November “Hall of Femme” honoree Elaine Chukan Brown is the country’s first indigenous wine writer, speaker, and educator. She is Inupiaq, Unangan-Sugpiaq, indigenous from what is now known as Alaska. In 2021, she was named a “Legend in Wine Education” by The Hue Society, giving the keynote address “Risk and Self-Doubt as Opportunity” for Femmes du Vin, an international program sponsored by the U.S. State Department through the Paris Embassy. Her dedication to helping others is clear and she shared with us “everything I do is in service to future generations and in gratitude to my ancestors.”
Generous, curious, and dedicated, Elaine began writing and speaking about wine to “share the beauty and enthusiasm possible with the hope to open a new path for more Black, Indigenous, and people of color in wine.” Amongst many other projects she is Co-Founder of The Diversity in Wine Leadership Forum (with fellow Hall of Femme honoree Maryam Ahmed).
Before she was a wine guru, Elaine owned a commercial salmon-fishing business in Bristol Bay Alaska and even worked as a lapidarist and metalsmith for several years - the crystals she cut were sold as healing and art pieces in Europe. Elaine has shattered glass ceilings in more fields than one. She won the prestigious Wine Communicator of the Year award from IWSC and VinItaly, and was named a Wine Industry Leader in the North American wine industry by Wine Business Monthly in 2020.
“The more success I have, the more I can use my platform to expand awareness for others doing good work whose voice deserves to be elevated,” Elaine says. Advice she offers to empower other women is to “focus on doing good work and on your own wellbeing. When those two things align, you're on the right path.” We raise a glass to you, Elaine.