The Women of Wine Warehouse

Mar 01, 2020

Wine Warehouse is dedicated to empowering women in the alcohol beverage industry and are proud to represent these women-driven brands in our wine, spirits and beer portfolios.


Almudena de Llaguno, Classical Wines-women of wine warehouse

Almudena de Llaguno

Classical Wines | Co-Founder, Co-Proprietor

Q: How did you get started in the wine industry?

A: While I was working at the Consulate General of Spain in San Francisco, I was asked to lead small selective groups to visit wineries in Spain and Portugal. This was an incredible opportunity for me to learn and to become more deeply involved in the wine world.

From the Consulate I went to work at the Commercial Office of Spain where we promoted the introduction of all kinds of Spanish products. My specialization was the wine sector.

Once I returned to Spain, I joined a small export company. My partner knew Steve Metzler and I helped organize Classical Wines’ first orders. We only met later when Steve came to our office in Madrid to see my partner.

Q: In our last interview you mentioned how things were rapidly changing under Spain’s new democracy in the early 1980’s. How was the transition from your perspective as a young, entrepreneurial woman?

A: This was a very interesting and intense period. The transition to democracy affected everyone. At the same time opportunities emerged. Specifically in the wine business, we saw those that had been members of cooperatives breaking away and starting their own modest projects, many of them developing into bigger enterprises. I was fortunate to be part of that entrepreneurial spirit and all of us together had a chance to work towards a more creative and fortunate future than the previous generations ever had.

Q: You and your husband have been Spanish wine-explorers for 35 years. You’ve seen trends come and go. Do you have any predictions (or hopes) for the next bend in the Spanish wine industry road?

A: Yes, we have seen many changes in the wine industry. Today young people are better prepared than they were before. Those that know how to combine their academic knowledge with the wisdom of generations, will achieve great balance in their winemaking. This tendency is increasing and it gives hope to the wine business. Large companies will always exist, but these craft winemakers are the ones that make the heart of the wines business beat.

Q: To other women in the alcohol beverage industry, what advice would you have for them?

A: To stay true to their beliefs, with an open mind to accept evolution, to be ready for the unexpected and to defend the true principals of a great wine: elegance, authenticity and balance.

Charline Drappier-women of wine warehouse

Charline Drappier

Drappier | Vice President

Q: If you were shipwrecked on an island and you could have one thing with you aside from food and water, what would it be?

A: I would rather have humans as my “thing,” and this would be my daughter, husband and family! But if people don’t count, then definitely paper and pencils. I love to create, draw and design, and I do it almost every day (mostly for my job). And wine, of course

Q: What does your day-to-day look like as Vice President of Drappier?

A: There is no routine—I can either spend the week in Urville, involved in the operations, punctuated by frequent discussions and decision-making with my father and brothers. I welcome clients through special experiences, that sometimes include dinner at my home with my family. When needed, I also handle customer relations.

I also spend quite some time away, building our distribution network and handling sales (fairs, tastings, sales meetings, client visits, etc). During the quieter season, I would focus on the marketing aspects like new releases, POS design and writing our newsletter.

When you have a family business, you have to be ready for everything!

Q: Can you tell us about the future ambitions you have for Drappier?

A: I believe my brothers and I all look in the same direction, which is very reassuring for all of us. We all want to dig in our history and identity to keep pushing ourselves. With 15 hectares accredited organic, we own one of the largest sustainable vines in Champagne, we produce 75% of the electricity we use, and we will go further.

In terms of product strategy, my father always had a love for ancient varieties. My brother and I decided to push the boundaries, and use the 7th varietal, which is Fromenteau (Pinot Gris) releasing the first 100% Pinot Gris Champagne ever. It was an experiment at the beginning, but because it tastes so delicious, we will include it in the range. Champagnes « that are different » have always been at the beginning of something at Drappier (Pinot Noir, then Zéro Dosage, etc). People like us for how different we are, and we will show them the realm of possibilities of our terroir and know-how.

Q: What is an accomplishment that you’re most proud of?

A: Working with my family! How many times do I hear, “I don’t know how you deal with your grandfather, parents, brothers (and even my daughter who sometimes joins me!) on a daily basis.” I find it gratifying to live a very “united life,” where both work and the enjoyment of being together meet, despite the ups and downs.

When I hold my 93-year-old grandfather’s arm, and take my 14 month-old Gabrielle, to entertain my Japanese customers in the tasting room, it makes me so happy. Everyone is laughing, and the scene is so far away from anything you’d expect from a “regular” business.

Q: How has the legacy of your family’s business influence you in the wine business?

A: It is everywhere. It teaches you patience, resilience and vision. You think for the next generation to come, you buy vineyards that will be paid off in 40 years, you grow organically and you lose 80% of the crop because of it. But farming and maturing wine (especially in Champagne, where the time is key), make you overcome any adversity.

Q: To other women in the alcohol beverage industry, what advice would you have for them?

A: Follow where your gut will take you, without asking yourself too many questions. I have always worked in a male-dominated industry, without really thinking of it. Lucky enough, I grew up in a family where that never made the difference, not thinking in terms of gender helped me overcome a lot of gender-related obstacles.

