There are hundreds of thousand of ambitious and creative women in the wine industry around the world. Women fall into every category of the wine industry in every job description imaginable. This list of 5 of the most powerful and influential women in the wine industry, but it represents only a handful of talented women in a variety of significant roles who are making a difference in the global wine industry.
1. Powerful CEO Changing the Image and Quality of Chinese Wines: Judy Leissner of Grace Vineyards, China
Judy Leissner (nee Chen Fang) is the force behind Grace Vineyards of Shaanxi, China. In the 12 years after Leissner has inherited the reigns of the vineyard from her father (she was only 24 years old at the time), she has turned it into the most recognized Chinese wine in the world. You may not have heard of Grace Vineyards wine, if you don’t do alot of travel to and from China as they are still only producing for China (listen to her business strategy in the video below), but they are producing over two million bottles a year. Leissner is the driving force behind the changing image of Chinese wines. Their high quality wines have definitely raised the bar on the Chinese wine scene. Read more about Judy Leissner.
2. Award-Winning Wine Author, Wine Journalist and Speaker: Debra Meiburg (MW), Asian Wine Market
Debra Meiburg MW (Masters of Wine) is a wine journalist, award-winning wine author and wine educator. She was the first Asia-based person to receive her Masters of Wine. She has positioned herself as one of the foremost experts on the Asian Wine Market and speaks all over the world. As founder of the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Competition and author of Debra Meiburg’s Complete Wine Trade Guide Series which includes 6 of the biggest Asian markets, her influence in promoting the Asian Wine Market to the world is felt and continues to grow. Read more about Debra Meiburg MW.
3. Costco USA Director of Wine Purchasing and Consumer Wine Influencer: Annette Alvarez-Peters, United States of America
3) Annette Alvarez-Peters is the Director of Wine Purchasing for the US retailer Costco and therefore her wine choices influence hundreds of thousands of American consumers. In her role, she is responsible for over 1 Billion US dollars in wine sales per year. While she doesn’t have formal wine training, she has worked hard to learn the field and rise up through the ranks at Costco. Her hard work paid off as she now leads a team of 17 wine buyers, responsible for buying all 200 types of wines for 337 stores in 34 states. Read more about Annette Alvarez-Peters.
4. Wine Critic, Best-Selling Wine Author and Wine Advisor to the British Queen: Jancis Robinson (MW), England
Jancis Robinson MW is author of some of the foremost wine literature in the field including Oxford Companion to Wine and Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties Including Their Origins & Flavours. She is the Financial Times wine columnist and was at one point wine advisor to the Queen of England. Winemakers around the world strive to be included in her tasting notes and wine enthusiasts worldwide seek out her notes when choosing wines. You can follow her notes on her Purple Pages Digest or on her Youtube Channel. Read more titles by Jancis Robinson MW.
5. Viticulturist and Winemaker, American Wine Royalty and Wine Industry Leader: Gina Gallo, Global Wine Industry
1) Gina Gallo is the Chief Winemaker at Gallo Family Vineyards which is part of the E & J Gallo Wine Enterprise and is a past president of the International Wine & Spirit Competition. While she was born into the American royal family of wine she worked hard to achieve her role. Gallo worked summers at the E & J Gallo Winery, graduated from UC Davis’ world renowned Viticulture and Enology program and apprenticed under 30-year wine veteran Marcello Monticello before taking on her current role. While the company has always done an excellent job keeping up with industry trends, she was at the forefront of putting out Gallo Moscato which hooked on to the rising American Muscat trend. Then just like in the days of yore, the Princess of American wine married the Prince of Burgundy’s largest family wine producer, Jean-Charles Boisset, creating the strongest wine union in history.
If you are a woman in the wine industry looking to develop your career and make some great connections check out Women of the Vine Alliance, Women for WineSense and the annual Women in Wine Leadership Symposium.