Making It: Redhead Wines Keeps Winemaker Marisa Sergi Close to Family

MAKER: Marisa Sergi, owner

BUSINESS: Redhead Wines

FAMILY TRADITION: Redhead Wines is an offshoot of the third-generation winery, L'uva Bella, located outside Youngstown. Owner Marisa Sergi studied winemaking at Cornell University and was determined to make a name for herself in the wine industry.

"I decided why not make a label based on being a redhead. Kind of embracing your inner sassiness," Sergi said.

She founded the brand when she was 19 years old.  

BEST TIME OF THE YEAR: "We're a California-style winery," Sergi said.

Redhead purchases all of their grapes from California and presses them in house.

"I think the best part of being a winemaker is working harvest," Sergi said. "It's a little messy. Your hands might turn purple or you might get sprayed in the face with wine that isn't degassed properly. But it's all worth it."

SEIZING THE MOMENT: Sergi said being a young female in a profession typically dominated by older males comes with challenges, but she embraces being a wildcard.

"A lot of people might assume I might not be educated or don't know what I'm doing," Sergi said. "I think I'm a wine distribution expert now. And I really know food science and winemaking. It's really cool to be that wildcard. It's hard to forget a redhead, so I have that advantage."

THE FUTURE LOOKS GRAPE: Sergi has relocated to Cleveland to be closer to her distributers and has focused on expanding Redhead's regional reach.

"Definitely would love to see our wines distributed around the country, but for me, I like to take it one step at a time," Sergi said. Redhead currently distributes throughout Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Sergi expects to have her wine in Kentucky and Tennessee in 2020.

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