I also think story sharing is important so that women don’t question their legitimacy. Transmitting our female stories is the goal of our association La Transmission, created by Maggie Henriquez (CEO of Champagne Krug). We are 10 women in Champagne who both lead and own our businesses, and we organize two events every year to share our work, our wines and our stories.


Fiona Barnett

Barnett | Proprietor

Q: If you were shipwrecked on an island and you could have one thing with you aside from food and water, what would it be?

A: Hal. Second running shoes!

Q: Do you have a spirit animal? If so, what is it and why?

A: I really do not have a spirit animal but I absolutely love dogs. We have always had German Shepherds when the girls were growing up in St.Helena and they were always such amazing companions, protectors and I always felt safe when they were around.

Q: What is a value that has been most important to you in running Barnett?

A: Make sure you treat everyone that works with you with respect and appreciate all that they put into the company. Without the people that have been with us for years we would not be where we are today.

Q: In your interview with the Napa Valley Register, you told them that when you had purchased the property at Spring Mountain “at that time, [you] weren’t going to get into the wine business.” Can you tell us more about your experience in shifting your career to wine?

A: That is an interesting question! When we bought the property it was our idea that we would just have a weekend house in the Napa Valley. We lived in San Francisco and I had worked as a CPA but had put that on hold while having the girls. When we planted the vineyard we always thought that we would sell the grapes.

In 1989 when we had our first harvest we decided to make the wine instead of selling the grapes. Hal was in the home development business and I thought this was something I could do while raising the girls. Our little business went from 292 cases in 1989 to what it is today. Hal left his business in 2000 and joined me full time in the wine business which has grown to what it is today.

This project has become our livelihood as well as our passion. Not exactly a life or career in accounting but definitely much more interesting in so many ways!

Q: It’s been about 30 years since Barnett’s first vintage, what is your vision for Barnett in the next 30 years?

A: We do not know to be honest with you. We have six kids and none of them are interested in getting involved in the business full time at this point in their lives. They all have great careers of their own not in the wine business but that is not to say they are not involved in some aspect. Also we have some incredible people that work with us who may want to eventually take it over when we are completely irrelevant!

Q: To other women in the alcohol beverage industry, what advice would you have for them?

A: I feel that the best advice that I would give is that you should be passionate about what you are doing and you will be happy. I feel that this is still a very male dominated industry and men still get credit sometimes when the women have done the work. You have to stand up for what you have accomplished and make your passion and voice heard.

Kris Curran_women of wine warehouse

Kris Curran

D’Alfonso-Curran | Winemaker

Q: If you were shipwrecked on an island and you could have one thing with you aside from food and water, what would it be?

A: Yikes, that is a difficult question to answer. How do I choose between my dogs and wine?!

Q: Do you have a spirit animal? If so, what is it and why?

A: I have not contemplated the topic prior to now. I suppose I would pick a German Shepherd dog as they possess traits that I respect. To name a few: loyalty & intelligence.

Q: What inspired you to found D’alfonso-Curran wines?

A: My husband (Bruno D’Alfonso) and I have collaborated on winemaking since the nascent stages of my career. We had separate winemaking jobs over the years and our own individual brands: Curran, my brand since 1996 and Di Bruno, which Bruno founded in 1994. After many (many) years “together” we FINALLY tied the knot and also decided to become employers instead of employees. D’Alfonso-Curran was created to honor our past, present and future collaborations.

Q: Where does your passion for winemaking come from?

A: My passion stems from the joy of working with my hands, my mind and my palate. I am devoted to creating wines that dazzle the mouth, lend themselves to amazing food experiences and, hopefully, create a lasting impression on the people enjoying them.

Q: What is a moment or accomplishment you’re most proud of from your career?

A: I have been fortunate to have many proud moments/accomplishments over my career. However, when I think of any of them, I am reminded of the people that have inspired me through the years. I know that every one of those individuals helped to mold and create the person, as well as the winemaker, that I am today. I am eternally grateful for the part they played in making my proud moments/ accomplishments possible.

Q: To other women in the alcohol beverage industry, what advice would you have for them?

A: Work smart, be passionate about your craft and have confidence in yourself.

Tara Empson_women of wine warehouse

Tara Empson

Empson USA | Chief Executive Officer

Q: If you were shipwrecked on an island and you could have one thing with you aside from food and water, what would it be?

A: Probably a boat with a full tank of gas and a 12 pack of amazing wine, just in case I get shipwrecked again.

Q: Do you have a spirit animal? If so, what is it and why?

A: It is the year of the rat, so I would say probably a mouse. They are very resourceful and smart; they also are known survivors as long as they stay away from electrical wiring. They also crave companionship and work well in teams. As is the case for both, we can’t read a GPS to save our life but have great visual navigation skills. Oh, I also love cheese!

Q: Since your start in the wine industry in 2006, what would say are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen?

A: There is a lot happening right now, on many levels. There are many more choices out there for consumers to shop for. I’m not only talking about wine and the many different price points, but I’m also speaking of alternative beverages such as craft beers, seltzers and other main market contenders. It seems as though the everyday alcoholic beverage has offered a premium that people seem to like and find added value.

The restaurant industry has changed as well. There is a different approach to wine buying and to the quality of food that is being served. We are slowly stepping into a “fusion” world, as many cuisines around the world are slowly beginning to combine and a qualitative level and modernizing the way we eat and what we drink.

