AZ Big Media Here’s how female leadership in Arizona’s wine industry is booming

Globally, the wine industry is valued at over $513 billion and over the next 10 years it is expected to skyrocket to nearly $850 billion. A main reason? Innovative women leaders. In Arizona’s wine industry, women know their wine and are helping State 48 become a powerhouse in the industry. Here are some local bosses behind the bottles:


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Angie Stephenson, Revolutionary drink Arizona

Dom Pérignon tells you something? How about Veuve Clicquot, Chandon and Krug? Yes, these are several of the most coveted champagnes and sparkling wines in the world. And yes, as marketing director of the Diageo & Moët Hennessy USA portfolios for Breakthru Beverage Arizona, Angie Stephenson is the go-to expert on each of them as well as over two dozen other brands, including Château d’Esclans. , Ruinart, Newton and Cloudy Bay. The 20-year-old veteran is a bona fide champagne specialist – yes, that’s one thing – has worked her way up through the ranks working in portfolio management, strategic planning, field sales and even in the restaurant and beverage industry. resort since the early 2000s before earning its coveted current one. as the pandemic has subsided in recent months. Ready to go, Stephenson is currently working on more than a dozen local events and even more strategic partnerships at the resort, restaurant and bar level as well as with spirits brands ranging from Belvedere to Johnnie Walker. So what does all this mean? Chances are if you toast anywhere in the Valley, Stephenson helped.

Laura Bruno, Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort, A Gurney’s Resort & Spa.

Laura Bruno, Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort, A Gurney’s Resort & Spa

Sanctuary’s resident sommelier and wine educator, Laura Bruno, has a resume as vast and brilliant as the 400-label wine collection she oversees at the resort. Bruno not only holds a Bachelor’s degree in Wine and Beverage and a Master’s degree in Wine from the renowned Hyde Park Culinary Institute, but she is also a Certified Level 2 Sommelier and Certified Sake Advisor. Customers love him not only for his innate ability to simplify even the most complex varietals, but also for his expert pairing advice. His secret weapon: Bruno began his culinary career as a line cook in the kitchens of Michelin-starred restaurants in New York before turning to the study of wine.

Taylor Chandler, The Phoenician

As Director of Food and Beverage Operations for The Phoenician, Taylor Chandler oversees 4,000 different labels at any given time across the entire property and is one of the main reasons the resort has won multiple Wine Spectator awards. Chandler officially took the job, which was created especially for her, in 2020 after more than a dozen years in the industry, working on and off with The Phoenician as well as other resort brands including the Sheraton Downtown Phoenix, Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa in Montelucia and JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. Chandler was exposed to the industry early on, though she didn’t imbibe or start studying in the field until much later. The daughter of two hospitality professionals, it wasn’t uncommon for Chandler to go wild in the vineyards at age 5 while mom and dad sampled wallets across California and beyond. A graduate of Arizona State University in 2009, the Certified Wine Specialist (CSW) counts advanced sommelier Chris Costas among her biggest mentors and cheerleaders. She was also fortunate to work under the late Greg Tresner, Master Sommelier, who initially helped curate The Phoenician’s robust and sought-after roster.

Kristen Schroyer, ONE HOPE Wine

Scottsdale native—and local Girl Scout Mother—Kristen Shroyer co-founded Napa Valley’s first and only impact-focused winery with five friends in 2007. ONEHOPE empowers customers to share wine and inspire hope to the people and causes that matter most to them. . To date, the company has donated over $8 million to more than 30,000 nonprofits across the country through its innovative distribution model. In 2020, ONEHOPE opened its state-of-the-art flagship winery in Napa Valley’s coveted Rutherford Bench. Shroyer leads marketing and development strategy and manages the foundation’s mission and vision to change the world with wine. From the beginnings of selling wine out of the back of her car to today, the University of Arizona alum has helped grow the brand to 1.5 million bottles a year, making it one of the top 250 wineries by volume in the United States.

Paola Embry, Wrigley Manor.

Paola Embry, Wrigley Manor

Originally from Chile, Paola Embry is an accomplished sommelier who has obtained the Certificate of Merit from the Comité National des Vins de France and an Honorary Diploma from the Amis du Vin International Wine Society. Currently, she holds a dual role as General Manager and Director of Wines for the Wrigley Mansion where she is known for creating the Wrigley Mansion Wine Festival, a four-day event which has just completed its second year, as well as for winning to the property its latest “Best of” wine spectator awards and Geordie is his first Passionate about wine Designation of “America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants”. A nationally sought-after specialist, Embry served on the advisory board of Health Magazine and wrote acclaimed plays for Passionate about wine.

Maki Pottenger, Steak Bourbon with Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Hotel

A veteran of the CORE Kitchen & Wine Bar at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain Resort and the JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, Maki Pottenger first joined Mina Group’s Bourbon Steak at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in 2015. Moved by her talent, Mina took her to a property in San Francisco soon after, but Arizona never stopped calling her home. In 2018, Bourbon Steak Scottsdale was able to beckon her back, first as floor sommelier before offering her the coveted role of head sommelier in 2019. Today, as Director of Wines for the entire resort, the Pottenger Certified Court of Master Sommeliers oversees more than 3,500 bottles and 900 labels in total at the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner.

Zoya Vora Shah, Scottsdale Wine Collective

Originally from Mumbai, Zoya Vora-Shah immigrated to the United States at age 18 and worked as a wine representative in Florida, Washington, DC, Arizona and New Mexico throughout the 2000s. Valley know her best as the former owner of the beloved My Wine Cellar (now The Cellar) in Ahwatukee, which she expanded to Gilbert in 2013. After selling the brand and taking time off to pursue other activities, Vora-Shah is back with the 2022 opening of The Wine Collective of Scottsdale. The new downtown Scottsdale tasting room and retail store focuses almost exclusively on showcasing premium Arizona producers. Vora-Shah hand-selects each of the approximately 40 bottles on the shelves and prides itself on providing an educational, relaxing and fun experience. Its goal is to expose wine lovers to a range of the best Arizona has to offer while keeping prices reasonable.

Peggy Fiandaca, LDV Vineyard

Fun Fact: Prior to founding the famed LDV Vineyard in 2008, Peggy Fiandaca was an Arizona planner for over 30 years and the first-ever woman recognized as an Arizona Planning Pioneer by the Arizona Planning Association. Today, Fiancaca farms 13 acres of grapes in southern Arizona and works as the brand’s head winemaker with her husband, Curt Dunham. LDV has made a name for itself by offering artisanal Rhone grape varieties grown and produced on the estate that reflect the unique characteristics of the vineyard. Currently, Fiandaca produces 3,000 to 4,000 cases of wine a year and runs the LDV Winery tasting room in Old Town Scottsdale, which offers tastings as well as current varietals by the bottle, glass or to-go.

Valerie Wood

After their marriage in 2001, Valérie and Daniel Wood’s corporate careers took them from California to Chicago and then to Tokyo. But perhaps their biggest move was when they decided to put down roots in the small town of Cornville. Less than a week after moving to the rural northern Arizona town, all of their senses have awakened to the crisp air and star-filled nights. And although they originally planned to retire from work altogether, around 2013 they decided to enroll in Yavapai College’s first-ever viticulture and enology program at Southwest Wine Center. Through the program, of which they are part of the first class, the Woods have helped plant 13,000 acres of vines while developing a business plan for their own brand. Enter Heart Wood Cellars in 2015. Each of their first five vintages won gold or silver medals at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine competition.

Elisha A. Tilghman