Abigail Perry, 7.27.18

Photo by Rania Zayyat

Photo by Rania Zayyat

Meet Abigail Perry, an advocate for sustainably and minimally produced wines who spends her evenings charming patrons as General Manager at east Austin's hip wine and pizza spot, Bufalina.

How many years have you been in the business?

I’ve spent 13 years in the restaurant industry. My first job was at Spider House Lounge waiting tables.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Giving people something new. The way that a person’s eyes light up when you give them a wine they’ve never had before. Building a relationship of trust with guests enough that they let you choose what they’re going to drink. It makes them want to learn about wine, and that’s more rewarding than anything.

When it comes to wine, what benefits do you think we’ll see as a community by better supporting women?

I think that in any industry, diversity is always a benefit. As you diversify, you become more resilient, better educated. You are able to offer, for one thing compassionately speaking, a more complete experience to a wider variety of people. On an emotional level, that means that we’re proving more empathy for anyone from a different walk of life. Diversity makes for greater success and it’s more inclusive. Wine is something that has been made for thousands and thousands of years, but the industry has been somewhat the same for a couple hundred.

What change do you hope to see with women in wine in the next five years?

I’m hoping to see a change for women in wine, the way that we’re hoping to see it in the polls. There are a lot of people that have been in this industry for a really long time with antiquated views on what a women’s role in the industry should be. There are some people, regardless of what a woman is contributing to the conversation, who won’t hear them.

Why are low-intervention, organic, and biodynamic wines important to your wine values? Why should they be important to guests?

To me, they are important because of my values as a person. As somebody that is environmentally conscious, I’m concerned about the planet as a whole and putting the best things into my body. As someone who is passionate about science, I think that it’s crucial all the way down to the soil. If you’re killing your farm on a microbial level, how do you expect to make something that people should put into their bodies? On a social level, with a lot of techniques for intervention, people like Yellow Tail are putting out millions of bottles that taste the same.

In a perfect world, most people would care about what I just said, but [the response] varies a lot. The way that I explain natural wine to a guest is by first explaining conventional wine. There are a lot of legal additives. It’s like, what are the odds that if you're growing your own fruit, juicing it and bottling it, that it’s going to taste the exact same year to year without some doctoring? If you’re concerned about your dog’s vegan food, why wouldn't you be concerned about what’s in your bottle of wine?

What are some defining characteristics of a wonder woman of wine to you?

I think that when you think of a wonder woman, you think of someone strong, confident, someone you can trust, who is nurturing and that supports the people around them, men and women. You think of someone who is a productive part of the community and someone who helps better the universe that they are a part of.

What women of wine do you admire and why?

Krista Scruggs of Zafa Wines. She’s finding hybrid varieties. I think finding heritage varietals is awesome and something no one else is doing. Preserving varietals for the sake of history, basically. She employs a lot of younger people and she collaborates with male and female winemakers. She seems to be a really strong advocate of people working on projects similar to hers. She’s a big supporter of her community.

Alice Feiring. Alice just wrote The Dirty Guide to Wine which focuses on terroir, soil type, and vineyard health. We typically just appreciate wine for the roots up, but Alice as an educator is very inspirational. She seems to be very nurturing in terms of fostering inquisitiveness.

How does it feel to be called a Wonder Woman of Wine?

To be called a wonder woman by a wonder woman is the best compliment you can get. It’s really rewarding. I’ve worked really hard to build our community. What I have should be what we have.