Martha Stoumen Wines
Venturi Zinfandel 2018
Zinfandel can often feel like a winemaker’s obligatory Hotel California cover in a winemaker’s setlist. Not so with Martha, who approaches the grape with her trademark reverence and sensitivity. Young vines and a uniquely rock site provide raw materials with verve and freshness, which Martha carries through to the wine via gentle foot treading and whole cluster fermentation.
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.”