Women in Wine Leadership Symposium Annual Conference Explores Critical Issues for Women in the Wine Industry

In honor of Women’s History Month in March, we asked our affiliate agency in New York City, Cornerstone Communications’ Senior Vice President Beth Cotenoff to share more about this special, invitation only event honoring women of achievement in the wine industry.   Conceived by agency visionary and principal Marsha Palanci it is a veritable who’s who in the world of wine. Enjoy! 


By Beth Cotenoff


The date has been set for the fourth annual Women in Wine Leadership Symposium (WWLS) on Monday, October 5th in New York City. The WWLS, a joint production of The Winebow Group and Cornerstone Communications, was created with the mission to empower and educate women in the wine industry through a series of provocative panel discussions and wine tastings. Launched in 2012, the WWLS has become an annual gathering for leading women wine professionals. Each year since its inception, over 100 attendees, both leaders and “up-and-coming” women in the field, participate in a half-day symposium which brings together winemakers from around the world, sommeliers, retailers, educators, and journalists. 

 Marsha Palanci, Founder/CEO of Cornerstone Communications kicking of the 2014 event

Marsha Palanci, Founder/CEO of Cornerstone Communications kicking of the 2014 event

Through its panel discussions, the WWLS has explored topics such as:
•    Creating and Defining Work-Life Balance
•    Pathways and Strategies for Success
•    Building Key Relationships: Mentoring and Sponsoring
•    Trends in Wine Sales and Marketing

Guided tastings illustrate the passion and commitment to quality of the exceptional women in Winebow’s portfolio. The event also includes lunch and a walk-around tasting showcasing wines from women winemakers and winery principals.  

Mary Ewing-Mulligan, MW, the first woman in the U.S. to achieve the Master of Wine, was the obvious choice of moderator for the launch of this event. For the past two years, Madeline Triffon, MS, the first female Master Sommelier in the U.S., moderated the event and she will reprise this role in October.  

  From left to right: Valentina Argiolas, Argiolas; Maria Pica, Portugal Ramos Family Estates; Ruth Reichl; Izabella Zwack, Dobogó; Autumn Stoscheck, Eve's Cidery

From left to right: Valentina Argiolas, Argiolas; Maria Pica, Portugal Ramos Family Estates; Ruth Reichl; Izabella Zwack, Dobogó; Autumn Stoscheck, Eve's Cidery

A new addition to the 2014 symposium was a keynote speaker: Ruth Reichl. In her opening speech, Reichl delivered a powerful call for societal, cultural and practical change in and outside of the workplace. She touched on a variety of thought-provoking topics, including gender equality, body image and job satisfaction. This year’s keynote speaker will be announced in the near future.   

Past industry panelists have included: Annette Alvarez-Peters, Costco, Virginia Philip, MS, The Breakers and Virginia Philip Wine Shop & Academy, Mary Melton, P.F. Chang’s, Debbie Zachareas, Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, Leslie Sbrocco, author, and founder, Thirsty Girl,  Jordan Salcito, Momofuku, Shelley Lindgren, A16 & SPQR, and many other talented women from all sectors of the industry. Winery panelists have included: Laura Catena, Bodega Catena Zapata, Sandra Tavares, Wine & Soul, Julie Johnson, Tres Sabores, Autumn Stoscheck, Eve's Cidery, and other talented winemakers from around the world.  

 WWLS Guided Tasting

WWLS Guided Tasting

In addition to women in the wine industry, panels have included research experts from Catalyst, a non-profit organization with a mission to expand opportunities for women and business. During last year’s “Pathways and Strategies for Success” panel, Dr. Cynthia Emrich shared research findings which proved strategies for career advancement do not work the same way for women as for men. Dr. Emrich advocated that women gain access to powerful mentors and sponsors, and that women must make their achievements known in order to be successful. 

The Women in Wine Leadership Symposium is guided by an illustrious advisory board: Mary Ewing-Mulligan, MW; Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW; Lisa Granik, MW; Karen King; Linda Lawry, DSW, CWE; MS; Pascaline Lepeltier, MS; Carla Rzeszewski; Melissa Sutherland; Madeline Triffon, MS, and Beth von Benz.

For more information on the Women in Wine Leadership Symposium and highlight videos, visit: http://www.winebow.com/wwls.  Currently the event is by invitation-only.  


All the Swirl is a collections of thoughts and opinions assembled by the staff and industry friends of Charles Communications Associates, a marketing communications firm with its headquarters in San Francisco, California. We invite you to explore more about our company and clients by visiting www.charlescomm.com.