• Eric Risberg/AP


    Breaking the Grape Ceiling

    Half of the graduates at UC-Davis’ oenology program are female. So why do women lead only 10 percent of California’s wineries? Adrienne Vogt on Sonoma's old-boys’ club.

    As autumn falls upon us, America’s vintners are busy finishing up their harvests and getting ready for crowds to visit their wineries, taste their wines, and buy their products. But when you look at a bottle of California Chardonnay or Oregon Pinot—or better yet, when you swirl and sniff its contents—do you ever wonder about the winemaker who poured his (or her) heart and soul into the glass?

    “It’d be really interesting to do a tasting to see if you could tell the difference between wine made by a man and wine made by a woman,” says Megan Schofield, winemaker at Simi Winery in California's prestigious Sonoma County.

  • Lake County Sheriff's Office, via AP


    Teen Kept as Sex Slave

    On a California marijuana farm.

    Two men appeared in court Wednesday for the usual pot-growing drug-bust shebang—but the case has now become a story of a teenager”s alleged torment and sexual abuse. Ryan Balletto, 30, and Patrick Pearmain, 24, spoke to allegations that a 15-year-old girl made about being held in a coffinlike box for hours at a time at the marijuana farm where she worked trimming plants. They both face marijuana-related charges as well as charges of sexual abuse of a minor. The girl reports both men “engaged in multiple sex acts with her.” She says the box was raised at a position that allowed her to rinse away human waste while remaining inside.

  • Chung Sung-Jun/Getty


    ‘Comfort Women’ Sculpture Stands

    Protesters wanted to block installation of statue depicting sex slaves.

    “Comfort women” is the euphemism for sex slaves used by Japanese troops during World War II. After city officials in Glendale, Calif., voted to allow a metal sculpture of one of the women in a park in the South Korean section of the city, the mayor and council were blasted with emails and letters protesting the monument. Supporters, according to the Los Angeles Times, view the monument as “an important symbol to help the two communities reach a common understanding of the comfort women’s wartime suffering.” The monument will be set up July 30, which was declared as Korean Comfort Women Day by Glendale Mayor Frank Quintero.



    Inmates Sterilized in California

    More than 150 women underwent procedure without state approval.

    Between 2006 and 2010, nearly 150 female prison inmates in California were sterilized without proper state approvals, and many say they were coerced. “The allegations echo those made nearly a half-century ago, when forced sterilizations of prisoners, the mentally ill, and the poor were commonplace in California,” writes Corey G. Johnson of the Center for Investigative Reporting. Because of that history, it’s illegal to use federal funds to sterilize prisoners, and in California, state funds can only be used on a case-by-case basis, each one requiring authorization from top medical officials. Yet in two California women’s prisons, these requirements were ignored. Doctors involved insist they were only giving inmates access to the same sort of care available in the outside world, but the women tell another story. Johnson interviewed one woman who says doctors tried to get her to agree to a tubal ligation while she was strapped to a surgical table for a C-section. “I’m like, ‘Tubal ligation? What are you talking about? I don’t want any procedure. I just want to have my baby,’” she said. “I went into a straight panic.”

  • Human embryo. (Bourn Hall Fertility Clinic/AP)

    Will be argued in the state Senate Health Committee this week.

    Rent money in exchange for your eggs? The practice is currently banned in California, but a new proposal would allow women in the state to be paid for donating their eggs to research. The bill would allow eggs or embryos left over from fertility treatments to be donated. A panel would determine how much a woman would be paid, but guidelines suggest somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000. Some critics of the bill argue that it could lead to exploitation of low-income women. California women can already be compensated for donating for fertility treatments.