Black Women in Wine Part 2: Tonya Pitts
Last week we brought you a profile on Yvette Simpson, wine educator, entrepreneur, lawyer, and friend of Teneral Cellars. This week as we continue to highlight amazing black women in wine, we’d like to tell you more about Tonya Pitts, sommelier, writer and speaker, and trusted advisor for Teneral Cellars.
A little reminder on where the wine industry is currently…female winemakers make up only 10% of the industry, and black winemakers only 0.1%. Many female sommeliers still make 70 cents on the dollar to their male counterparts, and there are very few women in leadership positions and even fewer women of color. Despite this imbalance, Tonya Pitts has risen to meteoric levels of success! An industry change maker, Tonya Pitts is a wine professional who catapults wineries and winemakers into the mainstream.
Tonya is a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers and a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International. Her extensive career has been shaped by women chefs and restaurant owners. As Sommelier & Wine Director for One Market Restaurant in San Francisco, Tonya curated a wine list with a bold style and flavor profile, including offerings by women, Black and Latino winemakers. Since 2012, Tonya’s wine programs have received Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator.
Tonya is an active philanthropist and mentor, who established Women in Wine to improve representation in the industry. She also holds a professorship with the University of San Francisco, working with students on food and wine pairings. She is an ambassador of Wine Unify, as well as an advisory board member and mentor to people in the BIPOC and LGBTQ communities who are pursuing careers in the industry.
Tonya was awarded the Wine Enthusiast Magazine Wine Star Award in 2022 and has been an 8-time judge for the San Francisco International Wine Competition, a speaker at The Culinary Institute of America Summit for Beverage Professionals, and an advisor for the Fine Minds 4 Fine Wines Areni Global Think Tank in Europe. Her media appearances include CBS This Morning, ABC 7 News “Sips with Spencer”, Daily Beast, Wine & Spirits Magazine, Somm Journal, Tasting Panel, Wine Stream, Wonder Women of Wine, NBC News, Wine Spectator, Imbibe, Vinepair and Ebony magazine.
We are honored to have Tonya Pitts on our advisory board. Her experience and knowledge in the wine industry has helped propel Teneral Cellars from a new brand to an award winning, beloved brand in just two short years.