In the United States, women comprise 60% of all wine purchases and 80% of all wine consumed, yet they remain woefully underrepresented in the wine and hospitality industries. Though they make up the majority of hospitality professionals, women only occupy 23% of all leadership roles, and even with women making up over 60% of all graduates from the UC Davis Viticulture and Enology program, only 10% of California winemakers are women (only 4% of California wineries are woman-owned).
The disparity is clear, but the Wonder Women of Wine conference is facing it head on. Taking place this weekend, March 2nd and 3rd at the Sunset Room in Austin, WWoW feature some of the biggest and most exciting female names in the wine industry who will be sharing their experiences and providing insight on ways to bridge the inequity.
Over the course of the two-day conferences, women from every sector of the wine industry will engage in a variety topics as they relate to female wine professionals, from somm accreditation to self-advocacy, inclusivity to funding resources, and even balancing a career in wine with family/motherhood. Speakers include winemakers like Krista Scruggs of ZAFA Wines, Martha Stoumen, and Adrienne Ballou of Southold Farm + Cellar as well as her own label Lightsome Wines (whose 100% Texas-grown Mourvèdre I still dream about) as well as importers like Josefa Concannon of Louis/Dressner and Jenny Lefcourt of Jenny & Francois Selections, sommeliers like Advanced Somm Rania Zayyat (who also founded WWoW), and wine writers like Bon Appetit’s Marissa Ross.
The keynote speaker for Wonder Women of Wine is none other than Karen MacNeil, host of Emmy Award-winning series Wine, Food and Friends with Karen MacNeil and author of The Wine Bible, the best-selling wine book in the United States.
And what would a wine conference be—especially one with so many highly regarded winemakers—without a tasting? According to the website, there will be a “4-hour tasting exhibit featuring female-owned wineries and female winemakers, importers, and other trade.”
Tickets for Wonder Women of Wine range from $130 all the way up to $250 for VIP passes and are available via their website. Zayyat tells Sprudge Wine that the event “is open to anyone and everyone who is interested in the cause. I know naturally there will be a large female interest, but our goal is to have a balanced audience. We want to avoid an echo chamber. Change can't happen without everyone being involved.”
For more information on the event or to see a full list of speakers, visit Wonder Women of Wine’s official website.
Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas.