Q&A

Wine Entrepreneur Christina Madrigal

Madrigal, of California's Two Wives Winery, answers our questions about working as a woman in the wine industry.

(Courtesy Elizabeth Naylor (left) and Christina Madrigal (right))

Q: How did you become involved in the wine business?

A: While opening a bottle of wine one evening with a group of friends and listening to them talk about their week and extensive amount of energy it takes to keep it all going, the idea of Two Wives emerged. We realized that sitting down with a glass of wine at the end of the day allows us to recoup our fortitude to successfully juggle all that we love: our families and friends, our work, our joys, our sorrows and our continued growth as successful women. At that moment we knew we could make the wine to toast our lives and the lives of all women. Our husbands are in the wine business and passionately enjoy their careers. Over the years we have both learned a great deal about the process of producing, bottling, selling, and enjoying good wine from watching our husbands in action. We decided it was time for us to join the industry that is such an integral part of our family lives, hence the name "Two Wives". We created Two Wives Wine Company in order to bottle our favorite varietal, Sauvignon Blanc, and encourage the celebration of everyday things life has to offer us as women.

Q: What were some of the hurdles?

A: Starting any new business can be an overwhelming experience, but after a lot of thought on this we would definitely say getting all the appropriate licenses and permits was a major ordeal. So much more comes into play because alcohol is involved. A fair estimation on what it took to get us up and running would be a year; and the year was full of hurdles...a six month waiting time for being seen by the Alcohol Beverage Control Department, securing wine and being informed that someone offered a better price so we were out, figuring out the bottles that we wanted did not work with screw-caps and the color screw caps we required had a minimum order of 50,000...we only needed 9,000--the list goes on and on. But we survived...with lots of patience, staying focused and trying really hard to always look forward we accomplished what we set out to do-- we are now on our third vintage!

Q: What do you love most about your job?

A: Without doubt, the thing we love most about our job is being able to have fun while doing something we're passionate about, having a job that allows us the control and flexibility over our own day and being able to support a cause (Breast Cancer) that means a great deal to us both.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who wants to do what you do?

A: Mentor...Mentor...Mentor... Find someone that has knowledge in this area --they will be able to give sound advice which can minimize or help avoid the unforeseen obstacles.

Q: How are women changing the wine industry?

A: Recently we have seen more labels marketed for women as well as female driven wine clubs, magazines and books. Women are now being acknowledged for their contribution to this industry. We buy 77 percent and consume 60 percent of wine in the United States. Women also make up 60 percent of high end ($15 dollars and up) wine purchases, yet only 10 percent are women winemakers.

Q: What are some of the misconceptions about women and wine?

A: Perhaps the biggest misconception about women and wine is that men are the predominating force behind the wine industry and that is simply not so, as research shows otherwise.

Q: Which of your own wines is your favorite and which wines do you generally prefer?

A: Sauvignon Blanc!!!!

Two Wives, Calistoga, Calif. 94515, 888/896-9483, twowives.net.

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