Though female winemakers are thankfully more common today, it hasn’t always been the case. As we continue to celebrate Women’s History Month throughout March, we are honored to introduce another invaluable member of the Frank Family team, Emily Parisi.
As Frank Family’s Enologist, Emily specializes in the chemistry behind making good wine and is always willing to get her hands dirty, or stained a little purple. Every fall, Emily is a critical player in turning grape juice into new wine and helps steer the wines from aging through bottling by analyzing key parameters, such as sugar and acid levels.
While pursuing a degree in Fermentation Sciences at Appalachian State University in North Carolina, Emily had her “wine-awakening” during her semester abroad in Florence, Italy. Captivated by the wine-growing culture, Emily made the easy decision to concentrate her studies in winemaking. As she completed her degree, Emily worked at a small family winery where she hosted guests for tastings, helped in the cellar, and even planted vineyards. After graduating, Emily moved to Sonoma where she spent a few years honing her skills at Martinelli Winery before working a harvest at Wirra Wirra Vineyards in McLaren Vale, South Australia. Ultimately, she settled back in California, this time in Napa Valley to work for Frank Family Vineyards. Now nearly two years later, Emily continues to bring her scientific expertise and distinct wine background to our winery, working hand in hand with our winemaking and cellar crew daily.
1. What does your day-to-day look like at work?
It depends on the time of year. During harvest, my daily tasks could be anything from processing grape samples to running the press and anything in between, including the paperwork. My personal favorite is babysitting the fermentations and making sure they are happy, healthy, and having a good time.
Outside of harvest, my day varies as well – there’s not really a slow season in premium wine. There’s regular sampling and tasting to ensure quality of the aging, performing analysis and blending trials before bottling, and always looking out for ways to make the next harvest even better. A big part of my job is staying organized and keeping an eye (and nose) on everything that is going on in the cellar.
2. What is your proudest moment at Frank Family?
That’s a difficult question, because I am generally proud every day to be part of such a great team and help produce the wines we do here.
3. What inspires you as a woman in wine?
I imagine the same as what may inspire a man, I want to make good wine because I like to drink good wine.
4. What advice would you give a woman who wants to pursue a career in the wine industry?
Pretty simple – do it.
5. What do you see in the future for women in wine?
I see a great future. I think we are moving forward every day. Women have made some amazing strides in the industry, especially in production. I’m thankful for those courageous women before me who made it possible for me to get to where I am today, and I hope to be a part of that going forward.
6. What do you like most about working at Frank Family?
I would have to say the people. It is great to be a part of a team that so obviously enjoys what they do and are passionate about it. It makes a huge difference during those long harvest days when you have a good crew to spend them with.
7. What is your favorite Frank Family wine to drink this spring?
The Lewis Vineyard Pinot Noir. Generally, I am a pinot kind of woman. I will reach for it anytime, anywhere, with anything. I’m a big fan of ours. I really enjoy Carneros as an AVA and I think we produce a wonderfully elegant representation of it.
8. What’s a fun fact about yourself that you can share with us?
All of my hobbies are food related. I love to cook and garden, and since I make wine for a living, at home I ferment other things and then sit down and share them with friends. I’ve made cheeses, breads, kombucha, vinegars, beer, liquors, pickles, etc. I love searching for older, traditional recipes and methods. If I had the space, I’d probably make wine at home too!
In the spirit of celebrating women this month, let’s raise a glass to Emily and to women everywhere. Thank you, Emily for all that you do!