Bottle of Cantadora 2019 The Sage on left, with enlarged image, on right, of label that shows photo of UC Davis economist Marianne Page

Wine Honors Economist Marianne Page

​​​​​​​Sales of Cantadora 2019 The Sage benefit the UC Davis Center for Poverty and Inequality Research

Marianne Page can count numerous accomplishments during her career as an economics professor in the College of Letters and Science at UC Davis, but none like an honor recently bestowed by a Napa Valley winemaker.

Page appears on the label of The Sage, an organic red blend wine created by Kira Ballotta for her Cantadora brand that celebrates Page and two other women “doing extraordinary things in support of their communities.”

A 10% share of sales of The Sage goes to the UC Davis Center for Poverty and Inequality Research, which Page co-founded and co-directs.

Ballotta will present a virtual wine masterclass in partnership with the center on Thursday, March 16, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The class on winemaking steps, ancient wine history and Ballotta’s approach to wine pairings is free, though requires registration.

Participants who wish to try the 2019 grenache/syrah/viognier blend can order it online for $50 a bottle. The wine is made from grapes grown organically at the acclaimed Shake Ridge Ranch vineyards in Amador County.

Answering questions about poverty and its solutions

A labor economist, Page is an expert on intergenerational mobility and equality of opportunity in the United States. In 2011, she and Department of Economics colleague Ann Huff Stevens founded the center to facilitate nonpartisan academic research on poverty in the U.S., disseminate the research, and train the next generation of poverty scholars.

In addition, Page is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and serves on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Council of Economic Advisors. She is a co-editor for the Journal of Human Resources.  

Ballotta and Page did not know each other before their wine partnership, though the two women share an alma mater — the University of Washington in Seattle, where they earned undergraduate degrees at different times (Ballota in finance and Page in economics). Ballotta is also a graduate of UC Davis’ Executive Wine Program. “Kira reached out to me because she wanted one of the wines to be focused on a woman leader on the policy side,” Page said.

The label for Cantadora’s The Sage depicts Page photographed in the state law library in Sacramento, sitting at a table between two stacks of books. She holds a small hoop, which is a symbol used by the winery to represent the ripple effects of efforts to help women and children.

Complementary approaches to making a difference

The other Cantadora wines, The Protector and The Healer, feature respectively Sonia Melara, co-founder of California's first shelter for survivors of domestic violence, and artist Cynthia Tom, who created an art-based healing program for women of color.

"I wanted to showcase someone who was working in economics because I really feel that is how you achieve structural and lasting change — adjusting the overall systems that we live in," Ballotta said. 

The winemaker contacted Page after reading a scholarly article she co-authored that showed dramatically higher poverty rates for single mothers than for married men. “I was raised by a single mom and the elements that she touched on in the paper really hit home,” the winemaker said.

Reflection of character

Each woman chose their wine from barrel samples provided by Ballotta. "Hopefully it is a deeper reflection of who they are as a person because wine has character to it," she said. "Marianne chose a wine that has a very layered approach. I did a co-fermentation of grenache, syrah and viongier — bringing the grapes together in different formats of the grape stage rather than aging them all separately and blending them later, which creates a very different dynamic in the wine. I thought it ended up being appropriate for Marianne, because really her story is coming to light. I'm still learning so much about her and her work." 

Anyone who buys all three wines as a set before the Center for Poverty and Inequality Research benefit event automatically receives a Zoom link to the March 16 class.

Ballotta plans to release three new Cantadora wines each year, with future wines celebrating women nominated by the current honorees. 

Kathleen Holder, content strategist for the College of Letters and Science


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