Disrupting Old Systems – Ep.50

A Swig of History – Ep.49
April 27, 2022
Living On Purpose – Ep.51
May 12, 2022

CEO of Teneral Cellars, Jill Osur discusses how her company uses intentional actions to disrupt old systems and support the rise of women in the wine industry.  

Melyssa Barrett:

Welcome to The Jali Podcast. I’m your host, Melyssa Barrett. This podcast is for those who are interested in the conversation around diversity, inclusion and equity. Each week, I’ll be interviewing a guest who has something special to share, or is actively part of building solutions in this space. Let’s get started.

Jill Osur, founder and CEO, Teneral Cellars. She’s a former UC Berkeley softball player, and she still draws on her athletic background to hone her leadership style and overcome obstacles. Deeply move to elevate women and inspire meaningful change, her values have guided her career, first as a savvy political fundraiser, then in marketing with Special Olympics Northern California and Nevada, and now as an entrepreneur. Jill has helped launch numerous consumer product companies and ventures focused on doing well by doing good. Previously, the co-founder and director of California based winery group Gold Wine Brands, Jill founded a digital winery, Teneral Cellars in 2020. Teneral Cellars is driven by Jill’s belief that wine can be a conduit for change, a force for gender equity and social justice within the wine industry and our culture at large. She’s a member of Women Presidents Organization, C-Suite Network, and she was a founding board member of the John F. Kennedy University Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. And is a current advisory board member for Enterprising Women, the women business collective and board member of Hilinski’s Hope Foundation, which provides integrative mental wellness programs for student athletes.

She has several awards. In 2002, she was an honoree at the East Bay Business Times 40 Under 40 in women of distinction. 2003, she was an honoree by the San Jose Business Journal for Top Women in Business, in 2009, she was the finalist for the Stevie Awards as the best entrepreneur, in 2012, she was the recipient of the Bronze Stevie Award female executive of the year in consumer products for up to 2,500 employees. And in 2021, she was the winner of the Women’s President’s Organization, Adrienne Hall Award for breaking down barriers. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Jill Osur.

I am just excited. I think the listeners probably have already heard OT Mosley-Bremond’s episode a few weeks ago, and she talked about your community partnerships and being a founder and really some of the things that you have done to really change the game. She talked about her experience, even becoming a founder, when you said, “Hey, can put together this amount of money?” And she was like, “I don’t have that kind of money. And I don’t know any woman that does.” But Jill had other thoughts and plans and you really kind of made sure that there was opportunities.

So I want to start really Jill, because I had the pleasure of meeting you at the East Bay Women’s Conference. And you were doing a presentation on head, heart and gut, and it was really incredible to me because the alignment that you talk about… There’s a friend of mine who does diversity equity and inclusion work, and she’s always talking about your head, heart and hands when it comes to DEI work. And so head, heart and gut, and you really had a process that you were talking about in terms of the alignment. I was so glad to hear that presentation, but really just wanted to start with like how did you even get into this?

Jill Osur:  Well, I moved up to Northern California in 1985 and going to Berkeley and I was an hour away from Napa and I started to go to a lot of events and see how great wine was being served, but how much wine connected people. And that really spoke to me. I mean, I’m a people person. And I think back then, it’s interesting, because so much of my journey has been to around finding out who I am so that I can best show up as my best self so that I can then serve others. But what I could definitely see that regardless of who it was, how much wine was really being used as a connector. And so from that point forward, I had it on my vision board to get into the wine industry, but I really didn’t know how to get in there because I don’t come from a family that owned a vineyard, from my vantage point, it was like a lot of rich people owned wineries and how could I make that happen?

And so it just came about after years of trying out a lot of different things and finding out a lot about me that I found a partner to help me get into the wine industry because he had the… He’s a CFO by training and a trained attorney had taken the largest net company in the world public. And we met working at a tech company and the economy crashed and the two founders ran for the hills and he just sat there with me as I sort of was holding the bucket to take care of these employees because I wasn’t going to run. It was the right thing to do. I mean, my job was to manage these employees and he was there with me. And so from the first time we met, we talked about wine and we both just realized that we had a love for it and why not find a way to get into the business?

