Influence and Impact

Two Yamhill County women honored

The Portland Business Journal’s Women of Influence Awards recently honored two Yamhill County residents. Jessica Mozeico, co-founder of Et Fille Wines (left), standing with former award recipent Eugenia Keegan of Jackson Family Wines (center) and Susan Sokol Blosser, co-founder of Sokol Blosser Winery, who received the Joan Austin Woman of Impact Award (right). ## Photo by Gabriella Mozeico

By Annelise Kelly

The Grand Ballroom at the Hilton Portland Downtown filled with energy on Thursday, March 14. The Portland Business Journal’s Women of Influence awards luncheon drew 600 guests, primarily women, to honor 30 award recipients.

Among those recognized were two wine-making women from Yamhill County. Susan Sokol Blosser, co-founder of Sokol Blosser Winery, received the Joan Austin Woman of Impact Award.

Jessica Mozeico, co-founder of Et Fille Wines, was honored with a Woman of Influence Award. Both women have earned this recognition for the way they and their wineries contribute to the community.

Susan Sokol Blosser

Visit the “Our Story” section of the Sokol Blosser Winery website to view a black-and-white photo of Susan Sokol Blosser, in jeans and work shirt, navigating a tractor through vineyards. In 1971, with husband Bill Blosser, she planted vines in the Dundee Hills. A pioneer in environmentally friendly business practices, she pursues the triple-bottom-line concept of people, planet, and profit. Sokol Blosser’s certified organic vineyard plus construction of the first LEED-certified winery building in the U.S. earned the company multiple accolades for social responsibility combined with environmental ethics.

The Oregon Wine Board acknowledged both Susan and Bill with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. In addition, she was the first non-California woman inducted into the national Women for WineSense Hall of Fame in 2016. Three years later, she became the second American woman to receive the Diploma of Honor from French wine organization Fédération Internationale des Confréries Bachiques.

Since stepping aside from daily operations 16 years ago, she’s published five books on topics encompassing wine, business and personal memoir. She also founded the Yamhill Enrichment Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing inclusive literary and music programs to the county’s children.

Sokol Blosser says, “It was thrilling to be singled out from all these incredible women with this award, yet quite humbling because so many fabulous women were honored.” It’s worth noting Joan Austin, the award’s namesake, was also from Yamhill County. An entrepreneur and businesswoman, she co-founded Austin Dental Equipment Company, located in Newberg, with her husband in 1964. Austin, a prominent philanthropist, also established luxury resort The Allison Inn & Spa.

Reflecting on awards such as Women of Influence, Sokol Blosser says, “I think it’s important to elevate women everywhere, not just the wine industry. When we started our vineyard, it was very unusual for women to be farmers and winemakers… let alone be president of a winery.

At the time I accepted it as just the way things were.” She recalls how she brought her teenage daughter on wine trips, in part so she could meet other female leaders in the industry.

“For my generation, which is healthy, active, and has a lot of knowledge, I feel it’s incumbent on us to share what we’ve learned, to help the next generation, to make the community as livable as possible. I was fortunate enough to start the Yamhill Enrichment Society, with the mission of transforming the lives of Yamhill County children through music and literary enrichment. While very fulfilling, it has taken a lot of my time and energy. I’m now getting ready to sort of pass that on.

I really feel like this organization is making a difference in the lives of children, and that’s very satisfying. Life doesn’t have to end at retirement. In fact, I don’t like that word. I’d much prefer reinvention, renewing… something like that. Redirecting, because I’ve learned a lot and I’m ready to pass that on.”

Jessica Mozeico

Jessica Mozeico’s late father Howard was an accomplished winemaking hobbyist when she was a child. Decades later, in 2003, they left the corporate world (Howard in software engineering, Jessica in biotechnology) to launch and operate Et Fille Wines. Howard’s tragic death in 2017 left Jessica in charge of the business, which is Certified B-Corporation accredited, affirming it as a leader “in the global movement for an inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy,” according to the B-Corp’s website.

Et Fille’s STEM & root Pinot Noir is one example of how the winery repays the community. A portion of sale proceeds support the Chicas STEM Program operated by Adelante Mujeres with a mission to “empower Latine youth and young women by providing culturally responsive hands-on STEM experiences.”

Other wines support Providence Portland Medical Foundation and March of Dimes. As president emeritus of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association, Mozeico is active in the Diversity, Equity, Belonging and Inclusion Council. She is also a member of the International Women’s Forum of Oregon.

On receiving the award, Mozeico says “I was surprised and really excited, particularly to join a cohort of women I have immense respect for, including past recipients in the wine community like Eugenia Keegan (Jackson Family Wines) and Amy Prosenjak (Ste. Michelle Wine Estates). Outside of wine, there are a lot of industry leaders– I’ve met a really interesting mix of women.”

Both her eight-year old daughter and her mother attended the awards ceremony. “I knew being in a room of hundreds of people could be overwhelming for my daughter, but I decided to include her with the hope that watching women get on stage and talk about their professional accomplishments would be a cool experience. Hopefully, it was inspirational for her.

I once wanted to be recognized as a winemaker or entrepreneur without the gender qualifier, but I now think we need to keep celebrating women until it’s normalized. I wanted her to see that celebration.”

Regarding the future, “it’s always about pushing forward our commitments to sustainability, community, diversity and equity. And I’m really inspired to do this for my daughter’s generation. Partnering with organizations making our community better for all of our daughters is really important, so that’s the main focus of our philanthropic activities.”

After living in Denmark, the Netherlands, L.A. and the Bay Area, writer Annelise Kelly settled in Portland, where she delights in food carts, Douglas firs, dancing and getting crafty. Thanks to Annelise’s broad interests, her career path has weaved through cooking, events, technical writing, decorative painting and retail display.Wanderlust takes her across borders and oceans every chance she gets. Connect with Annelise at

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