Woodinville Women in Wine: Jody Elsom

by Shona Milne on March 22, 2011

I decided to do a series of interviews with a few of the women winery owners & winemakers in Woodinville since March is Women’s History Month. I asked each the same questions. This is the final interview in the series and features Jody Elsom of Elsom Cellars. Though Jody focuses on Cabernets I am a huge fan of her Malbec. I had a sip while we talked last week.

Why winemaking? What attracted you?

Jody had been working in construction management in the Napa/Bay area when she was was suddenly without a job due to the local office being closed. She made a list of things she liked to help her find a new path. Her list included wine. She decided that she like drinking wine so she decided to take some classes on wine. She ended up at WSU Extension in Prosser just to learn. She started making wine in her basement with four barrels in a 600 square foot house in West Seattle.

Is winemaking still a “man’s world”? Is it positive or negative being a woman in wine?

Jody said she might have been a bit naive going into winemaking but she came from a construction background but she did not experience any problems being a woman. She did say that you have to know what you are doing.

Do men and women have a different approach to winemaking?

Jody said that she thought women may be a bit more detailed and more food oriented in winemaking. After all, women are the ones who cook the most.

What’s the biggest thing you learned about yourself working in wine?

With two kids, a full time job, and being a winemaker Jody learned that she does not require a lot of sleep and that she is a skilled multi tasker. Jody told me that it does take a village to be a success.

What do you see ahead for women in wine?

Jody said that she sees more women buying wine. She also sees more women in the industry and hopes that they will support one another. There are some plans in the works to start a women’s networking group through the winery.

What’s your best wine advice?

Her best wine advice is to “Drink what you like.”  In winemaking Jody told me that “It all starts in the vineyard.”

What does your future look like?

The Elsom Cellars production will probably remain steady for the next few years at about 70 barrels or so. Jody like to make wine that is food friendly and there will be focus on that with the partnership with The Vineyard Table which is looking for a new home in the Woodinville area. You will see a Cabernet Rose from Jody to be released sometime this year.

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