An NBC affiliate in Washington, D.C. interviewed Corrigan Herbert ’17 in May as part of a Women in Wine series that also included a hobbyist winemaker turned entrepreneur.
“They’re both paving the way for future women interested in the industry,” News 4 reporter Juliana Valencia said to open the segment.
“It was a little nerve-wracking for me,” Corrigan, 25, said of the TV interview. ”It’s cool that they’re highlighting women. It’s definitely a male-dominated industry.”
At the time of the interview, she was the vineyard manager at Sunset Hills Vineyard in Purcellville, Va. “I was in charge of five different farms, and I had 13 employees and lots of equipment to keep track of and lots of coordination to do,” she added.
Corrigan initially thought she might study French, but she also liked science and wanted a program with a clear career path.
In addition, she added, “My brother went into landscaping, and he works for Cornell as an apple researcher, so he led me towards an interest in plants and being outdoors. I am definitely more of a botany person.”
After getting her viticulture and wine technology associate degree, Corrigan transferred to Cornell University’s enology program.
“Paul Brock encouraged me to go to Cornell. I had applied to Cornell when I was in high school but got turned away, so I was really discouraged,” she explained, “and he said, ‘You can definitely get in and do more with your career and life if you go there.’”
After graduating from Cornell in 2019, she completed an internship in viticulture research at E. & J. Gallo in California, then quickly landed the Sunset Hills position.
She has since taken a new job as assistant vineyard manager with a larger operation, Stone Tower Winery in Leesburg, Va., where she appreciates having a more experienced supervisor who can help her expand her skills.
“I love being on the vineyard side. I can see myself growing here and reaching the vineyard management role,” she said. “I think sometimes about coming back to the Finger Lakes maybe someday in the future.”