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Women play a prominent role in winemaking on the Italian island of Sicily. We’re tasting a wide array of their wines at the restaurant A16 in San Francisco.

Welcome back, my friends!

Now that March – #WomensHistoryMonth – is coming to an end, it seems only fitting to close out the month the way we began it (Click Here), with a post about remarkable women in the world of wine.

The earlier post celebrated female California winemakers and winery owners who have blazed trails in the industry during careers spanning 30 to 40 years or more.


Leslie Sbrocco gets ready to pour the Murgo Brut Rosé, made from indigenous Sicilian grapes.

Today, we’re taking a virtual viaggio to Sicily, Italy’s largest island, poised in the Mediterranean near the toe of Italy’s “boot.”

Perhaps unexpectedly – considering the region’s male-dominated traditions – women have been steadily carving out quite a solid foothold in Sicily’s wine world.

Being 1/4 Sicilian myself (Grazie, Nonna Rosa), I was overjoyed when Leslie Sbrocco (a wine-and-food Renaissance woman in her own right – check out her European Wine Cruise) invited me to a tasting of Sicilian wine at A16 in San Francisco.


San Francisco restaurant A16 was named for the cross-country route (Autostrada dei Due Mari – Highway of Two Seas) that stretches across Italy from Napoli (Naples) on the west coast to Bari in the east.


Shelley Lindgren, A16’s engaging and highly knowledgeable co-owner and wine director. Look on Shelley’s left lapel for her new Knight pin.

As a #WomensHistoryMonth bonus, all the wineries represented at the tasting have female owners and/or winemakers.

Plus, I was delighted to learn that our host at A16 (a well-loved Italian haunt in San Francisco’s Marina District) would be the restaurant’s wine director and co-owner, Shelley Lindgren.

As Leslie was introducing Shelley, she shared the amazing news that just this month, Shelley was knighted (!!!) by the Italian Consul General, and now holds the title Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia (Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy).


We were greeted on the back patio with a spread of antipasti: marinated artichokes, salumi (cured meats), burrata (butter-stuffed mozzarella)…

Renowned as a passionate ambassador of Italian food and wine culture since founding A16 in 2004, Shelley has introduced its patrons to the hearty, soulful cuisines of southern Italy, and a wine list rich in little-known Italian treasures.

Shelley and Leslie began our tasting adventure by outlining the wine map of Sicily for us, with its 12 DOCs (Denominazione d’Origine Controllata) and one DOCG (Denominazione d’Origine Controllata Garantita). As they introduced the individual wines we’d be tasting, they recounted their wonderful experiences at the various wineries with the women winemakers and owners.


Shelley Lindgren looks on as Alex brings out a procession of pizzas…

My friends, I have so much more to share with you about this tasting (red wine with Sicily’s ubiquitous fish; brick-oven pizzas galore; superb, food-friendly wines that top out at $25-$30 a bottle; did I mention pizzas galore?) that I think I’ll call it quits right here, and pick up where we left off in the very near future.

I might even slip in a couple of videos then – including, perhaps, the noisy one where a sudden hail storm (March did not go out like a lamb!) threatened to drown out Leslie’s captivating descriptions of Sicily’s wine and food.

Now I’m getting really hungry. Think I’ll find out if A16 delivers 20ish miles north, across the Golden Gate Bridge….

Until next time,
Cheers and happy tastings,


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