We had the good fortune of connecting with Justine Osilla and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Justine, what do you attribute your success to?
I started my short format blog HEYJAYROSÉ on Instagram with a very clear mission. I wanted to create a space where I can make wine more approachable, share my journey in becoming the first Filipina winemaker, and show the not so glamorous lifestyle of winemaking. Most importantly, I wanted to inspire the youth, women, people of color, and all minorities to take up space in this industry. Staying true to this mission is what made me successful.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a young aspiring winemaker and senior enology student at Fresno State.
I was raised by a traditional Filipino family that taught me their narrow definition of success—the one that implies you can only be happy, successful, and fulfilled if you’re a nurse, doctor, engineer, or lawyer. Little did they know, a different career would be calling for me.
As a daughter of a wine enthusiast, I frequently visited Napa and Paso Robles and started developing a palate at a young age. It was this interest that unanticipatedly turned into my career. Though my family thought wine was an unconventional path, they came around because I was able to make them feel passionate by unashamedly sharing what I love & being inclusive despite their doubts.
I’ve worked in the wine industry for over 5 years as a vineyard sugar tester, winemaking/harvest intern, tasting room host, cellar worker, phenolics researcher/lab tech, social media marketing director, wholesale assistant, and customer care representative. Today, I am a Wine & Whiskey Concierge at a local wine-centric restaurant. I strive to learn the ins and outs of the wine business while finishing up my enology degree. As I pursue my goal of having my own wine label, my mission is to also make wine education more accessible and provide more opportunities for women and people of color.
Check out @heyjayrose to follow along my wine journey!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My Ideal weak long trip in wine country would be in Sonoma, CA. Sonoma is such a diverse county with warm people and cool sub areas such as Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, Russian River Valley, Healdsburg, Jenner, and Geyserville. My friends and I would go cheese tasting, pick up locally made cured meats, and picnic on the beach of Bodega Bay. We would enjoy scenic vineyard rides and visit some of our favorite wineries such as Williams Selyem, Merry Edwards, Flowers, Small Vines, Gracianna Winery, and Ferrari-Carano. The restaurants I would make sure we’d hit are Wit&Wisdom, Blue Ridge Kitchen, Lococo’s Cucina Rustica, and Spoonbar(my favorite place for cocktails). Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Surrounding yourself by positive and encouraging people make all the difference when on the path to success. It would be a lie to say I did it all alone. I want to shout out my family for coming around and supporting me in my wine journey. I also want to thank Bianca Toledo, Arianna Mohayaee, and Katie Nielsen who have been my cheerleaders since day one. Shout out to Anna Pryor @vinylsandvinos, who I’ve had many wine adventures with and is one of my biggest advocates. Shout out to Tara Gomez, friend and winemaker of @kitawines and @camins2dreams, for being an inspiration and someone who I look up to. Lastly, I thank the wonderful community I’ve found within the industry for encouraging me to take up space.