Friday, September 15, 2006

Women & Wine

Julie Brosterman fills a gap in our lives. Dismayed by the “vacuum of information speaking intelligently to women about wine,” Julie points out, “When it came to wine, it was always geared toward men.” Taking matters into her own hands, she created Women & Wine, a trusted source for female wine enthusiasts.

Julie explains, “I don’t want to look through a card catalogue of wines and scores. That doesn’t tell you anything about the people who make the wine. To only judge a wine by a score… well, it’s a crazy way to learn about anything.” She says that women gravitate toward storytelling when it comes to wine. She also credits good timing in the success of her site, citing a Desperate
Housewives-meets-Sideways trend.

Julie, raised in New York, considers LA home. Previously a Mortgage Broker, she says that looking back on her life, it’s not the business deals that fulfill her but the “postcards of my life” in which wine has played a part. She explains, “I may forget what I need to buy at the grocery store today but I can tell you, in detail, about an afternoon 14 years ago, when I sat on a terrace, drank rosé and ate apple tart, over-looking the Riviera.” (Hmmm - did I mention that Julie is my kind of gal?)

Luckily for us ladies, Brosterman has done her research and knows what we want. According to her, last year women bought 55 % of wine in the US. She believes the wine industry has taken note and is making a strategic commitment to marketing to us. She has even observed more attractive labels and bottles as subtle encouragement for ‘impulse purchases.’

Julie makes the point that while businesswomen are starting to get the attention they deserve from the wine industry, women who drink wine for pleasure, who travel, make luxury purchases and give themselves affluent lifestyles are overlooked. She describes Women & Wine as a “luxury brand,” appealing to that neglected market.

As an example, Women & Wine offers “Reading Glasses,” a clever service pairing book club selections with vintages which highlight, accentuate or playfully accompany the topic, title or setting. (I’d say reading just got a whole lot more fun!) Women & Wine also makes corporate events experiential by providing Beverage Matching services. And, don’t forget to listen to Voice America for the weekly radio show!

And, a note to my much-valued male Sipsters: Women & Wine events are man-optional. (Julie’s husband is involved in the business, too!)

Optimistic for the future, Julie ponders, “Are we the next Oprah, Martha Stewart or Rachael Ray? Maybe. I hope so.”

Time will tell – but while membership is still free, take a look at the site and raise a glass to Women & Wine!

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