Wisdom From The Women Leading the Wine & Spirits Industries, with Karen Williams Of ACME Fine Wines
An interview with Kelly Reeves
If you don’t know the answer, don’t make it up to sound informative or to make yourself look good. For example, you could be in the presence of the winemaker, owner, or simply people more knowledgeable.
Less than 20% of winemakers and distillers are women. Traditionally, women were excluded from these industries. This number is slowly rising as more women choose to study this profession and enter the wine and spirits fields. What is it like for those women who work in this male dominated industry? What are some of the challenges that these women face? Is there hope for better representation, and better wages, for women in the wine and spirits industry? As a part of our series about women leading the wine and spirits industries, we had the pleasure of interviewing Karen Williams, founder, ACME Fine Wines, St. Helena, CA.
Karen founded ACME Fine Wines in St. Helena, CA, in 2003 and quickly established ACME as the source to procure highly allocated, iconic wines from both cult and classic producers, as well as under-the-radar debut projects, which Karen and her team dub IPO (Initial Public Offering) Wines. Karen and her team’s longtime relationships within the wine community make ACME the go-to source for what’s new and what’s next. Before founding ACME, Karen co-managed the wine program at the famed Tra Vigne, also in St. Helena.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about your origin story, and your childhood?
I only recently thought about the different wine-related moments in my life, starting back when I grew up in Fredonia, New York, that may have helped set the stage for my future career in wine. When I was growing up, vineyards were just beyond the swing set in our backyard. Although those grapes were used primarily for jelly, there was an actual neighborhood “wine scene” — it was better known as our neighborhood’s “home hooch scene” that our fathers produced in the basements on…