As we celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we’re kicking off a “Woman in Wine” blog series, which will highlight the many women of Frank Family Vineyards who are an integral part of every facet of our business. Together we work for a common goal — learning from, inspiring each other, and hopefully making a difference along the way.
Before I joined the wine industry, I had a career in broadcast journalism where I covered everything from 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina. Both industries are predominately male spheres where only 15 percent of the winemakers and only 25 percent of people who present the evening news are women. I learned early into my career that it would be my merit and willingness to take risks that would be the key to my success. After leaving home at 17 to attend journalism school, I cut my teeth on the Canadian media circuit before setting my sites on a station in Seattle. I ultimately landed in Los Angeles, persevering through pay gap-related sexism and visa troubles all the way.
After many grueling months of covering the Michael Jackson trial, I decided to take a much-needed trip to Napa Valley. Fate took its course during my visit, and I met my future husband Rich Frank over a bottle of 2004 Flowers Pinot Noir at the oyster bar in Bouchon Bistro. A few years later, I found myself leaving my life as a broadcast journalist to take on a whole new challenge as a vintner in Napa Valley.
Since the beginning of our marriage, I never wanted to be looked at as just “Rich Frank’s wife”. I was determined to find what I could contribute to the business that will get people to look at me as an individual. I took what I knew best – people and storytelling – and applied that to the brand. I went to UC Davis, took some wine-management courses and some classes at the Napa Wine Academy, and I’m now managing our staff. Our assistant winemaker is a woman, our enologist is a woman, our tasting room manager is a woman, our marketing and events manager is a woman and our CFO is a woman. Two key people in our production are women, and trust me, they can drive a forklift better than anyone!
I invite you each week this March to pour a glass of your favorite Frank Family wine and read about some of these incredible women who make what we do at Frank Family Vineyards possible.
Leslie Frank, Proprietor