This Couple Makes Wine as a Conduit for Change

  • by Advertising Department -- Sponsored content
  • Tuesday June 25, 2024
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Teneral Cellars partners Jill Osur (l) and Lisa Orrell (r) at The Melissa Etheridge Foundation fundraiser. Teneral donated wine to the event.
Teneral Cellars partners Jill Osur (l) and Lisa Orrell (r) at The Melissa Etheridge Foundation fundraiser. Teneral donated wine to the event.

Jill Osur and Lisa Orrell are not just partners in life, they're also partners in business. Together, they own and run Teneral Cellars; an award-winning winery located in Amador County Wine Country an hour north of Sacramento.

However, their charter isn't just about selling their wine. They're focused on rewriting the script of the wine industry, guided by a mission that resonates—reshaping a culture steeped in tradition to truly reflect its largest customer—women.

As the Co-founder and previous President of a large California-based winery group, Jill is no stranger to the world of wine. Yet, it was the societal upheaval and the pandemic-induced introspection of 2020 that led her to a profound realization. "I realized how tamed I had become in an industry dominated by rich white men, and I needed to leave my position as President with the company," she reflects.

In response to this revelation, Teneral Cellars was born in October 2020. And Jill, as Founder & CEO, based it on the principles of sustainability, diversity, and social impact.

Together, Jill and Lisa's vision is clear — wine is not just a beverage; it's a conduit for change. "We want to be the brand that defines how to do well by doing good— to show that we can change the wine industry so that it's more equitable for women," shares Lisa, Jill's fiancé and Teneral Cellars Partner & Chief Marketing Officer.

Teneral Cellars gives back

As a result, Teneral Cellars stands out not only for its exquisite, award-winning wines, but for its commitment to giving back. "We donate 10% of profits to organizations that empower women and promote gender and racial equity," Jill emphasizes. It's a tangible way of harnessing the power of business for good.

The numbers speak volumes about Teneral Cellars' success—a revenue of $1.179 million in its inaugural year, and a collection of gold, silver, and bronze medals from esteemed national wine competitions. But for Jill and Lisa the achievements go beyond the bottom line. "Breaking the million-dollar mark in 2021, our first full year of business, and donating $51,000 of that to organizations that support women and that promote both gender and racial equity is our biggest success so far," Jill adds.

Their winery supports diverse vendors

Teneral Cellars disrupts the norm, not just by producing exceptional wines but by challenging the lack of diversity. "Almost 76% of wine is purchased by women, yet only 10% of winemakers are female," Lisa remarks. The company walks the talk, with 97% of vendors and suppliers being women-owned and minority-owned businesses, and by bringing on board a female Winemaker.

Their commitment extends to creating conversation starters with every bottle of wine. Labels designed by women artists pose thought provoking questions, encouraging meaningful conversations. One such example is their Ruthless Collection, born in response to the Supreme Court's decision on Roe v Wade, and it epitomizes Teneral Cellars' dedication to social impact. It is not just wine; it's a narrative, a catalyst for change.

But, aside from being socially conscious, Jill and Lisa are environmentally conscious. They're both proud to share that Teneral Cellars wines are sustainably farmed and produced.

Their 40-acre Teneral Cellars vineyard property in Plymouth, CA includes a beautiful Tasting Room, the 5-Star Grand Reserve Inn, a picturesque luxury boutique Inn with stunning views in the Sierra Foothills (that is popular for private parties, retreats, getaways, and weddings), and a full commercial winery.

The future is looking bright, supporting causes, events and community

As they look to the future of their business, they're excited about the Corporate clients they've attracted who purchase Teneral Cellars wines for large events, and the expansion of having their wines carried by noteworthy retail outlets and restaurants. And, staying on-brand, they only partner with organizations, and donate their wines to non-profit events, that share their purpose-driven mission.

They're also excited to be involved in creating diversity-driven events. In July, they are co-hosting Pride in the Vines, the premier Pride event in Amador County July 12-14th. "It will be three days of Drag Queens, Comedy, DJ's, food, wine and fun. And 100% of the profits will be donated to The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative," explains Lisa.

In addition to running their business and events, Jill and Lisa are passionate about inspiring audiences as Keynote Speakers. Jill recently did her first TEDx talk, and Lisa was voted "World's Top 30 Leadership Speakers in 2024". Moving forward, they are offering keynotes, delivered together, to further their mission of motivating, inspiring, and educating people on how to be exceptional, purpose-driven leaders.

For this dynamic duo, Teneral Cellars brings together their personal and professional missions—elevating women, diversity, and inspiring positive change. Jill and Lisa are not only transforming the culture of wine, but they've also created a platform for change as they continue to challenge industry norms and champion diversity, equity, and inclusion in every sip.

Teneral Cellars is a Certified Woman-Owned Business and a Certified-Owned LGBTQ+ Business.