Empowering Women and Embracing Inclusivity: The Womens Sommelier Symposium in Santa Barbara County

By Chris King
Posted on Mar 18, 2024 @ 06:25 PM


Santa Barbara County, celebrated for its viticultural achievements and a strong culture of inclusivity, once again hosted the impactful Women’s Sommelier Symposium from March 17 to 20, 2024. This event, held during Women’s History Month under the auspices of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas (CMS-A), has become a beacon for empowering women in the wine industry, aligning closely with the region’s dedication to supporting diverse communities, including the LGBTQIA+ community.

The symposium brought together ten exceptional women from various corners of the wine world: Julia Borkowski, Maria Cardenas, Beverly Crandon, Lindsey Fern, Jessica Forster, Christina Hartigan, Brieana Dema Markovic, Oriana Maday Cartaya Maldonado, Katja Scharnagl, and Amanda Cannon Winquist. These attendees, selected for their passion and dedication to wine, underscored the event's focus on excellence and diversity.

A panel of distinguished Master Sommeliers, alongside leaders from the wine industry, shared their knowledge and experiences, fostering an environment where attendees could thrive, learn, and support one another. The symposium was not just a learning opportunity but a celebration of the achievements and potential of women in the wine industry.

The connection to the broader community and a commitment to inclusivity were vividly displayed in the event’s support for charitable causes, echoing the spirit of the Women Winemakers Celebration held earlier in the year. That event, emblematic of Santa Barbara County’s inclusive ethos, successfully raised $15,000 for The Rainbow House Inc., aiming to establish the first LGBTQIA+ community resource center in the Santa Ynez Valley. This donation highlights the wine community's broader commitment to supporting all members of society, creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for everyone, including the LGBTQIA+ community.

Next Adventure was delighted to offer transportation for the attendees for the second consecutive year, further solidifying its support for initiatives that champion the roles of women in the wine industry and their efforts to make a positive impact on the community. This partnership is a testament to the collaborative spirit that defines the wine community in Santa Barbara County.

Emily Wines, Master Sommelier and founder of the symposium, encapsulated the essence of the event as a movement towards empowerment, equality, and excellence in the wine industry. The symposium serves as a vibrant platform for education, networking, and celebration, driving progress towards a future where women have equal opportunities to influence and shape the wine world.

This event, through its focus on education, empowerment, and community support, continues to pave the way for a more inclusive and equitable wine industry, reflecting the values that make Santa Barbara County a unique and progressive wine region.