Home Industry News Releases Women for WineSense unveils Women in Wine panelists

Women for WineSense unveils Women in Wine panelists


Women for WineSenseSonoma, California | February 16, 2015: The Napa | Sonoma chapter of Women for WineSense (WWS) unveiled the winners of their “Women in Wine” contest to appear as discussion panelists at their annual “Women in Wine” event, which will be held on March 5, 2015, on the stage of Napa Valley College’s Performing Arts Center in Napa at 6 p.m. They are: Karen MacNeil, wine writer and author of The Wine Bible; Penny Gadd-Coster, Executive Winemaker of Rack and Riddle; Jillian Johnson, Winemaker and Vintner of Onesta Wines; Cynthia Cosco, Winemaker and Vintner of Passaggio Wines; Theresa Dorr, CMO of Active Consulting; Shelley Lindgren, Owner and Wine Director of A16 and SPQR restaurants, San Francisco, and A16 Rockridge restaurant, East Bay; and Rebecca Jenkins, CEO of Clarbec Wines and CFO of Madrone Vineyard Management in Sonoma. The panel discussion will be moderated by KSRO’s “On the Wine Road” Host, Jeff Davis.

Christine L. Mueller, President of the Napa | Sonoma chapter, explained, “By putting selection of the panelists in our members’ and fans’ hands, the resulting 2015 panel is far more diverse than we could ever have come up with ourselves. We’re thrilled with the women in wine selected by our contest participants. We had nearly 50 nominations and more than 600 votes in the contest.” She continued, “Each year our objective is to bring the most dynamic, accomplished and exciting women in the wine industry together for one night where our members and guests can hear from them about their careers and hard-earned knowledge. We’re eagerly looking forward to hear what these women have to say about their experiences; advice to those coming up through the ranks; and their predictions for their own career developments as well as for the wine industry overall.”


The event honors International Women’s Day (March 8) a few days early, as well as kicks 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. It is open to the public, and tickets are available through Feb. 23rd at: https://WWS-WomeninWine2015.eventbrite.com.


Karen MacNeil, wine writer and author of “The Wine Bible,” is president of Karen MacNeil and Company, and is one of the foremost wine experts in the United States. Author of the award-winning book, “The Wine Bible,” which is recognized as “the most comprehensive and authoritative book on wine written by an American author,” her articles on wine and food have been published in The New York Times, Food and Wine, U.S.A. Today, Cooking Light and much more. She was also NBC Today Show’s first wine correspondent. Learn more on WWS’ blog post.

Penny Gadd-Coster, Executive Winemaker, Rack & Riddle, is second-in-command overseeing more than 60 employees. She oversees Rack & Riddle’s three winemaking facilities, and leads a team of seven winemakers/enologists who produce over one million cases of award-winning wine annually on behalf of its custom crush and private label clientele. She is also an entrepreneur with her own brand, Coral Mustang, making Tempranillo wines and was named “Winemaker of the Year” in December 2013 in the North Bay Business Journal’s inaugural Wine Industry Awards.

Jillian Johnson, Winemaker and Vintner of Onesta Wines, is a U.C. Davis graduate. She returned from 3 years abroad to become Associate Winemaker at Bonny Doon. She played a major role in the transition to biodynamic winemaking at Bonny Doon. Fast forward a few years and she started her own passion project as Winemaker and Vintner of Onesta Wines. Her wines are a library of her life and each year tells a different story and adventure.

Cynthia Cosco, Winemaker and Vintner, Passaggio Wines, left a 15-year law enforcement career to pursue her passion and family tradition of winemaking. She began her wine career at BevMo. Then she moved on to become a wine chemist in the lab, taking enology classes at Napa Valley College, and started to make her own wine. After serving as winemaker for Crushpad, Cindy decided it was time to devote her full-time attention to growing her Passaggio brand. In 2012, she moved production to DogPatch Wine Works in San Francisco. And now, she is very proud to present the Passaggio Wines Tasting Room in Sonoma.

Theresa Dorr, CMO, Active Consulting, is a leader in direct-to-consumer sales in the wine, hospitality and specialty food industries. Since 2000 Theresa led the shift in wine clubs from being a source of pain to high-growth recurring revenue opportunities. As Co-founder and President/CEO of Active Club Solutions (ACS) she brought the first cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) to the industry, generated double- and triple-digit growth for ACS, and led the company to be a recognized leader in the wine industry. Also known within the industry as the “Queen of Clubs,” she is a published writer; works with software and wineries to grow; and continues to bring new applications to the wine industry.

Shelley Lindgren, Owner and Wine Director of A16 and SPQR in San Francisco, and A16 Rockridge, is one of the nation’s most celebrated experts on wine and pairing. Shelley has been named “Best New Sommelier” by Wine & Spirits, “Best Wine Director” by San Francisco magazine and was nominated for “Best Wine Service” by the James Beard Foundation for four consecutive years since 2010. She has also co-authored the award-winning “A16: Food & Wine” cookbook and wine guide and released the “SPQR: Food & Wine” book in late 2012. She is involved in a number of community organizations, including Woman Chefs & Restaurateurs and Les Dames d’Escoffier.

Rebecca Jenkins, CEO, Clarbec Wines; and CFO, Madrone Vineyard Management, has managed the office of Madrone Vineyard Management since 1987. Becky is very involved in the community and the Sonoma County’s grape growing scene. She was the president of the Sonoma County Grape Growers Association in 2003, a member of the Sonoma Valley Vintner and Growers, a member of the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce, volunteer at the Sonoma Valley Wine Auction, volunteer of the for Dancing and Dragging fund-raiser, and founded the Sonoma County Pruning Contest. She was also awarded the Award of Excellence from the Women and Industry in 2003. She is currently an alternate for the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission Board.

Discussion Moderator, Jeff Davis is host of KSRO’s “On The Wine Road” 1350 AM and 103.5 FM, talking with wine makers and growers about their craft. With 28 years in radio and 26 years of voicing and producing commercials, Jeff Davis has become a nationally respected producer and voiceover artist.


Panelists were selected by popular vote, nominated and submitted by WWS members and the public. Winners of the prizes were calculated through a combination of contest engagements, including getting other subscribers to participate in the contest; sharing their nominees to social channels; and voting on a daily basis. Winning prizes valued at more than $1,300 include Grand Prize winner, Noelia Garcia; Jennifer Grant, 1st Place; Michaela Rodeno, 2nd Place; Stephanie Molini, 3rd Place; Lee Earons, 4th Place; Carrie Peterson, 5th Place; and Cynthia Wood, 6th Place.


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. The chapter’s full 2015 calendar of events can be found at: http://wwsnapasonoma.com/events. For information about becoming a member, please email our Membership Director, Ellen Reich Luchtel at [email protected], or visit: http://wwsnapasonoma.com/join-our-membership/.

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