February 2021: A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, Inkandescent Women magazine — What a pleasure it is to introduce you to truly amazing winemaker Penelope Coral Gadd-Coster, whose interest in wine began when her family moved to the Livermore Valley in central California.
“It took a few years, and the advice of a friend, to convince me that making wine was a career that did not require belonging to a winemaking family,” says Penny, whose career kicked off in 1986 when she landed a job as a crush helper at Jordan Vineyards & Winery. In 1987 she was there for the inception of J Vineyards and Winery. In 1999 she was hired as the Assistant Winemaker for J, eventually working her way up to the Sparkling Winemaker position.
In 2007, Penny left J to work as a winemaker for Rack & Riddle Custom Wine Services — which started a new business for this savvy entrepreneur. She also had started her own brand, Coral Mustang, making Tempranillo wines.
The following year she began making Sparklers for a neighboring winery — Breathless Wines, and in 2010, she was named its winemaker. In 2014 she was named Executive Director of Winemaking for Rack and Riddle, where she oversees and creates the Breathless Wines’ sparklers.
“Bubbles definitely flow through my veins,” exclaims the woman with a passion for making people happy. “I love winemaking because it brings together the best of science and art for me- a perfect merging of the two. And a craft that produces something that anyone can enjoy. Breathless Wines is an incredible family team- I am honored to be the winemaker — and their adopted sister!”
Have a glass of bubbles on Penny: Tiffany Mimosas
Penny says: We like to call these “Breathless Blue” Mimosas because of the beautiful color! A delicious, refreshing, and summery twist on a classic! Borrowed from www.delish.com
- 1 Slice Lemon
- 2 tbsps Sugar
- 1/4 cup Blue Curacao
- 1 Bottle Breathless Blanc de Noirs
- 2 cups Lemonade
- Thin white ribbon (optional)
- Place sugar on a small shallow plate.
- Rim each champagne flute with a lemon wedge and dip in sugar.
- Divide blue curacao evenly between each glass.
- Fill halfway with your favorite flavor of Breathless bubbly, then top with lemonade.
- For fun: cut a ribbon into 6” pieces and tie bows on each glass stem. Add your favorite paper straw and enjoy!
Meet Penny on the Women Who Make Us Wine show: Tune in January 31 at 1 pm PST for a Facebook Live brunch-time interview with this Truly Amazing Winemaker and her collaborator, Sharon Cohn, owner of Breathless Wines. We’ll see you there: www.Faceboook.com/hopekatzgibbs.
What’s Next for winemaker Penelope Coral Gadd-Coster, Rack & Riddle, and Breathless Wines
Hope & Cynthia: Tell us about your business/industry before the pandemic hit in March 2020.
Penelope: I am the Winemaker for Breathless Wines and make the wines at Rack&Riddle Custom Wine Services, where I am the Executive Director of Winemaking. The biggest changes for me have been not connecting in person with our members, but we have put technology to use with virtual tastings and cooking demos, which can reach out to many more. We still do pickups from the tasting room, but seeing the tasting area full of guests has eliminated those types of sales.
Hope & Cynthia: Where were you personally in your life when COVID-19 arrived in the US? What were your short and long-term goals at that time?
Penelope: Wow, great question! In my work life, I started to step away from daily operations at Rack and Riddle to spend more time with Breathless and my family. When the shutdown happened, I decided to stay on to help with the flow of work. Crazy timing!
Hope & Cynthia: What are your thoughts now about your industry, your business, your personal life, your heart?
Penelope: I am back on track now and so excited to focus my efforts even more on Breathless Wines. I have crafted some new wines, mainly single vineyard, and single clone bottlings. I am also working on creating an organic wine, which really sings to my heart.
Hope & Cynthia: Now the big question — What do you see coming next?
- For your industry: Growth in direct-to-consumer sales. We got off to a pretty good start, but I feel we are seeing this sector really moving. How great is it to have wine delivered to your door! More use of tech to keep people engaged with the winery, wines, and people.
- For your company: Tech, tech, and tech! How can we keep people engaged: virtual tastings make buying easy. Everything to keep them coming back for more!
- For yourself: Being able to continue doing what I do. Of course, this includes winemaking, but with a balance so that I spend plenty of time with my family, get to do volunteer work, and all the other things I love!
- For the country: Less driving, more virtual meetings!
- For the world: That’s a tough one! I hope that we soon see more awareness of what is happening in all countries so we can actually stop the pandemic. I hope that countries around the world will find effective ways to work cooperatively.
- For women: To ensure that we do not have to stay in ‘traditional’ roles. The women running the Breathless brand is such a great example.