On a strict wine basis, I have noticed that the work today is daring and is willing to go out of their comfort zone to explore the roots and diversity of each country. This is in contrast to many years ago, in which the consensus was that if your customer could not pronounce it, you probably would not have a good chance of selling it.

Q: What inspires you? What is your passion?

A: I’m inspired by success and how it is achieved. I love hearing stories of dreams coming true and knowing that there are people out there who choose not to be afraid. When you see those moments recognized and hard work being praised, your own ambitions and passions are refueled.

Q: As the wine industry is ever-evolving and changing, what is next for the Empson USA portfolio with your role as its CEO?

A: We are currently investing in education and what route to market we have with getting through not only to our present customer base but to the future generation of wine drinkers. We are evolving, as my role and present market is very different from the one in which my parents lived and interacted with.

We are certainly gearing up to make some very interesting announcements in the near future. Stay tuned, my friends!

Q: To other women in the alcohol beverage industry, what advice would you have for them?

A: Be kind to yourself. We live in a multitasking world that can be overwhelming and if your character is similar to mine, then you probably have too many things on your plate. We all want to be better, and do better but please remember sometimes to take a moment, no matter how hectic your life is and what day you are having to tell yourself that you are doing a great job and you are special. Sometimes we are so blinded by our own drive that we forget that our personal success must be accompanied by our mental and physical health because one can’t go too far without the other.

alice paillard_women of wine warehouse

Alice Paillard

Bruno Paillard | Winemaker, 2nd Generation

Alice joined her father in making fine Champagne in 2007. Having worked in the vineyards and then in the cellar for the first year, this was followed by four years dedicated to developing exports. Alice now co-manages Maison Bruno Paillard with her father. “To us, being innovative simply is being true to the founders of Champagne. Those who, in the early days of Champagne under King Louis the XV, looked for solutions to create a bottle strong enough to resist the pressure of Champagne, to ensure second fermentation would happen consistently, to devise a method of disgorgement. The key to our innovation lies in our subscription to the following mandate: we never do things just because they were always done this way. This way of thinking has led us to innovation in very different arenas. Most of our recent innovations have happened in the vineyard, with simple advances such as creating the appropriate tool to work the ground in the method we want.”

Beth Liston_women of wine warehouse

Beth Liston

Dark Horse | Winemaker

After completing undergrad at California Poly in San Luis Obispo, Beth got a job at a tasting room for a winery that specialized in methode champenoise sparkling production. That experience made her immediately fall in love with the industry, “the combination of art and science, and how every day – and harvest – presents a new challenge.”

Beth believes that winemaking is a treasure hunt. She has paired her passion for using the best agricultural and winemaking practices with constant experimentation with grape varietals and winemaking techniques. All of her tireless work has resulted in a series of bold California wines that deliver the unexpected.

Brianne Chase_women of wine warehouse

Brianne Chase

Rabble | Associate Winemaker

Brianne studied winemaking at Cal Poly State University, where she earned a Bachelors Degree in Wine and Viticulture. In her 14+ years in the wine industry, Brianne has worked with several notable wineries including Two Hands in Australia, Duckhorn and Quintessa in the Napa Valley and Adelaida Cellars in Paso Robles. In addition to being Winemaker for Vigo Cellars, Brianne currently holds the Associate Winemaker position with Rabble Wine Company in Paso Robles where she continues to expand her knowledge and expertise.

cynthia lohr_women of wine warehouse

Cynthia Lohr

J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines | Trade & Brand Advocate

As the daughter of wine industry pioneer Jerry Lohr, Cynthia Lohr spent some of her youth in the vineyards and at the wineries, absorbing aspects of the wine industry firsthand. “I have a passion for brand advocacy, particularly in support of building awareness for organizations such as the Paso Robles CAB (Cabernet and Bordeaux) Collective, and Women of the Vine Spirits, whose efforts promote regional varietal education and the advancement of women in wine and spirits, respectively,” says Cynthia. “While the entire J. Lohr team devotes considerable time in support of the wine industry, in this dedicated position, I am able to direct my energy to more actively advocate for our family business, as well as to bring greater impact to industry organizations where I am currently serving in a leadership role.”

Elisabetta Fagiuoli_women of wine warehouse

Elisabetta Fagiouli

Montenidoli | Winemaker

Elisabetta is the living metaphor of her land, and she greets you, as the land welcomes you, with a smile that testifies to her joy in extending hospitality. She shares with you her vision of the world and impresses you with the same quiet strength that the millennial culture of winemaking possesses.

She knows how to be firm and tough, going against the stream and standing alone, but is never unpleasant, never violent, with the same demeanor as the timeworn towers of San Gimignano across the valley from her property, towers grafted miraculously to the slopes of the hills harmoniously planted in vines and olives on Poggio di San Gimignano.

Bortolomiol Sisters_women of wine warehouse

Elvira Maria, Luisa, Marie Elena and Giuliana Bortolomiol

Bortolomiol | 2nd Generation Owners

The company is currently run by founder Giuliano’s four daughters. This generational change has brought with it a new managerial vision, but without altering the principles of family tradition: first and foremost product quality and promotion of the area.

