Tonya Pitts is a Sommelier, member of Les Dames d'Escoffier International, speaker, writer, and a November "Hall of Femme" honoree. Thought of by her peers as an industry change-maker and compassionate role model, Tonya has dedicated herself to being a leader who champions diversity and inclusion in the hospitality, food and beverage industries.
Tonya’s dedication to the issues most important to her have had a widespread effect across the industry. While at One Market Restaurant, she has curated an impressive wine list, increasing the offerings to feature wines made by women, Black and Latinx winemakers and producers. When the restaurant expanded to include retail and art gallery space, Tonya established Women in Wine, a group by and for women to improve representation in the industry which ultimately led to the launch of Tonya’s Summer Wine School that featured varietals made by women.
Nominated by fellow Hall of Femme honoree Elaine Chukan Brown, Tonya has made a clear mark on the wine world. Elaine shared that Tonya’s “work as a sommelier and restaurant professional has helped transform how we enjoy wine in the United States.” Both women have fought hard for their successes, something Elaine honed in on when she shared about Tonya that “[a]s a Black woman in wine she has opened doors for other women and for the BIPOC community that not only were not open but simply did not even exist before. She built them.”
But Tonya did not stop there, and in 2020 she joined Wine Unify, a conscious movement located in Napa Valley to mentor people in BIPOC & LGBTQ communities who are pursuing education and careers in the wine industry. As part of Wine Unify, Tonya is not only a mentor, but serves as an ambassador and advisory board member. A product of mentorship herself, Tonya pays tribute by mentoring young people, including mentees who are cooks and pastry chefs looking to transition their roles, and especially giving women and people of color a seat at the table.
As a champion for women and BIPOC voices in the wine industry, Tonya creates space for wineries and winemakers to shine where they wouldn’t have before. A true entrepreneur, Tonya inspires a brighter future for the next generation of winemakers and wine enthusiasts.