Simi Winery Created a Hollywood-Caliber Homage to Its Pioneering Female Leader

Venables Bell + Partners tells the surprising story of Isabelle Simi


Isabelle Simi was a pioneer in the American wine industry, taking over her family’s Northern California company in 1904—before women could legally vote—and keeping it alive through Prohibition by selling sacramental wine to churches.

And in the 1930s, as soon as booze could flow freely again, Simi became an early experiential marketer, opening one of the area’s first wine-tasting rooms along the newly built Highway 101. (She made her eye-catching roadside attraction from a 25,000-gallon wine cask and installed a pay phone, a novelty at the time, as a value-add for travelers).

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