Among a Sea of Great Women

I’d gotten the job!!

I wasn’t sure what I’d gotten myself into, but it was enough that I’d gotten the job. I’d have a full time job in the wine business, I’d have income and my wife would no longer be doing most of the rowing.

I admit that out of the gate, my first day on the job, I was a bit surprised. Why, I don’t know. But I was. My boss, and the three other associates and the office administrator in the little firm were all women. Not a man in sight. I was a thorn among the roses.

It didn’t take me long to get used to working in what was an all female firm after taking my first job at a wine PR firm. In fact, I think it took the women more time to get used to having a man about after a few years without one in the office.

What was really interesting was this: I discovered quite quickly that the wine industry was not as it initially seemed to me, but was thoroughly male dominated. All my initial clients were men. All the distributors I worked with were men. All the winemakers I worked with were men and the vast majority of writers in the business were men. And yet there I was in a sea of women.

Thursday, September 20th at the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville, Women for Wine Sense will hold their  Annual Women In Wine Panel–5:30pm to 8:30pm. The topic of the panel is ““Many Career Paths into the Wine Business”. The panelists include:

• Carole Meredith: Grape geneticist, Vintners Hall of Fame member, and owner of Lagier-Meredith Winery.

Dawnine Dyer: Pioneering Winemaker, Consultant and owner of Dyer Vineyard

•Andrea Robinson: Master Sommelier, author, educator, entrepreneur

Deborah Parker Wong: Journalist and Wine Judge

•Tina Caputo:, Editor-in-Chief of Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine

Reportedly, this quintet of remarkably successful folks are going to speak to “their careers and the glass ceilings they shattered along the way.” But the folks at Women For Wine Sense could have just as easily described the panel as “How To Be the Best—Regardless of Gender”.

Women for Wine Sense was founded the same year I stepped into my wine first job and got schooled by a bunch of women. If I had just looked around the office, I would have had to assume that the wine industry was a woman’s world. It wasn’t. Today, however, 20+ years later, far more women help steer and administer the industry, thanks in good part to Women for Wine Sense.

If you are in the North Coast area, my suggestion is that you attend the September 20th event and learn how to be the best from the best. If you are not in the area, and if you are nonetheless in the wine industry or want to be, you might do well to find a Women for Wine Sense chapter and join.

Posted In: Wine Business


7 Responses

  1. Michaela Rodeno - September 12, 2012

    Thanks, Tom, for the WWS kudos! I hope to see many old and new friends at this great 9/20 event –including you.

  2. Amy @ VineSleuth Uncorked - September 13, 2012

    I attended the Women for WineSense Grand Event in Napa this May and was blown away by all of the amazing women I met there who work in the wine world. These ladies were extremely professional and open with their ideas and support of each other.

    I’m in Houston, or else I’d be at that meeting next Thursday… I can only imagine what connections will be made, mentorships will be formed and ideas will be shared.

  3. Wine Blog » Blog Archive » Congratulations to Tom Wark - September 13, 2012

    […] a group that I belonged to before I got so busy that I can’t even make meetings. TITLE: Among a Sea of Great Women. He writes, “”Thursday, September 20th at the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville, Women […]

  4. David M Lawrence - September 13, 2012

    Having four sisters I know strong women…And having worked with both Michaela and Dawnine in the mid 70’s none have been more gracious..You go girls!!

  5. Deborah Parker Wong - September 13, 2012

    Tom, you are still thorny and we would not have it any other way. Thanks for the support and for the candor and insight that can be found on your blog.

  6. JohnLopresti - September 13, 2012

    I have seen one of Mike Grgich’s stories about professor Meredith’s work on zinfandel.

    In UC Davis articles, there is more about the genetic tracing of chardonnay, ‘pinot’, sauvignon blanc, and cabernet sauvignon lineages in which Dr. Meredith was engaged..

    Over recent years, the Lagnier-Meredith website has been an interesting place to visit. It has nice photos of Mt. Veeder and evokes a sense of how arduous, and rewarding, beginning a vineyard and winery can be.

  7. start smoking cigarettes - October 11, 2012

    Thanks designed for sharing such a pleasant thinking, paragraph is nice, thats why i have read it fully

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