WHERE’S THE MONEY FOR WOMEN’S HEALTH GOING?
This week, Teneral Cellars CEO Jill Osur had the opportunity to sit down with Diana Falzone, host of EndoTV to discuss Teneral Cellars partnership with EndoFound to elevate women and inspire change through our Healthy Women, Healthy World #SipWithPurpose campaign.
Diana Falzone: I have fallen in love with your brand and what you're doing in order to empower females. You are now partnering with the Endo Foundation on a series of wine. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Jill Osur: We are thrilled to partner with the endometriosis Foundation of America because the whole premise of Teneral Cellars and our mission is to elevate women and inspire change. Women are the cornerstone of communities, and healthy women are the cornerstones of healthy societies and communities. Partnering with the Endo Foundation made a lot of sense because as we look at women's health, we're saving mental health for an entirely different release because we need to really focus on that, but when you look at physical health of women, we decided to focus on breast health, heart health and reproductive health. I was doing my own research, because part of the joy for me on this journey of using wine as a conduit for change is I get to take a deep dive and really educate myself, which means I can then educate others, and we can be an agent for change, to really make the world a better place. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of all women in America.1 in 3 women will die of cardiovascular disease, and that's one woman every minute that will die from cardiovascular disease. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 1 in 3 of those will be metastatic, and as you know very well, 1 in 10 women will be diagnosed with endometriosis. As I was looking at the research on your foundation, and there's no known cause or known cure, it made me look deeper at where's the money going for funding with women's health. Women are often misdiagnosed, their pain isn't taken seriously and as a woman, mother of three children, and a very active myself, I'm often so busy I don't take care of myself. For me to be an agent for change we want people to not only get educated and talk about the hard and necessary topics and conversations, but to also take action. We want to give people actionable items and that's why working with the foundation, we're going to be sharing lots of content, having a lot of expert panels and discussions so that we not only educate, but then we empower others to make the change that's necessary. We will give you three calls to action every week so that we're fighting the fight, whether it's asking Congress to put more funding towards certain research, or it's making sure that your three best friends go make their appointments with their gynecologist, get their mammograms and really do the things that are necessary for women to stay healthy.
Every quarter we pick themes that empower women, so our “Healthy Women Healthy World” release will donate $10 from every three-pack sold of this collection to the Endo Foundation. We're thrilled to partner with the foundation and really excited about this release.
Diana Falzone: And for you, learning about endometriosis, as you didn't really have any information or a personal tie to it, at least not that I know of yet, what were you surprised to learn about the disease?
Jill Osur: A couple of things. One was, I was incredibly shocked to realize how many women endometriosis touches and impacts. As soon as I was looking at the foundation and the disease, I began to talk about endometriosis, and one of my first conversations was with one of the artists that designed the breasts for our breast health bottle. I was talking to her, and I told her that we were going to support the Endo Foundation and she said my mother suffers with endometriosis, and her sister suffers with endometriosis, and how fortunate she is that she doesn’t. As I started to go out and talk to my own circle of friends and family and colleagues, it was shocking how many people are touched that I know, and that I didn't know about. It was like all of these people have been suffering, and many suffering in silence, or at least suffering in enough silence that I didn't know, and that was shocking to me.
The other part of it is just some of the health biases that exist. So much of what we do is about diversity, equity and inclusion in our business because the wine industry is so white male dominated, and I'm trying to create a company that reflects every woman in this country. To read that there are people in the medical field that still think this is a white woman's disease, and that it doesn't affect people of color, or the severity of the symptoms aren’t taken seriously is unacceptable. When you look at the health inequities, and what happens to lower income women, or women that live in underserved communities and how much income and opportunity they lose because of the pain and the suffering that comes along with endometriosis, this was shocking to me, and more money needs to be put into research and development to find a cure for this and for education.
It just made so much sense to focus on endometriosis because, well, men have breasts and men have hearts, but only women have ovaries and when you look at reproductive health, it seemed to be a natural fit for us to really focus on supporting the foundation.
Diana Falzone: Thank you for that and I think that's another thing we're working on too is just the inclusion, discussing period poverty and making sure that we change definitions, and are open so for the one in 10 is anyone born with the uterus and those are all things, that like you said, agent of change, so very important topics, and another important topic is, is you are one of the few females in the winemaking business.
Jill Osur: Last year when COVID hit, it was eye opening because our world changed. In California, the Governor shut down all the wineries and we could only do curbside pickup. It was changing the way we do business. Then the murder of George Floyd happened, and I just started to ask myself as a one of the few women in leadership positions in the wine industry, what was I doing to be part of the change. I think about where women gather wine flows and how some of the best and deepest conversations I've had in my life there’s been a bottle of wine on the table. I started to take a deeper look at the wine industry, and there's only 10% female winemakers in the industry, 0.1% black winemakers, and that's men and women. Female sommeliers make 70 cents on the dollar to their male counterparts yet, it's a known fact that there are more female super tasters than men, and yet while you have women in tasting rooms, there are very few women in leadership positions, and even fewer women of color. Yet, 67% of all wine is purchased by women and the industry doesn't reflect its largest customer, so I just felt like it was time to build a brand that was woman owned and run. We're all digital, so we don't have a tasting room. We have a great diverse team so that we have a diversity of experiences and voices reflected in this company and we are also finding the female viticulturists and farmers so we can take people on a journey around the world and introduce our community to great wines.
Teneral Cellars is really about elevating women and inspiring change, and we donate 10% of all of our profits which equates to $10 from every three pack on these different collections back to charities that empower women, elevate women and inspire change. It’s a unique model and we have recipes every quarter that are paired with the different wines we release. Padma Lakshmi has paired some of her recipes with our four wines an Catherine Fallis, who was the fifth female master sommelier in the world is doing virtual wine tastings and wine education for us. We have different wonderful female experts that will be participating every quarter so we can elevate and amplify different women and share different conversations. I want people when they get our box to open it up and open up that conversation and have the tough conversations and the necessary conversations to truly make change. We are rethinking what it means to be a wine business and for women to consciously think about where we spend our money.
Diana Falzone: What brought you into the winemaking business?
Jill Osur: People! I'm a connector. I love to connect with people, and again, it was my experience of when a bottle of wine is opened with others and some of the deepest things in your heart and your soul are shared, why not use wine as a conduit for change. As I've always loved how wine connects people, I just wanted to take it a step further to really use wine as a means for creating that change I want to see in the world.
Diana Falzone: Well I'm very excited to try the wines and very excited about the launch and to see the reaction, and just for more people to get educated on these women's health issues.
Jill Osur: Thank you. We know how important for women suffering with endometriosis to know that there's no preservatives in the wine, so all of our wines are sustainably farmed and produced. We don't use any pesticides and no glycophate (Roundup). We don’t add any sugar or concentrate, and we love the bugs and weeds as our natural fertilizer. It’s just great wine as it was meant to be farmed and produced.
Diana Falzone: Well thank you for joining us today. It’s great to know more about your brand and what you're doing to move change forward. I appreciate it and if people go to www.teneralcellars.com they can see the wines and make a purchase with purpose.