stirring up the conversation on women in wine


2018 Forum: Work/Life Balance Panel


The omnipresent question of how to find "balance" between work and personal life is certainly not unique to the wine industry. But many women in wine find it particularly pressing: As a gender we're socially conditioned to be agreeable and complying with requests, and we work in an industry aptly referred to as hospitality. What's more, much of our work takes place during nights and weekends, and there's a heavy crossover for most of us between our hobbies and professions (both of which usually involve drinking wine!). Try to throw children into the equation, and we feel especially challenged... to put it very lightly.

This panel digs into the highly ambiguous and hotly debated notion of WORK/LIFE BALANCE. What is it, anyway? Is such a thing remotely possible to achieve? 

To try and answer these questions, I had the great privilege of introducing my panelists: Shelley Lindgren, wine director and co-owner of SPQR and the A16 group of restaurants; Deborah Parker Wong, Global Wine Editor of SOMM Journal and Senior Editor of Slow Wine Guide, California; Alvetta Embry, sales representative and account manager; and Diana Snowden-Seysses, winemaker in California, Burgundy and southern France. 

In the conversation, we get advice from each panelist about what they wish someone had told them when they first started in this business. Then we hear about times when they set boundaries or managed expectations well versus a time when they failed to do so and were confronted with unrealistic expectations. We discuss the unique aspects of our specific industry that make the notion of balance particularly challenging, outline the tools and support systems that have enabled us to achieve greater balance, and finally we address how we might explicitly build flexibility or systems into the wine industry that would encourage better balance for everyone. Enjoy the audio, and feel free to post your own comments about finding balance below!

- Stevie

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