The commitment of the Bortolomiol women is not only to achieve a female work outlook, but above all bring fresh femininity into the world of wine. For the Bortolomiol women, this means, greater territorial awareness. From projects centered on a more aware, sustainable type of agriculture to greater focus on the entire production chain, femininity has become part of the company’s daily life and has been extended to other areas.

Gina Gallo_women of wine warehouse

Gina Gallo

E&J Gallo Winery | Winemaker

Gina Gallo followed in the footsteps of Julio Gallo, her grandfather, to find her calling as winemaker for Gallo Family Vineyards Sonoma Reserve. Today, she lives near the winery on Dry Creek Road in Healdsburg where she creates award-winning wines from grapes grown by her brother, Matt. She is head of vineyard operations for the Gallo of Sonoma estates and for the winery itself and is the winemaker for the Gallo Signature Series.

Hailey Trefethen_women of wine warehouse

Hailey Trefethen

Trefethen | Viticulture/Operations

Hailey, who graduated from Santa Clara University in 2008 with a degree in Biological Anthropology, helped her parents chair the 2009 Napa Valley Wine Auction and wears a variety of hats, from marketing to production, even beekeeper of the estate’s beehives. She currently works in viticulture & winemaking operations. More recently, Hailey and her brother Lorenzo released their first inaugural vintage of The Cowgirl and The Pilot, a wine made in tribute to their parents.

Isabella Bisol_women of wine warehouse

Isabella Bisol

Ruggeri | Communication and Public Relations, 3rd Generation

Today, Isabella Bisol represents the next generation along with her brother Giustino, who both look after Ruggeri winery with their father. Isabella’s role involves maintaining the image of the winery including labels, boxes, pictures; but most of all, she communicates the reality and quality of Ruggeri to consumers. Interestingly, Isabella studied Art History before joining the family business.

julie pedroncelli_women of wine warehouse

Julie Pedroncelli St. John

Pedroncelli | 3rd Generation Family Owner

Julie Pedroncelli St. John, the oldest of four girls, has fond memories of growing up around a winemaking family. She even recalls her first sip of wine (watered down) from a Flintstones dino cup. Although she never felt pressured to join the family business, she did so after college and has worked hard to her current role as VP Marketing.

“Longevity is a gift that began with my grandparents. Continuity came from all those years we’ve been making wine. People still remark about when they first had Pedroncelli wine, and are pleased we are still family owned – a testament to all of us working together.”

Kate Goodman_women of wine warehouse

Kate Goodman

Paxton | Winemaker

Kate is one of Australia’s leading modern winemakers. Kate’s career spans nearly 30 years and is currently chief winemaker at Penley Estate (Coonawarra). There is no denial of talent and absolute harmony when it comes to Kate and her elegant, sophisticated winemaking approach. She was awarded the Australian Women in Wine Awards Winemaker of the Year in 2018.

“While gender doesn’t necessarily make you a better winemaker, it is heart-warming to feel the support of other women in the industry and to use this award to encourage young women to achieve what they set out to do in the wine industry. It can be a tough industry for anyone. It’s physical and can be dirty work but there is an active and strong community of women who make it easy for us to share, learn and acknowledge the challenges we can face so others find it easier to forge a rewarding career in wine. Importantly awards like this also demonstrate anything is possible; it’s not just about being the loudest voice in the room.”

Kate MacMurray

MacMurray Estate Vineyards | Brand Ambassador

While the exceptional MacMurray Ranch Vineyard is home to some of California’s most renowned Pinot Noir vines, for Kate MacMurray, it is also a place of long-held, cherished memories. The MacMurray family farmed crops and raised cattle on this ranch for many years, taking an active role in the local agricultural community. Kate grew up hiking and riding her horse through the ranch’s majestic rolling hills.

“When the first vines were planted, this historic ranch became synonymous with exceptional Pinot Noir,” Kate said. “This land has been dedicated to agriculture for more than 150 years, so it gives me great pleasure to see that legacy continue.”

Kristen Barnhisel

Kristen Barnhisel

J. Lohr Vineyard & Wines | Winemaker, White Wines

At J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, acclaimed winemaker Kristen Barnhisel brings two decades of viticulture and winemaking experience spanning three continents to her role as winemaker for all white wines. Known for her gifted palate and technical skill, Kristen uses her expertise with a range of white wine varieties, styles and winemaking methods to guide J. Lohr’s white wine portfolio.

Encouraged by legendary California winemaker, and family friend, Zelma Long, Kristen became one of the first women, and the first American, to work harvest for Ruffino in Italy—an experience that deepened her desire to become a winemaker. “I love the challenge of making serious white wines that reflect their vineyard roots,” says Kristen. “It is incredibly rewarding to take an inherently transparent grape and to find that perfect place where fruit flavors, aromatics, alcohol, acidity, texture and palate length all come into perfect balance.”

Kim Stare_Women of Wine Warehouse

Kim Stare Wallace

J. Dry Creek Vineyard | President

Kim Stare Wallace was raised in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley. Throughout her childhood, she watched from the sidelines as her father David Stare pioneered Dry Creek Vineyard, the first new winery to be built in the region following Prohibition. As a teen, she worked in the office, cellar and on the bottling line, as well as accompanying her parents on countless sales trips, business dinners and wine tastings. From this early start, Kim grew up with a passion and understanding of the wine industry.

