Meet The Winemakers

Truly spectacular wines result from the partnership between Equality Wines and expert vintners. These winemakers share our vision of equality for all and a consistency of excellence. The result of the collaboration is limited release wines that can’t be found anywhere else.

Alison Green-Doran

Alison is a veteran winemaker with more than 30 years of experience. She was among the first woman winemakers in California. Allison makes our beautifully drinking Sauvignon Blanc and about to be released Chardonnay, both from the Russian River AVA.

Raised in Palos Verdes, California, with plenty of horses and surfing, Alison was drawn into winemaking in 1973. Her father, Russell Green, was a long-time Alexander Valley vineyard owner. He bought Simi Winery in 1969 and brought in Andre Tchellistcheff as a consultant soon thereafter. Alison worked as a harvest intern beside Andre for six months at Simi in 1973, and that is where she found both her life’s work as well as her mentor.

After finishing her Fermentation Science degree at the University of California, Davis, Alison began working for the Firestone Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley in 1976. Starting as lab technician, she worked her way up to bottling supervisor and then to cellar master, and finally in 1981, to winemaker.

In 2000, Alison moved back to the family ranch and vineyards in Alexander Valley with her husband, Mark Doran, and their two sons. She works with several select clients in Napa and in Sonoma who want to approach site-specific winemaking with exuberance and intensity.

Allison is a perfect embodiment of the kind of strong, independent woman who fought so heroically for the rights of women during the Suffragette movement that resulted in the passage of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote in the US. We are proud and fortunate to have her be our lead winemaker for the Suffragette Series, 19th Amendment label.

Kurt Giusti

The Giusti Family’s Forestville Ranch & Vineyard in California’s Sonoma County -Russian River Valley is a quintessential historic homestead and the source some of the most premium quality Pinot Noir grapes in the state. The family lays claim to this fruit. It’s a 150 year-old family tradition for them and Kurt; the fourth generation of Giusti farmers is continuing the family legacy. We are proud to call the Giusti Family our friends and have them introduce the newest single vineyard Pinot Noir offering with the 2014 inaugural vintage of “The Decision”.

Kurt’s terraced ranch with its rich terroir, yields a crop with nuanced dark fruit flavors that result in unparalleled Pinot Noirs. These award-winning grapes are used in producing The Decision Pinot Noir, which pays homage to three landmark cases that resulted in marriage equality. Giusti Ranch is truly a Sonoma County treasure and we are blessed to have Kurt Giusti producing Pinot for Equality Wines.

Joy Sterling – Iron Horse Vineyards

When the fog lifts in Green County, California, the rolling hills loll like waves of green across a plain. It’s an ideal place to harvest; one might even call it ‘presidential.’ Iron Horse sparkling wines have been served at the White House during five consecutive inaugurations.

Iron Horse produces exclusively estate-bottled wines imbuing a distinct “sense of place”. They are specific to the Green Valley AVA. The wines are elegant, bright, focused, highly nuanced, soft and silky. They exude quality and class. Above all, winemaker David Munksgard strives for exquisite balance, believing that great wine starts with great grapes.  All of his Sparkling Wines exceed French standards for vintage quality, belonging to the category of “Grower Champagne”.

We are honored to offer two sparkling cuvees in out Love Wins series in support of marriage equality and in honor of Jim Obergefell and his late husband John Arthur whose successful Supreme Court decision made marriage equality legal in the US. The Rose Cuvee incorporates 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, is full yet soft on the palate with hints of strawberry, dark cherry and lime. The Blanc De Blanc is made with 100% Chardonnay, weighs in at 7 grams per liter of residual sugar, and has recently disgorged 1983 vintage bubbly as part of its Cuvee. Complex, elegant and balanced – a Joy (wink) to drink.

Wine Pioneer, Joy Sterling believes in Equality; Iron Horse Rainbow Cuvee was featured at annual White House LGBT events in June 2014 and 2015.

Bryan Vais

Winemaker of our 2012 Sonoma County Pinot Noir, Bryan has been making wine for over 25 years. His Bailiwick label, started with his brother Paul in 2009, regularly garners scores in the 90’s by the wine press.

His winemaking approach follows a proven philosophy of sourcing ideally located vineyards tended by trusted growers and using artisan winemaking methods on a limited production basis. He produces deeply personal, award-winning wines with distinctive character. Bryan began his foray into winemaking as a hobby, crafting wine to compliment his and his brother’s love of cooking and large family gatherings around the dinner table. He worked with nearly every varietal available before tackling Pinot Noir. That dedication to perfection paid off. Our Sonoma County Pinot Noir was crafted from five distinct sustainably farmed vineyards throughout Sonoma County. Five different clones of Pinot noir were hand harvested in the early morning hours before sunrise.  Clusters were hand sorted and 20% were fermented as whole clusters. A third of the barrels were new French oak with the wine spending a total of 17 months in barrel before bottling. The resulting wine is a seamless, lithe, easy drinking gem that we know you’ll love as much as we do.

Bryan’s passion for Equality is as grounded as his love for winemaking; he strongly supports his daughter’s right to marriage equality.