On the 29th June, Jody Ness and the crew of Wine Portfolio convened in the luxurious Two E Bar and Lounge of The Pierre, just off Manhattan’s Madison Avenue. They were there to meet with four of the most dynamic female faces of the modern wine industry – and delve into the evolving role women play in what was traditionally considered a male-orientated business. Following filming, Alice Ryan spoke to one of the guests – Susan Kostzrewa, Executive Editor at Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
By Alice Ryan
Contributing Writer, Wine Portfolio
Susan Kostzrewa made her segway into the wine business through travel.
In the late 1990s, she was fortunate enough to travel to South Africa on numerous occasions for business. There, she quickly became acquainted not just with only the beauty of the landscape and people, but the high quality wines that were being made there. It was from this experience that she pursued her passion and turned an appreciation of wine into a successful career.
Even over the course of four years at Wine Enthusiast, Kostzrewa still continues to marvel at the complexity and diversity of the wine world.
“You can never get bored with wine,” she admits. “There are just so many opportunities for exploration – and you’re constantly being kept stimulated and challenged by what you learn.”
As a wine lover, Susan’s goal is to never lose touch of the concept of wine as an ‘everyday pleasure.’ After a long day at the office, Kostzrewa still enjoys opening a bottle of wine just for fun, even if it’s not an acclaimed vintage, or an award-winning label.
That simple appreciation is what keeps her grounded – especially in an industry often perceived as snooty and exclusive.
When it comes to Women in Wine, the topic of Wine Portfolio’s discussion, Kostzrewa feels that women are well on their way to making their mark in the wine industry. In her ideal wine world, however, there’d be no ‘genderization’ of wine – and men and women could approach wine appreciation equally, with the feeling that their voice and opinion matters just as much as anybody else’s. Wine, after all, should be about bringing people together, not dividing them.
The most wonderful thing about the wine world, according to Susan, is having the opportunity to engage with the people behind the labels.
“I always tell my colleagues,” she shares, “that we’re so lucky to do business with the people that we do: Passionate people, who are zealous about making their product the best that it can be, but still find time to have fun.”