Fermenting Change:  Alumnae in the Wine Industry
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
5 p.m. EST

From France to Spain and Willamette Valley to Paso Robles Wine Country, Certified Wine Specialist Wanda Mann ES’89 will moderate a panel discussion with Alison Sokol Blosser FR’97 and Maggie Tillman ES’01. You’ll learn about each alumna’s journey in viticulture and winemaking, their inspiration and what they see for the future.

During the webinar, Wanda will lead a tasting of Dundee Hills Pinot Noir (Sokol Blosser Winery) and 2017 GSM (Alta Colina Wine)  along with Alison and Maggie. Visit the winery websites to learn where wine may be available nearby.  Both wineries are offering discounts to SYAers: 

Sokol Blosser:  During check out, please use "SYAWINE"  for a 10% discount and complimentary ground shipping on purchases of six or more bottles. Discount is available through February 28, 2021.

Alta Colina:  During check out, please use "SYAWine" to receive 10% discount on orders placed online. Discount is available through Valentine's Day, February 14, 2021.

A Zoom link will be provided for you prior to January 13. What better way to start 2021 than to raise a glass to their success and to SYA (and bid farewell to 2020?!)

Meet our panelists:

Wanda Mann ES'89
Wanda is the founder and editor-in-chief of  the wine lifestyle blog “Wine With Wanda” and has been writing about wine for more than a decade. This past summer, Wanda joined the team of the prestigious wine industry publication, The SOMM Journal, as a contributing editor.  Always on a quest to learn more about wine, in 2015 Wanda earned the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) credential from the Society of Wine Educators and has traveled abroad to numerous wine regions, including Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, and Argentina. In 2020, Wanda launched an IG Live series featuring interviews with acclaimed vintners from around world. (Follow her on Instagram.)

Wanda attended Phillips Academy (Andover, MA) and spent her junior year of high school with SYA Spain (then based in Barcelona). She received her bachelor’s from Pomona College where she spent her junior year in Toledo, Spain studying at the Fundación Ortega y Gassett. She still dreams of living in España for at least three months each year.

Alison Sokol Blosser FR'97
Alison is CEO and co-president of Sokol Blosser Winery based in Willamette Valley of Oregon. The daughter of founders Susan Sokol Blosser and Bill Blosser, Alison feels a deep connection to the family vineyard and winery. Leading the business, she collaborates with her winemaker brother, Alex, to guide its strategic future while directly overseeing sales, marketing and all administrative functions, including accounting, finance, IT and human resources. Alison carries the torch in Sokol Blosser Winery’s sustainability efforts and commitment to social responsibility, most recently overseeing the notable achievement of the Winery’s B Corp certification.

Alison spent three years working in public relations and marketing communications. Her experience spanned startups to consumer branding giants, including Nike and Nordstrom. In 2004, she returned to Sokol Blosser and assumed the role of director of marketing. Then, in 2008 after a thoughtful multi-year succession, she and Alex were named co-presidents and completed the transition of the family winery to the next generation.

Alison is involved in the Oregon wine industry as a past president of Oregon Pinot Camp and Dundee Hills Winegrowers Association, as well as a member of YPO and Women for Winesense. She attended SYA France as a senior from Catlin Gabel School (Portland, OR), received her bachelor’s from Portland State University and a master’s in business from the University of Washington.

Maggie Tillman ES'01
Maggie is co-owner and director of sales and marketing for her family winery, Alta Colina, based in Paso Robles, Calif. Her father, Bob, purchased the 130-acre parcel in Paso Robles’ Adelaida District that would become Alta Colina Vineyard, planting 31 acres and eight Rhone varieties that make up the vineyard. Following the first harvest in 2007, the first bottle was sold in 2009 and the estate winery opened in 2014.

In June 2020, Maggie received the Master Marketing Award from the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance for her innovative creativity. Maggie successfully provides experiences that go beyond the tasting room. From launching an award-winning retro-trailer campsite in the vineyard to creating the uber-popular daily dose of dance on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic, Maggie is a true master marketer. Maggie’s creative approach has made her one of the most sought after wine hospitality speakers in the American wine industry.

Maggie attended SYA Spain as a junior from The Thacher School and received her bachelor’s from New York University.