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Kenda Waugh - Wine Influencer, Educator, and Entrepreneur

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

2 years. I'm a wine influencer, educator, and soon-to-be entrepreneur.

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

Yes. I ordered a case of wine from an online wine store. When I opened that box, it was like Christmas day. I was mesmerized by all the labels. Since that day, I started learning about wine. I obtained my WSET 1 & 2 certifications and I'm working on WSET 3.

What is the most rewarding part of what you do?

When someone says since they started following me, they are now more confident and knowledgeable when they shop for wine.

What do you do to create wellness balance in your life? Any particular activity, practices, etc that are meaningful to you?

I take long social media breaks. I have to step away from social media from time to time to get back to what matters in my life. I find I sleep, eat and generally happier when I'm on these breaks.

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

I would love to see a huge consumer shift from commercial wines to more organic and biodynamic wines. I would also like to see more importers and distributors include the smaller wine producers in their portfolios.

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

Being allowed the opportunity to show that I am talented, competent and valuable.

How do you feel you’re contributing to creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive wine industry?

By breaking down the stereotype of what a wine professional looks like. You don't have to come from an affluent background to learn about and enjoy wine. I show that it's ok not knowing how to pronounce the variety name. I don't mind showing my flaws and having people watch me grow in this industry. I feel this is making me more relatable to everyone and with that more people that look like me will feel that there is a place for them in this industry.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the same sector of the wine industry as you?

Read, read, read. Read every wine label. Research the region, the winemaker, the importer. Soak up as much information as possible.

Name some people who inspire you in the wine industry and please explain why.

Whitney Pope, Roxy Eve Narvaez & Nadine Brown- These women have overcome many adversities in the wine industry and become the best in their fields. They inspire me to keep pushing, keep studying and not to let the world define who I am or what I can be.
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