And so started a company with him on the distribution side first, because there was a real problem after the economy crashed. A lot of the larger companies had merged and it really left the majority of smaller wineries. And when I say smaller wineries, there’s only 3% of wineries in the U.S. that make over 50,000 cases a year. But when we’re talking about that 3%, we’re talking about a little more than a handful of companies that produce the majority of the wines. And most people don’t realize when they go into a safeway that probably 90% of the wines on the shelf are owned by five companies. They just own all the portfolios. So trying to find a way that the majority of companies could get their wines into restaurants, into stores.

And so we built a really nice company, but then we realized that we wanted to be in control of what we were doing. So we actually bought one of the wineries that we were helping to distribute and landed on El Dorado County because El Dorado County is really an amazing wine region that for so many years, people have never heard about and they don’t have any water issues. You can grow everything up here. The cost of land is significantly less expensive than Napa or even our neighboring county, Amador County. And yet the dirt is equally as good as Napa. So we started this company, we built it, we have multiple tasting rooms and lots of employees. And for me it was a great way to get my feet wet, but like so many, I think women in particular, I realized that I was really feeling that I was leaving the best part of myself at the door on most days and realizing how steeped in tradition and dominated by rich white men, the wine industry was. And I just felt like I had to do something different.

Melyssa Barrett:  Wow. That’s amazing.

Jill Osur:  Yeah. So, I mean, it’s like, I don’t want to talk for 40 minutes on my whole story, but that’s how… I mean, I got into it with the right reasons, but I also realized like any other industry, Melyssa, that there’s so many stereotypes, there’s so many old systems and old ways of doing things. And it’s very difficult sometimes to show up as your authentic self when you’re coming into an industry, even with well-intentioned people, when they are so wired to do things in a set way.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yes, you are absolutely right. And I love the fact that I think you talk a little bit about the name Teneral and the dragonfly that you use and what it represents. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Jill Osur:  Yeah, absolutely. I mean, so for me, I mean, it was really, for me, my aha moment, came in 2020. COVID had just taken over the world, we’re all sitting here as well with just some, following the murders of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and then George Floyd. And I remember very specifically sitting in my home office at my desk and just asking myself as a leader in the wine industry, what was I doing to be part of the solutions that I wanted to see in the world? And as I sat there, that’s when I realized how tamed I had become and in this industry steeped in tradition and dominated by rich white men. And as I was taking an introspective look at myself, I realized, I played softball in college at Cal. Go bears.

And using my voice had always come very naturally to me. And quite frankly, it was part of what I needed to do to be successful. And as growing up in the Jewish faith tikkun olam has also been what I was brought up to believe in and to do and what that means to the world and it’s to leave the world a better place than you found it. And so standing up for racial and social justice has always been something that’s been ingrained in me as a young girl and a way that we are supposed to approach and show up in the world. And so, as I was sitting at my desk and thinking about what was I going to do about this, I also took a look at my own industry to realize that there’s only 10% female winemakers and 0.1% black winemakers and female sommeliers are still making 70 cents on the dollar to their male counterparts. And yes, there are women in tasting rooms, but there are very few women in leadership positions, yet 67% of all wine is purchased by women and the industry doesn’t reflect its, its largest customer.

So as I was sitting there and thinking that, I know I was put on this earth to use my voice. And I knew that if I really stepped into my own power, that I can make a difference. And that’s why I chose the dragonfly as my logo because the dragonfly represents transformation. And at Teneral, we believe that if we all take small actions every day, that the cumulative effect of the actions that we take can create that transformational change that we want to see. And the word Teneral is when a dragonfly comes out of its cast and it’s in its most vulnerable state and its wings are colorless and it can’t fly. And within a few days it actually gets its full colors and its wings and spreads its wings and takes off with amazing power and grace.

And for me, that represents women and that we all have that power within us, that we just have to claim that. And I was that vulnerable dragonfly. I was feeling, it’s a really bad feeling when you can’t show up in your authentic self. And when I would try to be my authentic self, my partner didn’t like that. And I had made a decision a long time ago to keep him happy because when he was happy, our 54 employees were happy. But over a period of time of losing part of myself, I also realized how much my business, my company was missing out on my brilliance. And so it was time that I claimed that power and just had the faith that I could be the change that I wanted to see in the world.

