Years ago, when my friend and wine colleague Julie Johnson  (today of Tres Sabores) was making waves in Women for WineSense, I went to meetings and was so impressed by her and the group. She had her finger on the pulse (and still does).  At that time, little did I know that when she was going to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, with my husband Jose, none of us knew that we’d all be getting together in California one fine day. But, that day did come, and I’m so happy that we’re all on the same page, with this mutual history.

Now, Women for WineSense continues and Marcia Macomber from this group reached out to me. I’ve just become so busy being a woman, trying to make WineSense for everyone else, that I’ve been ignoring to take any time for my own soul in this regard; i.e., hanging out with other women and celebrating what each of us uniquely brings to the table.

This group has some exciting things going on this year as it celebrates 25 successful years; and as a public service, I’m going to be sharing.

My first share for the group

Women for WineSense launches contest for Women in Wine event

The Napa | Sonoma chapter of Women for WineSense (WWS) has launched a contest to select the speakers at their annual “Women in Wine” event, which will be held on March 5, 2015, at the Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center in Napa at 6 p.m. For the past seven years, the discussion panelists have been chosen by the chapter’s board of directors. This year the panelists will be chosen by popular vote in order to encourage greater member and fan engagement.

WWS Members and the public may nominate and vote on women in the wine business they would like to see on the discussion panel via the chapter’s website or Facebook page  throughout the month of January. In February, the winning “women in wine” receiving the greatest number of votes will be invited to appear on the March 5th discussion panel.

Christine L. Mueller, President of the Napa | Sonoma chapter, explained, “Putting the selection of the panelists in our members’ and fans’ hands has long been a goal to empower our membership.” She continued, “Anyone may submit a nominee to appear on the panel. And if she receives some of the most votes—and is local and available to appear—she’ll be sitting on the stage at Napa Valley College’s Performing Arts Center theatre on March 5th to share her wit and wisdom about her career in the wine industry. It will make for the most exciting ‘Women in Wine’ panels we’ve ever had! We’ve long known our Women for WineSense members are the most dynamic and resourceful group in Napa and Sonoma; and we couldn’t think of a better way to tap into their knowledge than to ask for their help in creating this event.”


Participants may win 2-for-1 tickets to “Women in Wine” on March 5th, gift certificates and more prizes by nominating great women in wine to serve on the panel discussion! There is no limit on the number of nominees participants may submit to the contest. And the public may vote daily on their favorite nominees.

In this story contest, participants are encouraged to write why they believe their nominee is the best to serve on the discussion panel and encourage others to vote via their social channels. Voters may also attach their comments to each nomination, if they wish.

To enter, visit the chapter’s website, its Facebook contest page, or its mobile contest site. Winners will be selected after February 2nd, announcing both the winning “Women in Wine” panelists as well as the winning participants.


“Women in Wine” will be held at Napa Valley College’s Performing Arts Center on March 5th, at 6 p.m., honoring International Women’s Day (March 8) a few days early, as well as kicking off the chapter’s 25th anniversary celebration. The event’s reception, slated for the theatre’s lobby, will include a mini-trade show featuring food, wine and exhibitor tables before moving into the main theatre for the panel discussion.

Early bird ticket pricing ($35 for members, $65 for non-members, and $25 for WWS student members) applies throughout January during the contest. Once the contest finishes on February 2nd, ticket prices go up to $65 for members, $95 for non-members, and the panelists will be announced. Tickets are available now at:


The chapter’s full 2015 calendar of events can be found at: And to receive a magnet with the chapter’s event schedule, contact Rebecca Barbaree, Communications Director at Prior to their March event, the chapter will hold “Bubbles Meetup” at Sigh in Sonoma on January 22nd and the first of its 2015 Tasting Series (formerly Wednesday Wine Club): “Wines of the Loire Valley” at Back Room Wines in Napa on February 12th.

Women for WineSense is a not-for-profit organization 501(c)6 formed in 1990 as a way to help its members advance their careers in the wine industry, providing educational events as well as aid wine enthusiasts in developing their wine knowledge. The Napa|Sonoma WWS chapter currently has more than 325 members of which 70% are professionals in the wine industry. For information about becoming a member, please email our Membership Director, Ellen Reich Luchtel at, or visit: