My new endeavor, Woman-Owned Wineries, has promised to deliver a nationwide directory of female wine entrepreneurs. We’re ten days late and still need a few more to get things right–but dang if we’re not making it happen.
In practical terms, here’s what it looks like to create that massive document:
—> Start with a local directory that we built by hand last fall (50+ entries).
—> Supplement by obtaining a huge spreadsheet of data (600+ entries) from the goddesses at MAIA.community, a burgeoning directory of woman-owned companies.
—> Find two capable, extraordinarily detail-oriented assistants to check the data and add
any missing wineries (now 900+ entries). They rock it out, hard.
—> Personally check every single entry, contacting the wineries personally in instances where there is a question. At this point, I’ve contacted 300+ wineries.
From the research and responses, I’ve learned story after story about hardworking wineries owner. Each not only helps power me through another couple dozen rows of Excel, it reminds me of why this project is necessary.
- A woman in Kansas runs a winery and ranch that engages developmentally challenged adults in good work.
- An Idaho native, after 20 years in the California wine biz, returns to her home state to launch her own label, using mostly Idaho-grown grapes.
- A third-generation beef cattle farmer in Missouri saw fit to transform her ranch to vineyard.
- A woman in Illinois runs a wildlife refuge and makes dry Riesling on the side.
These women exist in addition to the hundreds of others working shoulder-to shoulder in the male-dominated industry in top production states like California, Washington, and Oregon.
I personally find it refreshing to encounter a winery story that doesn’t begin with “wealthy exec retires to Napa to live the wine country dream”. That’s all fine and good–but is a narrative that ignores the efforts of so many other hardworking people.
I haven’t tasted many of these women’s wines (although you can bet I’m on the task…). They’re out there, awaiting discovery and possibly ready to challenge our notions of what wine can be. At the very least, these women demonstrate hard work that demands respect. So let’s all recognize.
Like this project? Woman-Owned Wineries is crowdfunding via iFundwomen, a crowdfunding platform that shares our commitment to leveling the entrepreneurial playing field.