Selected as a finalist for ‘Wine Executive of the Year’ for Wine Enthusiast’s 2019 Wine Star Awards and as a winner of the North Bay Business Journal’s 2018 Women In Business awards, this savvy businesswoman, mother of two, wife, and second-generation winery owner is firmly committed to a “No Compromises” philosophy, producing appellation-focused, terroir-driven, varietal-defining wines.

Lizy Bordin_women of wine warehouse

Lizy Bordin

Belasco de Baquedano | Winemaker

A native of Mendoza, Elizabeth “Lizy” Bordin grew up in the heart of the Argentinean wine country. Having earned multiple degrees in oenology and viticulture, over the past decade, Lizy immersed herself in all facets of winemaking and wine grape production. Honing her passion for Argentina’s most beloved grape, Malbec, and taking cues from famed consultant Bertrand Bourdil, she sets Belasco de Badqudano’s wines apart with French wine making sensibilities.

“Working with 114-year-old vines is a delicate process. I believe in finishing our wines unfined and unfiltered in order to preserve our Malbec’s subtle aromas and flavors. This also adds texture on the palate and richness to the body and color. I’m honored to work with such beautiful vines and aim to deliver wines that ware a reflection of our land.”

marilisa allegrini_women of wine warehouse

Marilisa Allegrini

Allegrini | Marketing, 6th Generation

Marilisa Allegrini is the face of the winery and a global ambassador for the Veneto region. Marilisa has been responsible for marketing since 1980: guided by an instinctive passion for wine, she promotes Allegrini wines and the Valpolicella area throughout the world.

Marilisa joined the family company late, at age 26. A dreamer hoping to travel the world, she wanted to be a doctor but switched gears to steer Allegrini on the international scene. Marilisa came to America and visited restaurants and stores on the east coast to sell wine. Her presence in storefronts in the 1980s and commitment to pleasing customers boosted production at home for her brothers, Franco and the late Walter.

montse reece_women of wine warehouse

Montse Reece

Pedroncelli | Winemaker

Montse joined the winemaking team at Pedroncelli Winery in 2007 serving alongside John Pedroncelli for seven harvests. She was named Winemaker in 2015. Her appointment marked only the third winemaker in nearly 90 years and the first woman. A native of Catalonia, Montse grew up in a culture where wine is considered food and has deep cultural roots. “I make wines that will grace the dinner table and I hope will make life a little better for whoever may be enjoying it.”

Nicole Hitchcock_women of wine warehouse

Nicole Hitchcock

J. Vineyards | Winemaker

Nicole first discovered her passion for wine while working alongside well-respected sommeliers in restaurants. What drew her in especially was the worldwide appeal and diversity of wine. After graduating from UC Davis with a degree in Viticulture and Enology, Nicole worked the 2001 harvest at Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa Valley, and the following year she transitioned to a role in sales for E. & J. Gallo Winery.

Today, Nicole is the head winemaker at J Vineyards & Winery, where she oversees all aspects of winemaking, from managing operations to supervising the laboratory team. Nicole’s passion for winemaking continues to grow as she crafts world-class sparkling and varietal wines from cool-climate fruit grown in the renowned Russian River Valley and Sonoma County.

nuria de la torre_women of wine warehouse

Nuria de la Torre

Paco & Lola | Winemaker

“I’m inspired by the fact that Paco & Lola is a cooperative formed by more than 400 wine growers. Their motivation makes me receptive to changes and developments in the sector. It makes us a very important driver when diversifying elaborations and introducing new products.”

Onidine Chattan_women of wine warehouse

Ondine Chattan

Share A Splash | Winemaker

“Looking back, I acknowledge that I never dreamed I would become a winemaker. But happily and unexpectedly through serendipity and an introductory lecture on Viticulture, I was enlightened and once I comprehended the magnitude of the discovery, I felt I had been initiated into a secret society and I became filled with a purpose and wonderment that set me off and running down the most amazing path.”

Paola Lanzavecchia_women of wine warehouse

Paola Lanzavecchia

Villadoria | Winemaker, 4th Generation

“When I communicated to my father the decision to follow the family business he was quite shocked and not so happy. Probably he understood that he had to be a teacher for a long time. My father and I have very similar temperaments and we are both headstrong, but after many years we found a balance. The most important lesson I have learned from him is to have tenacity: each project needs time and patience and every wine is a project.”

Pauline Lapierre Dietrich_women of wine warehouse

Pauline Lapierre Dietrich

Château Haut Rian | Chief Operating Officer

“I am Pauline Lapierre, I grew up in a winery called Château Haut-Rian where we grow our vines, make our wines and sell it ourselves. It is a 30 km drive from Bordeaux. As a teenager, I wanted to discover the world and travel. Therefore at 17, I went to Paris to study and I graduated in Finance at HEC Paris. Then, I have worked a few years in corporate finance for Danone in Singapore and Paris. During these years, I truly enjoyed myself very much but I felt I was not completely doing the right thing . I missed the countryside, our nice hills, the harvest, the numerous tastings in the cellar, being very tired after a day working in the vineyard, wearing muddy boots and the day after having for dinner a friendly importer from anywhere in the world. My husband William encouraged me to change path and I went to Montpellier for 2 years to study oenology and get the degree of oenologist. There I discovered a great region of rich, fruity, simple and fair wines . In 2017 I went back to Rions and worked 2 years with my father to learn as much as possible. Last year he retired and I now manage all the daily business. Frankly, to some extent I find being a woman in the wine industry much easier than in finance because someone who either makes or sells or buys or drinks the most civilized product i.e. WINE is often kind and sensitive to other’s well-being.”

