What Do Whiskey, Wild Horses & Pioneering Women Have in Common? ~ CVB Feature

Calaveras County, CA…Back in the day, there were the “good guys” and then, there were the “bad guys.” But now, this historic Gold Rush community is celebrating the “wealth” that comes from the pioneering women of Calaveras County.  While the women of Calaveras County have always been trailblazers, the county continues to cultivate strong pioneers that are essential to the health and wealth of this historic destination.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, it is both inspiring and essential to shine a spotlight on strong and capable women who have left an indelible mark on history. These remarkable individuals are living legends, making history. They’ve broken barriers, challenged societal norms, and paved the way for future generations. Their narratives serve as a testament to the resilience, intelligence, and tenacity of women throughout Calaveras County’s robust history.

Tucked away between Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe, Calaveras County is adorned with rolling hills that are peppered with vineyards and framed with alpine lakes and rivers. But, it’s the rich history of resident WOmen that peaks the curiousities of intrigued visitors.

Julia Costello – Local Historian
~ As more women entered the field (of archaeology), got their PhDs, and became directors instead of handmaidens, it all changed ~

As a well-respected historian for Calaveras County, Julia G. Costello, Ph.D., is a recognized authority on historic-period archaeological sites in the United States. She has published widely on her work on sites associated with the Spanish Colonial and Gold Rush Periods, with mining and industrial activities, and with sites associated with Chinese, Japanese, and Italian immigrants.

She is co-founder of the cultural resource management firm, Foothill Resources, Ltd., founded in 1982, with historian Judith Marvin. Their firm has successfully completed hundreds of projects for both public and private agencies in the Western US for over the past 40 years.

After receiving her M.A. in prehistoric archaeology in 1972 from the University of Denver, she spent two years excavating Bronze, Iron-Age, and Roman sites Lebanon. The escalating civil war brought her to California in 1974, where she received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

In 1978, Julia moved to the Sierra Nevada foothills. She became Co-Director of the New Melones Lake Archaeological Project for the US Army Corps of Engineers. At that time, this was the largest archaeological project to have taken place in the US, involving over 700 sites, 22 miles of river valley, as many as 100 archaeologists, numerous specialists, several federal and state agencies, and strong public controversy. When the project ended, Julia remained making Calaveras her home.

Dr. Costello has published widely on her professional work in academic journals, edited volumes, and monographs. She was appointed by Governor Brown to the California State Historical Resources Commission in 1979, and was elected to serve as its Chair. She has been honored by her colleagues by serving on the Board of Directors of the Society for Historical Archaeology; serving as President of the Society for California Archaeology (SCA); and on the Board of Directors of the California Mission Studies Association.

Amanda Folendorf – District Supervisor
~ The majority of Mokelumne Hill business owners are women…it’s the women that are fearlessly leading the business and the economy right now ~

Amanda Folendorf is a multi-generation Calaveras County resident who served as Mayor of the only incorporated city in Calaveras County, Angels Camp, and currently serving as Calaveras County’s District 4 Supervisor.

After graduating from Bret Harte High School, Amanda attended Gallaudet University, the only Deaf university in the world, located in Washington D.C. There she was introduced to many services she was unable to access growing up in a rural community such as learning American Sign Language and immersed herself in the Deaf Community. Amanda then transferred to Sacramento State where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science in International Relations. While at Sacramento State she interned with a number of legislative offices such as Congressman Lungren, Senator Harmon and the Republican Senate Caucus where her work was researching legislation, op-eds, and engaging with constituents.

Amanda is Deaf. She was born with medical issues and the medication to keep her alive made her become Deaf at infancy. Amanda acclimated to her environment by teaching herself to read lips and to socialize like her peers. Amanda’s parents did not know until she was 7 years old that she could not hear. Even after learning about her Deafness, Amanda continued to be resilient and adapted to learning in a mainstreamed classroom. Amanda continues to be active in advocating for various abilities to be able to participate in local government.

Amanda comments, “The place I feel I’m making the most impact is accessibility to local government for those that we are serving.” She continues, “We focus on making government accessible for the public, however, we don’t make it welcoming for those with disabilities to be in those elected or leadership roles. Being a representative for the Deaf community shows that parents can think of their child aspiring to leadership roles and shows children they can be leaders in their communities however that looks.”

Amanda is an active advocate for various abilities to be participants in local government.

Laurie Gianini – Head of the Calaveras Fair Grounds
“Strong women are part of our DNA! This (Calaveras County) has always been an area where very strong women have taken the reins and made a difference. We’ve got true grit!”

