Written by Jill Osur
I have always looked at Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, as a time of hope, introspection, and new beginnings both spiritually and physically. It is the time when we think about all that we have done, and all that we do for the people in our lives—in our homes, and in our communities. It’s the time of year when we rededicate ourselves to our purpose and mission as we strive to be a light unto others. Tikkun Olam in Hebrew means repair of the world. In my family it means to leave the world a better place than we found it. As our communities were turned upside down earlier this year, with the death of George Floyd, and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, bringing heightened awareness to the systemic racism that exists within our country, I looked to my own industry. What was I doing to be part of the solution?
The birth of Teneral Cellars came as our country struggled with the COVID-19 pandemic, and so many challenging social and environmental issues. I looked inward as a leader in the wine industry, how I could use wine, passion and leadership to build an all-digital community that speaks to like-minded women by connecting them through wine and delivering impact to causes and issues relevant to our time. I looked at the wine industry and realized how dramatically it lacked in diversity and female representation in leadership positions, whether in winemaking, sommeliers, management, or ownership.
Women represent 10% of winemakers in this country, and while reading an article published by Bloomberg I learned that there are only 0.1% of U.S. winemakers that are black (men and women). Women currently represent 67% of total wine sales in the U.S., but yet the industry does not reflect its largest customer.
To be true to myself, I need to blend my passion and purpose by standing up, speaking up and shouldering up with other women. As Gloria Steinem once said, “Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It’s about making life more fair for women everywhere. It’s not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It’s about baking a new pie”. I launched Teneral Cellars to build a new type of wine business that takes into consideration women’s issues, climate, justice, and social change as we create a business model that supports important social movements.
The name Teneral Cellars comes from my love of dragonflies. My daughter Jordan and I have always shared a fascination with dragonflies. As I grew older and more in touch with my spirituality, dragonflies seemed to perfectly represent my own growth and transformation.
Some fun facts about dragonflies: They can travel upwards of 45 miles per hour, fly backwards, hover like a helicopter, and change direction with seemingly impossible speed. They do all this by flapping their wings only 30 times per minute. To give you some perspective, a mosquito flaps its wings 600 times per minute. They can also be seen in both swarms and solo.
Dragonflies take on the role of spiritual guides for us. They are powerful, yet graceful – even in high wind. They show us how to navigate life’s storms with confidence and ease. They motivate us to let go of whatever holds us down or holds us back. Not only does the dragonfly symbolize change in life, it specifically represents a change in perspective and a shift toward self- realization.
The word teneral is the state when a dragonfly comes out of its cast, is vulnerable, its wings are clear, soft and colorless. Within days, their wings develop color. They spread their wings to take flight with incredible strength. Recognizing my own vulnerability, juxtaposed with the power I knew I had within me, I created my own definition. Teneral is the act of claiming your power within to transform the world with grit and grace. Always being. Always Becoming.
It is time for me to lead this woman owned and run wine business, to create a company that shines with diverse experiences and voices, donates 10% of our profits to charities focused on women’s issues including climate, justice, and social change. Teneral is driven by belief statements such as Black Lives Matter, Science is Real, Women’s Rights are Human Rights, All Humans are Legal and Love is Love.
The time has come to repair the world (Tikkun Olam). Wine is a great connector. When women get together around important issues and causes, there is nothing that can stop us. We will serve up the wine and curate amazing virtual experiences so that we can come together and make an impact on the world around us. I hope you will join me on this journey.
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