Wine industry veteran Amy Bess Cook is crowdfunding to expand her effort to elevate women winemakers and their vineyards — and bring their bottles to wine lovers’ front doors.
Cook, who led branding and marketing at California winemakers for nearly two decades, launched a website, Woman-Owned Wineries, last fall in response to the persistent dearth of female leaders in the industry.
Even though a roughly equal number of men and women graduate from winemaking programs, only 10 percent of California’s lead winemakers and 4 percent of winery owners are women. Through her website, which features a directory of women winery owners, Cook aims to help those women expand their client bases and strengthen their businesses.
Related: Listen to our podcast on a woman winemaker who was on the U.S. ski team.
The directory currently focuses on businesses in Sonoma County, Calif. But as Cook grows Woman-Owned Wineries — with the help of crowdfunding — she plans to expand that list to include women-run wineries all over the country.
Cook also intends to establish a wine club that will deliver high-quality bottles produced by female-owned wineries to members’ doorsteps monthly. Deliveries will include discount offers from a featured winery of the month, along with the backstory on the woman calling the shots.
For Cook, supporting women-owned businesses is a priority, because “when women are stronger, all of society is stronger,” she says. As a bonus, her endeavor ensures “we all get to drink some incredible wine along the way!”
The Money: Cook has until May 21 to raise $25,000 through her crowdfunding campaign with iFundWomen. She will use that money to cover development costs for Woman-Owned Wineries, including hiring staff, covering shipping fees on wine and refining her website.
Related: Read about other women crowdfunders we’ve featured.