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Deborah Brenner had been running a successful marketing and public relations firm until 2005 when she took a fortuitous trip to California’s Napa Valley. There she met a woman winemaker who piqued her curiosity about women in that industry. Having a journalistic background, Brenner decided to do research on the topic, which led her to write a successful and first-of-its-kind book.
Her book describes the travails and successes of 20 women in a male-dominated industry and was selected by Wine Spectator in 2007 as "critical reading…one of the best new books of the year for any wine lover’s library." Having learned about the hurdles these women faced, and wanting to further champion their stories, Brenner actually went into the winemaking business in 2005 and launched the Women of the Vine Cellars label, a successful wine importing and marketing company which unites women winemakers from around the world under one label. The label is now helping those women gain ever-more traction in the highly competitive global marketplace for wine.
In addition to her business success, Brenner has been very active supporting and promoting women small business owners through frequent guest lecturing, promotional opportunities and connecting them with the people and organizations that can help them grow and thrive. In one instance, she took her experience in applying for, and securing, an SBA loan and mentored a winemaker to the point where she too secured an SBA loan for her winery in California.
For her work on behalf of woman-owned small businesses, and to hoist alongside her numerous other awards, Brenner received the SBA’s 2009 Women’s Business Champion Award for both the agency’s New York District and New York Region.