Tell us about yourself and your company: Bryter Estates is a boutique family winery, producing approximately 1,500 cases of wine per year. I am a first-generation Italian who first learned the art of winemaking from her father in Chicago.
I always dreamed of living in Wine Country and pursuing my passion of winemaking as a young woman, and have built a fast-growing winery producing award-winning wines. Bryter Estates production has grown from 100 cases to almost 2,000 cases in five years.
Major accomplishment in the past year or so: In 2012, our cabernet sauvignon was awarded Best of California and Best of Napa at the California State Fair. We are the smallest winery ever to have won this award.
What is the achievement you are most proud of?: Taking the risk to follow my passion and start my own business. I had a very successful career and was on a very stable path. To give that up for the unknown was a big risk. I am the daughter of an Italian Immigrant who did not start with “a large fortune in order to make a small fortune” as the wine industry myth tells us we need to have. I risked my career and future to follow my dream, and so far, it’s paid off.
What is your biggest challenge today?: Trying to keep up with all of the tactical demands of running a small business while keeping a strategic leadership perspective on how we can grow and improve. It is sometimes hard to scan the horizon while treading water, but I want to focus on the future and how I can grow Bryter Estates to a national luxury brand.
Words that best describe you: Tenacious, positive, quality-focused.
As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced, and how did you overcome them?: I never thought of myself as a “female” trying to make it, or about the obstacles that I may be faced with because of my gender. I just was always focused on my goal, whatever it was at the time, and knew that I would not stop until I was satisfied.
How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?: We will need to learn how to market to a new generation of wine drinkers at all price points, but know that Bryter Estates will always pursue the same quality winemaking we do today.
Who was your most important mentor?: My husband. He encouraged me to follow my passions, and I learned a lot about being a leader from him by watching his leadership style in his organization.
What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?: Be confident in yourself and don’t be afraid to speak up with your questions, perspective and suggestions. Focus on your goal and never give up. Don’t be afraid to say no – women are taught from a young age to get along and play nice, don’t be afraid to present yourself as strong and powerful.
Current reading: Emails from my wine club members. I love to hear from people who enjoy something that I created.
Stress relievers and hobbies: CrossFit exercise program, hiking, golf, walking the vineyards in the morning and learning new things.
Anything else?: Every woman should listen to her inner voice. Against many odds, I have gained confidence by believing in myself. This has helped me take risks that I probably shouldn’t have. I encourage everyone to challenge themselves, get to know their inner voice and grow to trust themselves.
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