Preview Winemaker #3 Jenny Wagner: Go-Getter Girls & Grapes

Preview Winemaker #3 Jenny Wagner: Go-Getter Girls & Grapes

GoGetterGirlsGrapesLogoBoxJPEGWe’re previewing the wines and winemakers for the upcoming Go-Getter Girls & Grapes on May 17th!  Go-Getter Girls & Grapes is a women’s professional networking and wine tasting evening, featuring global wines made by female winemakers and owners.  Tickets are $15 and are still available at  Missed Preview #1 and #2?  Catch up on Preview #1: The Lady of Morellino and Preview #2: Valentina Buoso.


They got the saying wrong.  Behind every good woman is another good woman.  Today’s story of Emmolo Wines is really a tale of two women: Cheryl Emmolo and her daughter Jenny Wagner.  One can only wonder if Cheryl, when launching Emmolo Wines in 1994, imagined that roughly twenty years later she’d hand the reins over to her daughter.  Now, Jenny’s winemaking expresses her individuality while continuing her mother’s work.

76e568060af3dc334f9a9bd3f80b410e65cb3c1f-800x800Jenny’s wine roots start long before mom Cheryl.  Her great-grandfather Salvatore Emmolo immigrated from Italy to the Napa Valley and founded a  grapevine rootstock nursery in 1923.  The nursery became a leading supplier to the Valley’s winemakers for decades, and grew phylloxera resistant vines, the resistant vines that continue to protect the industry from repeating the devastation of the 19th century.  Jenny’s grandfather (and Cheryl’s father) Frank, managed the nursery and grew Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot on their family property.

Cheryl was her father’s daughter, with no brothers.  This did not stop her from continuing the family name, and in 1994, she founded a label named Emmolo to ensure her family’s legacy would live on in the American wine industry.  As Cheryl was making Emmolo Wines in the original winery building built by her grandfather 60 years earlier, Jenny was growing up.

Jenny liked getting her hands dirty from a young age.  Though her teenage years saw stints as a receptionist and in the tasting room of her parents’ wineries, she unsurprisingly went immediately to work in the vineyards after college graduation in 2010.  She enjoyed the hard word of the growing season, pruning, harvesting, but her responsibilities would not end there.  In a few short years, Cheryl retired and Jenny would become the second generation of women to craft in the Emmolo Winery.

2014 Emmolo SBAt Go-Getter Girls & Grapes we’ll taste the Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc 2013.  Jenny says of her style: “I’m going after a subtle wine that is more minerality-driven than fruit-driven. In my view, with Sauvignon Blanc, less is more.”  The 2013 is sourced from two family vineyards in Rutherford and Oak Knoll.  She lightly presses and ferments in stain steel tanks, then ages both in stainless steel and older French oak barrels.  The wine is light-bodied, with fresh aromas and a crisp texture.  She says, ““I’m not a big fan of herbaceous characteristics in wines. I like firm acidity, low alcohol. That’s a wine that can be easy to drink, even on its own.”

We look forward to sharing this bottle at Go-Getter Girls & Grapes and thinking of two generations of women in wine.

Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot are at

Questions and feedback welcome to [email protected]

*Reposted with permission from Girl Meets Vine.