And that’s when Teneral Cellars came pouring out of me with the idea that I would rethink and question everything in the wine industry and build a beautifully diverse company where in five years, I would be the minority of my business, where we produce amazing, award-winning, sustainably farmed and produced wines. And we deliver them directly to like-minded women and people all over the country that want to use wine as a conduit for change. And, and the whole idea from the beginning was, since I loved how wine connects people, why not use wine as a conduit for change and why not, when we open up the bottle, we open up the necessary conversations? So every quarter we design different themes around women’s empowerment or topics that we need to talk about.

And our current release is around the 208 study that was done by the Global Economic Forum that says while women are more motivated than ever for equality and to fight for change that if we don’t do things disruptively different, it will still take 208 years in this country to achieve full equality for women. And we know if we had equity to that number, it’s obviously going to be, the number will be even greater. So the study goes on to say, it’s not enough that we get seats on boards and it’s not enough that we get more C-suite positions if we can’t show up in our highest, most authentic selves.

And so my aha moment really came, Melyssa, when I started Teneral Cellars and I gave myself permission to do that. For the first time I was showing up full in line with my head, my heart and my gut. And I was doing work at the same time with Dr. Brenda Wade, who’s an amazing holistic psychologist and life coach and America’s love doctor. But before she was that she was a brain scientist and she would teach me a lot about the brain and how the brain is designed and even so much so that when it comes to business, how as business leaders were often disconnected from our heart and our gut, or we process what our heart and our gut are telling us through our heads. And then we make these justifications that business shouldn’t rely on gut instinct or emotions should be left out of it.

And sometimes that works out okay, but I’ll tell you, when your gut fires, your gut’s the first thing to fire. And it fires and it send messages to every part of your body. And the study she was showing me that all three of these brains are truly brains. Your heart and your gut are brains, but they fire faster than your head. And if we turn those off because of some old way of thinking, all of us have been taught to just leave your emotions out, come to the business table, use your head. But when you start leaving the best part of yourself at the door, how can you have diversity, equity and inclusion?

Because that’s like performative, right? We could say we have like a diverse group of people, but if we don’t really want them to show up and bring their diversity of thoughts and feelings and experiences to the table, then how are we really ever fully engaging them and how are we actually keeping them happy where they know they’re coming into a culture and an environment where they can show up as their authentic self? And there’s so many studies now that show when people can show up and companies have a diversity of thoughts and experiences, they come up with better ideas and they can serve their audiences better. And I wanted to make sure that we were serving… Empowering women, elevating women and inspiring change is our mission, but anyone who identifies as a woman.

And so we have a queer panel at our company that ensures that if you are a transgender woman or you identify as queer that our language needs to be put out, so that it’s fully inclusive of everyone that we serve. And it’s not always easy because I know we have the best of intentions and we’re not going to be perfect, but I think when you know that you are aligned, that you’re… We take a pause before we make a lot of decisions and say, “Does it feel right with our head? Does it feel right with our heart? Does it feel right with our gut?” And when you check in with all three of those and it feels really good and in alignment, then even when you make mistakes you know they’re genuine mistakes. And then you park your ego so that you just fix it and you get better.

And that’s the beautiful thing about Teneral Cellars is that we are a mission before we’re a brand, and we’re really trying to support charities by giving back 10% of our profits to empowering women. And so we’re partnering this year with The Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation to support 22 women with scholarships so that they can either get the training to get into the wine industry, or if they’re in the wine industry to get further professional development so that they can move up that leadership ladder into C-suite positions. And if we can change our industry, then we can also have these conversations to change other industries.

And I think we all have to question everything, Melyssa. I mean, it’s one thing I was talking when you and I met is where do we learn all of these beliefs, right? I mean, we know that there’s so many systems that need to be thrown away, but if we start to really question where we learn these things from, a lot of it’s from marketing. This idea that women have to fight each other for one open position. Who in the world came up with that marketing campaign? But so many of us picked that up, right?

