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Kat René - In 2015, she launched The Corkscrew Concierge, a food, wine & travel blog.

How many years have you been in the business? Tell me briefly about your background and your current position today.

I am the founder and owner of TheCorkscrewConcierge.com, which has been nominated for various awards and has been named a Top 100 wine blog. I began writing in 2015 after some encouragement from an old college roommate, but starting the site was only the beginning. Since then, I’ve found that that I absolutely love studying wine and am now a Certified Specialist of Wine, hold the Wine & Spirits Education Trust Level 3 Award in Wines with merit, and have completed the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory Course. Right this minute, I’m trying what to study next. I am also wine judge for the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo International Wine Competition.

Did you have a particular “aha!” moment that propelled you into wine?

I absolutely have an “aha moment” that propelled me into wine. It was 2008, and I was sitting in the Ferry Building in San Francisco at a wine bar. I ordered a glass of Etude Pinot Noir and could not believe how darn good it was. I wondered how many other wines out there could elicit such a response from me – and why hadn’t I had more of them! And so began my wine journey.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

While writing is not my full-time profession (I’m a tax lawyer by day), the most rewarding part of The Corkscrew Concierge is the people I have met. Wine has a way of joining the paths of the most unlikely people and I’ve been fortunate to meet so many wonderful, creative people.

Can you describe any prejudices you’ve experienced in this industry as a woman?

Since I’ve been writing about and studying wine, I’m always amazed at the people who underestimate me or assume I don’t know what I’m talking about. People are surprised that I’m so interested in wine in the first place. People assume that I only like sweet wines. People assume that they need to explain to me that rosé isn’t a sweet wine because it’s pink. The list goes on and on.

Women are victims of the patriarchy as well, and are often more judgmental of other women as a result. How can we as women become more aware of our own prejudice towards each and change that behavior?

I can honestly say that I’m not harder on, or more judgmental of other women. But I believe that is because I’m a black woman and have bigger obstacles to overcome. More often than not, I’m always thrilled when I see another woman, particularly a black woman, whether it be in wine, tax law, or whatever else I’m doing. But I do know women who are that way, and I think it’s important for them to realize that everyone has a unique perspective and that there really is room at the table for all of us.

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

With more support for women in wine, I think would see varying viewpoints and perspectives – which is a good thing. We can all benefit from learning from others whose paths and experiences are different from ours.

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

In the near future, I would like to see more women in leadership positions. Whether it’s owning the winery or distribution or import company, being the winemaker, or being the sommelier, there is much that women can contribute to this industry.

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

Don’t be afraid or intimidated. Trust what you know and deliver your message with confidence. I say this from personal experience, because so many times I’ve second-guessed myself when I knew deep down that I had the necessary knowledge.

What does equality in the wine industry look like to you?

Equality looks like actual representation. Equality looks like all types of people truly being afforded opportunities. Equality looks like lack of stereotypes. Equality looks like respect for different experiences and viewpoints.

In what ways would you say you are contributing to equality in wine?

Equality and representation are the very reasons I started my blog. I wanted to make wine accessible and understandable to people. To make people see that if someone that looked like me could appreciate and enjoy wine, they could as well.

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

A wonder woman of wine charts her own path, takes risks, is comfortable with unconventional, and creates opportunities for those that follow her.

What other women of wine do you admire and why?

Oh wow! There are so many women doing great things in wine. Cathy Corison for being a true pioneer, Krista Scruggs for embracing the unconventional and running with it, Mary-Ewing Mulligan for being the first and opening the door to others, Julia Coney for never backing down and speaking her truth, and all of the fabulous women that are a part of Houston’s ‘Women of Wine Charities’ that tirelessly support the Houston Area Women’s Center and its mission to end domestic and sexual violence.


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