Cristin Moxy Castro, 10.5.18

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Cristin Moxy Castro holds a wealth of knowledge, having spent 20 years serving in the wine industry. Today she is the Regional Sales Director for D&E Fine Wines of Central Texas and serves on the board of the Wine and Food Foundation of Texas. Her leadership, passion, and genuine hospitality make her a positive force in our community.

How many years have you been in the wine business?

I guess if it starts the first time I was on the floor, it would have been 20 years ago. I was just old enough to drink. I started as a server at the Bitter End in Austin, and that’s where I started collecting my tasting notes. They were a brewery and bistro, and I was learning about the beer being made.  I fell in love with beer and started writing for the Southwest Brewers’ News.  We had regular wine tasting on Saturdays and I started taking notes for wine too and collecting my notes in a book I still have.

Then I lived in Santa Fe and worked with Second Street Brewery and when I came back to Austin I went to work for Mezza Luna. I tasted my first Echezeaux with Jerry Reid. Alan Unruh was running the Austin Wine Merchant at the time, and my first Burgundy class was with him. At Mezza Luna I was asking for more training. I ended up doing the education for the San Gabriel Restaurant group.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned during your time in the industry?

Wine is almost human. It changes, it’s not a commodity. I think it’s important to see it in that way. It has a personality and a disposition. We have to look at it with fresh eyes and not assume we know it until we try it. Challenge your own assumptions.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The opportunity to be part of Austin while it’s growing up. I feel like we're still in our teenage years. We’re evolving in food, cocktails, wine and hopefully service-and we can participate with the city as it works to become a class A city in its own way with its creativity and uniqueness.

Can you describe any prejudices you’ve experienced in the industry in regards to being a woman?

I think that when I went to work for the wholesaler, at the time the senior leadership and culture was very different from today.  So I feel like the challenge was based on a lack of exposure to diversity and cultural with me being a strong woman and me being open about my sexual orientation at that time. We have come a long way and still have work to do.  Again, challenge our assumptions.  Is there any one where we have a prejudice but cannot see it in ourselves?

How can we as women become aware of our prejudice toward each other and change our behavior?

I think in small ways, it's being conscious of your own choices and behavior and saying you're going to act differently.  It is also about speaking up.  It can be about helping someone who may not naturally see a woman’s point of view see something differently.  

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

More economic growth and more collaborative style, which has been proven through so many studies that is [how] communities and economies grow. I think men and women have so much to learn from each other if they’re open. If you can put those perspectives together, you have a magic formula. There is a different style sometimes, and both have something to contribute.

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

Women [being] more comfortable. Articulating their points of view and unique insights. Asking for equality and hopefully a change in receptivity from folks who like it the way it is and are happy with the status quo.  And a change in equal pay.  This is not an acceptable way to compensate talent-it is not gender based.  We have to look for great contributors and hopefully honor unique voices-make space for different voices and ways of working-to me this is fine wine.  It is craftsmanship that we sell and there are many ways to craft something fine. 

What message do you have for women entering the wine profession?

Find an informal mentor and push yourself to take risks to grow.

What ways would you say you are contributing to the overall empowerment of current and future women in wine?

First thing is the way that I hire and run my team in an open and collaborative environment.

Second, I have always said yes when someone has asked me for advice, or when a younger or new person to the business has asked me to assist them. I remember who paid it forward for me and try to pay that back.

I also work with our Cheers and Diversity group at SGWS to promote women’s success and career path in our company and industry.

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

Someone who moves forward with her ideas even if it has not been done before and someone who is willing to try so hard she might “fail,” in order to succeed.

What women of wine do you admire and why?

Anita Cook Motard, former VP and leader of D&E. A get-down and get-it-done type of person. 34 years in the industry. She built a fine wine company that didn't exist before in a male dominated culture. I don’t know that fine wine in Texas would be what it was without her. She’s funny and led with that humor. And humble. 

Remy Cohen of Cliff Lede Vineyards . She’s a CEO and winemaker, and a top 40 under 40. She continues to work at the winery in leadership and acquisition of new vineyards, and is constantly working for innovation. She’s an industry leader for that reason.