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.
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.