Laurie Gianini is the long-standing CEO / Fair Manager for the 39th District Agricultural Association, Calaveras County Fair, leading the “herd” for well over a decade and only the second woman to do so.

Born and raised in Arkansas, Oklahoma, California, and Nevada, Laurie went to college in Santa Clara, California and was fortunate to be hired by Macy’s at a young age. She loves fashion.

After her mother married her Calaveras County-raised stepdad in 1981, Laurie set up residence in the county after a few years with Macy’s management track. She started by managing a small department store in Angels Camp before opening additional “outposts” for that company. After meeting, dating and marrying husband Daryl in 1986, she joined the family ranching business, which has been serving the community since 1903.

Laurie started working for the Fair in 1991, when she directed the Miss Calaveras pageant.  In 1997, she began working part time for the Fairgrounds on a year-round basis and in 2005 became full-time before being appointed CEO in 2011.  Working for the Fairgrounds gave her the flexibility to be very involved in her girls’ education and activities.

She comments, “I love that, with the assistance of my board, I get to lead my staff and volunteers to facilitate the annual Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee,” which is the unrefuted and internationally acclaimed signature event of Calaveras County. She continues, “I have an amazing board and the best staff and volunteers. However, I am equally proud of the work we do as a catastrophic event center, housing displaced animals, residents, and fire fighters as well as working closely with the County to meet our community needs.”

Laurie currently serves on the Destination Angels Camp Board, California Fairs Service Authority Board, California Fair’s Alliance Board, State Rules Committee for California Fairs, and the Leadership team at San Andreas Community Covenant Church.

Additionally, she’s received many accolades, including: Woman of the Year, 2022, California Assembly District, by Frank Bigelow; Calaveras County Professional of the Year in 2016; and in 2023, the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee received 24 industry awards from the Western Fair’s Association.

My daughter, son-in-law and grandkids live in Fallon Nevada. They are dairy farmers.  My youngest daughter lives on the family ranch and is an agricultural teacher at Calaveras High School.  I am proud of my kids as they are serving their communities in several ways. Laurie comments, “I am passionate about children and helping the next generation develop a passionate faith, life of service, and love for their community.”

Today, she is very involved in her church where she is the children’s pastor.

Jody Jurgens – Calaveras Winegrape Alliance – no LinkedIn
~ I was raised by a couple of very strong-minded women…so, I learned early on how to be a leader and do my own thing…with the support of a dynamic community of women ~

Jody Jurgens is the Executive Director of the Calaveras Winegrape Alliance and a third generation Calaveras County resident. She has spent her entire life around vineyards and winemaking with her parents, Mark and Laurie Jurgens, who have been winemakers for over 30 years.

Spending weekends helping in the vineyard or bottling, Jody grew to appreciate the hard work and dedication it takes to produce each bottle of wine. She took this passion with her when continuing her education at Sonoma State University getting her B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Wine Business and a M.B.A in Wine Business.

After graduating, Jody made the decision to move back to Calaveras County so she could stay involved in her hometown community and be close to her family. She has worked in the Calaveras wine industry for 13 years before taking the role of Executive Director for the Calaveras Winegrape Alliance in September 2023.

Bonnie Randall – Hinterhaus Distillery
~ We’re a small, rural community and highly adaptable…the women in this county have a great deal of ingenuity and think outside the box, like the pioneering women of the past ~

Originally from the New York, Tri-State area, Bonnie Boglioli-Randall is the co-Founder and Proprietor of Hinterhaus Distilling in Arnold, California. Open only a few short years ago, her company has earned international recognition for their award-winning distilled spirits including the USA’s Best Varietal Vodka (World Vodka Awards, 2024), Gin of the Year (SUNSET Magazine, 2023), and a spot in the Top American Single Malt Whiskeys (Whisky Advocate).

Alongside its distilling and production facilities in Calaveras County, Hinterhaus hosts a popular tasting room and shop that welcomes visitors from around the world. Bonnie oversees the branding, marketing, and communications of Hinterhaus in addition to managing sales while growing the brand’s national distribution footprint. Prior to founding the distillery with her husband and Head Distiller Nate Randall, Bonnie worked in communications and hospitality. She and Nate reside in Arnold with their two dogs and enjoy hitting the trails during their off hours.

Bonnie comments, “my predominantly female hospitality team is gracious and well educated about everything from farm to fermenting to barrel aging and climate influences…women are building confidence in the industry.”

In addition, Bonnie has been an independent writer for over a decade, leveraging her broad professional and educational background to cover a variety of topics. Her work includes feature length interviews and articles, brand blogs, research and marketing collateral, website and social media content, ghost writing, and editing.

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