Meet 3 Powerful Females Behind Some of DC's Wine World

Kelly Magyarics | September 25, 2019 | People

Raise a glass to three females elevating DC’s wine world to be more connected, inclusive and all-around delicious.

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Slater Run Vineyards’ winemaker Katell Griaud tends the vines at the scenic property.

Maria Bastasch
Wine director, Compass Rose Bar + Kitchen and Maydan

This L.A. native didn’t grow up in a wine family, but, during her time at her parents’ bakery, she learned that yeast is the indispensable catalyst in both bread and vino. In DC she discovered an emerging industry with “like-minded professionals seeking to balance food and beverage with community engagement,” says the wine director for Rose Previte’s award-winning concepts. Bastasch likes to support lesser-known regions and independent producers. This means introducing diners to Baia’s Wine from Imereti, Georgia, launched by two sisters with a grant from a Michelle Obama initiative, or bottles from Abdullah Richi, a Syrian refugee making certified organic wine in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. “[We want to] expand our guests’ notion of what ‘good wine’ is,” she says. 1346 T St. NW, 202.506.4765, compassrosedc.com; 1346 Florida Ave. NW, 202.370.3696, maydandc.com

Katell Griaud
Winemaker, Slater Run Vineyards

When she was 11, Griaud and her family moved to a winery her parents bought in Monbazillac, a village in southwest France dotted with castles and vineyards. Years later, armed with multiple master’s degrees from the University of Bordeaux, but unable to land a serious position in her native country, she put down roots in Virginia to tend the grapes at Charlottesville’s Kluge Estate. Today, she helms the production at Slater Run Vineyards in Upperville, where she deftly balances Old World elegance and New World lushness with wines like an uberdrinkable and layered cabernet franc to pét-nat and a blanc de blancs. Says Griaud: “When I made a wine I’m happy [and] excited to drink myself, [and] maybe corresponds to a certain ambiance or mood, I believe my work has been successful.” 1500 Crenshaw Road, slaterrun.com

Jennifer Foucher
Head sommelier, Fiola

With summers spent in France and parents in the restaurant industry, this pro grew up around fermented grapes. But it wasn’t until a wine class on contrasting California chardonnay with white Burgundy during a stint at the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto that her palate was truly piqued. Now, the WSET Diploma-certified head sommelier at Fiola since 2016, Foucher was thrilled and humbled when the restaurant recently won a coveted Wine Spectator Grand Award, making it the only spot in DC with the accolade. “As soon as you start curating a list, it becomes a secret dream,” she admits. She partially credits her success to the support, respect and empowerment of chef and restaurateur Fabio Trabocchi and corporate wine and spirits director Casper Rice: “two men in strong roles who let me lead.” 601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 202.525.1402, fioladc.com



Photography by: chris patusky