Lauren Maldonado is such a breath of fresh air! Our latest guest is co-owner (with her husband) of The Art of Wine in Sedona, Arizona.
Our conversation with Lauren was so refreshing due to (at least) two proclivities that have served her well in life: First, she has boundless curiosity. It led her to Sedona and to the wine industry. (You’ll have to hear her story in the podcast to learn how infectious her curiosity really is.) Second, Lauren has dogged determination. While she never said (out loud) that she never gives up, you can tell it’s true from listening to her stories.
Lauren’s journey into wine started in 2012 when she settled in Sedona after touring the western states. She hadn’t planned a career in wine, but at each turn learning about wine, she was drawn to understanding more about it and working in the industry. In 2013, Lauren joined the team at Page Springs Cellars, outside of Sedona, serving in the tasting room, on events, and as a tour guide. She joined the vineyard crew and helped farm their vineyards for four years as the only female on the crew.
More recently, along with the other women of Page Springs Cellars, Lauren co-founded of Vin de Filles, which takes a specific wine from its birth in the vineyard through to its harvest, winemaking, and bottling, entirely by women. Not only did they oversee nurturing of the vines through winemaking production and marketing, but also the wine’s net profits will be donated to The Verde Valley Sanctuary, a local nonprofit organization that provides shelter and support for women who have survived domestic violence. (Listen to our podcast on Vin de Filles from earlier this summer.)
If that wasn’t enough, Lauren made a big leap this year from her work at Page Springs Cellars to co-ownership of Uptown Sedona’s premier wine bar and tasting room, The Art of Wine. Located within the Hyatt Pinon Pointe Shops, they offer over 40 Arizona, U.S. and international wines by-the-glass or for sampling. They also offer craft beers, local meads, seltzers, and non-alcoholic beverages. The shop portion of the wine bar includes a 300+ bottle selection as well as a growing selection of wine accessories and wine art.
As Lauren’s experience includes a background in graphic design, she gets to flex her artistic and creative muscles throughout The Art of Wine by curating their art selection and overseeing upgrades to the wine bar’s décor and promotional materials.
With a number of light fare options, wine flights, by-the-glass, and happy hour offerings with discounts, and the ability to ship wine, visitors have ample choices to enjoy great experiences at The Art of Wine. (They can even join the recently launched wine club, which offers more customization than we may have seen anywhere! It’s a great way to enjoy a bit of Sedona at home.)
We wondered what hadn’t Lauren tackled? What did she find challenging? And what would she advise others entering the industry? Her answers didn’t disappoint. (Listen in to get the fully story!) She told us she was particularly looking forward to expanding the wine bar and tasting room’s selection of art and accessories now that they had just leased the adjacent retail space. The expansion added 500 square feet to the facility.
The addition sounded like a necessity given what we were hearing about the visitor traffic to Sedona, which continues to grow at a good pace. Lauren cited the continuing traffic challenges Sedona faces. As more and more visitors arrive to commune with the red rocks, dark skies, award-winning restaurants, and nearby wineries, the more guests she meets from behind the wine bar. Thankfully, she says, they have very knowledgeable staff who are well-versed in the many wines they carry to assist their growing clientele.
As for the challenges she faces, Lauren cited the number one problem was insufficient hours in the day. (We couldn’t agree more!) While she said she finds all aspects of owning and growing her wine business extremely rewarding, it remains challenging to juggle those demands with raising a family and keeping home life running smoothly. During the show, Lauren and co-host Misty Roudebush Cain traded some stories on juggling motherhood duties with their respective wine industry challenges.
You will find us at the bar—The Art of Wine—bar, when next the Wine Women Radio Hour hosts can make their way to wonderful Sedona!