“The idea is to inspire, connect and support women in in educational and fun setting. The focus is to bring women in wine together to lesser known wine regions and get them to discover or re-discover these regions.” That is how Senay Ozdemir describes the Women in Wine Expo she founded which is due to hold its next event in the UK with three days of talks, debates, tastings and trips.
To find out more about Women in Wine Expo and to sign up to its UK event in May click here.
Can you tell us about your background and starting Women in Wine Expo?
I founded Women in Wine Expo with a commitment to bring the wine industry into an era where every female professional feels empowered. Women from the East to the West, and where there are no issues of borders to connect with each other. When the participants meet in May for the global conference, they’ll discuss topics and trends in the wine business, diversity initiatives (and being transparent about them) as well as discussing emerging wine regions.
However the most important goal of the Expo is to bring women in wine together, to share stories and learn from each other.
I conceived the idea for the gathering when I met women in the US, Europe and Turkey while doing research on importing Turkish wines into the Benelux. My work in wine is a second act after more than two decades in journalism. When I started my media career, I was ‘the first and only’ Turkish woman in the European media. I didn’t have any role models, I had to pave my own way.
As I shifted my career into the wine industry, I noticed half of the wine stories were not told. Women’s stories and stories of less travelled regions (including the cradle of wine) do not take up significant space in the major wine books. Of course, this impacts the whole story and history of wine. And what happens if you don’t bring the other half of the story? Exactly. It’s not complete.
I then gave a TED Talk about women in wine and am organising this global conference for the third time.
What are the goals and objectives of Women in Wine Expo?
(This video from Women in Wine Expo 2022 captures what the events are all about)
The idea is to inspire, connect and support women in in educational and fun setting. The focus is to bring women in wine together to lesser known wine regions and get them to discover or re-discover these regions.
What response have you had?
So far the event has been well-received by all and we have registrations from a variety of countries including but not limited to, the USA, Mexico, South Africa, Portugal, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, New Zealand, just to name a few.
What have been the key highlights and achievements of Women in Wine Expo so far?
The conferences to date have taken place in Rotterdam and Brussels in 2019 and Georgia in 2022. The main achievements have been to connect entrepreneurial women in wine who have either created business relationships, lasting friendships and enabled women to exchange best practice during and after the events.
You are looking to host your next Expo in the UK. What do you have planned and did you want to run it in the UK?
The idea of hosting the conference in the UK was simply because not only is the UK an emerging and exciting new wine country with delicious sparkling wines but London is the beating heart of the wine industry. Sparkling wines will be the theme on the second day of the conference with an English Sparkling Wine Masterclass taking place at Balfour Winery on May 11.
Tell us about the programme and what is happening?
Day 1 May 10: meet and greet networking evening for all the women to get to know each, this will take pace at Balfour St Barts in Farringdon, London.
Day 2 May 11: Return coach transfer from London will take all the women to Balfour Winery in Kent where they will be joined by an all-male panel discussion with Simon Thorpe (WineGB), Ross Carter (Drinks Trust) and Richard Balfour (Balfour Winery).
As well as a vineyard tour, after a three-course lunch everyone will be attending a Sparkling Wine Masterclass featuring Balfour Winery and Oastbrook Estate followed by a Cider Masterclass from Jake’s Kentish Cider before returning to London.
Full details of the two day expo can be found here https://www.womeninwineexpo.com/program-masterclass-kent
Day 3 May 12:Full day conference at The Dickens Inn in London with panel discussions about:
- Trends and topics in the wine trade: Packaging, innovative packaging and education
- Women in wine organisations from around the world
- The story of a Turkey wine professional
- India, the next big thing in wine?
- Three keynote speakers include: Seyma Bas from Constellation Brands, Ritu Singhal from Fine Wine & Champagne India, Queena Wong from Curious Vines.
Full panel discussion panels and speakers can be found here.
Speakers’ profiles can also be found on our website on this page.
Day 3 May 12: 5pm – 8pm: Wine tasting.
How can you sign up to be part of Women in Wine Expo?
It is an open registration process on the Women in Wine Expo website, the full price is £440 for all three days including lunches and return coach transport to Kent for day two. The registration page is available on the Women in Wine Expo website. Click here.