While the wine industry has traditionally been ruled by men, over the last 20 years, a battle of the sexes has evolved, and an increasing number of women are participating in all aspects of the wine industry, becoming winery owners, sommeliers, writers, educators, winemakers, and vineyard managers. From the way they purchase, taste and evaluate wine, women have made a lasting impression.
“About 80 percent of wine purchase decisions are made by women,” said Mary Ann Vangrin, Director of Communications and Social Media at The Wine Sisterhood, a digital community promoting wine conversations to engage female consumers. “This creates a huge female marketplace.” (Check out expert Aliza Sherman discussing The Wine Sisterhood community)
And more women are pouring into the marketplace. At the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, June 17-19, where genConnect will be official press, the lineup of presenters includes a number of talented female wine experts. Not only do these experts hold advanced positions in the industry, they are making revolutionary changes to the way we think about and value wine.
“The most impressive thing about these women is their level of enthusiasm and level of engagement,” said Vangrin. “It’s so much fun to watch women have fun with wine. They’ve grown the entire industry.”
genConnect was so impressed with the quality of experts who will be in attendance at the Food & Wine Classic, we wanted to share a few of their bios with you:
- Belinda Chang
Chicago native Belinda Chang has quite a reputation in the world of wine. She has ruled the wine cellars of Chicago and San Francisco's top restaurants. She is leading the charge for women in the wine industry with honors like 2005 and 2007 Wine Spectator Restaurant Award of Excellence, "Best New Wine List" in 2007 from Food & Wine Magazine, and more recently, the 2011 James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Wine Service.
Chang is one of an increasing number of women sommeliers behind the wine lists at America’s top restaurants. She joined restaurateur Danny Meyer in 2007 as the Wine Director of The Modern in New York's Museum of Modern Art and has since made big changes to the restaurant's wine list. Chang looks to share her vino expertise with two wine seminars at the 2011 Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado: Bling vs. Bargain: Guess the Wine Price and Classic and Modern Bordeaux.
- Marnie Old
Sommelier and author Marnie Old is one of the country’s leading wine personalities and there is not much she hasn't touched in the world of wine.
She hosts Philly.com’s weekly wine webisode series, writes a humorous wine column for the Philadelphia Daily News, teaches for New York's Astor Center and is the founding education chairperson for the American Sommelier Association. What a gal!
Much like her fellow wine women, Marnie has contributed to and reinvented wine programs, achieved through her independent consulting venture, Old Wines LLC. She has been twice honored for her innovative wine lists as among the country’s “Ten Best New Wine Lists". Marnie will partake in Spanish Grapes: Hot Red & Cool White and Sommelier Secrets, two exciting wine seminars at this year's Food & Wine Classic.
- Lynn Penner-Ash
Lynn Penner-Ash's love of winemaking was born young, in her senior year at the University of California Davis. After UC Davis, Lynn worked at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars for four years. She joined the Oregon wine industry in 1988 as winemaker for Rex Hill Winery. Consistently producing award-winning wines, she became Rex Hill’s President and Chief Operating Officer in 1993.
In 1998, Lynn started Penner-Ash Wine Cellars. The business' early success established Penner-Ash wines as among the finest in Oregon. With a nearly unmatched winemaking expertise Penner-Ash has achieved impressive growth. She will join other restaurant experts for a cooking demo titled Lexus Presents "It's Willamette, Dammit!" at the 29th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, CO.
- Andrea Robinson
But that's just the beginning. She is a 3-time James Beard Foundation Award winner, 2005 Wine Literary Award winner, 2005 International Association of Culinary Professionals cookbook award winner, consultant to Brinker International restaurants, Hyatt Hotels, Hilton and Olive Garden on their beverage and training programs, and regular speaker for the National Restaurant Association.
With 5 top-selling books on wine and a DVD wine course series to her name, it's easy to see why she is a inspiration to wine women everywhere. Andrea will lead wine seminars The Age of Argentina and Wine Pairing Tricks of the Trade on June 17 and 18 at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.
- Leslie Sbrocco
“Life . . . drink it up!” That is the motto of Leslie's ThirstyGirl.com, a multi-media company dedicated to all things wine.
The motto is fitting, as Leslie Sbrocco is known for her entertaining and enthusiastic approach to wine and food. Author of three wine guides and host of PBS shows Check Please! and The Winemakers. Leslie is also a well-renowned wine consultant, having created wine programs for companies like Kimpton Hotels and Virgin America Airlines.
She will be putting her talents to work as the host of Wine Jeopardy and Australian All-Stars, just a few of several wine seminars at this year's Food & Wine Classic on June 17-19 in Aspen, Colorado.
By Kelly Burke/genConnect.com Staff
For more on wine from genConnect:
- Time For a Wine Trip? By Kelly Hayes
- A Great Gift for the Wino in Your Life
- The Best One-Day Sales on Wine
- 2.5 Minutes with Aliza Sherman: The Wine Sisterhood
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Share with us your thoughts about these impressive women in the comments box below.