Featured Member: Frances Gonzalez, founder, Vegan Wines

What kind of work do you do/business do you run?

Vegan Wines is the first online plant-based wine importer/distributor in the USA. We also have a vegan online wine club/online wine store.

Vegan Wines visits each vineyard or winery to ensure the wines you receive are made with environmentally-conscious and animal-friendly methods. We specialize in selecting wines from independent, family-owned wineries with smaller levels of production.

What do you love about it?

As a vegan and a wine lover I have two of my life and work passions in one.

What’s your ‘why’ in life? What drives you?

Making changes in the world that are for the greater good. To see how we are moving forward within veganism in this world gives you all the drive to keep going forward. I want to be part of a better today and the future.

Why are you a member of the Vegan Women’s Leadership Network?

I am honored to be part of a women-empowered support group that we all have the same motives and goals. Veganism and women’s empowerment are two very important roles within our business model.

What’s been the biggest highlight or ‘wow’ moment of your career/business/professional life?

The highlight is that the winemakers are now getting it. That I am not trying to come in and criticize their winemaking.

I am not there to get money out of them with some vegan certification. I am there because I am honored to work with them.

My highlight is that the winemakers and Vegan Wines are passionate about producing wines without any animal products. It is not their beliefs as many want to keep the business going for their family. They may not all be vegan but they are open to learning. That means there is the chance for change.

How do you handle failures, fear and disappointment?

I keep going forward with what I have learned from the experience. There is no time for self pity. If anything I find it a blessing at times because it something great comes out of the learning.

What would you tell your 16-year-old self?

Don’t ever doubt yourself. Always stand up for your beliefs. Love is always kinder and stronger than hate. Use it!

Which women inspire you and why?

Oh, so many from my childhood friend Sabrina, Malala Yousafzai, Oprah, a lady in Rincon, PR Talia, so many more. Also cannot leave out my beautiful mother!

What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve faced and how has it helped mould who you are now?

Being bought up in the Bronx and through family court put in St Christopher’s in Dobbs Ferry during childhood. This is a institution to help adolescents with behavioral and emotional challenges. It changed my life completely!

What’s your super-power? What are you amazing at?

I am a connector. I always want to find the good in people and connect them with others in the same categories so they can work on greatness together. So far it’s been working 😊

What brings you joy?

I love when we make great impact together. I love working with people. I strongly believe in teamwork!

How do you define success, and how will you know when you’ve achieved it?

Success to me is when I have a business to leave to my children because it is part of today and the future. Success is the value you leave in life when you have completed your human journey on earth.

What’s your vision for yourself and your business/career for the future?

We want to help farmers change their farming for the greater good of no animal products and better grapes for beautiful wines.

We want to be that wine portfolio that when a restaurant opens, they are picking wines not just because they are vegan but because they are naturally vegan. We are working hard to share that throughout the US and throughout the world one day.

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