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah, no, that’s right. Well, and I think that’s a lot of what people go through. I shouldn’t say people, there are a lot of rich, white men that think that we are taking something away from them by becoming ourselves and being part of the solution for equity. And I think that can also be a misnomer.

Jill Osur:  Well, I mean, the facts show otherwise. I mean, the facts show that when women make more money, it doesn’t mean that men make less money. It actually, studies show that everyone does better, because women’s brains are designed for the greater good, and we tend to care about community and nurturing our families and our communities and the world. And so the data shows otherwise. But this is where I mean, I’d like to think if we all just came together as women, as 51% of the population. I mean, why couldn’t we run the world tomorrow? And it would be a kinder place and everybody would have food on the table. But I think sometimes we have to realize we have that power within us, that we have to be starting to come together to make the changes that we want to see.

And I think men are an important part of that because there are great allies out there that are men, but we also can’t rely on them to make those changes. And I think part of that is showing up as authentic selves and speaking our truth. And sometimes that may… You’re in a company where you can’t show up that way and you may need to find a different place to be able to share your voice. But as I talk to a lot of younger women too, there are a lot of companies that are trying to do this right. And so there’s a lot of places that would love to have someone that is comfortable sitting at the table, and speaking of. And again, I’m not saying all the time, we both know that. But it’s really important that I think for our own selves and for our own health, because there’s such a link between our gut health and gut intelligence with our mental health, that if we have to park that, we know that’s not good for ourselves, even from a physical health.

And that’s when you start to lose employees as someone who’s running a company is when people aren’t happy in their place of employment and they feel that they’re not being listened to and heard and their differences aren’t being valued. And so when we find those, when we lift up and appreciate those differences is when you have happier employees and that then fosters other habits of inclusiveness that create just better team environments and more collaboration and co-creation. And when people co-create things, there’s ownership in that. So there’s lots of business studies, but I know… I mean, that whole nother podcast with all the broken systems and for me, I just wanted to focus on, what would it look like if it was built in a way that was beautifully diverse, equitable and inclusive, and instead of focusing on all the things that were wrong, I wanted to focus on what would it look like and feel like if it was right?

So there are very few women-owned businesses that are suppliers and vendors in the wine industry. And instead of focusing on how bad that is, I just focused on finding all of them so that a hundred percent of my vendors and suppliers would be women-owned businesses. And as you were mentioning with OT, instead of focusing on how hard it is for women to raise capital in a wine industry and how hard it is to even get women as investors, because women often are priced out of the equation or they’re not given the opportunity is I really thought about my Women Presidents Organization’s sisters and thought, well, if I could get a lot of these women who own businesses that probably have never invested in a private company, but if I can give them an opportunity at a low enough level to come in and they care as much about fighting for equality for all women, as they do about making a great return on their investment, then that would feel right.

And so I created a Founding 50 club at 10,000 a piece and got 50 amazing women. We actually have a couple of men who invested, but the majority of that 50 are incredible women who are out there passionately fighting for what we stand for every day. So at every level of the company, we’re just thinking about what would it feel like if it felt right instead of, well, this is the way the wine industry’s always done it. So this is how we have to do it.

Melyssa Barrett:  Let’s pause for a moment. We’ll be right back. And what’s so interesting to me about you, Jill, is when you meet Jill, it’s almost like the wine is kind of the secondary thing. Like, as you mentioned, your mission, you are on a mission and people can feel and exude the mission that you’re on, but to be able to grab a bottle of wine and talk about it is kind of like that next like, okay, how do we get there and what do we want to do? And it’s so interesting.

Jill Osur:  Well, you know what I love about that, Melyssa? It’s like… And thank you. I appreciate you saying that. But I feel like a great exercise is invite some friends over, open up a bottle of wine or two or three and start questioning where these old systems come from and why we believe certain things including milk does the body good, or the instant that I was just talking about with all these women have to fight against each other to get a job. And for me, it’s just my own personal experience of, most of the great conversations I’ve ever had, there’s been a bottle of wine at the table and yes, wine helps us relax a little bit. And so we can show up in our more authentic self and that’s a good thing in this way.

