Cara Bertone, 12.28.18
Cara Bertone carries years of experience in hospitality and the wine industry. She is an Advanced Sommelier, a supplier for Folio Fine Wine Partners overseeing four states, and a mother of two. We are stoked to have her featured on #femmeFriday!
How many years have you been in the business? Tell me briefly about your background and your current position today.
Roughly 17 years. I started in restaurants then left to sell wine in 2008 to have my nights and weekends back. I then worked for importers/distributors in SoCal for five years before moving to Austin and becoming a supplier. Currently, I work for Folio Fine Wine Partners managing four states.
Did you have a particular “aha!” moment that propelled you into wine?
In 2002 or 2003, I was given a pour of 1994 Harlan and never looked back.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Flexibility, travel, meeting new people and learning more than you thought you could about the wine industry.
Can you describe any prejudices you’ve experienced in this industry as a woman?
Having my voice heard. I feel as a woman you have to work two times harder to prove your worth, if not more.
How can we as women become aware of our prejudice and change our behavior?
Have real conversations and listen. Do not make assumptions about anything. Lead with positivity.
When it comes to wine, what benefits do you think we’ll see as a community by better supporting women?
Balance- the industry is dominated by numbers and competition. I feel with better balance you can achieve your goals through collective power.
What change do you hope to see in regards to women in the wine industry in the next five years?
More women in important managerial roles that are ready to change the rules.
What message do you have for women entering the wine profession?
You know more than you think, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want!
What does equality in the wine industry look like to you?
Having a child of each gender over the past two years makes this question harder to answer than before children. Men and women are completely different at the core. It’s a matter of bringing together the best of each and understanding how to push for strengths from both genders. I think this where the balance comes in for question six. More brainstorming meetings similar to the ones you may have had in a college with a group project.
What ways would you say you are contributing to equality in wine?
I mentor young professionals in the wine industry.
What are some defining characteristics of a wonder woman of wine to you?
Strength, confidence, passion, tenacity.
What other women of wine do you admire and why?
This could take forever. The women who choose to educate themselves and take risks. Subjecting yourself to failure is the only way to learn and progress the needle. There are a lot of Wonder Women that have influenced how I have gotten here, whether they know it or not.
MW Amy Christine- She and her husband have planted their own vineyard in Santa Barbara and it took her years to pass her exam.
Rebecca Hopkins- A Balanced Glass- She is trying to create space for mindfulness within our industry and constantly pushing old norms out of the picture.
Patti Signorile- VP Client Services for Young’s Market. She has pushed her way up the ladder and has never looked back. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. She’s also the best mom ever!