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#WCW Bessie Williamson

Apr 13, 2016 4:36:20 PM

Bessie Williamson

Bessie Williamson was born in 1910, the daughter of a French gunner who died eight years later. In 1932, she graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in education, and took a job at the Laphroaig distillery. It was intended to be a stepping-stone position for her, before she could fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher. Her drive and tenacity had an immediate impact on the company, and within five years, she was the full time manager of the entire distilleries operations.

By the time of the Second World War, distilleries all over Scotland were faced with the threat of theft and looting, as Scottish military leaders sought to use distilling facilities for storage and training purposes. Williamson was credited with holding off those pressures, and keeping the Laphroaig distillery profitable in the midst of chaos. She inherited the controlling shares of the distillery in 1954, and became one of the most powerful women in the whisky industry.

Many also credit Williamson with her marketing of Single Malt Scottish Whiskeys to American markets. Where a market barely existed, Williamson saw the potential and forged a trail for the modern day multi-million dollar market of Scotch in America. As she described it in the 1960s, "The secret of Islay whiskies is the peaty water and the peat ... there's an increasing demand for the [single] Islay whiskies. We can't supply the demand that we have for our whiskies."

For more on Bessie Williamson, and many other inspiring women in the whisky world, check out Fred Minnick's 2013 book Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch, and Irish Whiskey

Order a bottle of Bessie's prized Whisky!

0 Comments | Posted in 0 By train train

Arianna Occhipinti - WCW

Feb 10, 2016 11:08:38 AM

Occhipinti is located in Vittoria, in the southwestern corner of Sicily, and winemaker Arianna Occhipinti’s (AKA Pink) reputation seems to grow with every vintage. Her first vintage was 2004, though it wasn’t until 2005 that her wines were internationally distributed. Arianna has a total of 10 hectares of Nero d’Avola and Frappato vines that, since April of 2009, have been farmed using biodynamic methods, which she believes has added to the overall expression of the soil. Arianna Occhipinti is from the Vittoria region of Southern Sicily. She has been making wine for ten years under the tutelage of her uncle, Giusto Occhipinti, who owns the well-known winery COS. She produces first rate wines from biodynamically grown local varieties such as Albanello, Grillo, Nero d’Avola and Frappato. In her mid-20s, Arianna is the sort of driven young winemaker who is bound to be become an important figure in Sicilian wine. Named for the road going past the winery, SP68 is a blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato. This is a perfect balance of power and finesse; the Nero imparts rich dark fruits and the Frappato adds a high-toned raspberry note. Simply stunning!

To view her wine click here

0 Comments | Posted in 0 By Kat Davis

Woman Crush Wednesday - Luisa Ponzi

Jan 19, 2016 5:06:46 PM

Conscientious, Bold and Feisty winemaker, Luisa Ponzi has certainly become synonymous with Oregon’s best Pinot Noir producers. 2nd generation and the 1st American female to earn her certificate in Enology and Viticulture in the heart of Pinot country Beaune, France.  This leading lady creates some of the most sought after, elegant, and terroir specific Pinot’s in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Not only does she make beautiful Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but she also loves to experiment with Italian varietals like Arneis. Shop in store and check out the wines today!

For more information visit:

0 Comments | Posted in 0 By Kat Davis