Spotlight on Women in the Wine Industry

As a female-founded wine brand, we love shining a spotlight on other women who have made and continue to make their mark on our industry.  From a determined and defiant anti-Prohibitionist to the first female Master of Wine, each woman profiled below has made a unique impact on the wine industry.  What do they all have in common?  They are all so impressive.  

Isabelle Simi | Determined + Defiant Anti-Prohibitionist 

Isabelle’s father and uncle died just weeks apart from the flu in 1904 — leaving her at the helm of a winemaking dynasty at just 18 years old.  After taking over leadership of her family’s winery, she insisted on steel reinforcements and solidly built structures on the property, which helped the winery avoid natural disasters during the the Great Earthquake of 1906. During Prohibition, she sidestepped the law by making and cellaring sacramental wine for church. When Prohibition ended, Isabelle had a 25,000-gallon cask ready to be sold at her tasting room — allowing the family business to thrive during the Great Depression.

Sarah Morphew Stephen | First Female Master of Wine 

Sarah Morphew Stephen became the first female Master of Wine in 1970. Before taking on the mammoth course, Morphew Stephen did every job imaginable in wine, from treading grapes to making wine. The next female to gain MW wasn’t for another six years in 1976. 

Jancis Robinson | Journalist + Wine Critic

Known by global wine publications as "the most respected wine critic and journalist in the world” — Jancis became the first person (male or female) outside of the wine trade to pass the incredibly grueling Master of Wine exams. She did so just nine years after starting her journey in wine as an assistant editor for Wine & Spirit Magazine in 1975. In 2016, Jancis was awarded the Officier de l’Ordre du Merite Agricole, the French version of the Nobel Prize, for her contributions to agriculture. 

MaryAnn Graf | First Female Winemaker in Modern History 

After 40 years in the wine industry, MaryAnn has many “firsts” to her name. She was the first woman to earn a degree in Fermentation Sciences at UC Davis, the first female winemaker of the modern era in California, and the first woman on the Board of Directors of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture. In 2008, she was the recipient of the California State Fair Lifetime Achievement Award.

Kindra Dionne | First Black Woman to Launch Her Own Wine Label

Kindra pivoted from consulting to becoming the founder of the first Black woman-owned wine label in Loudoun County, Virginia — also known as DC's Wine Country. One of her main goals is to make sure people have access to wine that pairs with a diverse assortment of multicultural dishes. By paving a way in the wine industry for herself, she has shown that the love of wine is universal and invites other women of color to enter into the wine industry as well.

Pascaline Lepeltier | First Female Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) Sommelier Lauréate

Out of nine candidates, Pascaline was the only woman nominated for the Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France or "Best Craftsmen of France" competition in the sommelier category. She is the first woman ever to win the award. Pascaline also won Best Sommelier de France at the Union de la Sommellerie — winning the top two French awards in her field.

Dana Spaulding | Our Founder + CEO 

“Are you really going to waste another bottle of wine?”  That was the question that inspired Dana to leave her high-stakes career at J.P. Morgan in 2017 and launch our premium line of single-serve mini wine bottles made with organic grapes.  After obtaining certifications through the Court of Master Sommeliers and the International Wine Guild, Dana began sourcing wines from award-winning, organic vineyards around the world and bottling them in her patented cylindrical bottle that is one-fourth the size of a traditional bottle of wine.  Dana has proven that you really can have your wine and drink it too.