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Wine Women Welcomes Maria Hunt and Tom Wark as Guest Speakers on January 10th at St. Francis Winery in Santa Rosa


Santa Rosa, California | January 2, 2017: WINE WOMEN, a new, nonprofit professional trade organization focused on advancing women’s careers in the wine industry by fostering and nurturing talent, providing networking and training opportunities, as well as advocating for better opportunities for women in this industry, welcomes Maria Hunt, storyteller and consultant, and Tom Wark, founder of Wark Communications, as guest speakers to its Marketing Forum meeting on Tuesday, January 10th, at St. Francis Winery, in Santa Rosa at 6 p.m. The meeting is open to women and men serving in marketing professions in the wine industry.


Attendees will have an opportunity to network with marketing and social media professionals in the wine industry and explore ways in which they can expand their collective knowledge and leverage their relationships to enhance their careers.

“We are very fortunate to have both Maria Hunt and Tom Wark head up this months’ panel. Blogging and storytelling are essential elements to many brand strategies. I’m certain that Tom and Maria’s advice will provide inspiration for those looking for ways to enhance their marketing strategy in 2017,” stated forum chair, Leah Young.

The meeting is open to members and guests. Non-members may attend forum meetings twice before joining Wine Women. Advance registration is required at:  https://marketing-forum-mtg-st-francis.eventbrite.com


Maria is a brand storyteller adept at driving business by inspiring and engaging online audiences. She is an expert in champagne and international sparkling wines, especially emerging regions, lore and pairings. A Chicago native and graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Maria has authored “The Bubbly Bar,” a champagne and sparkling wine cocktail recipe book and guide published by Random House in 2009. She has wine certifications from the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone and has launched e-commerce email programs to an audience of 13 million subscribers, using data, “story-selling” built around products, and inspiring images. Her freelance writing and visual work has appeared in: Forbes.com, St. Regis Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, Fodor’s Guide, The Daily Sip, Williams-Sonoma Blender blog, Montage Magazine, AARP Magazine, Sunset, Christian Science Monitor, San Francisco Chronicle, Where, Modern Luxury Magazines nationally, Cooking Light, Liquor.com, Saveur, New York Times and Chicago Tribune.


Tom WarkTom began his career as a wine marketer and publicist in 1990. In 1994 he opened his own consultancy, Wark Communications, which serves small and medium sized wineries and wine-related companies with media, communications and marketing services.

Wark has been a forceful advocate for wine consumers’ rights as well as the rights of wineries and retailers to legally access a marketplace overrun by special interest and protectionist legislation that barred legitimate reforms to an alcohol distribution system he, and others, see as archaic and unfair. Some of that work of advocating for change in the wine industry has been done through his writing at FERMENTATION: The Daily Wine Blog, now in its thirteenth year. In 2011, FERMENTATION: The Daily Wine Blog won Best Overall Blog and Best Industry/Business Blog at the Wine Blog Awards, which was followed by the award for Best Industry/Business Blog in 2014. Wark is also the founder of the American Wine Consumer Coalition and also the publisher of The Cider Journal.


For more than four decades, the wines of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards have reflected the finest mountain and valley vineyards in Sonoma County. Its founder, Joe Martin, fell in love with Sonoma Valley and established St. Francis Vineyard in 1971, planting 22 acres of Chardonnay and the first 60 acres of Merlot in Sonoma Valley. After achieving great success as a grower, Joe opened his own winery in 1979 with his business partner Lloyd Canton.

Their first winemaker, Tom Mackey, joined St. Francis in 1983 and was renowned for elevating both the quality and style of Sonoma Merlot as an ultra-premium, stand-alone varietal. He also cultivated an in-depth understanding of every Sonoma appellation.

Today, a new generation of winemakers, Katie Madigan and Chris Louton, continues their long tradition of luscious, elegant, fruit-driven wines from Sonoma County grapes. They farm more than 400 acres of Certified Sustainable estate vineyards in Sonoma Valley and Russian River Valley, each with varying compositions of loam, clay and volcanic soils. They also nurture long-term relationships with top Sonoma County grape growers, giving the winery access to some of the region’s most coveted old vines Zinfandel and other varietals from acclaimed vineyards.


WINE WOMEN’s mission is “To champion the advancement of women’s careers in the wine industry by building strong relationships, essential business skills and leadership among members.” At the core of the new 501(c)(3) nonprofit professional organization’s activities are programs focused on providing the tools, guidance and creativity for members to attain industry prominence.

WINE WOMEN Forums are career development tools for women (and men) in the wine industry. Each forum is profession- or topic-driven, such as finance and accounting, human resources, winemaking, marketing, and other facets of the business. Additional forums are in the planning stages for other peer groups, such as management and operations. Eligibility to

For more information about WINE WOMEN, visit: http://winewomen.net/about/ or call 707.996.8740. Visit WINE WOMEN’s website at WineWomen.net, or their Facebook page, WineWomenOrg, or find them on Twitter @WineWomenOrg. For membership information, email Ellen Reich Luchtel, Membership Director, at Ellen@WineWomen.net. For complete details on their events calendar, visit: WineWomen.net/Events-List.



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