Honoring Women in Wine:
Weeks on contentment, being a good listener, and learning from others
Interviewed by Elizabeth Smith
1. How did you get your start in wine?
My late husband took a winemaking job that came with housing at the winery. I immediately became fascinated with how the different wines were being made. I started working in the cellar and did several other jobs around the winery to learn the whole winemaking process from start to finish.
2. Where are you in your career now?
I am extremely content and at the most enjoyable point in my career that I have been to date. After spending most of my career working for large wineries and making wines for other people, I am now able to make wines that are truly a reflection of me.
3. How do Naked Angels empower you as a winemaker?
Thanks to the funding from our Angels, it has allowed me to become an independent winemaker and to make the kind of wines that I would like to make. Without the help and generosity of the Angels, it would not have been possible for me to do this on my own.
4. What’s a BIG lesson you’ve learned along the way?
To be a good listener. It is not always easy, but it has become an invaluable skill. Working on being a good listener has helped me in all aspects of my life – with family, friends, and work colleagues.
5. What’s the message you have for other women winemakers?
Learn as much as you can from every winemaker that you work with, listen to your gut, and don’t get discouraged. I have always gotten the best jobs through my contacts, so it is important to network and be nice to everyone. They may be your next boss.
6. What is your big hope for women in wine in the future?
That we continue to experience the growth of women in all facets of the wine industry. It was a very male-dominated industry when I started in the mid-1980s. I am excited to see how women have worked extremely hard to change this.
Lastly – is there a women’s empowerment organization or cause you support or would like to?
I am an active supporter of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Follow Sharon Weeks on Naked Wines
Elizabeth Smith is a freelance wine, food, and travel journalist as well as a communications and social media specialist based in the Napa Valley.