And so if we can curate those conversations in a way that every quarter, you know you’re going to have a different box of wine show up, you’re going to get conversation starters, you’re going to get tangible actions to take, we’re going to educate you a little bit or a lot, depending on how you’re showing up, then we can really do our part to really change not just the wine industry, but other industries. And I feel like, again, I know I was put on this earth to use my voice and I believe being of service is so powerful to show up in that way. And it took me a really long time to get here because I didn’t know enough about myself. And that’s another thing I would tell people is really get to know yourself better. Take a test like a DISC assessment, or take the Enneagram, which is free online and find out about yourself. What makes you tick?

Because when I did that, I realized that, yeah. I’m a high D, so that’s the driver like dominant influencer. So I’m sociable and all of that. But my driver, some people for that might be money, wealth, power, my driver’s altruism because I actually want to wake up every morning or I do wake up every morning wanting to know how I can make the world a better place. And when you know that about yourself, it helps you understand where you fit in in the world. I was at Special Olympics for 15 years and raised a ton of money for them, but I was really frustrated not because the cause wasn’t amazing and my three children grew up there, but I realized over time that I’m wired to be an entrepreneur. I’m not wired to be stuck in what kind of appears like a box, like this is the way we do it, and we always do it this way. And my brain doesn’t work that way.

So I think people really have to understand what makes them tick and what drives them and where their passion and their purpose is, and if you’re an entrepreneur, then go build a business that fuels that. And I know that consumers now expect that companies are going to make a difference in the world because people don’t have a lot of faith in our government. And so why not harness the power of business for good and why not, for me, I thought then why not use wine is a conduit for change and create a company so that I can create that change that I want to see?

Melyssa Barrett:  Well, and I love it. I actually am sitting here with my bottle of 208 Disrupt Now, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon. And what’s amazing to me about what you’re doing is even on the labels on the back, you have things like open up the conversation and you’ll ask a question, what systems need to change in order to remove the 208 timeline? And you have a lot of things in here to both educate as well as really help people open that conversation and talk about how things can change. I mean, it’s one thing when you have a mission and you want to do it, but you literally are taking everything within your power to disrupt everything along the way with women’s suppliers. There’s few of them, but I will use all of them. I mean, it’s amazing to me how when we really just intentionally think about what we can do to disrupt those systems, it can be small. You may think it’s small, but it can be that pebble in the water with a rippling effect.

Jill Osur:  Yeah. And you know what? I love that. I love that, Melyssa. And I think that’s why… I mean, that just goes back to when I talk about the head, heart and gut alignment. When we’re in alignment, you can actually have that ripple effect. When you’re not in alignment, you actually have a lot of blind spots because if you’re only thinking through your head, how can you possibly think of all your stakeholders and shareholders and customers and clients and vendors? And using the analogy of my speech, it’s like when we take that pause and we check in with our head, our heart, our gut, and see how everything is in alignment, it’s almost like we can operate at this higher level, it’s like when an athlete’s in the zone and they can see the full court and everything slows down and their vision is crystal clear and their performance is at this level that far exceeds anything they have ever achieved in the past.

And it’s one thing for athletes to do that, but there’s a way for us to show up that way when we’re leading. And so I tell people to make it a daily practice, just like you would brush your teeth or get up and work out, or do some meditation, but be very conscious and intentional about, am I going to work with my team about pausing and checking in with our head, our heart and our gut? Right? I mean, our heart is the center for all of our connections and for community, for passion and for purpose, and how can you not bring that to the table every day? Our gut really is focusing on our sense of self and self preservation and the root of courage. And if you think about even negotiations or culture, all of these things, you can’t do these without your heart and your gut. And so why would we ever run a business without having all three of those? And especially with all that we know now.

And so I think for anyone, whether they’re going to a job that they don’t love, still you can be intentional and conscious about, how am I going to show up today? And before I make a decision, am I going to check in with my three brains so that I at least know that I am showing up as my highest, most authentic self? And when you do that, then you don’t have these gaps in thinking. And I had to really question myself because I had a lot of gaps because I had been leaving the best part of myself at the door on most days with my… Even as an owner in this other winery group.

