April 05, 2021 by Lauren Hampton

A Conversation with Women in Wine

We hosted our very first Women in Wine panel discussion in March featuring a lineup of all female panelists. From Vanessa Price, bestselling author of Big Macs & Burgundy, to winemakers Gretchen Voelcker and Jasmine Hirsch, we had the honor of discussing all things Women in Wine, business, life, food and wine!

Panelists included:

Vanessa Price: Best Selling Author (Big Macs & Burgundy)
Alpana Singh: Master Sommelier
Jasmine Hirsch: GM and Winemaker @ Hirsch Vineyards
Sarah Kraft: Entrepreneur, Cheers Mate App
Gretchen Voelcker: Piazza, Winemaker
Lexi Jones: Co-Founder & Director of Imports, Amliere Imports

We really wanted to focus our questions and discussion around each one of their successes and achievements. With success and achievement comes hardship, fear, and uncertainty. It can be uncomfortable at times to talk about yourself, but we find that much of being a woman in wine, or a woman in any industry for that matter, starts with confidence and that feeling of empowerment. We believe in celebrating our achievements and taking a step back from the hustle to acknowledge hard work.

Sarah Kraft discussed her experience as a world class sailor and how this has taught her a lot about teamwork and leadership and how this is reflected in entrepreneurship and in business.

Lexi talked with us about her journey working with a large distributor to a smaller importer, and now a startup. Her mother taught her about being self-reliant in business and in life. As she continued her education in wine, she realized that in wine there are two types of products. More of a commercialized product and then an agricultural product. What excited her about wine was the agrcicultral, small production product. Her greatest accomplishment was believing in herself and throwing the rulebook away.

Alpana shared her story of 20 sum years in the wine industry! She says her greatest accomplishment is surviving the wine industry as not only a woman, but a woman of color. Alpana talks about the next generation of women and how they are truly inspiring in regards to their sense of agency to take a seat at the table, not ask for it! When she passed her MS exam, it was given to her with a lecture. Essentially “…you have to behave now.” She stepped down from the court after 21 women came forth regarding sexual harassment allegations. It wasn’t just this, but a build up of many issues over the years. She felt as though there was never a celebration of her efforts and her role as a female MS – the youngest female MS at the age of 26. She is fierce about promoting women. She believes in standing up for women and supporting women everyday.

“A true queen straightens another woman’s crown.”
She’s devoting the next chapter of her life to supporting women, changing the statistics and ensuring that the female is not insecure.

Jasmine echoed Alpana in that her greatest accomplishment is still being here after many challenges. She says, it’s time for everyone to believe it’s not just their time to survive, but to thrive! When we are in the mode of, “I just want to survive, I just want to be in the game, we forget that there is a better place, a place where we are thriving.” There is not a material difference between surviving and thriving, it’s a mindset. Jasmine has been in her family’s business for 12 years now and there have been many ups and downs. Getting through the hardships is what she explains as her biggest accomplishment and in all of this, she feels as though her biggest accomplishments have to do with overcoming and growing. An inner challenge, or anytime we overcome and find a new way, is when we grow and in that is the definition of success. In all of this, her biggest accomplishments are rooted in the growing – overcoming – approaching inner challenges.

Vanessa wanted to make herself autonomous. She wanted to work for herself, and not for people. She wanted to empower people as she has worked in both negative and positive environments. It affects your mindset and getting to the point of autonomy and creating a positive working environment is her idea of success. She understands the impact this can have on mindset and how we view ourselves.

Gretchen discussed her location, residing in Santa Barbara, as being very positive. She has a supportive community that lifts each other. Santa Barbara has the highest per capita women in the wine industry within California. Over this past year she has found the confidence in herself to start this project from the ground up with outside owners. Her own brand, Luna Hart was a self investment. Starting something from the ground up, and taking ownership in that – flourishing in her own style – has been really exciting.

With that, we hope you snag our Women In Wine 2 Pack, sip alongside these amazing women in wine, and enjoy the rest of the conversation. You will receive a recording of the discussion and tasting upon purchasing.

“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

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