When Tansy Wines started to hone in on varietals and style, we knew we had to partner with the best in the field.
Megan Glaab is a bonafide, tenured winemaker residing in Healdsburg, Sonoma. She joins Tansy as winemaker for the Vermentino and Rose, and will go on to lead the 2021 vintage.
After graduating from her B.S. in Enology from University of Adelaide in Australia, Megan has worked at several wineries, including Torbreck, Peay Vineyards, Marcassin, and Pisoni. She is now the winemaker and co-owner of Ryme Cellars, along with her husband Ryan Glaab. Ryme Cellars makes 3500 cases per year and was recently touted by Elizabeth Olsen as one of favorite places to relax and enjoy wine.
We sat down with Megan to ask her about her journey in wine.
Q. When did you know you wanted to be a winemaker?
A. My parents are in the restaurant business so I grew up around food and wine. It was around 15 years of age that I became so fascinated with wine that I found myself at harvest with Galante Wines in deep Carmel Valley. It was kind of a one-way door at that point. My first full harvest job was with Kendall Jackson in Soledad where they produce their now-famous Chardonnay.
Q. What do you love most about Northern California terrior?
A. I moved to Sonoma in 2006 at a time when a younger generation of winemakers was coming in, challenging the status quo and making wines that were very different to the traditional Robert Parker scores. Ryan and I really wanted to try new things, play with new varietals, and see what was possible. We quickly fell in love with the soil types and typography, coastal cool breezes and climates up here. There is so much range. It’s a winemaker’s playground.
Q. You offer Italian wines at your own label, Ryme Cellars. Why focus on Italian varietals?
A. Our source of inspiration was to look at what we love and drink at home. When we started Ryme in 2007, there weren’t a lot of Italian grapes planted and not many people focused on it. Over the years, these varieties do better with our change in climate and have great flavor development while maintaining middle sugar levels. We’ve seen in the last 5 years, there seems to be a lot more people seeking out these varieties.
It’s exciting, too, because in the beginning we would pour through the California grape growing report and cold call growers. Now, we experience vineyard growers approaching us, and they consult with us about what will grow well. So, here’s to more Vermeninto and Aglianico!
Q. What’s some advice for women new to the field of winemaking?
A. In the years I have been working in wine, things have changed a lot. I used to be the only wine maker in the cellar and interns would be 97% men. Often what would happen is that the female interns would be funnelled into the labs, and not necessarily given the opportunity to operate the forklift or wine press because of the physical demands.
My advice to new women in the field is to not let yourself get funneled into an administration role or lab. It’s important to learn the other aspects. If you don’t know how to use a stove, how are you going to be a chef? Everyone must learn the tools of the trade, if you are going to be successful.
I can see the workplace is changing a lot. The number of bonded wineries in California reporting a woman as their winemaker is around to 14% but at industry events I am often pleasantly surprised to see up to 25-50% women there.
Q. How do you juggle a successful career in wine with motherhood?
A. Wine is a time demanding job, particularly over harvest, so I’ve had to become a master juggler. Our children often come with us when we visit vineyards or run errands to the tasting room. But as a result I believe they love and understand what mom and dad are doing.
To create more space for family time I’ve also had to learn how to delegate. I’ve always been very independent so it’s not the easiest thing for me. But areas like compliance and bookkeeping are things we outsource to specialists now, and that allows me to focus on what I do best.
Q. What is your go-to wine key?
A. Easy. I like the waiter’s friend, Pulltap.