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Women for Winesense Winemaking & Viticulture Roundtable Will Host “Building a Brand” Panel Discussion May 8th at Tres Sabores Winery


HELENA, CALIFORNIA |May 7, 2019: On Wednesday, May 8th, 2019 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 pm the Napa | Sonoma chapter of Women for WineSense’s (WWS) Winemakers’ & Viticultural Roundtable will hold a panel discussion as part of their annual ongoing “Been There, Built That” brand building series. The event will be hosted at one of Napa Valley’s most serene hidden gems, Tre Sabores Winery, located on the Rutherford Bench at 1620 South Whitehall Lane St. Helena, CA.

ABOUT THE EVENT: The discussion will focus on specific, actionable information about building and sustaining wine brands with proven wine entrepreneurs who have built their brands from the ground up with bootstrapping dedication, and continue to grow them with strategic, technical, logistical and marketing skills. Panelists include, Julie Johnson, winemaker and owner of Tres Sabores, Jillian Johnson De Leon, winemaker and owner of Onesta Wines, and Carl Shelton, winemaker and owner of Carol Shelton Wines.  They will cover three operations models (a full-scale vineyard and winery, custom crushing and a hybrid of both), plus brand and team development with a dose of financial finesse, three-tier and DTC for good measure.

Early arrivals will meet at 3:00 p.m. in the olive grove to enjoy networking while sampling outstanding wines from all three winemakers. At 3:30 p.m., host Julie Johnson will lead a behind-the-scenes winemaker tour followed by additional wine tasting. At 4:00 the group will conduct the panel discussion with interactive questions and answers.

Roundtable chair Julie Lumgair noted, “Our roundtable is a unique chance in a friendly forum to ask experts candid questions about what it specifically takes to be successful starting a new business or bringing change to existing ones.  It will be a highly interactive conversation about critical skills and knowledge you can successfully apply no matter where you’re working, and you’ll absolutely need if you’re considering (or already building) your own brand.”

Attendees are encouraged to bring a bottle or two of their wine as thanks for the Roundtable hosts and speakers. Carpools from Napa and Sonoma are available.

RSVP DETAILS: Please, no walk-ins. The free roundtable meeting is open to WWS Winemaking and Viticulture Roundtable members and qualified interested women winemakers and viticulturists that have emailed and received RSVP guest confirmations through the Roundtable Chair.  To RSVP, or for any questions on this event or future WWS Winemaking Roundtable events, please contact the Chair ([email protected]).


Julie Johnson

Julie Johnson is the winemaker and owner of Tres Sabores, a winery nestled into the western Rutherford bench land of the Napa Valley. Passionate about food, wine, and the land, for the last 30 years Julie has lived on a certified organic farm, growing wine grapes, pomegranates, lemons and olives, raising her children not to mention Golden Retrievers, Guinea Hens, and sheep.

A native of California, she graduated from Columbia as a P.H.N. after receiving a B.A. from Bowdoin College. Relocating to the Napa Valley in 1980, she practiced nursing even as she founded Frog’s Leap Winery (with her first husband, John Williams and partner, Larry Turley) in 1981. In 1990 she joined with Michaela Rodeno, past CEO at St. Supery Winery, and founded “Women for Wine Sense, a vital national organization whose “vision is to support the appreciation for and responsible consumption of wine”. Julie started Tres Sabores in 1999 as a single vineyard estate and soon began making her own wine. She speaks and participates in seminars for a variety of clients and at educational venues around the country. She is currently active in C.C.O.F (California Certified Organic Farms), Wild Farm Alliance and the Rutherford Dust Society. At the end of the day, she sleeps best if she feels that she has been a thoughtful and energetic steward of the land and has capped off the day with a good glass of wine.

