Oregon wine industry leader Tiket Bramlett has been honored by USA TODAY

Tiket Bramlett is one of USA TODAY’s Women of the Year, which recognizes women who have made a significant impact in their communities and across the country. Program in 2022 as a continuation Women of the century, which was dedicated to the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. Meet this year’s awards at womenoftheyear.usatoday.com.

Tiket Bramlett recalls prosperity after being installed as president in 2021 Compris Vineyard (formerly Vidon Vineyard) in Newberg. Her team started doing some research, then others did more work in the field.

She had just become the first black woman appointed to a US winery.

It was a bittersweet moment for Bramlett. He was as confused as he was proud.

“I didn’t really know how to feel about it at first,” he said. “It was exciting to a lot of people and I wore it as a badge of honor, thinking of my grandfather (the first black contractor in California) and having that place with him.

“But then it was like, ‘Okay, well, I’m the first, but let’s make sure I’m not the last.’

Bramlett believed he was as ready to act as anyone. She comes from an interracial family, grew up in the California area, and has long been comfortable with awkward conversations.

His way to the vineyard and the tasting room was unusual.

She was a trained vocalist before being diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of 24, and she is still ahead. During the treatment, he read the “Wine Bible” that was a gift from his mother.

“For me it was like reading a novel,” Bramlett said. “It was a grape-to-wine story, learning about grapes and regions. I thought, ‘Oh, I want to dive deeper into this.’ The minute the doctors cleared me, I went and took some (sommelier) courses to figure out what direction I wanted to go.”

In the process, he fell in love with the wines of the Willamette Valley and carved his own niche.

Tiquette Bramlett, of WillaKenzie Estate in Yamhill, is the first black woman appointed to oversee a US winery and is the founder of Our Heritage, an organization dedicated to advancing the BIPOC community in the wine industry.

Tiquette Bramlett, of WillaKenzie Estate in Yamhill, is the first black woman appointed to oversee a US winery and is the founder of Our Heritage, an organization dedicated to advancing the BIPOC community in the wine industry.

While others talked about vague memories, she tasted Cheez-It crackers and Hershey’s chocolate and followed her teacher’s advice: Try not to impress others, but trust your body. This made him more accessible to the consumer.

Her first job was in 2015 as a tasting room clerk at Ann Amy Vineyards in Carlton. He later served as a brand ambassador for Abbey Creek Vineyard in the Northern Plains, before making history with Weedon after it was renamed Compris Vineyard.

Bramlett, 39, used her opportunities to open doors for others. During the epicenter of the pandemic, she founded a non-profit organization Our heritage is madewhich supports diversity in the wine industry and provides paid internships to the BIPOC community.

The first group of interns from around the country worked during the 2022 harvest at two Oregon wineries, Adelsheim Vineyard in Newberg and WillaKenzie Estate in Yamhill. They visited other wineries and were able to make connections.

All four interns have since moved to Oregon and gotten jobs in the industry, which is a source of great pride for Bramlett.

With the potential for expansion and a new batch of interns this spring, she realized the mission would require more of her time. He left Compris to focus on our collected heritage.

“At the end of the day,” Bramlett said, “it’s bigger than wine.”

Bramlett is a USA TODAY Oregon Women of the Year honoree.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Oregon’s USA TODAY Women of the Year Award: Tiket Bramlett

Tickett Bramlett is the founder of Our Heritage and the first black woman appointed to run a winery.

Abigail Dollins, Salem Statesman

Why is our legacy mission important to you?

I’m tired of being the only person in the room who looks like me when I know there are countless people who are interested in the same things. I wanted to understand why we weren’t in those places and what I could do to make sure everyone felt safe with me.

Who paved the way for you?

Rodolphe Luchart (one of his first mentors in the wine industry) was certainly one. He gave me many tools for which I am very grateful. My grandparents really taught us so much about being an interracial couple and coming to the states at a time when their marriage was still not recognized in one part of the country and watching them cope.

Bertoni Faustin, Oregon’s first black winemaker. He was one of the first people I met when I got here and has remained a part of my life and is truly a mentor and always will be. He taught me so much that everything is bigger than wine and gave me various life tools that I have been able to implement in business.

What is your proudest moment?

Having my first class of OLH interns here and being able to witness the light bulb go on for them. I remember when I had that moment and (knew) what I wanted to do. Seeing the excitement in their eyes and saying, “I can do that, too,” and then hearing them say, “Oh my god, I can’t wait to get someone else to do this and share it with them.”

What is your definition of courage?

For me, it’s really like taking that leap of faith, knowing what you’re capable of, and believing in it. But also know in yourself where you can see that edge and feel the adrenaline, you can feel that mountain, but you’re like, “You know I have wings, I know I know how to fly. I’ve got all the lists done, I can do this jump, I believe in myself.”

Is there a guiding principle or mantra you tell yourself?

Facts and feelings are always a big thing for me, and then a reboot. It’s been a big buzzword for me for the last couple of years because I’ve been told it’s not wrong. This is a lesson. And how do you relive that moment?


Who are you looking at?

Some of the people I mentioned, and the other one is Julia Kony. He’s a black wine writer and he really connects with people of color in the wine industry, really a guiding force for a lot of us.

How do you overcome adversity?

Just take a step back and use the facts of the situation and try to overcome your emotions from the moment. Acknowledge them, but process the feelings before diving into what the moment was about and what the lesson should be.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

You don’t know what you don’t know. So ask all the questions, even if someone says it’s a dumb question. You did not know this before and you have learned something new. Just stay open and don’t be afraid to stumble. I was really hesitant to stumble and fail. My grandfather always said things like “you are not made of glass, so why are you afraid of falling?”

I think being diagnosed with cancer at 24 changed the focus a bit too. So let’s be bulls in a china shop and do all the work and live as loud and bold as we can.

9:04 AM UTC March 19, 2023

9:04 AM UTC March 19, 2023

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