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The Doctor: Kerith Overstreet of Bruliam Wines: Kerith Overstreet's father always told her "you can be whatever you want after medical school." It turns out what Overstreet really wanted to be was a winemaker. After years in the medical field, she enrolled in the enology program at UC Davis and gained her purple hands during the 2008 harvest. She then launched Bruliam Wines, named after her three children - Bruno, Lily and Amelia. Today, her winery produces around 1,000 cases. Overstreet has a very hands-on approach to winemaking, from cleaning tanks to picking fruit to making wine to marketing the brand. Bruliam produces pinot noir from Sonoma County and Santa Lucia Highlands, and a touch of zinfandel from Rockpile, including a seasonal rosé which made our top rosé list last year. bruliamwines.com
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The Multitasker: Alison Smith Story of Smith Story Wine Cellars: Alison Smith Story developed a diverse palate for fine wine while working at K&L Wine Merchants. Never without her trusty Goldendoodle Lord Sandwich by her side, she now operates Smith Story Wine Cellars together with her husband Eric. The boutique winery produces old-world wines in the new world, including pinot noir from the acclaimed Anderson Valley. Smith Story is always on the move: she runs two tasting rooms, one in Anderson Valley and one in Russian River Valley, oversees marketing, and even runs a nonprofit, Socks for Sandwich, which donates new socks to those in need. smithstorywines.com
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The Educator: Anisya Fritz of Lynmar Estate: Anything Anisya Fritz puts her mind to she can do - and she does it darn well, too. With a PhD in strategic management, Fritz is not only the proprietor of Lynmar Estates in Sebastopol, she's also a philanthropist, educator and entrepreneur. She's taught at major universities, operated a successful corporation, and co-founded the Fritz Institute with her husband Lynn Fritz, a nonprofit that provides logistical disaster relief aid. Today, Fritz is settled into Sonoma County life, overseeing the consumer experience at Lynmar Estates. The winery specializes in small lot, Russian River Valley chardonnay and pinot noir, paired with sustainable, farm-to-table cuisine. Feeling inspired yet? When Fritz is not at the winery, she's teaching Wine Business Entrepreneurship at Sonoma State. lynmarestate.com
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The Next Generation: Katie Bundschu of Abbot's Passage: A sixth generation vintner from one of the most well known Wine Country families, Katie Bundschu grew up pruning vines and harvesting grapes at her family's winery Gundlach Bundschu. She went off to college and, after graduation, worked in fundraising at a Bay Area university. Bundschu eventually returned to her roots and is now the VP of marketing and sales at "GunBun." She is also pursuing her new project: Abbot's Passage, a new tasting lounge located in downtown Sonoma. Here, Bundschu offers tastes of rosé, cabernet and unique white and red blends, as well as artisan apparel and home decor, and a maker-space where guests can learn everything from blending perfumes and making jewelry to shucking oysters. abbotspassage.com.
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The Art Historian: Akiko Freeman of Freeman Winery: Akiko Freeman's passion for chardonnay and pinot has come full circle. She was first introduced to the two varietals in Tokyo by her grandfather - a renowned academic. This is how her interest in wine began. She then attended Stanford University, where she got a master's degree in art history, focusing on the Italian Renaissance. While art remained another passion, Freeman returned to her first love by visiting various wine regions around the world before founding her own winery in California. Today, Freeman and her husband make Burgundian-inspired cool-climate chardonnay and pinot noir from estate grapes, which she pours to visitors at their small production, unpretentious winery in Green Valley. freemanwinery.com.