A Sonoma Wine Club Is Raising a Glass to Female Winemakers

Amy Bess Cook has launched a crowdfunding campaign to expand Woman-Owned Wineries — and showcase women producing ‘incredible’ wine.

Bernadette Berdychowski By Bernadette Berdychowski

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.

Posted: April 3, 2018

Bernadette BerdychowskiA Sonoma Wine Club Is Raising a Glass to Female Winemakers