Last Monday, on the first day of National Women’s History Month, the inaugural board of directors for the newly formed Alliance of Women in Washington Wine was disclosed. As I write this, membership is nearing 300, a rise in 100 members since the announcement.
The idea for the organization sprouted from discussions that revealed women from all areas of the wine industry shared common concerns such as isolation, lack of opportunity awareness, and lack of diversity. Admittedly, I can relate. For this reason, VinoSocial is proud to support the Alliance and to have contributed to the initial scholarships.
My career in wine began late in life, following 20-years of corporate existence in Human Resource Management. After losing my father to a terminal illness, I enrolled in classes at the Northwest Wine Academy to help get through the grief. While on that wine-soaked path, I finally started to see light at the end of a dark tunnel. Along the way, I realized that wine was meant to be more than a distraction for me.
Eventually, I set out to start a marketing career in the wine industry. As the end of my school days neared, I told a male in the industry that I wanted to find work at a winery. He declared that nobody would hire me. That wineries here in Washington don’t hire people for marketing. What a way to tear someone down! I felt isolated and reluctant to profess my goals to others. If only the Alliance for Women in Washington Wine had been around then.
I don’t share this personal story to get sympathy. After all, I was hired by a winery before I even finished school; since then, I have started my own business and worked with over 30 wineries. I share this because my hope is that with the formation of such an organization women will connect with other women in the industry, support each others’ dreams, and raise each other up. As humans should.
Meet the Alliance of Women in Washington Wine
A big cheers to Tiffany Britton and Casey Cobble, President and Vice President of the Alliance of Women in Washington Wine for stepping up. Heather Unwin, who I have long admired since her days overseeing the Red Mountain AVA alliance, deserves credit for dealing with behind the scenes compliance issues. Anyone who has served on a board knows this is the less than glamorous side of non-profit work. Also, many thanks to Rebecca Alberts who has been taking care of the website. This remarkable woman got my sponsorship notice up in what seemed like mere minutes! To all the women of the Alliance’s board of directors, I raise a glass and say bravo to you all.
- President: Tiffany Britton, Winemaker, Brainstorm Cellars
- Vice president: Casey Cobble, Winemaker, Goose Ridge Winery
- Treasurer: Maurine Johnson, Winemaker, Goose Ridge Winery
- Secretary: Rebecca Alberts,Enologist , Fidelitas
- Board member, Social: KD Organ, Winemaker, Educator, Wine & Spirits Archive
- Board member, Student Outreach/Education: Tanya Morning Star Darling, CellarMuse
- Member at Large: Rachel Horn, Winemaker, AniChe Cellars
- Advisory Office: Kristin Scheelar: Associate Winemaker, Columbia Winery
- Member (Mentor) at Large: Megan Schofield: Director of Winemaking, Constellation Brands
- Ex-officio: Heather Unwin: Instructor, NW Wine Academy, Seattle Colleges
The Alliance’s mission is to inspire, educate, and advance women in the Washington wine industry. The organization will achieve this by creating mentorship programs and developing educational outreach tools about a career in wine. Worthy volunteer work, indeed.
Learn more about the organization or make a donation to the scholarship fund on the website. Note that The Alliance of Women in Washington Wine has applied for 501c3 public charity classification with the Internal Revenue Service. While the application is pending, donations are not assured as tax deductible.
Now, head on over to Instagram and #letstalkaboutwine – how will you honor International Women’s Day?