St. Francis winemaker in Sonoma County wins North Bay Influential Women Award
Katie Madigan grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area with wine-loving parents. She learned to appreciate wine not just at special occasions, but as something that can be shared any day of the week with great friends and family.
After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, she had an opportunity to take a harvest internship at St. Francis Winery & Vineyards in 2002.
Madigan enjoyed the work so much she went on to study enology and viticulture at UC Davis while continuing to work at St. Francis. Shortly after graduating she was promoted to assistant winemaker and then winemaker, with a focus on chardonnay, pinot noir and zinfandel.
Today Madigan is still as curious about winemaking as she was 21 years ago and sees each vintage as an opportunity to improve her expertise.
Is there a major accomplishment you would like to share?
I was voted Best Winemaker in 2015.
What personal achievement are you most proud of?
I created a Rose Wine for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Breast Cancer Centers in Sonoma County. I’m proud to contribute to improved programs that can help women thrive. Survival rates have increased due to more accessible testing, improved treatment options and integrative therapies.
What is the biggest obstacle you have faced in your career and how did you overcome it?
Being a young female, I’ve dealt with gender and age-related challenges my entire career. While facing these issues head on, I focused on breaking stereotypes of a woman’s capabilities in the wine industry — not just related to winemaking, but in grape growing and in marketing and sales.
What advice would you give to young professionals who strive to be great leaders entering your profession or the work world today?
Take your time! Don’t be in a rush to “get to the top” just for the title or prestige. Soak in the learning moments getting to that point — ask questions, take chances, and learn from your mistakes. Become a leader with experience and accountability, so that you can create your own team of amazing individuals.