Women in Wine Spotlight: Diana Snowden Seysses

Recognized every year on March 8, International Women’s Day honors the contributions and achievements of women in our world. The 2021 theme #ChooseToChallenge, highlights the importance of challenging biases and misconceptions in the interest of creating a more inclusive and gender-equal world. A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change…

All March long, through Q&A spotlights, weekly Instagram Live tastings, and donating 10% of our online sales to Women of the Vine, join us in celebrating and acknowledging some of the incredible female winemakers, winery owners, and professionals working in the industry today.

 

Meet Diana, Winemaker & Owner, Snowden Vineyards; Enologist & Cellar Master, Domaine Dujac

Diana Snowden Seysses

 

Diana was born in Napa Valley at a time that was much more innocent than today. After twenty-two years in wine, she found more and more inspiration and meaning in the notion of “Terroir”. The most memorable wines are living and changing. They are the result of vineyard work without chemicals, native yeast fermentation with minimal handling, and élevage in a cellar that breaths. Beyond these simple, traditional techniques, Diana believes,

“those of us who are fortunate enough to run wineries must deepen our thoughts on “Terroir” to allow that term to encompass both ecosystem and community. We must think about balance between prosperity in our beautiful grape-growing regions and protecting the simple charm that made them famous in the first place. Climate change and all our farming choices have genetic impact on the vine. The emotional state of our employees leaves it signature on our wines. All these complex issues are in part our responsibility. I seek to protect a healthy environment in the largest sense of the term and transmit this just savoir faire to the next generation.”

Diana Snowden Seysses - Snowden Vineyards

 

What is one piece of advice you give to women looking to make a career in wine?
Diana: “Wine is on a much longer timeline than most careers. Your place in it will be built over decades. Develop a strategy for yourself and focus on your goals. Allow yourself seasons of activity and seasons of rest. Finally, create your village. We all get by with a little help from our friends.”

 

What would you like to see happen to help get more women involved in the industry?
Diana: “The great news is there is already a program in place! I’m a proud and active mentor of Batonnage Forum. I just completed level 1 mentorship with 20 mentees. We are continuing onto level 2 mentorship in March. The companies I represent, Triennes, Snowden Vineyards, and Domaine Dujac are donating wine for a zoom tasting later this year which I will animate. All proceeds will be for the benefit of the Batonnage Forum.”

 

As a female in the wine industry, have you dealt with gender-related challenges?
Diana: “Yes, of course. Ultimately, the struggle of the sexes is a power struggle. I was born with a lot of power. That is step one, finding, feeling, and amplifying your power. You’ll be on the right track when you know deeply that real power is based on truth (and therefore nongendered).  Once you’ve accomplished that, many struggles just vanish. Those that don’t, be patient. I try not to waste my vital energy in ego-based struggles. There are some battles that cannot be won. My current struggle is climate change; bringing awareness to it, stopping it… it is a losing battle but I will keep fighting it, with my truth-based power until the bitter end!”

 

Is there one woman, in the industry or outside of it, who has inspired you throughout your career?
Diana: “Ha! The fan-girl moments! Not one. So many! If I have to choose one, it would be Anne Claude Leflaive. She is such a guiding light. I was lucky to work as an intern at Domaine Leflaive in 2002. She was a leader in biodynamic farming, an ardent socialist who practiced profit-sharing and provided and ate a communal lunch every day with her whole production team and an idealist. The wine world misses her. Her spirit lives on in her three daughters.”

 

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We are excited to put the much-deserved spotlight on some incredible female winemakers, winery owners, and professionals working in the industry today. Click here to meet them and learn more about their craft and the wines they produce.