Raquel Maggio-Casity_women of wine warehouse

Raquel Maggio-Casity

Oak Ridge Winery | Chief Financial Officer

When Raquel headed to college she knew exactly what she wanted to do with her business degree: to continue her family’s farming business. She considers herself extremely lucky to have had the privilege of growing up in a family involved in agriculture, particularly wine grape growing.

As one of the “three girls,” Raquel rejoined the Oak Ridge Winery team in January 2015 as its sales analyst. “All I have ever known is the business of farming,” she says, “and fortunately, now I am in the winery business as well.” Raquel now serves Oak Ridge Winery as its Chief Financial Officer.

Shelly Maggio Woltkamp_women of wine warehouse

Shelly Maggio-Woltkamp

Oak Ridge Winery | Brand Ambassador/Partner

Shelly Maggio-Woltkamp is a fourth generation farmer and grape grower. She is a lifelong resident of Lodi and grew up in the family farming business, literally learning it from the ground up and starting out in the business as a young girl. In 2002, when her father, Rudy Maggio, purchased Oak Ridge Winery.

Shelly is very active in all aspects of the development of Oak Ridge Winery family business from the beginning, including winemaking, label design, product development, and overseeing the tasting room, sales, customer service and events.

Stephanie Gallo_women of wine warehouse

Stephanie Gallo

E&J Gallo Winery | Chief Marketing Officer

Stephanie Gallo, third generation of the Gallo family, joined the business after attending Kellog and climbed the rungs of the marketing department to her current role as CMO. “We say that we democratize wine for consumers in the United States and throughout the world, and I wanted to be a part of that,” says Gallo. Since her start, she has gone beyond witnessing and driving the “democratization of wine” to participating in two of the most transformative decades in the history of marketing. Stephanie has adopted cause marketing methods to help her brands participate in the initiatives that consumers care about. Through events ranging from the Barefoot Beach Cleanup to the Gallo Family Vineyards Every Cork Counts program to a partnership between Liberty Creek and Homes for Our Troops, the brands are able to become more relevant in consumers’ lives.

suzanne tate_women of wine warehouse

Suzanne Tate

TATE | Co-Founder

A native Texan, Suzanne fell in love with wine after taking a wine appreciation course during university in Austin. A few years later, while pursuing her other passion and studying the culinary arts at the CCA in San Francisco, she decided to follow her gut and jump into a career in wine and took a job that would move her back to Texas. After nearly five years working in fine wine distribution in Houston, Suzanne had a chance meeting with David at a wine dinner, and well, as the saying goes…the rest was history. Suzanne made her move to the Napa Valley in May 2010 and very quickly came to call St. Helena home. Together, she and David founded TATE wine in 2011 and are now excited for their 9th harvest and the warm reception the wines have received!

Véronique Drouhin-Boss

Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Maison Joseph Drouhin & Roserock | Winemaker, 4th Generation

Véronique Drouhin-Boss, the fourth-generation winemaker of the Drouhin family, has lovingly crafted every drop of wine produced at Domaine Drouhin Oregon since our first vintage in 1988. She also now oversees the winemaking at Maison Joseph Drouhin in Burgundy, producing some of the world’s finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines on both sides of the Atlantic.

Véronique’s interest in wine and the family business began when she was young and blossomed under the tutelage of her father Robert Drouhin. She worked with Laurence Jobard, the enologist of the House, from 1976 to 2005. In 1986, she graduated from the University of Dijon with an advanced degree in enology, and decided to venture to Oregon to expand her experience and learn more about the fledgling industry that was beginning to take root in the Willamette Valley. Together with her father Robert Drouhin, she vinified the first vintage at Domaine Drouhin in Oregon where she is still in charge of winemaking.


Carin Luna Ostaseski_women of wine warehouse

Carin Luna-Ostaseski

SIA Scotch | Founder

Q: If you were shipwrecked on an island and you could have one thing with you aside from food and water, what would it be?

A: How about an airplane so that I can fly myself back home? I’m a licensed pilot so this is totally possible!

Q: Do you have a spirit animal? If so, what is it and why?

A: I’m a puppy. I love people, I’m really playful and I try not to take myself too seriously.

Q: What is the best lesson you’ve learned about starting your own business?

A: I would say the biggest lesson I learned is that it’s near impossible to do it alone. Find someone who shares your vision and has a complementary set of skills and team up. For example, if you are strong at marketing and operations, find someone whose superpower is sales. It’s a lonely road being an entrepreneur and you can get so much more done way faster with a partner. If I were to do it all over again, I’d start with a partner, maybe even two!

Q: Being the first American woman to make a scotch is incredible–to say the least. Do you have other projects that are in the works while you continue to grow SIA?

A: Thank you! It’s been an awesome adventure and I’m proud to say that it’s working. We’ve seen amazing success in OFF Premise Chains such as Safeway, Total Wine and More, BevMo!, Nugget Market, Raley’s and Target. As for other projects in the works, I’m putting it all on the line with SIA. Our focus is to expand to more chains in the OFF Premise category and begin to cross over to ON-Premise as well.

