Founder and CEO, Shoe Crazy Wine, Petersburg
Gwen Hurt spent more than 15 years working in the tech industry. Then, unexpectedly, days after being laid off from her job in 2013, Hurt and her daughter were in a car accident. During their months of recovery, Hurt decided to start her own winemaking business in 2014. Her daughter suggested she name it for her other passion — shoes.
Shoe Crazy specializes in softer wines that are smooth to drink. “‘Soft Palate’ is a phrase I coined to describe the type of wine our customers were asking for — a wine that was lighter, sweeter and less harsh,” Hurt says.
Through major retailers like Total Wine & More, Sam’s Club and Walmart Inc., Shoe Crazy Wine’s products are now sold in 11 states and Washington, D.C., says Chief Financial Officer Edwin Gommers. Hurt plans to expand into more markets as well.
“Passion and tenacity are tantamount to surviving in any industry,” Hurt says. Those two traits helped her to launch her company eight years ago, and in the years since she also has produced wines for three other women of color. “Our goal, as always, is to support and help grow women in the industry.”