So when I created Teneral Cellars, that’s when I just questioned everything and started saying, “Well, what would it look like if I did it the way it felt right?” And there’s no reason why we can’t all show up that way and really just think about how do we want to operate moving forward in a way that just feels more in alignment with your true and your highest self. And we work more than we do anything. So why wouldn’t we want to show up as our authentic self?

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah. That’s fabulous. And honestly, I mean, I think I asked another podcast, some other podcast guest this question, but based on the fact that you started… I mean, I know you had some experience in the wine company and then having decided to do this in the height of the pandemic and say, “You know what? I’m just going to go off and create this and create my own brand and have my own wine. I mean, like what went through your head? I know you said you had a, essentially a mentor kind of help you, a partner that you were with, which I think can be really helpful and powerful when you’re trying to break out of that comfort zone and really make sure you are your authentic self. So what was kind of going through your head during that time?

Jill Osur:  Well, I started it on my own, but I was seeing a life coach, Dr. Brenda Wade. And so it was like it all just came together because… But it’s unfortunate in a way. It’s fortunate, but I also think sometimes it takes these crises for us to make these changes. And I’d like for all of us to really think about that, that it shouldn’t have taken a crisis for this to happen. And I should have done this a long time ago. And I think I’ve always had the power and the ability within me and somewhere along the line, I thought, well, I haven’t taken a company public, I’m not a CFO, I need a CFO to partner with me in this other wine company.

And I learned, I have no regrets. I learned so much from him, but because our leadership styles were so different. I mean, he leads by chain of command he’s from the UK, and I’m all about collaborating and co-creating and teamwork, having grown up being a competitive athlete, I should have recognized the signs a long time ago that for me to show up as my highest self, I need to do it on my own. And again, it’s a big leap of faith, but I have never been happier because even if it’s challenging, I know that I’m showing up with all of me. And I can’t emphasize that enough, that when you show up as your highest self, you’re putting that great energy out in the world, even when it’s difficult there’s no question that that’s the kind of energy I want to put out.

And I also just feel like if we don’t do something now, if not me, then who? And if not now, then when? And I don’t want to leave this to my daughter’s generation or when she has children, to my grandchildren’s generation. We have, all of us as women now we have the ability to get educated, we have the ability to start our own businesses. And so I just felt like if I want to show up and be a part of the solution, then I have to do something. Because I was feeling pretty hypocritical that I’m someone that often talks about speaking up and speaking out and yet I had become so tamed. And for someone like me to become tamed, it really was kind of jarring when I took an honest introspective look at myself and I just couldn’t show up in the world that way anymore.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah. I have to say, and I haven’t known you long, Jill, but I can’t imagine you being tamed. So I don’t know. That had to be very challenging because you are such a energizing, inspiring and fulfilling spirit. When you run across certain people and I talk about this all the time, having the podcast really just allows me to meet people that I probably would never meet and I probably would never go up and say, “Hey, I would love to have a conversation with you.” And so for me, it was all about, let’s break out of my comfort zone and just meet all these fabulous people that are doing so many wonderful things in the world that I just want to celebrate all of you, because a lot of times it can be a very thankless job in some cases, but there are so many reasons to celebrate so many things that are going on in the world. And I just can’t applaud you enough for inspiring the change that you want to be.

Jill Osur:  Well, thank you. I mean, I really appreciate it. And I want people to show up and be intentional and conscious about where they make their purchases. And I want people to feel like they’re a part of our mission so that in three to five years, that we are that best practice, that we are showing what a beautifully inclusive wine company can look like, and to know that with every purchase you are making a difference. And though I think maybe growing up playing team sports, I never really wanted to do things on my own because I love community. And that’s why I got under the wine industry. So this really gives me an opportunity to be the change that I want to see and do it through some phenomenal wine that we can all share and celebrate together, but there’s a lot of work to be done. And that’s why we need other people to be part of this movement and to join our swarm and to really be living the future that they want to see.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yes, join the swarm. I love it.

