Today’s post is part of my women in wine series. Today’s post is dedicated to Tina Morey. We’ve never met personally but I have been a lucky participant in her #WineStudio educational chats. I love the format, have enjoyed wines I wouldn’t have otherwise tasted and generally found it fun and educational and wanted to learn more about her. In her own words, here are answers to some questions I asked her.
How did you get into the wine business?
It was a last-minute reservation at The Herbfarm in Woodinville, Washington that did it for me. We sat at a communal table, spoke and laughed with folks from all over the world, but that was nothing compared to what was happening on the other side of the table. The highlight for me was the professionalism and ease that each sommelier oozed. I wanted that confidence, that knowledge, that sense of complete trust of each other’s ability at any given time during the evening. The wine was part of the entire experience, but it fit so seamlessly it never stood out, but floated from course to course—a tightly choreographed play where guest was center stage. That was 2005, so just two years later I sold my vegan wedding cake business and enrolled into the first Court of Master Sommeliers Education Program in the US.
What has been the hardest part of the wine business for you in terms of gender issues, if any?
I suppose I’ve been lucky but I haven’t experienced any particular gender issues, just individuals navigating work environments.
What trends and changes have you seen since you started? What do you see happening in the next 5-10 years in your sector of the business?
The most significant happening has been the continued onslaught that is social media. It seems as though it’s approaching a breaking point. We can spend thousands of dollars on research with the sole purpose to predict changes, or we can shift focus from predicting what may happen to actually creating our own space.
What do you see happening in your work with Wine Studio?
#winestudio has the potential to be something much bigger than it currently is. But does bigger mean better? What I’d like to see continue is participants learning and clients being seen and heard. Anything more is icing. That being said there are more projects coming to fruition in the near future–more collaboration work. I like collaborating, I feel we’re much stronger when working together.
What do you think about the level of wine education in the US in general?
I do think that if you’re in or studying to be in the wine industry: recommending wine, discussing wine, tasting wine, you must know how to serve wine. The most important wine credential is Certified Sommelier. Knowing how to taste, handle a bottle, open a bottle and serve is paramount for being in any part of the wine industry. Once you have this, all doors are open to you and now you can move in any wine direction. There is that professional level that is only achieved by service and it is noticed.
So to fully answer your question, for those who are interested in the wine industry, begin with your foundations, just like any career. The confidence gained and knowledge attained is unquestionable.
Who is the average wine drinker today in USA?
I don’t necessarily think there is an “average” wine drinker anymore. Just on #winestudio alone there are participants in their twenties and those much older. We must stop categorizing people, and not just in the drinks industry. Otherwise we’ll continue making the same mistakes in terms of marketing.
Where are women going to be in the industry in the next 10 years?
There’s definitely a renaissance happening for women in the wine industry. But of course the answer depends so much on how we, as women, view ourselves in the industry. We have the same work acumen as men, actually better, and yet we’re still having these same conversations. We’re going to see more mentoring programs, more women-for-women resources, more team-building.
What do you see happening in wine on the East coast of the USA? Are there differences with West coast wineries. I know that you did a month with New Jersey wines in 2017. Was that a surprise?
There are differences and similarities on both coasts. The commonality, however is people and there will always be that driving force to explore and challenge. What I think separates West from East coast is smarter marketing, which of course is conducted by people. New Jersey wine was not a surprise. When you push past that prevailing notion that New Jersey is all factories, you come to realize New Jersey is a beautiful, agricultural state with dynamic food cultures which is ripe for a burgeoning wine scene.
Are your clients discussing climate change with you?
Of course, but it’s also the elephant in the room.
Are there any other topics of interest to you?
The #winestudio Creatives Program which I started last year was about the Challenges of Working with Wine that led to a series of articles and podcasts about staying healthy in a sometimes unhealthy wine industry.
The 2018 Creatives Program is about those who have day jobs to fund their wine pursuits. The goal is to make some connections to get everyone closer to their wine ambitions. What I’m finding is that this particular topic is absent from many industry conferences and I’d like to change that. I’d like to design a panel of those who made it and those who are still trying. I think the insight and lessons learned can assist many.