top of page

Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation Awards 76 Scholarships Totaling $187,155 in 2023

Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation Awards 76 Scholarships

The mission of the non-profit is to foster the next generation, cultivate leaders, feed the talent pipeline, and promote greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in wine, beer, and spirits.

October 24, 2023 (New York, NY) – With a philosophy that education is a cornerstone of career advancement, the Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation has awarded more than $187,000 scholarships to 76 deserving candidates in 2023. Since its inception in 2017, the non-profit foundation has awarded a total of $782,755 in scholarship funding, helping fulfill its mission of cultivating and supporting talented leaders in wine, beer, and spirits.

The Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation is the charitable arm of Women of the Vine & Spirits, the all-encompassing global membership organization dedicated to boldly pushing the wine, beer and spirits industry toward a more diverse, equitable and inclusive era.

“The Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation was launched just two years after membership opened to Women of the Vine & Spirits, and we are so proud of our growth since 2017,” said Deborah Brenner, President of Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation. “We received applications from incredible candidates residing around the globe. I am so honored to celebrate this year’s honorees for their outstanding achievements. I am so grateful to our Donors, Committee Members, and our Board. Together, we are crafting a better world for women in wine, beer and spirits.”

For the fifth year in a row, E. & J. Gallo Winery donated $100,000 as a Patron Donor to its dedicated “Women Behind the Wine Educational Fund”. This year, 28 scholarships were awarded from this fund, including three $10,000 awards and 25 “Fuel Your Dreams” honors.

The Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation also received generous donations from 12 additional companies in 2023, including being selected as a grant recipient of the Gérard Basset Foundation. Through this generous financial support, the Foundation was able to award three additional WSET Level 4 Award in Wines scholarships.

The Foundation received 230 applications from candidates in 34 countries, including Australia, Austria, Barbados, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam.

It is through the ongoing generosity of Foundation Donors that the Foundation has been able to award these much-needed scholarships to recipients around the globe, promoting greater access to continued education and professional development. For a list of all 2023 Donors visit donors.

Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation Scholarship Recipients Supported by Our Generous Donors:

Professional & Leadership Development Scholarships: Jon’ll Boyd, Silver Spring, MD; Laurel Parker, Washington, DC; Palbi Sharma Bhargava, Kelowna, BC. Student Educational Scholarship: Chloé Raynaud, San Jose, California; Karin van der Westhuizen, Stellenbosch, South Africa; Esther Wanjohi, Corvallis, OR; Caitlyn Wiley, Farmington Hills, MI; Sarah Wuethrich, Santa Rosa, CA. Continuing Education Scholarship: Alejandra Cuevas, Baja California, MX; Xiaoyu Feng, Shanghai, China; Natalie Frazier, Chicago, IL; Charlotte Gordon, Devon, UK; Ashley Grayson, Columbus, OH; Luisa Hernandez, San Francisco, CA; Lisa Kozloff, Lake Wylie, SC; Delia Moreno, Modesto, CA; Danielle Noce, Palm Springs, CA; Gloria Rakowsky, Syracuse, NY; Kelsey Roberts, Port Orchard, WA; Karene Vilela, São Paulo, Brazil. WSET Level 1 Award in Wines: Crystal Charles, Aventura, FL; Hannah Kloft, Mount Angel, OR; Taryn Sabot, Victoria, BC; Leslie Sanders, Ocoee, FL; Christy Serrato, Davis, CA. WSET Level 1 Award in Spirits: Peggy Obrien, Rock Springs, WY; Julie Purpura, Farmington, NY. WSET Level 1 Award in Sake: Alexa Rodriguez, Miami, FL. WSET Level 2 Award in Wines: Amanda Heck, New York, NY; Anna Jestin, Paris, FR; Jett Kolarik, Atlanta, GA; Elizabeth Montelongo, Las Vegas, NV. WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits: Beth Dixon, Richmond, VA; Jessica Morales, Gurabo, PR; Ashley Santiago, Oaxaca, MX. WSET Level 3 Award in Wines: Kseniia Alekseeva, Ulyanovsk, Russia; Claudia Erpili, Lombardy, IT; Aimee Mondragon Hernandez, Mexico City, MX. WSET Level 3 Award in Spirits: Ana Bertha Gallegos Barcenas, Montreal, CA. WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines: Mürside Karadeniz, Burgundy, FR; Fiene Marie Kuijper, Paris, FR; Sara Matos, Coimbra, PT; Nichelle Thompson, Barbados, JAM. Executive Leadership Program Scholarship to Attend DISCUS Academy: Shaylyn Gammon, Louisville, KY; Kim Nguyen, Seattle, WA; Absinthia Vermut, Berkeley, CA. Developing Leadership Program Scholarship to Attend DISCUS Academy: Celeste Curry, Federal Way, WA; Lydia Kim, New York, NY.

