Leah Jorgensen is owner and winemaker for Leah Jørgensen Cellars, a wine company dedicated to creating distinctive wines with an appreciation for French Loire Valley style.
Leah grew up with an Italian mom, and that had an influence on how she saw the world. She has early memories of being around the table with a lot of great food and sharing of wine, and what it meant culturally to her family.
In this fascinating interview Leah shares how she didn’t even realize that the wine industry was an actual field or industry. She never really stopped to think about how wine was created and what kind of career that would be”.
She shared that it all began with managing a cute, little wine shop in Washington DC where she grew up.
Like many women I have interviewed she began her career as part of the corporate world in Washington DC which trained her to work hard. Eventually she decided to enroll into a top notch wine course and so her new career began.
Leah shares that she’s been in this for almost 17 years and learned a lot, but there’s always things that need to change or be different, certainly as a woman wine maker and business owner in this industry. She wants to be able to continue to inspire and motivate and cultivate opportunity for other women and minorities. Leah says a woman can do this work as easily as a man and yet it tends to be a good old boys club as guys like to hire guys. She had to find men who were more forward thinking.
It bothers her that there are virtually no minorities in the American Wine Industry, other than a few sprinkled here and there. She wants to be a part of the conversation about how to shift this from being such a white privilege culture.
I asked Leah to share how my book “Wiser and Wilder,” helped her.
“There’s this classic, masculine way of how we all approach business… and that’s just not how my brain was wired. Even though I’m a very bright person and did very well in school, there are these moments where it made me feel dumb because it wasn’t my language. So much of the way we do business in the wine industry is masculine dominated. You wanna talk about circles and squares.. It was all squares.
By the time I found you and your book, I knew that model wasn’t working for me. I have advisers who do help me with my business. They’re all men and they all present stuff in a certain way and tell me what I need to do to grow my wine business..and I knew that what they were suggesting would never happen for me. When I found your book, I loved the Circles…It made sense. As I was doing the exercises and I was able to take the knowledge that was in that square material that these people were presenting to me, and sort of fashion it in a way that fit more for me and how my brain works, how I’m wired.”
Leah says her biggest challenge now is to not get caught up in anxiety around money. She shared how starting a wine industry requires a lot of money ongoing.
“So for me, I get in that sort of panic fight-or-flight mode with how overwhelming the financial side of this can be. But the truth is, it always works out and that’s validation that I’m on the right path. Even these gigantic, enormous, very scary sums of money that might be due, the voice that I’ve had to listen to so often is to just remind me that it’s just money. It’s just energy: Flow in, flow out. That’s all it is. It’s just energy. It’s like that wild woman is constantly telling me that in the back of my head that it’s just energy. Let it go. It’s fine.” You get it, you lose it.. You get it, you lose it. When I really listen to it, then I don’t feel the anxiety.”
I asked Leah what she thought she might be doing in her Crone years. She had gone to a small college and majored in creative writing and learned from Mary Oliver yet she she knew she needed more life experience first. Her vision is that in her Crone stage she’ll have a long silver braid, a pencil behind her ear, and like Mary Oliver, walk along the beaches in Oregon and write poetry.
Leah’s wisdom tip” “When it comes to going out into the world, and speaking your truth, wanting to create your work, and put your soul creativity and your empathy out into the world and all those feelings of wanting to use your gifts to make the world a better place. The biggest thing is just knowing your gifts. Meditate on it, go for walks, sit down and REALLY, really identify, “What are my gifts?” And then you can navigate. You can really figure out how you can find your mission”.
You can find Leah on Facebook – Leah Jorgensen Cellars and her website LeahJorgensenCellars.com
This podcast episode is part of the one year birthday celebration of my book “Wiser and Wilder, A Soulful Path for Visionary Women Entrepreneurs.”
Join the celebration and find out more..