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Founder of Women of the Vine & Spirits, Deborah Brenner, Named “Social Visionary of the Year”


Social entrepreneur awarded Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Award recognizing visionary leaders making positive impact in alcohol beverage industry

October 16, 2018 (New York) Wine Enthusiast Magazine announced today that Deborah Brenner, Founder & CEO, Women of the Vine & Spirits (womenofthevine.com) has been awarded the 2018 Wine Star Award for “Social Visionary of the Year”.  Brenner exemplifies the new category, having manifested her vision to give women globally a platform and voice to thrive in the alcohol beverage industry, while inspiring so many to support the movement.

“I am extremely honored to be awarded this accolade, and I share it with all Women of the Vine & Spirits corporate and individual members that joined alongside me in this movement to champion women in the alcohol beverage industry,” said Brenner. “When I first started Women of the Vine & Spirits, I found myself trailblazing through unchartered territory and I could not have persevered without their tremendous support.”

Brenner’s vision to champion women in the industry started back in 2006 when she wrote the acclaimed book, Women of the Vine: Inside the World of Women who Make, Taste and Enjoy Wine. The book was the catalyst for entering the wine business herself after a 20-year career in the tech industry. In 2007, she founded the first-of-its-kind collaborative wine brand, Women of the Vine, featuring notable women winemakers from California. For the following seven years, Brenner learned the wine business inside and out. Ultimately, however, all the money, blood, sweat and tears could not foster women in the industry the way she had hoped, which led her to shut down the Women of the Vine wine brand and return to the drawing board.

“It was the biggest failure in my life. Letting down all the women I was championing was harder than losing my life savings,” said Brenner. “I owe a huge ‘thank you’ to all the amazing women that took the time to email, write letters, and call me expressing their desire to get involved in Women of the Vine. Thanks to those women, I was inspired and encouraged to take another leap of faith.”

A year later, in March 2015, Brenner organized the Inaugural Women of the Vine & Spirits Global Symposium which was a sold-out success. The women who attended sought out an opportunity to connect through a global network and seek ways to accelerate their business and professional development. They were looking for a forum to collaborate across all industry sectors and to do business with like-minded women and men. It was clear to Brenner that to make a positive impact on the alcohol beverage industry, women needed a voice year-round – not once, annually.

Membership to the organization opened September 2015. What started off as a one-off event and a grass roots movement quickly expanded into a global organization with corporate and individual members connected across 23 countries. Women of the Vine & Spirits has become a catalyst for creating a positive impact in the alcohol beverage industry.

“Deborah Brenner is our recipient of the Social Visionary of the Year Award because she is a change-agent, tirelessly advocating for a more progressive and inclusive environment for consumers and professionals at all levels of the alcohol beverage business,” says Susan Kostrzewa, Executive Editor of Wine Enthusiast and Women of the Vine & Spirits Advisory Board member. “Through her work with Women of the Vine & Spirits and related projects she has modernized the conversation of gender in the alcohol beverage industry, across the globe.”

All Wine Star honorees will be presented their Wine Star Award trophies at a black-tie gala awards dinner on Monday, January 28, 2019 in Miami, FL at Nobu Eden Roc Hotel.

For more information about the Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Awards, visit winemag.com.

To become a member of Women of the Vine & Spirits, please visit womenofthevine.com. For those interested in Corporate Membership opportunities, please email [email protected] or call 888.750.1863.

Women of the Vine & Spirits Corporate Members include Founding Member, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits and Diamond Members: Bronco Wine Company; Caesars Entertainment; E. & J. Gallo Winery; Moët Hennessy USA; and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. Platinum Corporate Members: Brown-Forman; Delicato Family Vineyards; Frederik Wildman & Sons; J. Lohr Vineyards & Winery; Palm Bay International; Pernod-Ricard; Proximo; Shaw Ross; Trinchero Family Estates; William Grant & Sons. For a full list of Corporate Members including those at the Gold, Silver, Bronze and Associate level, visit the Corporate Members tab at womenofthevine.com.

About Women of the Vine & Spirits

Women of the Vine & Spirits is the world’s leading organization dedicated to giving women globally a platform and voice to thrive in the alcohol beverage industry. Women of the Vine & Spirits is an organization for members to connect through our global and diverse network and collaborate across all industry sectors. Providing members with resources and opportunities to thrive is the cornerstone of our organization and success. We offer steadfast support for women at every position in the field with membership benefits that include: education, training, mentorship, entrepreneurship and networking as well as tools, services and resources for personal and business development. Together, we are a committed community taking action and making a positive impact on the alcohol beverage industry, worldwide. Save the date for the Fifth Annual Women of the Vine & Spirits Global Symposium, March 11- 13, 2019 in Napa, California. For more information, please visit womenofthevine.com.

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