Journey in the Wine & Beer Industry

In the heart of Woodinville, where the wine flows and the beer is poured cold, Amber Schmitt, General Manager at Hops & Seed Brewing and a dedicated cellar hand at JM Cellars, shares her inspiring journey in the wine and beer industry. Having grown up in eastern Washington, Amber’s connection to the vineyards and her move to Woodinville nearly a decade ago seemed like destiny, as she fondly jokes that the industry chose her.

Amber’s introduction to the industry involved the charming wine bars and tasting rooms of Woodinville, where she found her place before joining the esteemed team at Woodinville Wine Country. With a move towards wine production in recent years, Amber has been fortunate to collaborate with incredible mentors and teachers who have shaped her journey.

For Amber, being a woman in the wine industry has brought unique challenges, especially when immersing herself in roles on the crush pad. Despite the hurdles, she expresses gratitude for the camaraderie among women in various positions, particularly in the realm of production—a space she hopes more women will feel empowered to explore.

Amber’s narrative extends beyond her role as a Cellar Hand at JM Cellars, she also lends her expertise as General Manager at Hops & Seed Brewing, adding another layer to her multifaceted career. This dual role reflects her commitment to the craft and a deep connection to the art of winemaking, and the craft beer community.

As a successful woman in the hospitality industry, Amber actively participates in mentorship, understanding its crucial role in fostering growth. She acknowledges outstanding women who have inspired and encouraged her, emphasizing the need for women to support and uplift each other in the field. Her appreciation extends to the Alliance of Women in WA Wine, a community that echoes her sentiments and actively works towards making the Washington wine industry a leader in equity and diversity.

Amber calls out just a few outstanding women who have inspired and encouraged her along the way: Lisa Callan, Erica Orr, Paige Whipp, Amy Garofano, Tanya Bjornsson, Teresa Jones, Lisa Bowen, Vickie Llorente, Diana Dollar, Miggy de Quadros-Sherry, Allison Santos, and so so many more. This speaks loudly to the amount of mentorship and camaraderie found amongst women in this industry. The Alliance of Women in WA Wine was founded in 2021 to build a safe community for women and their advocates in the Washington wine industry. They offer various education opportunities, community and mentorship. Their mission is simple: working to make the Washington wine industry a leader in equity and diversity. I think that is something we can all get behind.

Amber’s journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring women in the industry, showcasing the impact of mentorship and the strength found in women supporting one another. Whether managing a brewery or meticulously tending to barrels in a winery cellar, Amber Schmitt epitomizes the spirit of resilience and passion that defines the Women’s History Month celebration in the world of hospitality. Here’s to the women like Amber, shaping the future, one pour at a time! 🍷🍺