“Women Behind the Wine Educational Fund” Scholarship Recipients Supported by Patron Donor E. & J. Gallo Winery:

Elizabeth Smyth Student Scholarship: Sahithi Nymisha Kotala, Dukhan, Qatar. Masters of Wine Scholarship: Samantha Cole-Johnson, Portland, OR; Allison Sheardy, Taylor Falls, MN. Fuel Your Dreams Award: Josephina Alex, North East, PA; Laura Algieri, Newberg, OR; Emilia Alvarez, Guaynabo, PR; Bijou Barry, Gaithersburg, MD; Lindsey Bilderback, Newburgh, IN; Jymyaka Braden, Little Rock, AR; Antonette Cockrell, Chicago, IL; Aubrey Cunningham, Coeur d'Alene, ID; Amanda Haller, Sonoita, AZ; Brigid Hilton, Bend, OR; Laquita Howard, Mitchellville, MD; Monica Jones, Houston, TX; Karis Kontilis, Seattle, WA; Mary Beth Lambert, Santa Rosa, CA; Elizabeth Lang, Pittsburgh, PA; Maria Lucchi, Scranton, PA; Taneka Martin, Rockville, MD; Aixa Martinez Zuviria, Buenos Aires, ARG; Irem Parildar, Astoria, NY; Isabella Perez, Scotland, UK; Geneva Riley, Denver, CO; Cloe Sliva, Missoula, MT; Sarah Stanley, Ashville, NC; Catherine Streich, Greenwich, RI; Caitlin Wood, St. Louis, MO.

2023 Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation Donors: Patron ($100,000+): E. & J. Gallo Winery; Benefactor ($15,000-$34,999): Beam Suntory, Gérard Basset Foundation, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Republic National Distributing Company; Affiliate ($5,000- $14,999): Breakthru Beverage, ForceBrands, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits; Friend ($100-$999): In Memory of Jennifer Ashley Woolfolk Rowe. May her love and passion for wine live on in many future generations, Constellation Brands, Horton Vineyards, Scott Laboratories Inc., Straightaway Cocktails.

Overseeing the growth and development of the non-profit is Executive Director, Tara Davey, alongside the Board of Trustees, led by Deborah Brenner, Founder & CEO, Women of the Vine & Spirits; Béatrice Cointreau, President & CEO, byBC Wines; and Richard Tobin, Partner, Aprio, LLP.

The 2023 Foundation Committee is comprised of the following individuals: Hannah Becker, Shareholder, GRAY | ROBINSON, Chris Cataldi, VP Managing Director, Supplier Development & Marketing, Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits, Anna Chamness, Associate Manager, Public Relations & Social Media, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Béatrice Cointreau, President & CEO, byBC Wines, Debra Dziena, Hospitality Leadership Development Advisor | Talent Consultant, Jennifer Friedrichs, Regional Sales Manager, Santo Spirits, Melody Fuller, Founder & President, The Oakland Wine Festival and The Exceptional Vine, Felicia Ganthier, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, Breakthru Beverage Group, Cindy Haas, VP, External Communications & Corporate Social Responsibility, Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits, Rachel Harris, VP, On-Premise, Beam Suntory, Sarah Kaneshiki, Brewing Supervisor, Stone Brewing, Julie Kinch, Founder, JK Leadership Advisors, Dr. Kathryn LaTour, Associate Professor, Wine Services Marketing, Cornell University, Rhonda Motil, VP, Marketing, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Courtney Nuss, Wisconsin State Manager, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Cathleen Price, Business Manager, Breakthru Beverage Group Delaware, Francie Purnell, Corporate Director, Retirement Plans, Scholarships & Foundations, Republic National Distributing Co., David Rudman, Executive Director- USA, Wine & Spirit Education Trust, Kelly Stevens, Director National Accounts – On Premise, Stone Brewing,Nellie Thornton, Sr. Manager of Marketing, E. & J. Gallo Winery, Stacey Townsend, Director, Sales Training & Education - Spirits, Constellation Brands.

The Committee was responsible for reviewing applications and selecting finalists with guidance by Davey.

For more information about the various scholarships awarded visit

The Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation, Ltd. 501(c)(3) is looking for donations to award scholarships in 2024. To donate and learn more about donor levels and benefits visit or contact the Foundation at



bottom of page