#wcw Spirit Horse Vineyards Heather Rader
Heather and I met at a Women Catalysts retreat weekend last Fall in Russian River where we sipped on some of her delicious Spirit Horse wine and talked about what we were creating in the world while hot tubbing. Who doesn’t love a lady who brings wine to the party?
In spending only a fraction of time with her, Heather’s passion for supporting women-owned wineries and giving back by helping foster girls develop leadership skills is infectious. Last Fall, we planted to the seeds for Women Catalysts “Off the Vine” Wine Club, then soft-launched in Portland in January with a Catalysts Conversation event, where she shared about her journey from working in big tech sales into the wine world as a purpose-driven entrepreneur.
As part of the Women Catalysts Wine Club, we’ll profile new women winemakers (and their wine!) every quarter. I’m excited to feature Heather and Spirit Horse wines in our inaugural “Women and Wine Crush” Wednesday! Sign up by midnight Friday March 15th, and we’ll throw in a second bottle of Rosé complimentary to you (must be picked up in person at one of our upcoming club pick up parties… like our inaugural June 1st Rescue Horses and Rose club pick up in Napa!)
Heather likes to call the badass women in her life “biscuits” and I love her take on life and approach to business.
Meet Heather and Spirit Horse Vineyards!
What are you focused on right now?
H: I’m creating an alliance of women vintner's called the Women Vintners Wine Society that gives back to help the next generation of women thrive. A big piece of that is the Women Catalysts Wine Club that launched this week, featuring all women-owned wineries and women winemakers. Join and you get quarterly shipments of beautiful wines that are handcrafted by amazing women. A percentage of our profits is donated to equine therapy for abused girls coming out of the foster care system, called "Off the Vine". Our vision is for the Alliance to fuel expansion of these programs to help even more girls this year and beyond.
What inspired you to start your winery?
H: I was working a high level corporate job and felt extremely unfulfilled. I was living out of hotels, and while I was making great money, I wasn't exactly waking up feeling inspired every day. The one thing that I loved about my job was mentoring and empowering women. I quit my job, broke up with my boyfriend, did some solo travel, and came back with a renewed sense of self and what I wanted to do in the world. I've always believed wine was a catalyst for connection, so I started Spirit Horse to help change the conversation about women owned wineries and women winemakers. Like tech, women this industry are grossly under represented. As a wine club member at multiple wineries, I was feeling disconnected from fellow members, from the winemakers/owners, and was not seeing any philanthropic pieces aligned with my values. I was already a Big Sister for the YMCA, but thought “how can we tie all of these together?” I couldn’t find anything that existed like this, so I went out and created it myself.
What is unique about Women Vintners Wine Society?
H: I wanted to partner with other powerful women, and create more room at the table for all of us. The alliance of women vintners that make the wine for this club—in addition to organizations such as Women Catalysts—beautifully encapsulates what women can do together. It is a group of women passionate about helping the next generation of girls thrive, and in that spirit, every Women Catalysts wine club membership helps support the SpiritHorse Therapeutic Riding Center out of Napa. One of our programs there is "Off the Vine", a leadership and empowerment program for foster girls. With support from members like you, we are looking to expand these programs to help more girls, and ultimately match them with female mentors in our community.
What’s coming up that you’re excited about?
H: I'm excited to grow the alliance of women vintners as an organization that empowers women, including heavy expansion of our Wine Club so that we can direct even more funds to help more girls.
We also have our first Rescue Horses & Rosé Catalysts event at the equine therapy center in Napa on June 1st. This is a magical place where you can drink amazing wine, help horses and girls, and connect with amazing women. (We even dress one of our rescue horses up as a Unicorn... so there's that!) Let's just say coming into work is a lot more fun these days. I'm excited to meet more of the Women Catalysts so they can experience first hand a totally different kind of wine club!