Jill Osur:  Yes, our swarm wine club and you get great discounts and you get your quarterly wine club. Next month, we’re at the end of the month and end of may, we’re actually releasing our next release, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX. And we’re partnering with Billie Jean King and her Leadership Initiative, which is completely focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. She does lots of work with companies across this country, especially the big industries that are very male dominated. And she’s just been a champion for change for her whole career and breaking barriers and really leading the way. So we’re excited to celebrate all the great things that have come from Title IX, but also to really discuss the work that still needs to be done. I mean, we’re seeing, throughout this country, we’re seeing rights taken away from transgender athletes and people, and it’s important that we continue to fight, that no one can be discriminated on the basis of gender.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah, no doubt. So now, just to repeat, because I know you said you are also… I mean, with the community, you guys are doing so much in terms of giving back to Women of the Vine. I think if I remember correctly, they do scholarships and other things, but I know you’re… It’s like the social impact you want to see because of the lack of women in the wine industry, you’re specifically focused on bringing more women in.

Jill Osur:  Yeah. So the way we do that, we do that in a couple ways. So we’re providing funds for the 22 scholarships for the Women of the Vine and Spirits. And that actually has a focus on women of color as well this year. So that will be specifically women into the wine industry. Every quarter, we elevate a different female sommelier and a different female chef. So the chef will pair some great recipes with our wines and the sommelier will talk about the different wines. And then we give money back to a lot of great charities. So even though we’re partnered with Women of the Vine and Spirits for a particular bottle, that’s going to be featured, that will have Billie Jean King on it, $5 from every one of those bottles will go back to her leadership initiative.

And then last year we supported the Stonewalling is Back Initiative, the National Women’s Law Center, the Endometriosis Foundation of America and the World Central Kitchen. But I think we realized as we kind of took a look at all the work we’re doing, like we need to change the wine industry because if we can do that, then we can also share those learnings and how we’re doing that to impact other industries as well.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yeah. And you are certainly a sought after speaker as well because I love the fact that you can literally go in and partner with corporations to do wine tasting, whether it’s in person or digital, but then you also have this inspiring message to share that you leave different industries with, which I think is also so impactful for all of the women and certainly men that are in the room when you’re speaking. So kudos.

Jill Osur:  Yeah, I really love doing it, Melyssa. And for me, it was just a way that I can really combine my passions and that way my personal and professional mission are aligned and that is to elevate women and inspire change. But even this weekend I was talking at Athletes’ Voices, which was a whole group of professional Olympic national team members that were completely inclusive. So it wasn’t just women. It’s how they can use their voice to show up in an authentic way to impact the world in ways that feel right for them. And I’m really passionate about that as well.

And it’s one of the reasons we have these wine experiences and I sent OT to Cornell to get trained as a diversity equity and inclusion trainer so that we can actually bring people together over wine, we can have these great conversations and then she can curate this conversation so people can enroll with their conscious and unconscious biases. And we take a lot of corporate teams that work together or even their vendors and bring them together so that they can really have deeper connections. But connections are the basis of everything we do in the world.

And so if we can have these great, necessary conversations, then we can make that change. And for me, what’s great about having someone like OT and lifting her up and getting her more training and getting her scholarships to improve her leadership skills, we benefit from that as a company. So she may go out and do that for our corporate wine experiences, but she’s also bringing that training in house so that we’re all getting trained. Because our journey, we have to be doing the work internally if we’re going to be promoting it externally. And so whether it comes through in our corporate gifting program or our wine experiences, or when I’m out speaking, or we’re showing up at an event to pour, we need to make sure that we’re reflecting everything that we stand for. And that work starts within, with our own team before we can ever go outside and do that with others.

Melyssa Barrett:  I love it. I love it. I know we used to talk about eating our own dog food. Is that what they used to call it, but now it seems a little more. Well using wine makes it a little more-

Jill Osur:  Yeah, I think drinking your own wine sounds better than eating dog food.

Melyssa Barrett:  No doubt. No doubt. Awesome. Well, so tell us a little bit about… I know you’re in El Dorado Hills, but how can people find Teneral Cellars?

Jill Osur:  Yeah, thank you. Well, we’re actually in El Dorado County, so we’re about 45 minutes from El Dorado Hills. So we’re in the wine AVA of Fair Play and the town of Somerset. But I chose with this company to not start with the tasting room because I wanted to be able to reach women and like-minded people all over this country. And so we opened our doors as a digital brand. So literally you find us at teneralcellars.com, and we deliver the wine to your home. And then you invite your friends over, open up the box, and the box will be those conversation starters and your wine, and it’s a great place to start.

