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 Filed as : Interviews

Q & A With Leslie Sbrocco

Mar 7, 2012
Q & A With Leslie Sbrocco
Why Leslie is leveraging women, wine, and a large-scale audience to support OXFAM

leslie_sFor last year’s 100th annual International Women’s Day, we asked a panel of wine experts such as Gary Vaynerchuk and Natalie MacLean to name the five most influential women in wine. Three women received the most votes from all panelists. You can pay homage to these “grandes dames” on this 101’st International Women’s Day by raising a glass and reading about them here.

For this year’s 101st International Women’s Day, we’re spotlighting international wine icon, Leslie Sbrocco (@lesliesb) who is leveraging her “Thirsty Girl Chats” (#tgchats) to start a conversation with OXFAM America’s Victoria Marzilli. (OXFAM is an international relief and development organization that creates lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice.) You can listen to and participate in this “TGChat” on Twitter via hashtag to #TGChat on March 7th 5 PM PST, 8 PM EST and find more about it at

The Daily Sip: After a career as a wine educator, writer, and television personality, what inspired you to start Thirsty Girl?

Leslie Sbrocco: Thirsty Girl is an extension of what I’ve been privileged to do in my career: share my love of wine and all that goes with it, from food to travel. The concept was born when I started work on my third book nearly two years ago entitled “Adventures of a Thirsty Girl,” which chronicles my jaunts around the world as a professional drinker. The book (it will be published later this year) also focuses on how I’ve been able to turn my passion into my career and how that relates to others who want to do the same. As I mentioned the title to people, the enthusiastic response I got from many was, “that’s me. I’m a thirsty girl.” So, a company was born. The idea is inclusive and resonates with a wide audience of women (we also have thirsty guys) that feel a part of a group whose motto is LIFE…DRINK IT UP.

The Daily Sip: How has being a woman in the wine business facilitated or created extra roadblocks for your career in the international wine industry?

Leslie Sbrocco: When I started as a wine professional with The New York Times Company’s website over a decade ago, I was certainly more of a rarity. I never felt being a woman hindered my growth, but I’ve also had my share of interesting situations in a world dominated by men. Today, women in positions from communicators and writers to sommeliers and winemakers are more commonplace. It’s wonderful to see and encouraging for the future of wine.

The Daily Sip: Why have you started “Thirsty Girl Chats,” and what type of response have you received?

Leslie Sbrocco: Thirsty Girl’s mission is to not only share the joy and social nature of wine, but also to educate and empower. To that end, we’ve launched nearly 100 chapters of women across the country who want to learn more and share that knowledge with their friends. TGChats are part of the program. We’ve covered general topics on wine and invited women and men to the Twitter party to share their stories, questions and recommendations.

The Daily Sip: What inspired you to partner with OXFAM America on this 101st International Women’s Day? What types of roles and responsibilities do you feel that women in the wine industry have in terms of leveraging their brands and audiences for philanthropy?

Leslie Sbrocco: I feel a responsibility to devote my time and resources to a wide variety of philanthropic efforts. I’m so lucky to do what I love for a living and hopefully am in a position to encourage others to give back in some way, too. Thirsty Girl has supported Dress for Success and the GO RED campaign of the American Heart Association in an effort to promote women’s issues. We’re also starting our own Education Scholarship for Thirsty Girls who want to grow in their careers.

Our community supports what OXFAM is doing to help women all over the world raise themselves above the grips of poverty. The purpose of our March 7th #TGChat is to share with our readers what they can do to change other women’s lives. The statistics are overwhelming:

• Sixty-six percent of the world’s work falls on women’s shoulders, yet they earn only 10% of the world’s income.
• If women were given the same access to resources that men have, they could increase yields on their farms by 20-30%.
• Hunger and poverty are about power and inequality, and women and girls face the biggest inequalities of all.

I will be asking OXFAM America’s Victoria Marzilli about the organization’s mission, and what we can all do to help. Grab a glass, hop on Twitter and join in the conversation on Wednesday in honor of International Women’s Day.


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