Stronger Together: Building Up the Tribe, An International Perspective

Stronger Together: Building Up the Tribe, An International Perspective

Fresh off the heels of the Bâtonnage Forum, when so many of us from all parts of the industry came together, we thought it would be interesting this week to offer an international perspective on “building up the tribe.”

How does that process look, from abroad?

This week we’re hearing from Irene Graziotto from Studio Cru in Italy. Irene is a Tribe member we featured a few weeks ago whose comments on women as triggers for other women seemed to hit a nerve.
We asked Irene to share her perspective on turning competition into collaboration, and how to build a stronger community of women across the global industry. Here are Irene’s thoughts:

1. Change perspective
See other women not as competitors, but as people who are fighting the same battle as you are fighting. Consider them as climbing partners: you won’t get to the top without their support and without them proceeding alongside you.

2. Ode to yourself
We tend to be shy and avoid taking credit for the great results we have been able to reach despite all the odds. Have you ever heard of Ode to Lorraine? It is a Cab/Shiraz blend produced by Elderton Wines in the Barossa Valley of Australia.
“The family made this wine against Lorraine’s wishes. She didn’t want the recognition. She doesn't think that what she does is anything special. Except what she does is keep the family together, and the whole operation on track.”

3. Talk to each other, then take action
If it’s happening to you, it’s probably happening to others too. Why struggle alone, and reduce the chances of resolving the problem as a “lone wolf”?

Irene writes of this experience a few years ago, during a press tour:
“A guy invited to the event was bothering a young lady. I didn’t notice it until she came next to me, asked if she could spend a few words with me and finally revealed what was happening, asking if I could stay next to her when he was around. I talked with the organizers too – whatever the journalistic influence of this person, he would always be a potential danger.”

4. Amplify
In an article in The Washington Post from September 13, 2016, Juliet Eilperin reported: “When President Obama took office, two-thirds of his top aides were men. Women complained of having to elbow their way into important meetings. And when they got in, their voices were sometimes ignored.

So female staffers adopted a meeting strategy they called ‘amplification’: When a woman made a key point, other women would repeat it, giving credit to its author. This forced the men in the room to recognize the contribution — and denied them the chance to claim the idea as their own.”

Here’s how that looks, Irene wrote: That quote in point number two? “It wasn’t discovery of mine. It was Cathy Huyghe that brought it to my attention at one of the tastings at Vinitaly.”
Irene’s perspective and experience is a reminder of the need to be more mindful when we slip into old habits or ways of working.

To increase the overall pie of opportunity rather than taking our slice, so in closing we would also add to Irene’s list:

5. Educate
Our kids and next generation have the potential to break the cycle, but we need to show them how.

In the rush of everyday to-do lists, this can get overlooked unless we make an intentional commitment to changing behavior. Sometimes the obvious needs pointing out.

  • Yes, boys can do their laundry too. (Have we taught them how?)

  • Yes, they can wash pots and pans just as well as girls. (Do we set the expectation that they will?)

  • Yes, teenage girls can do awesome in math and science. (Do we enlist extra help if they start to veer off course, or lose interest?)

  • Yes, men can rotate onto “primary caregiver” roles too, and they’re fully competent and able to do doctor visits or pick up kids from activities and get dinner on the table. (Does this happen without our micromanaging?)

As always we appreciate your comments and feedback.

Rebecca and Cathy


Meet The Tribe:

Our community is only as strong as the company we keep, and here we meet some of the folks who make our profession so dynamic.

Erica_Loveblock_6 FINAL.jpg

Erica Crawford

Owner / Managing Principal, Loveblock Farms New Zealand.

Former Co-founder of Kim Crawford Wines (yes THAT Kim Crawford)

Years In Industry:

Since 1996. I co-founded Kim Crawford Wines as one of the first “virtual wineries” in New Zealand. After serving a non-compete post our sale to Constellation Brands, we now focus on organic farming and deep sustainability, producing wines under the Loveblock brand.  My journey to organics has changed my outlook on life a lot. 

My Biggest Challenge To Wellness:

I struggle with balance and delegation. I tend to pick up the slack in all areas of business as we are a small family owned company again. Exercise, even a quick stretch, gets pushed to the bottom of the list when demands pile up. I’m also formalizing my viticulture knowledge and am two papers away from that Post Graduate degree. Some say I don’t need it, but it is something I want to tick off. 

Oh and I really like tasting flavours, I love food but it’s now piling up around my middle aged girth!

How I Keep It Together To Stay Well:

I’ve learnt the importance of a good sleep. Alcohol definitely interferes with sleep quality, so I try not to have that last glass at dinner too close to bed time. When I do, I pay the price. I aim for three to four wine-free days a week. It takes focus I must say, but my general mental capacity is definitely better. It doesn’t always happen, and I have generally cut down in my overall wine consumption.

Travel is challenging for all of us. I’m interested in the history of cities, so I walk those cities and towns I spend time in. There is something good and beautiful in each little town, so I seek that out. On a recent trip to my homeland of South Africa, my sister taught me to crochet, and doing those little granny squares is really therapeutic believe it or not! I’m now working on a cover for a small cushion :)

 How Can We Connect With You?
I stay connected online via Instagram and Twitter or you can find me on FaceBook


What We’re Reading:

There's no shortage of wine stories and media inundating our IN Boxes. Here's what has piqued our interest this week.

How the BBC Women Are Working Toward Equal Pay – The New Yorker
“When Carrie Gracie discovered that her salary was lower than that of her male peers, she blamed herself. But wage disparities are a social problem with far-reaching effects.”

A Mexican winemaker makes Australian wine for Mexico – Mexico News Daily

“When Mauricio Ruiz Cantú from Monterrey first decided he wanted to become a winemaker, Mexico certainly wasn’t well known for its wine. When he made the decision to study viticulture, his family questioned the move.”

Let's Meet Up!

As work life has it, we are traveling over the next few months and would love to see you.  Check out details on the Let's Meet Up! page.

Drop a line to or if you are interested in getting together for practice, a chat or a great glass together.


What Happens at TEXSOM does NOT Stay at TEXSOM

What Happens at TEXSOM does NOT Stay at TEXSOM

The Critical Need for Personal Commitment

The Critical Need for Personal Commitment