Q: One of your biggest missions is to make scotch more accessible. Have you seen a shift in people’s perception of scotch or any new trends?

A: Absolutely, there have been a few rising tides that have helped our mission. First is more people (both men and women) are drinking brown spirits. It’s not as hard of a jump for someone who is already drinking Bourbons, Ryes or American Whiskies to try Scotch for the first time. Second, we have more women drinking brown spirits (37% of all whisky drinkers), and third, we have seen a rise in brown spirits used as bases in cocktails, making Scotch as a first taste more accessible. I’ve also noticed that the general rise in more NAS (No Age Statement) Scotch Whiskies have helped to dispel the myths that age is an indicator of quality.

Q: To other women in the alcohol beverage industry, what advice would you have for them?

A: It’s okay to be different, defy the norms, and pursue your passion. Hire and promote women and as you find success, help other women to do the same. There’s a quote that I like about when you get to the top, send the elevator back down! From the start, SIA’s brand mission is to help women start and run their own businesses. Every year, we contribute a portion of our sales to a different female entrepreneurship organization and will do it as long as the brand is in existence.

Nancy Fraley_women of wine warehouse

Nancy Fraley

Jos. A. Magnus  | Master Distiller

Q: If you were shipwrecked on an island and you could have one thing with you aside from food and water, what would it be?

A: If I were shipwrecked on an island and I could only have one thing besides food and water, it would be a survival knife with a built-in fire starter and sharpener on the sheath. With the knife, I could make hunting and fishing spears and other tools, carve wood to make shelter, filet fish, gut animals for food, etc. And having the capacity to make fire would allow me to be able to cook food, purify water, provide light and warmth, boost morale, and make SOS signals for help. With this two-in-one tool, I would be able to at least survive.

Q: Do you have a spirit animal? If so, what is it and why?

A: A dog or some sort of canine is definitely my spirit animal. Besides symbolizing loyalty, unconditional love, protection, and friendship, they have an exceptional sense of smell! My own dog, a black Labradoodle appropriately named “Brandy,” is my real-life spirit animal.

Q: Is there a moment or accomplishment you’re most proud of?

A: While I’m obviously very proud of particular whiskeys that I’ve done my best to shape into “liquid poetry,” such as the Magnus Cigar Blend bourbon, I’m probably most proud of my role as a mentor and teacher to others, especially to younger people in the industry. I feel that each generation has a duty to pass along to the next generation the wisdom, knowledge, and passion that one has gained. In this way, the science and art of high quality spirits production will remain long after one’s own demise.

Q: Where does your passion for the spirits industry come from?

A: I’m not sure exactly how my passion for the spirits industry evolved over time from an interest into an obsession, but it was certainly influenced by my time of working for the craft alambic brandy producer Germain-Robin in Ukiah, CA. One of the co-founders, my friend and mentor Hubert Germain-Robin, is a 10th generation artisanal brandy distiller. I owe much to him, and to the company, for instilling in me some of the essential qualities for making exceptional spirits, such as patience, passion for one’s art, and meticulous attention to every detail in production.

Q: Looking ahead, what do you believe is next for the spirits industry? Any new or emerging trends?

A: That’s a tough question, because it is hard to forecast in what directions the industry will turn. However, I’m particularly pleased to see the role of the Master Blender, and not just Master Distiller, finally be appreciated here in the United States. It is a role that has traditionally been celebrated in the Cognac, rum, and Scotch whisky industries, but that has unfortunately had a negative imagine here in the States. It is refreshing to see the art of blending finally being recognized.

Q: To other women in the alcohol beverage industry, what advice would you have for them?

A: To other women in the industry, and especially to young women who are up-and-coming, I would advise them to develop confidence in themselves and in their work. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because of your gender, or for any other reason. By the same token, it is important to also be humble and keep an open mind. There is always something you can learn, no matter how long you’ve been in the industry.

Sherri Carter_women of wine warehouse

Sherri Carter

Old Carter | Owner

Q: If you were shipwrecked on an island and you could have one thing with you aside from food and water, what would it be?

A: Mark Carter! He is my rock, my inspiration and my best friend. I could do without everything else.

Q: Do you have a spirit animal? If so, what is it and why?

A: Mark Carter again. Just kidding. I am a horse girl. My mom was riding an appaloosa stallion when she was pregnant with me, so I was born to ride and have had horses all my life! Today I have a big Friesian mare named Maryka. She is a huge jet black horse and appears somewhat intimidating due to her size. She is not! But riding her is like flying in a dream. She is my Dragon. I went to jail for her once. But that is really another story.

Q: Where did your interest in the alcohol beverage industry start?

