Wine 101 / March 24, 2022

What is it Like to be a Woman in the Wine Industry?

Woman in vineyard testing grapes.

This Women’s History Month we wanted to shine a light on a few women within our Wine Sisterhood network who are leaving their mark on the wine industry. The business of wine is dynamic and relies on support from a range of specialties. Like a beautiful symphony, all of the pieces come together to create the wines you know and love on your favorite store shelves. To help paint a bigger picture, we interviewed four fantastic women with careers spanning the areas of digital strategy, winemaking, wine hospitality, and marketing. 

What else would you like to know about each of these women? Add it in a comment at the end of this post or send it to us on Facebook or Instagram

Jessica Kogan

Jessica Kogan – Digital Strategy Advisor, Vintage Wine Estates 

Jessica Kogan is a thought leader, brand builder, and wine industry marketing innovator. She co-founded think-tank The Digital Voice and Cameron Hughes Wine, one of the first digitally native wine brands in the US. She’s the woman we turn to when we want to know what’s next for the wine industry and how we can create the most exciting physical and digital experiences for our customers. Today, you can find her working on cutting-edge projects that span the beverage, fashion, and beauty industries. Keep an eye out for her, she’s always on the move!

Explain your job in one sentence. 

Digital transformation!

What advice would you tell your younger self when you just got started in the wine industry? 

Do not sweat the small stuff and embrace your distinct voice as a woman.

If you could describe your personality with a wine varietal, what would it be?  

Petite Sirah – rare, deep, bold, and ages beautifully!

What’s your favorite wine/brand from the Wine Sisterhood bottle shop

Laetitia 2018 Brut Coquard – the most amazing bubbles, period.

Tami McKay – Winemaker, Vintage Wine Estates

If you want to know the ins and outs of the grape to glass process, Tami McKay is the person to talk to. She leads a winemaking team responsible for creating beautiful wines you see on store shelves, including Cherry Pie, Cigar, Cosentino, Windsor Vineyards and Layer Cake wines. She’s worked closely with Nancy Walker, another Wine Sister winemaker in our family. Quality and consistency–and deliciousness–are words we would use to describe her incredible work, but we’ll let her elaborate with a few more! Listen to this recent episode of the “Life Between the Vines” podcast to learn even more about Tami.

What first drew you to your career?

While living in the Sonoma Valley, I was invited every year  to help some friends with their home winemaking tasks from crushing to bottling. It was always a great social time, and fun learning something new. Then I had an epiphany!  “I can do this myself!”  So I gathered a group of friends and we started our own wine group that we called “Red Handed Wines.”   

Over the years, we made some really great, award winning wines and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and overcame all the challenges that came our way as novice winemakers. The ability to create something delicious that you can share with family and friends is an amazing feeling! It quickly turned into a passion, and having an artistic and scientific background, I realized that making wine was the perfect blend of art and science! I never looked back!

What does the future look like for women in the wine industry?

It has been amazing to see how many women are becoming involved in the wine industry in so many different capacities. Career opportunities from viticulture, sales, marketing, cellar work, wine chemistry and winemaking are all becoming a more viable and popular choice for women, especially those who love an exciting and challenging work environment. I believe that there is an excellent and prolific future for women in wine!

What’s your all-time favorite food and wine pairing?

I’d have to say that a perfectly grilled and succulent Ribeye Steak with a full-bodied, bold and juicy Zin is probably my favorite.

What’s your favorite wine/brand from the Wine Sisterhood bottle shop?

That’s a tough one! There are so many good wines to choose from! I would have to be a bit biased and choose Cosentino Cigar Zin! That is my favorite wine to make, and, one of my favorites to drink! And it goes really well with a grilled Ribeye steak!

Erin Luby

Erin Luby – Senior Vice President, Tasting Room & Wine Club Operations, Vintage Wine Estates

Erin Luby is the woman to know when you’re looking for an exceptional wine tasting experience in California wine country. She leads a team responsible for organizing wine clubs for award-winning wines and creating tasting room experiences for visitors at wineries across California, Oregon, and Washington state. She’s part of the magic behind the gorgeous Instagram-worthy (and jealousy-inducing) wine flights and pairings folks share from their wine country vacations.   

What first drew you to your career?

In my previous life I was in the healthcare industry following in the footsteps of my mom.  One day I woke up and decided I wanted to pursue a new interest. Within two weeks I had packed up and moved from San Diego to the mecca of wine and food, the Napa Valley. That was 19 years ago!

What does your ideal day at work look like?  

I love how every day in my job can be completely different than the prior day. It keeps things interesting and exciting and is always full of new opportunities and challenges ready to be handled.

What’s your favorite varietal to give as a gift?  


What’s your favorite wine/brand from the Wine Sisterhood bottle shop

Laetitia Brut Cuvee

Jenna Duran

Jenna Duran – Senior Director of Marketing, Vintage Wine Estates

Not only is Jenna Duran the proud owner of Frankie, the official Bar Dog wines spokesdog, she’s also the woman behind the scenes ensuring your favorite wines find their way to your favorite stores and wine shops. She’s part of the team that creates the stories you read on wine bottle back labels and social media profiles, along with the alluring artwork we admire after pulling a bottle off a shelf. She’s a MBA graduate of our hometown college, Sonoma State University, where we offer a yearly scholarship for those pursuing a Master’s degree in Wine Business. 

Explain your job in one sentence.

A limitless cycle of creativity, creation, analysis, refining, and fun!

What advice would you tell your younger self when you just got started in the wine industry?

Never wear white to a wine tasting.

Get a workout routine going now – you’re going to need it with all the wine and food you’ll get to enjoy. 😉

Don’t be afraid to try something new! Failure is inevitable with creativity and innovation; that’s how you learn.

If you could describe your personality with a wine varietal, what would it be? 

Sauvignon Blanc – It’s not too serious, loves the beach, and can’t resist a nice cheese plate.

What’s your favorite wine/brand from the Wine Sisterhood bottle shop?

Bar Dog!!! I may be biased (because my dog’s face is on the Cabernet Sauvignon) but it’s delicious, award-winning AND it helps give back to animal shelters across the country.


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