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 Raghni, Owner & Founder, Naidu Wines
Raghni Naidu is the owner & founder of Naidu Wines and Naidu Vineyards located in the beautiful rolling hills of Sebastopol; bringing you a fully immersive wine experience from vineyard to table. She received her Bachelor of Business in Marketing from RMIT, in Melbourne, Australia, and has a passion for creating memorable experiences for others. Her dream is to create a wine that is always limited production, high quality, with a focus on terroir; while working with artists that share the same vision that she does. Her family name – Naidu, bears the label to convey the essence of her family and their belief in the freedom to create one’s own path by following your dreams & passions with a tremendous amount of hard work, perseverance & grit. While remembering to always pay it forward. She is an immigrant woman carving a space within this traditionalistic industry and believes that there is space for everyone to thrive here.
What is one piece of advice you give to women looking to make a career in wine?
Raghni: “The one piece of advice that I would give would be to persevere in advocating for yourself and not ask for permission. No one knows your vision or your passion like you do. Once you put your vision out there, you are bound to receive feedback – take it, digest it, improve with it but persevere in the direction of your vision and keep advocating for it!”
What would you like to see happen to help get more women involved in the industry?
Raghni: “I would like to see the industry as a whole become more inclusive and diverse. Our industry worldwide is inherently dependent on nature and with that comes a certain level of unpredictability from year to year. Because of this, traditionally; it has been wise to keep all other variables as stable as possible. Relationships last over generations, traditions are strongly guarded and changes are often frowned upon; yet the world is ever-changing! We can be so focused on keeping things stable that we have perhaps forgotten that in order to grow we must embrace change and evolve. Let’s give as many passionate and hardworking women the opportunity to shine here, even though they may not fit the traditional picture.”
As a female in the wine industry, have you dealt with gender-related challenges?
Raghni: “From farming vineyards to producing wines, our industry is heavily male-dominated and I see this first hand, being deeply involved in both aspects from start to finish. I personally have never viewed myself to be different, greater than, or less than any male I have interacted with within this industry. But I have certainly been in situations where I have been caught off guard to not have been taken seriously or having to prove why I even belong in the discussion. However, I’m happy to say that I am also seeing firsthand, people invested in being a positive change. Our winemaker and vineyard managers, both male colleagues, have always treated me with equal respect and view me as any other entrepreneur working hard towards bringing a vision to life. We just finished pruning our vineyard and it was overseen by a female foreman managing a team of men. I am seeing encouraging signs everywhere!”
Is there one woman, in the industry or outside of it, who has inspired you throughout your career?
Raghni: “Merry Edwards of her namesake winery, also located in Sebastopol has been a big inspiration for me. She was one of three women to graduate with a Masters in Enology at UC Davis in 1973 and the only one to continue on the journey of winemaking. Her depth of experience along with her willingness to pursue her passion with such dedication and pursuit of quality has inspired and encouraged me to persevere in being the champion of my own vision of offering a fully immersive and boutique wine experience in the beautiful heart of pinot noir wine country. Merry has paved the way for many women such as myself and I hope to pave the way for others.”
And Save The Date!
We are excited to put the much-deserved spotlight on these 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.