Martha Stoumen Wines
Venturi Carignan 2018
Martha’s gift is to make wines that feel more observed than imagined. She works her magic here with the long-overlooked Carignan, a Spanish grape that found its way to Mendocino with the waves of European immigration beginning the turn of the 20th century. Venturi Vineyard was planted in 1948 in an ancient quartz-flecked riverbed. Martha's approach in the cellar is characteristically hands-off, creating a light-bodied red that’s both ethereal and down to earth.
Martha may have grown up in the heart of Sonoma wine country, but her interest in wine wasn’t sparked until she encountered the subject of food systems as an undergraduate at UCLA. Martha credits her professor Judith Carney — author of “In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa’s Botanical Legacy in the Atlantic World” — for instilling in her the foundational idea that food was part of a broad sphere of human activity shaped by social, economic, and political forces. Today, as one of California’s leading natural winemakers, Martha continues to draw on her background in food systems to tackle some of the industry’s thorniest social issues, such as labor inequity and the exploitation of migrant workers. For Martha, it’s all about maintaining close-knit relationships with her suppliers. “I think the further you are removed from things the more systems are susceptible to exploitation.”