Napa sparkling-wine producer Domaine Carneros has started a scholarship for women pursuing careers in the wine and food industries. The winery's annual donations will go to students at the University of California, Davis, and at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in St. Helena, Calif.
Domaine Carneros initially donated $10,000 to each school last fall. Future grants will come from winery-sponsored fund-raisers, with the first event tentatively scheduled for Bastille Day (July 14) at the estate's neoclassical château in the Carneros district.
Inspiration for the fund, called Le Rêve Foundation, after the estate's top-of-the-line sparkling wine, grew from discussions between Eileen Crane, winemaker and general manager of the winery, and Claude Taittinger, president and owner of France's Champagne Taittinger, which co-owns Domaine Carneros with U.S. wine importer and distributor Kobrand Corporation.
Crane has been with Domaine Carneros since it was founded in 1987 and oversaw construction of the winery, which currently makes about 35,000 cases of sparkling wine and 8,000 cases of Pinot Noir per year. While she has witnessed progress over the last 20 years, Crane would like to see more women in executive positions in the business. "[Claude Taittinger and I] got chatting that, unfortunately, not that many women come to the fore of the wine and culinary industries," she said.
So Taittinger suggested scholarships, and Crane, who attended the CIA and UC Davis in the late 1970s, thought of her alma maters. The schools are currently evaluating potential candidates for this year's awards and Domaine Carneros will make the final selection later this year.
Check our recent ratings of Domaine Carneros wines.