Shaping the Field
Posted on May 8, 2019
As a winemaker and enology entrepreneur, Marty Bannister truly helped pave the way for other women. Her work illuminates an important era in the history of California winemaking and unites genders and generations. And couldn’t we all use a little unity, these days?
According to researcher Ann Matasar, before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, California had fewer than five women winemakers, all self-taught and virtually unknown. When Marty Bannister hit the scene in the 1970s, along with such contemporaries as Heidi Barrett and Merry Edwards, she was one of mighty tribe of pioneering women.
In an industry of egos and titans, Marty has maintained a low-key profile. Along with comrade Mary Ann Graf, she founded the groundbreaking enological services business, Vinquiry laboratories (now Enartis) , a global company still used worldwide for wine analysis. Her impact in the field of enology is lasting. Subsequently, in 1989, she launched Bannister Wines.
When Marty became ill with Lyme disease, winemaking became more challenging. Since 2006, Marty has been passing the torch to her son Brook–a natural winemaker and ally to women in the biz.
Rather than engaging in a usual interview, Marty offered the following statement about her winemaking experience (below).