Stephen Taplin MD, MPH is the co-owner of Taplin Cellars with his brother and their children. Stephen and his brother Bill grew up in Napa Valley on land held in their family for more than 150 years. They are a farming family and spent hours of their youth picking walnuts and prunes in the summer heat. Their older sister Melinda was there with them, keeping them from hurting each other and fixing creamed tuna for them when their parents were out square dancing or visiting with friends. In the 1970s Melinda, Stephen, and Bill went off to school and their father pulled the walnuts to plant cabernet sauvignon grapes. That period was part of the resurgence of the Napa Valley as a wine-growing region and cabernet is the perfect grape for their rocky soil. While the grapes grew and established, Stephen studied and became a primary care physician and public health practitioner. His expertise is breast cancer screening and he led an organized program of outreach and regular mammographic screening that served 100,000 women in the Northwest.
As his experience grew, Stephen joined the faculty at the University of Washington and developed an international reputation for his screening research. He worked to improve the screening program and understand the natural history of breast cancer. Based on that work, he published 170 papers on cancer screening in peer-reviewed literature, established the International Cancer Screening Network with professionals from around the world, and advanced to full Professor at the University of Washington. He moved to the National Cancer Institute in 2003 where he developed national screening research initiatives. During his international work, he met Sylvia Robles MD who was at the World Health Organization. They married in 2006 and now work with the family to run Taplin Cellars winery in Napa Valley.
During his studies in breast cancer, he learned of the work of Dr. Susan Love. Controversy about the efficacy of breast cancer screening reigned supreme but Dr. Love guided many to focus on the evidence, not the controversy. Dr. Love’s work and demeanor emphasized a caring and evidence commitment that was extraordinary so he naturally gave Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book to Melinda when she developed the disease. She found its clear writing and straight talk incredibly comforting as she struggled with her form of breast cancer. Unfortunately, it was a very aggressive cancer that eventually killed her. In honor of Melinda and to help us continue to learn how to control breast cancer all profits from Melinda’s Rosè, made by Taplin Cellars, go to the Dr. Susan Love Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
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