Recognized every year on March 8, International Women’s Day honors the contributions and achievements of women in our world. The 2021 theme #ChooseToChallenge, highlights the importance of challenging biases and misconceptions in the interest of creating a more inclusive and gender-equal world. A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change…
All March long, through Q&A spotlights, weekly Instagram Live tastings, and donating 10% of our online sales to Women of the Vine, join us in celebrating and acknowledging some of the incredible female winemakers, winery owners, and professionals working in the industry today.
Meet Melissa, Vice President of Winemaking, Stoller Family Estate
Melissa Burr was raised in the Willamette Valley. After completing her Bachelor of Science degree, Melissa intended to practice naturopathic medicine before discovering her true passion was in wine. She studied winemaking and fermentation science at OSU and interned during harvest for several local wineries before becoming a production winemaker for Cooper Mountain. In 2003, Melissa joined Stoller Family Estate as the winery’s first dedicated winemaker.
In her 18-year tenure with Stoller, Melissa has worked in concert with the vineyard team to oversee the site’s continued refinement. She has helped grow production from 1,000 cases to 60,000 while acting as a steward of Stoller’s legacy.
In 2013, Melissa partnered with Stoller to launch History, a brand dedicated to paying homage to historic vineyards in the Pacific Northwest. The collection will continue to evolve, as she tells more stories about these esteemed vineyards and the people who started them.
Melissa enjoys the creative and natural process of winemaking and the dynamic nature of the Oregon wine industry. The constant evolution of every new vintage pushes her to learn more about her craft.
What is one piece of advice you give to women looking to make a career in wine?
Melissa: “GO for it; there is so much opportunity in the wine industry. Try everything you can; take classes, attend tastings, read, and if you’re thinking of being on the production side of things work a harvest as soon as possible.”
What would you like to see happen to help get more women involved in the industry?
Melissa: “I would like to see more women in leadership in the wine industry; across all departments. I would like to see wineries recruiting an equal amount of women to men.”
As a female in the wine industry, have you dealt with gender-related challenges?
Melissa: “I certainly have dealt with gender-related challenges but what woman hasn’t really. I am fortunate to be working in a very supportive and collaborative wine community in the Willamette Valley as well as at a company that has so many women in management. At Stoller wine group 3 of our 5 winemakers are women!”
Is there one woman, in the industry or outside of it, who has inspired you throughout your career?
Melissa: “Absolutely; there are many, but the most consistent has been my Mom. She has been a successful woman in business throughout her life and has been a north star for me, especially with the work-life balance aspect of being a mother and a wine professional. I have her on speed dial.”
And Save The Date!
We are excited to put the much-deserved spotlight on some incredible female winemakers, winery owners, and professionals working in the industry today. Click here to meet them and learn more about their craft and the wines they produce.