5 Women Leading Change in the Wine Industry




Even though the wine industry is considered to be a male-dominated industry, women are making a name for themselves and their brands.  Women leading in the wine industry meet up at like annual events like the Women in Wine Leadership Symposium (WWLS).  

Women producers, trade and communicators, veterans, and newbies talk about wine and careers.  The following list will give you a summary of five women who are revitalizing and leading the wine industry in more ways than one.

Krista Scruggs

Krista Scruggs - Leading women in wine

Krista Scruggs, the owner, and winegrower of ZAFA Wines in Vermont, never intended on entering the wine industry.  She had aspirations to be a firefighter.  During the process of becoming a firefighter, a friend helped her to get a job at Constellation Brands in 2013 as a bulk shipping coordinator.  

From there, she went to work for winegrowers in other parts of the United States and abroad.  She attained a position as an assistant winemaker for La Garagista Farm & Winery in Vermont before left to become the vineyard manager of Ellison Estate Vineyard and owner of ZAFA Wines.

One of Scruggs famous wines is featured in our article about finding the perfect Black-owned wine for you.

This next winemaker started with an education in agriculture as she worked her way up into the dynamics of making wine and specializing in Sauvignon Gris and Riesling.

Viviana Navarrete

Viviana Navarrete - women leading the wine industry

Viviana Navarrete is the chief winemaker of Vina Leyda in Leyda Valley, Chile.  Her background in agricultural studies from Pontifical Catholic University set the foundation for her specialization in winemaking.  

She became chief winemaker at Vina Leyda in 2007.  Her goal is to produce the best cool climate wine in Chile.  Navarrete is known in the wine industry as an innovator and one of Chile's few winemakers to produce Sauvignon Gris and Riesling, which has earned her great recognition.

Women making moves in the wine industry did not start in the twenty-first century but began many years prior.

Madeline Triffon

Madeline Triffon - women leading change in wine industry

Madeline Triffon’s recognition as the first woman master sommelier in the country dates back to 1985.  At this time, the ninth American and second female in the world to pass the rigorous Master Sommelier (MS) test.  

She earned the name “Detroit’s first lady of wine.”  Triffon has fulfilled a list of high-end roles ranging from director of wine and beverages for the Unique Restaurant Corporation to somme at the famous organic chain, Plum Market, located in the Midwest.  She continues to serve as a board member of the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Young and innovative women are taking on the wine industry by storm and earning well-deserved accolades.

Alpana Singh

Alpana Singh - women leading change in wine industry

As a second-generation Indian American, Alpana Singh was the youngest woman to receive the title of master sommelier when she was 21 years old.  She was raised in California.  

She developed an imposing resume as she paved the way for many other women on the same path.  Singh has worn many hats, including food show host, author, columnist, and wine-centric restaurant founder.  

She admired among her wine industry peers for putting education first and her approachable personality.  Since she was 23 years old, she has led prominent restaurant wine programs like Everest.  

She is widely known for being the reason behind the James Beard Awards taking place in Chicago a few years ago.

This leading cellarmaster has farming in her bones and almost two decades of experience in wine.

Gabrielle Bouby-Malagu

Gabrielle Bouby-Malagu - women leading change in wine industry

This leading woman is the deputy cellarmaster of Champagne Gosset in Champagne, France.  Gabrielle Bouby-Malagu was raised in a Loire Valley farming family and holds 17 years of experience dealing in sparkling wine.  

Her degree is in enology from the French Wine and Vine Institute.  Her main career focus has been on Champagne as the cellarmaster at the Hautvillers cooperative.  

Bouby-Malagu has worked over a decade to instill quality and sustainability initiatives to revitalize the wine program and launch the premium brand Helene Delhery.

As you can see, men are not the only ones who know their wines.  These women represent a diverse and innovative group that has broken some stereotypes in the wine industry and paved the way for other females considering a career in wine.  

Whether you are just curious to see the female behind some of the wine brands you have seen online while or you want to know more about what it means to be female in the wine industry, these women can give you a jumpstart and good overview of what that path looks like and what it takes to pursue it.

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