No Men, No Problem: Five Sisters Start a Winery

4 bottles of nomen wine

Women power. That’s what drives Brigid O’ Reilly and her family, the owners and creators of Newburg, Oregon-based Distaff Wine Co. and Nomen Wine. Nomen is Latin for surname or family, and the O’ Reilly sisters are five women who are changing the wine industry in more ways than one.

The O’Reilly’s – Brigid, Moira, Roisin, and Marie-Therese – grew up watching their parents slay the wine industry. Their mom, Angelica O’Reilly, has been in the business from the late 80s and, along with her husband David, owner of Owen Roe winery, brought home the message to their daughters that women can do anything.

Together the family created Distaff Wine Co. and the girls grew up helping their parents “do it all” – everything from pulling weeds, planting vines and sorting grapes, to lab analysis, running the tasting rooms and marketing and selling the wine.

o'reilly family

In early 2019 they started talking about a wine created by women for women. But they didn’t get to do something about it until the pandemic hit. With everyone stuck indoors, they found the time to slow down and concentrate on what they wanted to do and how they wanted to do it. One big factor? It became evident to them that the world that was now reliant on shipping and online shopping.

The result? Nomen Wine and Nomen Wine Sustainable Wine Bottles, which they launched in April 2020. The name is a sly nod to the fact that amidst their founders there are no men.

The bottles came from their desire to reduce the heavy carbon footprint that glass bottles are leaving on the planet. Nomen uses PET (polyethylene terephthalate), a type of plastic that has 77% less carbon emission than glass bottles. According to the National Center for Health Research, PET contains no hormone disruptors which, if consumed, can lead to such unwanted health issues as fatigue or mood swings. PET can also be recycled multiple times and produced from factors already existing in the environment.

Another plus: plastic bottles are lightweight and less expensive to create and ship.

one bottle of nomen wine

All of which make for an environmentally friendly way to drink Nomen wine. Varieties include a 2018 Malbec, a 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, a 2019 Rosé and a 2019 Sauvignon Blanc. Each ranges from $12 to $16 a bottle, is easily shippable and is gluten-free, vegan and sustainably farmed. Plus, each bottle features a whimsical illustration of a woman in a different profession, created by the youngest O’ Reilly, Marie-Therese.

The family is, however, about more than just wine. Brigid said they want to highlight women in all industries and hope their brand offers support to women and creates a chain reaction of motivation and empowerment. They want women to be as excited as they are about becoming leaders in their industries.

“The wine industry is very old and male dominated,” she said. “And unfortunately there is a disconnect. Glass bottles are unsustainable. We want to bring a new light to the wine industry.”

AUTHOR

Laura Henty

NYC resident Laura Henty loves to write and be social. Follow her on Instagram at @lauraahentyy6.

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