An Interview with Donna Schlosser-Long, National President of Women for WineSense
Created in 1990 in Napa Valley, Women for WineSense (WWS) strives to be the premier education and networking organization for wine aficionados and industry professionals with an emphasis on supporting women who work in and appreciate the wine industry. With over 10 regional chapters and hundreds of members, this organization is instrumental in supporting and educating women (and men) in the wonderful world of wine. As a leading member in the Finger Lakes chapter, Donna Schlosser Long is the first national president to be located in the Finger Lakes.
Edible Finger Lakes: Tell us more about Women for Winesense.
Donna Schlosser Long: WWS is a not-for profit organization that focuses on education and networking within the wine world. Our primary mission is to educate women and provide a place for like-minded professionals to gather and converse about wine and the industry. WWS has offered a wealth of opportunities to members, from finding employment, starting a career, based on association with WWS. Networking is a great benefit.
EFL: How do the chapters work?
DSL: There are 10 chapters across the country and one of the most important chapters in the country was the Rochester chapter. It has had the strongest membership over the last 20 years. Most of the chapters offer scholarship and/or grant programs to foster continuing education within the wine world. At the national level we recognize rising stars within the industry and we also do a lifetime achievement award for Women for WineSense members.
EFL: How has WWS had an impact on you and your career?
DSL: When I wanted to get started in the wine industry, I didn’t have any experience but I loved wine and my husband encouraged me to find my passion. I knew if I sent my resume to a winery, they would never give me a chance. So, the first thing I did was join WWS. Because I had WWS on my resume, it helped me obtain my job and I have now been selling wine for 18 years.
EFL: How does WWS see the future for women in wine?
DSL: I think that we are in the best time right now for a woman to be in the wine industry because there are more woman winery owners, more women winemakers than ever before, more women sales reps and the numbers just keep climbing.
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2019 Women’s Issue of the magazine.