stirring up the conversation on women in wine

Panel 3

Panel 3 -

3:00pm | Do You Sell Sex? Moderator — Sarah Bray

If you joined us last year, you know that things got heated at the end of the day as the topic of personal presentation came up. Perspectives varied across generational lines, roles in the business, and more, so we thought, why not heat things up a bit more in 2019? So we're going to get a little provocative and ask the question outright: Do you sell sex?

The panel will explore the ways that women use (intentionally or not) their sexuality to "sell" wines or create their brand, the decisions that are involved in that process, and more. We're delighted to welcome the following women to the 2019 forum to dive into this hard-hitting topic that affects all of us, whichever side of the coin you land on.





Jennifer Reichardt was born and raised in Sonoma County, California and has lived a life centered in food production. In autumn 2011, she completed her first harvest in Sonoma County and launched her own brand in 2016, Raft Wines. A raft, by definition, is a community of waterfowl, like ducks, and the philosophy behind the brand is to craft a wine that is shared with a community – whether it be around a dinner table, or at a picnic with friends. Raft Wines focuses on hand-crafted, small lot wines from vineyards farmed sustainably and organically. She currently splits her time between the family businesses, Sonoma County Poultry and Liberty Ducks, and Raft Wines.


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Melissa Sutherland started her wine journey in the 1990s in Washington, D.C., lugging around a battered and stained hand-me-down 3rd edition of Hugh Johnson’s The World Atlas of Wine (pre-Jancis Robinson). Fast forward to the fall of 2018, she returned to NYC full-time, signing on with Panebianco Wines Import as Senior Sales Advisor, representing some of the most classical and territorial-focused small wineries of Italy. She joined the Advisory Board of the Women in Wine Leadership Symposium in 2011. Melissa is the author of the forthcoming book, Drinking Italian Whites: The Time Has Come for Appreciating Italy’s White Wines.



Monica Samuels is the Director of Sake and Spirits for Vine Connections, a portfolio which consists of sakes from 16 artisanal breweries throughout Japan and is curated in collaboration with John Gauntner, the world’s leading non-Japanese sake educator. Monica manages the sales of the Vine Connections sake portfolio through the 50 states of America and several provinces of Canada. Monica has over 10 years of experience in the sake industry, including 6 years as the Sake Ambassador for Southern Wine & Spirits and the Corporate Sake Sommelier for SUSHISAMBA. She has been recognized for her efforts in sales and education in Wine Spectator’s “Sake’s True Believers,” Wine Enthusiast’s “40 Tastemakers Under 40,” and most recently as a recipient of the prestigious “Sake Samurai” recognition in 2017. Monica’s education in sake includes studying under John Gauntner and his Sake Education Council, where she received both Certified and Advanced Sake Professional distinctions; she is also a WSET certified Educator for the Level 3 Award in Sake.



Karen Williams is the proprietor of Acme Fine Wines, a truly inimitable wine shop and gallery-style wine showroom, off the beaten path and down a country lane in St. Helena. Specializing in discovering and launching the finest of the inaugural release, Napa Valley brands while keeping a secondary focus on the lauded wines of the world. And, showcasing the principles of excellent customer service, clients and wine club members receive access to these micro-production wines, often on an exclusive basis, in the very first vintage and then on an allocation level for each vintage thereafter; it is like being on multiple preferred mailing lists, managed entirely by ACME.