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Women’s History Month: Women in Wine

National Women in Wine Day is observed annually on March 25th to celebrate and highlight stories of women in the wine industry. Inspired by International Women’s History Month which takes place in March of each year, Women in Wine Day was founded in 2021 by a California winery that was co-created and is co-owned by two women. In honor of Women’s History Month, scroll through to learn more about the women pioneering the wine industry.

Le Grand Courtâge

About: Owned and managed entirely by women, Le Grand Courtâge was birthed by Tawnya Falkner’s passion and belief in taking a leap and moving to France to create an affordable everyday luxury. Le Grand Courtâge, meaning ‘the Great Courtship’, symbolizes the courtship between French and American wine culture, grapes from different regions and the old and new world.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Albany, Asheville, Atlanta, Augusta, Charlotte, Colorado, Nashville, Raleigh, Savannah, Wilmington, Winston Salem

Far Niente Winery

About: Recognized as a benchmark producer of Napa Valley Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, Far Niente has a rich tradition of placing women at the winemaking helm. Far Niente’s Winemaker, Nicole Marchesi, started as a enologist in 2005 shortly before being promoted to assistant winemaker then winemaker. Marchesi strives to create wines of elegance and depth that capture both place and vintage, while staying true to the Far Niente house style.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Albany, Asheville, Atlanta, Augusta, Charlotte, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Raleigh, Savannah, Wilmington, Winston Salem

Yes Way Rosé

About: A lot like most people, founders Erica + Nikki knew zero about wine when they fell head over heels (a few times) in love with rosé. Best friends in NYC working in fashion, Erica as an editor and Nikki a graphic designer, they took their passion first to social media introducing lifestyle products emblazoned with their bold logo, bringing a fresh perspective to the old-school wine category. Meanwhile, they hit the books, and more importantly the bottles, becoming experts to create a line of delectable French rosés that you can actually pronounce.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Albany, Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah, Colorado, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Nashville

Shannon Ridge Vineyards 

About: Overseen by Lake County native and Director of Winemaking and Production, Joy Merrilees, Shannon Ridge specializes in handcrafted award-winning wines from sustainably farmed, family-owned Lake County vineyards. The winery is dedicated to crafting luscious, fruit-driven wines that express the distinct characteristics of fruit gown in the high valley region of Lake County, California.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Albany, Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah, Wilmington, Charlotte, Raleigh, Colorado

J Vineyards & Winery

About: Situated in the vine-friendly Russian River Valley of Sonoma County, J Winery’s vineyards offer the ideal climate for growing distinctive, world-class wines. Nicole Hitchcock is the fourth winemaker at J Vineyards & Winery and was recently awarded the 2022 Wine Star Awards Winemaker of the Year by Wine Enthusiast.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Chattanooga, Memphis, Nashville

Whitehaven Wine

About: Inspired by the beauty of the Marlborough region, Founder/Managing Director, Sue White decided to start a family winery with her husband in the heart of this new exciting wine region. The core philosophy of this family winery is centered on the pursuit of quality without compromise, with a singular vision of consistently creating premium wines from 100% Marlborough fruit.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Chattanooga, Memphis, Nashville

Dark Horse Wine

About: Dark Horse Winemaker, Beth Liston, believes winemaking is a treasure hunt. She is constantly experimenting with different grape varietals and new winemaking techniques. From bold Red Blend to smooth Chardonnay, her passion for creating exceptional wines that outperform their price is unsurpassed.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Chattanooga, Memphis, Nashville

Martinelli Winery

About: Family owned and operated, Julianna Martinelli is the owner of Martinelli Winery. As one of the industry’s finest wine producers and grape growers, the entire family has been involved in creating its success over the years with Julianna being the fourth generation in her family to be involved in the wine business.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Augusta, Charlotte, Raleigh, Savannah, Wilmington

IBest Wines

About: Founded in 2023 by Ingrid Best, IBest Wines is more than just a premier wine brand; we’re on a mission to blend wine, art, and culture, sparking a renaissance in the industry. Our portfolio of fine wines reflects our commitment to offering new, dynamic and diverse options for the modern-day wine drinker, drawing inspiration from underrepresented regions in South Africa.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta and Savannah

Viarae (Coming Soon)

About: Viarae Prosecco is a sparkling white wine from Issa Rae, the celebrated creator of “Insecure”. Beyond her creative endeavors, Issa’s love for Prosecco is no secret. Whether celebrating milestones, or simply unwinding after a long day of work, Prosecco has been Issa’s signature drink both on and off the screen. Issa Rae created Viarae Prosecco to celebrate good times and great friends no matter the occasion.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Nashville, Memphis

Spade & Sparrows

About: Blended together by Kaitlyn Bristowe, Spade & Sparrows is simply great wine without the rules. Each bottle of Spade & Sparrows is made with your taste buds, nights-out and (most importantly) your nights-in, in mind.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Albany, Augusta, Savannah

Oak Ridge Winery 

About: Oak Ridge is a family-owned, women-owned and operated winery producing estate grown, sustainable wines in Lodi, CA. As the longest continuously operating winery in Lodi, Oak Ridge has grown from modest beginnings into a state-of-the-art winemaking facility committed to innovation and progressive winemaking practices. 
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah, Colorado, Charlotte, Winston Salem, Raleigh, Wilmington, Chattanooga

Louis M. Martini

About: Known for having one of the most acclaimed winegrowing sites in California, Brenae Royal serves as the Vineyard Manager of the celebrated Louis M Martini’s Monte Rosso Vineyard in Sonoma Valley. Brenae grew up surrounded by agriculture in California’s Great Central Valley, an industry she would come to love and make her lifelong passion and career.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Albany, Chattanooga, Memphis

Une Femme Wines

About: Jen Pelka is the co-founder and CEO of Une Femme, an award-winning, women-made sparkling wine and champagne that give back to charities that benefit women. Une Femme’s mission is to inspire women to lift each other up, dream bigger and celebrate moments that matter.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Charlotte, Winston Salem, Asheville, Nashville, Raleigh


About: Founded by Alix Peabody, Bev is on a mission to transform drinking culture, make the good times better and promote female empowerment in business and beyond. 
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Albany, Augusta, Savannah, Memphis

Veuve Clicquot

About: Since its creation in 1772,  Veuve Clicquot has been crafting great Champagne wines. Its history is marked by the work and personality of an exceptional woman, Madame Clicquot. With a vineyard of over 393 hectares located in the heart of Champagne’s finest Grands Crus, Veuve Clicquot has remained true to her motto, “only one quality, the finest”. A taste for excellence, a quest for perfection, an enthusiasm for daring innovation: these are the secrets of Veuve Clicquot.
Empire Distributors Market Availability: Atlanta, Albany, Augusta, Savannah, Raleigh, Wilmington

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Empire approaches our corporate social responsibility as a labor of love. We’re deeply committed and actively involved in uplifting the well-being of our Teammates, Communities and Business Partners because we enjoy making a difference.

That’s why we’re a proud supporter of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.

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