stirring up the conversation on women in wine

Panel 1 - Departing Dysfunction

Panel 1

10:30am | Departing Dysfunction | Moderator — Elaine Chukan Brown

Our panel, "Departing Dysfunction," will be kicking off the day's discussions, so why not dive deep right off the bat?! As we all know, there are a variety of working environments: some are fantastically positive and empowering, others laden with bullying, messed up power dynamics, a brazen disrespect of women in a male-exclusive culture. There have been those events or spaces where we’ve felt objectified. Those places where management was inherently distrustful or disrespectful and made us feel small, insignificant or incapable. Conversely, we may be managers ourselves, trying to do our best and yet perhaps blind to our own dysfunctional tendencies.

This panel brings together an amazing array of participants with diverse perspectives. They come from different roles both within and outside of our industry as well as different cultural backgrounds and ages, and they're all focused on different initiatives to propel our industry forward. We're honored by their presence and willingness to have honest, vulnerable conversations around this challenging subject matter.




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Vinny Eng most recently the Wine Director for Tartine Manufactory in San Francisco, awarded a special jury prize and three star award by World of Fine Wine Magazine and recently named one of Food and Wine Magazine's Sommeliers of the Year in April of  2019 . He has also worked as General Manager/Wine Director of Bar Tartine and General Manager of Tartine Bakery. Vinny is also active in the San Francisco community as an advocate for neurodiversity, mental health, public safety and trauma stewardship. He serves on the Mental Health Working Group for the San Francisco Police Commission and recently served on the Mental Health/Substance Use/HIV AIDS Policy Transition Team for San Francisco Mayor London Breed. He is a graduate of Duke University, where he earned a degree in Economics, and currently works as Organizing Director for the campaign to elect Suzy Loftus for District Attorney of San Francisco.




Laura Judson comes from a strong background in hospitality work. Most recently, she was part of the opening service team at Boot & Shoe Service in Oakland, and she worked as general manager of the restaurant from 2013-2017. The #metoo movement and Laura's experiences galvanized her to spearhead a group of hospitality industry workers engaged in examining restaurants with a critical eye, considering why sexual harassment and assault are ingrained in aspects of the service profession. Her work now centers around evaluating how survivors, stakeholders, colleagues and the public can work together to create and ensure safe work places in the food and beverage industry


Elaine Chukan Brown

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Elaine Chukan Brown serves as the American Specialist for, and as contributing writer to Wine & Spirits Magazine. She contributed to the upcoming 8th edition of the World Atlas of Wine, as well as the recent award-winning 4th edition of the Oxford Companion to Wine. In 2019, the Wine Industry Network named Brown one of the 9 Most Inspiring People in Wine, and the International Wine & Spirits Competition shortlisted her as one of 5 of the top Wine Communicators of the Year in the world. Her writing has been featured in DecanterWorld of Fine Wine, and others, and recommended by Food & WineImbibe, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and more. She has been a celebrated key note speaker and seminar leader for events in wine, philosophy, and writing around the world.