 We are looking to do more in person events now that things are open, but so many of our experiences are virtual and you can find out about our different wine experiences that we have. The combination, as you said, like we’ve done big corporate events where we’ll actually do a wine experience for a retreat, maybe on the opening night, and then I’ll speak the next day. So we have lots of ways to connect and lots of different events that we show up at and pour wine. I know we’ll be pouring at the NAWBO Propel Conference for the state of California in a couple weeks. So we love showing up where there are empowered women, because if we’re going to change the world, then women have to support other women. And if we do that, we can truly make the change that we want to see. And then we’ll keep you posted when we decide to open up maybe a tasting room in the near future and do some more in-person events up here.

Melyssa Barrett:  Absolutely. I’m looking forward to that for sure. And in the meantime, I’ve got a bottle here. I want to encourage folks. I’m part of so many different networks that I know Teneral Cellars is definitely on the list of my folks, for people to pick up and enjoy. So I hope all of you will do so, and have the opportunity to really have some of those conversations and really try to figure out what we can do, what we can influence and really take Jill’s energy and just put it into whatever industry you’re in, not only looking externally at some of the social impact components, but really at home in your homes, wherever your work, there’s certainly opportunities everywhere you go. And I love the fact that Jill, you can show up and really speak with your dollars by picking out the wine that you think is actually promoting the social impact that we want to see, so-

Jill Osur:  Well, the other last thing I’ll say there, Melyssa too, is we just incorporated this really cool women-owned, developed technology, where you go on our site, it takes 20 to 30 seconds to take this test, but it will tell you everything you need to know about your unique wine palette, because everyone’s palette is different. And then they’ve had millions of data points and they’ve tested all of our wine. So after you take this, it will send you back via text or email, the wines that pair perfectly with your palette. So when you click on the different wine, it’ll show you if it’s high in acid or where it is from fruit and minerality and then great foods to parrot with, but we never wanted to be a pretentious wine company.

We want you to love the wine that you’re with, we want you to know that you’re getting sustainably farmed and produce wines with no added sugar or concentrate. We make it in its purest form so that it’s nice and clean and you know what you’re getting, and that you know that every purchase you make is with purpose and that we’re giving back 10% of profits to help make this world a better place. And so I would just ask anyone listening, if you’re a member of a wine club, do you have a woman-owned and run company in there that’s giving back and are you being conscious and intentional about where you spend all of your dollars? And so I think if we’re going to be that change, we have to start thinking that way.

Melyssa Barrett:  Absolutely. And I should say, I mean, and quite frankly, Jill, it’s not just about how focused on the mission you are, your wines are incredible and award winning, we should mention.

Jill Osur:  Yes.

Melyssa Barrett:  Because when you have the company, you got to have the product-

Jill Osur:  Yes. If the wine isn’t good, no one would come back. That’s right.

Melyssa Barrett:  So just to be clear, I just want to make sure people are aware that you are definitely not only disrupting, but you are making award-winning wine, you have many collections, Love is Love, Overflowing with Pride, Gratitude collection. I mean, there’s so many different things that you’re doing with women’s health. I love the fact that you have a Gratitude red blend as well, but there’s so many different things that you all are thinking about when it comes to making the change and the impact in the world. So again, I just appreciate you being here so much, and I’m a follower, we’re a fan now. So we’re going to be keeping up with you guys and making sure that we do what we can to help promote Teneral Cellars.

Jill Osur:  I really appreciate that. And we put a lot of things that are shareable up on our social, great conversation starters, lots of educational things and just some fun things. And so yeah, people like our pages and share the content, then it’s part of doing the things that we need to do to be that change that we want to see. So thank you for that. I really appreciate it.

Melyssa Barrett:  Thank you.

Jill Osur:  Absolutely. We need to get together and drink wine.

Melyssa Barrett:  Yes. That sounds like a plan. So I’ll be looking for you, Jill.

Jill Osur:  Sounds great.

Melyssa Barrett:  Thanks for joining me on The Jali Podcast. Please subscribe so you won’t miss an episode. See you next week.