owner and founder of Strala Vineyards, to get to know her a little better and her journey in the wine industry and asked her what her advice is for someone looking to get into wine. This wonder woman does it all in wine country style!
Q: How did you get started in the wine business?
Laura: I won a wine tasting competition that Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson put on. A recruiter contacted me a couple of weeks later about a career in barrel sales. I left my career in medical devices to pursue a passion. It’s been an amazing road!
Q: What is one of your favorite varietals to work with and why?
Laura: Pinot Noir. It’s a difficult varietal to grow and make. You can’t add anything to it to change it.
Q: In the world of wine, who has influenced you the most and why?
Laura: My husband! He knows everything about vineyards and is a wealth of knowledge. It’s great to get him talking about everything. But, you have to work to get that information out of him.
Q: What’s your favorite aspect of making wine?
Laura: Barrels. I love what they do for wine.
Q: What’s the most challenging part of the harvest season, and how do you overcome that challenge?
Laura: Last year, it was the fires, but usually, it’s the long days, and the stress of getting everything organized and all the fruit picked at the right time.
Q: What are you most excited about this year for Strala?
Laura: Chardonnay!! We bottled our 2019 vintage last week. That was the first time for us.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about your job?
Laura: Getting to know so many people from all over the world! Maintaining my wine club has been a lot of fun.
Q: What wine are you enjoying the most right now, and what do you pair with it?
Laura: I enjoy all wine! I don’t have a specific favorite; it just depends on what I’m eating. Here are some of my go-to pairings:
- Sparkling wine & oysters
- Sauvignon Blanc & sushi
- Chardonnay & creamy Tuscan chicken with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach over pasta (my new favorite recipe!)
- Pinot Noir & smoked pork chops with a wilted green side
- Red Blend & wood-fired pizzas, of course!
- Cabernet & everything!
Cabernet is a fun one for me. I love it with everything – it doesn’t need to be a big red meat meal or anything heavy, even though I love all things steak-related. I get some fantastic cheeses from my local market that I pair with it daily.
Q: What are three of your favorite hobbies?
Laura: What is that!? I’ve got two kids under the age of four, but when I’ve got time, I love to hike, anything water-related, and cooking is my number one!
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to someone looking to work in the wine industry/pursue their wine dreams?
Laura: Do it! If you love it, put your heart into it, and success will follow!
Q: Any other fun facts we should know about you?
My kids (ages three and one) are number one. I love all animals, and I’m a huge Packers fan (I’m from Wisconsin). Send cheese curds.
Laura’s passion and joy for the wine industry are evident in the Strala portfolio and the experience you have when you visit us. We hope to see you all at the Brasswood Estate soon, but until then, stock up on Strala wines for the spring. And if you haven’t already, join our mailing list so you can be one of the first people to know when our brand new Chardonnay is available for purchase.