Jillian Johnson DeLeon

Jillian Johnson DeLeon found her passion for wine while studying neurobiology at UC Davis. She graduated with her Viticulture & Enology degree in 2001 and traveled the globe making wine in McLaren Vale (South Australia), Margaret River (Western Australia), and Stellenbosch (South Africa). After three years of hopping hemispheres, she settled at the infamous Bonny Doon Vineyards in 2004 where she had the opportunity to make a wide range of wine styles from over 30 different grape varieties.

Now a seasoned winemaker, she works as a winemaking technical consultant for Laffort and launched her own boutique wine brand, Onesta, in 2012. Her experience working in large- and small-scale wineries has given her the expertise to find solutions to most winemaking situations in the cellar. Jillian still wears two hats, both enjoying helping winemakers improve their protocols, trouble shoot difficult wines, and educating people on the technologies available today while she diligently builds Onesta’s portfolio of single vineyard Rhone varietals.

Carol Shelton

Carol Shelton has had an illustrious 42-year career in the wine industry. While getting her Enology degree from UC Davis, Carol worked with Dr. Ann Noble, of Wine Aroma Wheel fame. As one of the first dozen women to receive her BS in Enology in 1978, Carol worked for legendary winemakers Peter Lehmann at Saltram in Australia’s Barossa Valley, André Tchelistcheff at Buena Vista and Rodney Strong. As winemaker for Windsor Vineyards from 1981 through 2000, her wines drew great acclaim and she earned the title of “Most Awarded Winemaker in America.” Carol left Windsor in early 2000 to form Carol Shelton Wines with her husband, Mitch Mackenzie. Their goal is to craft a diverse and memorable portfolio of wines from carefully selected vineyards, with Zinfandel as a leading focus and passion. She has been named “Winemaker of the Year” five times and her Wild Thing Zinfandel was included in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2014.

ABOUT THE WINEMAKING & VITICULTURAL ROUNDTABLE: This Roundtable meets approximately six times a year at some of Napa and Sonoma’s finest host wineries, taking a harvest break. It is a great time to expand skills while reconnecting and meeting new industry professionals. Past meeting topics have focused upon the C-suite professional skills and other key industry insights women winemakers and viticultural professionals need but aren’t always easy to get in their daily work environment.

These programs have been a fantastic opportunity for women winemakers and viticulturists to connect directly, in a friendly professional forum, with experts that they otherwise wouldn’t get to meet for personal advice and questions. Some recent speakers have included leading wine publication critics and senior editors, global sensory consultants, sommeliers, media trainers, writers, CFO’s, key recruiters and GM’s in panel discussions.

Professionally qualified winemaker and viticulture guests may attend up to two Roundtables before deciding to join. It is a great way to expand skills while reconnecting and meeting new industry professionals.

ABOUT ADDITIONAL WWS ROUNDTABLES: WWS’ eight current professional roundtables serve to provide a welcoming and confidential environment to meet in small peer groups on a bi-monthly or quarterly basis. Members network provide advice and support for one another, as well as foster educational occasions by inviting guest speakers in their fields and discussing ‘hot issues’ facing members in their day-to-day work. Multiple Roundtables have developed for WWS industry members in finance, accounting, human resources, winemaking/viticulture and marketing/direct-to-consumer fields.

The Napa/Sonoma Chapter currently has more than 400 members of which 80% are wine industry professionals. To join or learn more about WWS’ roundtables, please visit www.womenforwinesense.org. For inquiries about other WWS roundtables for additional functions besides winemaking and viticulture, contact the Napa| Sonoma Chapter’s President, Maryam Ahmed.

ABOUT WOMEN FOR WINESENSE: WWS is a not-for-profit organization 501(c)6. The Napa| Sonoma Chapter founded in 1990 is the founding chapter of this national organization which provides outstanding educational and networking opportunities to both wine industry professionals and wine enthusiasts by presenting educational, insightful and stimulating events in a welcoming, fun environment. Both men and women of legal drinking age are welcome to join. There is an exciting line-up of events planned for 2018. To join or learn more, please visit www.womenforwinesense.org.

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