What inspired you to start your business?
I oversaw all operations at my family’s winery and vineyard for 20 years. Through my extensive experience and education, I was able to recognize the quality of Spanish Springs vineyard. It was clear to me that, with this vineyard, I had an opportunity to make something unique that represented my values. In 2016 I started from scratch to build Oceano Wines.
What challenges have you faced as a woman entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?
I have been perceived to have minority involvement in my own company. When interacting with the public, I am assumed to be a winery sales representative or in the marketing department. In fact, last night when I introduced myself as the owner of Oceano Wines to a male winery owner, he mansplained to me what my strategy should be to succeed.
What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?
Collaborate with as many women business owners as possible. Find a mentor and be a mentor to other women.
What three traits define you?
Carol Brock founder of Les Dames d’Escoffier the founding and largest chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier International, the invitational organization of women leaders in the food, fine beverage and hospitality professions. Dr. Marsha Firestone Founder and President of the Women’s President Organization and the Women’s President Educational Organization. Merry Edwards, founder Merry Edwards Winery and one of the first women to become a female California winemaker.
How has being a WBENC-Certified WBE helped your business?
I have only been certified about a year. So far I have been able to meet so many owners of women-owned businesses. I have started collaborating with some already. In the future I am hoping to connect with corporations who are looking to do business with companies like mine.
What do you see as the coolest or most important trend in your industry?
Women winemakers and women winery owners are garnering more interest by sommeliers and wine directors. Whereas, historically they have been passed over for their male counterparts.
As a business owner, what keeps you up at night?
That projects, once they leave my hand, will be executed in a manner that reflects our brand values. But when you get down to a micro level, we are farmers. We are worried about the weather, or other natural disasters that could affect the quality of the vintage or worse the health of the vineyard.
What do you love about being a business owner?
Being a business owner gives me freedom, autonomy and ownership of my of company’s reputation and ethos. This is the first time I have been able to creative something that I can take responsibility for.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
Lose your ego. Be open to all ideas. Get out of your comfort zone.
What’s your favorite career moment?
Leaving my family’s business and starting a new company using everything I learned from my experience working for them. I was with them for 20 years. It was simply time for me to go out on my own.
What’s the best way to start your day?
Wellness is a priority for me. The first thing I ingest is lemon juice and cayenne in hot water. Then I go to the gym for cardio and yoga.
How do you unwind after a long workday?
A glass of wine. A cocktail. Conversation with friends over drinks and snacks.
What do you like about your workspace?
The view. I work from home most of the time. We live on the 24th floor in Manhattan with a view of the Hudson River.
Fill in the blank:
When I face a challenge, I... come up with a strategy.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself… do my homework.
The one thing I couldn’t live without is… love.
By this time next year, I will be… hopefully spending more time traveling.
The best thing that happened to me last week was… being photographed for Modern Luxury Magazine’s, “Women of Influence” “The Perfect 10”
To get my creative juices flowing, I… do a cardio workout.
Oceano Wines make hand-crafted Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines grown at SIP Certified Spanish Springs, the closest vineyard to the ocean in California. The San Luis Obispo Coast is known as the coolest growing climate and longest growing season in the country. Through wine-making expertise and artistic subtlety, the beauty of this unique territory is revealed.