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Women of the Vine & Spirits Founder & CEO, Deborah Brenner has been championing women for 15 years, securing their legacies in the wine, beer and spirits industry. Her mission began when she wrote Women of the Vine: Inside the World of Women Who Make, Taste, and Enjoy Wine  - a bestselling book highlighting the careers of 20 women in the wine industry.

 

YEP! 15 YEARS have gone by since we as readers took that unique journey into wine country to uncover the remarkable stories of the dynamic women in the world of wine.To celebrate this 15-year milestone, Deborah reached back out to the women in this book for an update on their life now to find out what’s happened in the last 15 years!? Where are they now? What are they doing? How has their story unfolded since 2006?

 

We are honored to bring you, once again, a glimpse into the lives of Stephanie Browne, Marketta Fourmeaux, Gina Gallo, Stephanie Gallo, Lee Miyamura, Kimberlee Nicholls, Michele Ostrove, Leslie Sbrocco, and Signe Zoller. We are also honored to celebrate the life of Milla Handley, who sadly passed away in 2020.

 

Grab that glass of wine, beer or your favorite spirit, sit back, relax and read on to celebrate what started a beautiful journey in this industry for Deborah and so many “women of the vine” as we get to know these co-creators, change-makers, and curators just a little bit better.

 

 

 

Catch Up with the "Women of the Vine®" Below

Stephanie Browne

"During the last 15 years I have learned a lot about myself. I had to have resilience, acknowledge areas where confidence was lacking, go where I could not see the outcomes, trust my skills, and rely on others. Acknowledging and experiencing these vulnerabilities has made me stronger, wiser, trusting and more accepting of it takes a village to be successful."

 

 

 

Mila Handley

"My mother was someone who fearlessly walked her own path," said Milla Louisa "Lulu" McClellan, Handley's daughter and Handley Cellars' President. "She was passionate about making wine and working for herself, and never thought of herself as unusual or brave for pursuing these things at a time when it was rare to see women in these roles."

 

 

Marketta Fourmeaux

"An enormous challenge happened when we sold the winery in 2007 and had to split the assets. I discovered human greed in a hard way. When I made the wines and developed the vineyards I put my heart, soul and intellect to do the best I could, with success. It took six years of pressuring to wear me out; I gave up. I lost everything I had developed and in a very sad way. After years of hardship, I became a better person. My life opened to new values and a happy existence."

 

Lee Miyamura

"Don’t get complacent. As much as I enjoyed my long tenure at my previous employer, this opportunity to see the wine industry from a different angle has been invigorating and energizing. I wish I made a change years ago."

 

 

 

 

Leslie Sbrocco

"Be prepared for your life changing at a moment’s notice and tell yourself,

'Just because my path is now different does not mean I’m lost.'”

 

 

 

Gina Gallo

"Always remember it is ok to change direction. I began my wine career just out of college with the Gallo Sales organization. I hadn’t trusted my instincts to follow my true path. Even when you are passionate about this business, it doesn’t mean your make the right steps. Always give close consideration to whatever it is that calls your attention, because it’s likely that’s where you belong. I listened to my heart, and it led me back to the land and to the cellar."

 

Kimberlee Nicholls

"I think that learning to ask for things is key, if you never learn to ask the answer will always be “no”. As a woman I think we inherently ask more questions, working harder to figure out how to get what we need to succeed."

 

 

 

 

 

Signe Zoller

"2007 was a difficult year for a business. It proved disastrous to me. I listened to the wrong advice and lost my investment. That was over ten years ago. With the help of my sons, I’ve picked things up again, but it was a hard lesson. Note to self: Look before you leap."

 

Stephanie Gallo

"I’ve realized it is more important than ever to lead with an enormous amount of flexibility, empathy, compassion and gratitude. This became the framework for how we approached our work at Gallo, and often our personal lives, too."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michele Ostrove

"I’ve learned that it is possible to reinvent your life many times over by having imagination, a willingness to take risks, and a positive outlook. It has been clear to me that I can help and inspire others in countless ways by always striving to always be my best self. I now understand how experiencing a devastating loss shows you what you’re capable of."