Meet Your Winemaker: Lynmar's Bibiana González Rave on Gut Feelings, Crushed Grapes and The 100+ Degree Heat
BGR: Yes, I lived in France for six years, did harvest there, and then I did California and South Africa at the same time. I was coming to California every year to work during harvest. My first was 2004 in the Russian River and I fell in love with Sonoma. I said OK, I have the opportunity to choose [where I go], and I really want to work in Sonoma. I started looking at high quality, very detail-oriented wineries that could handle someone obsessive like I am, can handle that I am picky, always wanting to obtain perfection. Lynmar was presented to me, I applied to be assistant winemaker 2009. I became the head winemaker later that year.
SI: Winemaking has traditionally been a male-dominated field, but we're seeing more and more women winemakers. Your take on it?
BGR: It used to be all male-dominated I think because everything starts from the vineyard, and it's hard work. It is really hard on your body. One of the things I did was work in vineyards in France. There, you have to do everything physically to be respected: tend the vineyards, pick grapes, rack your own wine. I really tried to be someone who could do everything. I'd tell my boss to treat me like a man. But I think now we are seeing more female names as people start hearing about us.
SI: When you're not up in the middle of the night working, and you actually get to enjoy your wines, how do you go about pairing them with whatever you're cooking?
BGR: I love to cook. Obviously I have a pretty big French influence. I like a lot to do French and Italian and Mediterranean and Latin America food -- it's very diverse, what I do. The cooking you do is going to determine what kind of wine you drink. When you are cooking, you are already getting those aroma profiles and flavors, so then you pick the wine based on that. So we see that we have in the fridge some pasta, or salmon, then you pick the bottle once you know that. But sometimes when I have a really good bottle of wine I want to try, I will choose the wine first, then the food that works with it, that doesn't conflict with its flavors. I will try to honor the wine with a specific type of food.