Dec. 1, 2022

Shattering Glass Ceilings w/ Jen & Zach Pelka, Une Femme

Shattering Glass Ceilings w/ Jen & Zach Pelka, Une Femme

Une Femme was supposed to be an in-house wine brand for their Champagne Bars The Riddler to now the fastest-growing sparkling wine in the US.

In less than three years, Jen & Zach Pelka, the sister and brother co-founders of Une Femme, have taken what was supposed to be an in-house wine brand for their Champagne Bars The Riddler to the fastest-growing sparkling wine in the US. Leveraging data from The Riddler sales with a mission of promoting women and enabling the shattering of glass ceilings, Jen & Zach have taken a CPG approach to rocket Une Femme to become a national player.  

Detailed Show Notes: 

Une Femme launch

  • Initially designed as an in-house brand for The Riddler
  • Data from The Riddler, from 2 bars, 150-200 wines sold by the glass, 70% women, difficult to find affordable, approachable sparkling rosés by the glass led to Une Femme design
  • Launched Feb 2020 - a bad time for on-premise, Covid closures forced more national distribution

Wine portfolio

  • The Betty - sparkling white, named after Betty White, no dosage, 80% PN / 20% CH
  • The Callie - sparkling rosé from California, 1st wine to take off
  • $32 retail 


  • Work directly w/ wineries and winemakers, capital-light model
  • Mostly Central Coast, CA
  • Made in 3 locations w/ a Type 2 winery license
  • Made w/ Charmat method (tank) - faster, less expensive, more scalable, spends 1-3 months in tank

Motto - “World-class women-made wines that give back to female-centered charities”

Each wine partnered w/ charities, which gets a lot of press

  • The Callie - Breast Cancer Research Fund
  • The Betty - Dress for Success
  • Limited Edition Wines (Piquettes) - Tree Sisters
  • Batonnage Forum (for more detail, see XChateau Ep 40)
  • Assesses donations every quarter for contribution amount; can’t tie a specific $ amount to a bottle due to alcohol compliance

Fastest growing sparkling wine brand in the US

  • 2020 - 1,500 cases
  • 2021 - 5,400 cases
  • 2022E - ~100,000 cases
  • 2023E - >200,000 cases
  • Aspiration - 400-500k case brand to become a “call brand” for sparkling wine, where customers ask for it by name
  • Diversity at scale is mostly restricted by access to capital (Une Femme just able to raise $10M Series A)


  • Multiple formats - 750ml, 187ml, 250ml cans
  • Small formats launched to take advantage of events, charities where small bottles (w/ straws) / cans will be photographed/seen vs. drinking from a glass
  • 250ml cans driven by Delta - lighter, more scalable, sustainable

Price - will be ~$24.99 from major retail partners as the product scales

  • Targeting premiumization categories ($20-40 range) and growing the sparkling category


  • Brand partners - Marriott (by the glass in high-end hotels - Ritz Carlton, St Regis, JW Marriott), Delta
  • Most successful promotion - Hall of Femme awards program celebrated 365 women who have shattered a glass ceiling. Sent them a crate of wine with stunt glass and a hammer to shatter it. Based on the brand name “Une Femme,” meaning it only takes 1 woman to shatter a glass ceiling
  • Has done social media, paid advertising, email marketing, & just started text marketing
  • Does a lot of events and donations to lots of charities
  • Word of mouth from friends in the industry (e.g., wine shop owners, sommeliers)
  • Branded credit card - to be part of customers' lives, introducing similar, women-focused, women-owned brands (e.g., Milk Bar), capitalizing on the movement of women supporting women, esp with their wallets
  • Brand ambassador program - run through a 3rd party as a way to have affiliate marketing for influencers
  • Highest ROI marketing - things that lead to partnerships w/ large national players, e.g., trade shows
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