A: Oddly enough, no one in my family drank bourbon, and although I had lived and studied in Italy during my college years, I had no appreciation for wine at that time! It was when I moved to the west coast and settled in Northern California that I discovered not only the incredible wines of that region, but also fell into a blind tasting group which met every Monday night sharing bottles from all over the world. This small, cut-throat crew brought incredible bottles to share every week. Wine soon became an intense passion for me as week after week my palate became more attuned to the nuances of varietals and regions. I took copious notes and learned a lot. This led to more tastings in the area, especially with Mark Carter of Restaurant 301 whose wine collection of over 3500 selections at the Hotel Carter inspired me to explore even more (in addition to his brand Carter Cellars which began in 1998). Mark and I fell in love, bought a winery and moved to Napa, and I began my own wine brand, Ruby Kurant, there in 2008. In addition to selecting barrels and blending the wines, I also did all of my own package design and the labels featured various paintings which I created. That was a great experience and I produced half a dozen Rhone blends over the years. All of the wine led to whiskey, but that is another story.

Q: Having started your career in wine, what has it been like transitioning to spirits?

A: I absolutely love working with spirits. I do love wine, and have a huge appreciation for the entire industry and process after living at our working winery for 8 years in Calistoga. But wine is tough! You really are at the mercy of Mother Nature every single year. Having grown up on a small family farm in Ohio, I knew all about crops and harvests and that was no different. Once we began working with spirits, I felt the pressure of that lift and found myself lost in individual barrels and all of their intense subtleties, like a painter with a vast new set of paints and a lot of blank canvas at my fingertips. I absolutely fell in love with blending whiskey! It is a very creative process without the intensity of being at the mercy of the weather.

Q: What inspires you?

A: Everything! I am an artist and an author. I wrote a book called Daily Decadence: The Art of Sensual Living in 2012 which is a collection of short stories, literary recipes and wine tasting notes based on my wanderings and wine escapades over the years. This book really outlines my motto for living which is to always be open to the inspiration swirling all around you every day, from a feather found in the grass to the most sublime wine made by someone halfway around the world, ten years before the day you opened it. The key is to stay aware and open – then the possibilities for inspiration are really everywhere! I draw and paint when I can, and I designed our Old Carter labels with one of my original woodcuts, Heavy Horse.

Q: To other women in the alcohol beverage industry, what advice would you have for them?

A: To trust yourself, your own palate, and your own unique mental library of flavors and aromas. It is an extremely subjective industry, more art than science to me. The only way to build that library is by tasting as much as you can and keeping good notes on it all. And spitting!

Alison Evanow_women of wine warehouse

Allison Evanow

Square One Organic Spirits | Founder & Master Distiller

Certified women-owned brand by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council

Allison founded Square One Organic Spirits with the sole mission of creating innovative organic spirits and cocktails with an eco-conscious mindset. In 2004, as a spirits industry veteran, Allison saw that many producers used artificial ingredients and additives in their spirits and she wondered why none of them were approaching distillation with the same farm-to-table philosophy employed by chefs. Allison discovered that there were almost no certified organic spirits on the market at the time, and to her knowledge, none that dedicated an entire company to making exclusively organic spirits.

kiki braverman_women of wine warehosue

Kiki Braverman

Pür Spirits | Founder & Master Distiller

Certified women-owned brand by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council

Kiki who, like many of her fellow entrepreneurs, happened upon her passion for distilling somewhat circuitously. Growing up in Bavaria, Germany, she developed a deep love of nature and respect for the environment. This love took her across the globe, exploring different career paths and eventually settling in Northern California. Yet somehow, she always found herself returning to her first love: the seasonal ingredients, biodynamic cultivation and craft distilling traditions of her native Bavaria.

Melly Barajas_women of wine warehouse

Melly Barajas Cardenas

La Gritona Tequila | Master Distiller

Melly is a clothing businesswoman turned tequila master distiller. “My clothing business was very comfortable. I went to the office, went home, it was easy. But once I was in the tequila industry, I loved it. The smell, the taste, it was marvelous.” She truly believes that women “can do everything they want to, we are no better or worse than men. It’s difficult, but we can definitely do what we want. The sky’s the limit.”

Mhairi Voelsgen_women of wine warehouse

Mhairi Voelgsen

BroVo Spirits | Founder & Master Distiller

Mhairi Voelsgen is the Founder and CEO of BROVO Spirits. She started BROVO in 2011 after working in marketing and design. BROVO is focused on making modifiers- vermouth, Amari and liqueurs- from all natural ingredients, using recipes created by bartenders. Mhairi enjoys working hand in hand with bartenders, to create new products that taste great and are made from grown in the ground ingredients. Mhairi spends her free time exploring new restaurants, knitting, reading and watching Jack Ryan movies with her husband Chris and son Joey.


Barbara Groom_women of wine warehouse

Barbara Groom

Lost Coast Brewery | Founder & Brewmaster

Barbara is unconventional, to say the least. She grew up wanting to be a skier, even though she lived on a farm in Stockton, California – a place where the climate ranges from hot to…well…really hot. She sold makeup as an Avon representative, having never worn the stuff herself. She became a pharmacist when that occupation was almost entirely male-dominated.

Some people might turn to drinking beer when they’re bored. Barbara? She decided to make it. And it turns out that she really, really liked doing it. After years of searching, she had finally found that elusive intersection where passion and talent met.

When Barbara started Lost Coast, microbreweries weren’t what you would call a “thing.” The little guy simply couldn’t compete with the big boys. But Barbara was determined to turn her passion for brewing beer into a sustainable – and profitable – business.

Breakthru Beverage California South

6550 E. Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90040

Breakthru Beverage California North

912 Harbour Way South
Richmond, CA 94804