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What’s Next for Sharon Cohn: Co-founder, Breathless Wines

February 2021: A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, Inkandescent Women magazine — “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away!” This quote couldn’t be more apt for Breathless Wines — the magical winery created by Sharon Cohn and her sisters, Cynthia and Rebecca Faust.

Rebecca Faust, co-owner, Breathless Wines

“When it comes down to it, Breathless Wines is a family affair,” says Sharon, who built the winery fueled by the love of her sisters, and the passion for life that their mother passed down to them.

“Along with Breathless Winemaker Penny Gadd-Coster, we are dedicated to sparkling winemaking in the traditional method, creating refreshing sparkling wines that pair well with life’s special moments.”

All of the Breathless Sparkling Wines are hand-crafted from select Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes using the traditional French method, méthode champenoise, guided by the expert winemaking hand of Penny Gadd-Coster. Penny, recently named “Winemaker of the Year” by the North Bay Business Journal, is a renowned winemaker with 35 years of experience in sparkling winemaking.

Cynthia Faust, co-owner, Breathless Wines

Sharon insists: “The path to happiness and a sense of well-being resides in the simple act of savoring the little things, like a baby’s laugh; a loved-one’s smile; a fire softly burning; or warm bread, just out of the oven. Or even enjoying a glass of bubbles with a long-missed friend. The woman on our label is a tribute to our Mother, Martha, and all the men and women who teach and remind us to take each breath we are given as a gift to be cherished.”

More good stuff: 

What’s Next for Breathless Wines’ co-owner Sharon Cohn

An interview with Hope Katz Gibbs & Cynthia de Lorenzi, authors, Your What’s Next Journal

Hope & Cynthia: Tell us about your business/industry before the pandemic hit in March 2020.

Sharon: Before March 2020, our business was mostly conducted, our sales direct to customers in the tasting room. We had worked on website sales, but the option did not materialize until the pandemic. Thankfully, sales have surged, and our members appreciate the extra attention we offer with our new drive-by pickup and delivery service. The stores that sold wholesale almost made up for the restaurants that had to close due to the coronavirus epidemic. Fortunately, our business has been healthy, but we all really miss seeing our customers enjoying our wine with their friends and family in our tasting room. And even more sad is seeing so many of our favorite restaurants’ struggle or close. It has been a tough year!

Hope & Cynthia: Where were you personally in your life when COVID-19 arrived in the US? What were your short and long-term goals at that time?

Sharon: Personally, I was working as a dental hygienist 1-2 days per week in a practice I had been in for 15 years. I decided it was a perfect time to retire after 40 years. I moved to working 7 days with Breathless to work with my sisters and our new marketing expert in building one of my goals for 2020. 

The goal was to expand our reach beyond the tasting room and create an ambassador community nationwide. Today we are building the site and inviting those passionate about wine to begin the growth as we launch in late March 2021. We are having a ball with our virtual tastings and Zoom — impressive for a non-techie like me. We will also begin introducing our fabulous wines to a bigger audience.

Hope & Cynthia: What are your thoughts now about your industry, your business, your personal life, your heart? 

Sharon: For a long time, I felt there was a balance that was missing. I have grandchildren, and it is important to spend time with them when they are young and want to play — and I still can!

The wine industry is full of people who are passionate about what they do. It continues to grow in many different directions — organic, sustainable, natural, low alcohol and calories; even zero alcohol is becoming of interest. Plus, you can now get wine in cans and half bottles, making it easier to travel with your favorites.

We are working on many of these avenues with the assistance from our parent company, Rack and Riddle, which our sister Rebecca founded with her partner, Bruce Lundquist. And, of course, we couldn’t do any of this without our fabulous executive winemaker, Penny.

Rack and Riddle is a custom crush facility that works with more than 250 wine clients making wines. They are ramped up to serve everyone from nationwide chains to a small winery that wants to add a line of bubbles to their line- up. Breathless is just one of their clients. Penny always finds a way to hit the profile of wines we love.

Hope & Cynthia: Now the big question — What do you see coming next?


  • For your industry: This is a great question. In addition to the pandemic, we face changes due to the increasing length and severity of California’s fire season. While we are hopeful that the pandemic will soon go away, but our new busy season may change to June and July, meaning the harvest will happen quietly without the audience to enjoy and embrace it.
  • For your business: For Breathless, we will keep taking our clients’ and members’ pulse and look to find ways to delight and give a little extra more than they aren’t expecting! My mantra has always been to surprise and delight! Case in point: One of our favorite wines is a Ratafia, a wine dating back to the 1300s in Champagne.. the last of the press and a brandy..of course, Penny does not use the last of the press and uses a wonderful brandy, and we dress it up in a beautiful bottle and label and glass closure for a wonderful treat!
  • For you personally: SIP has been a time of reflection on what Sharon wants in the last chapters of her life.  It is a time to make decisions that make me slowing down and asking myself how it makes me feel and going with it is GREAT!
  • For the country: For the country-we will come together as we always have.  We are a mix of everything and always have been.. we are learning that oppression is harmful to everyone.. we must pull each other up and rise together with all our differences making us stronger in the end.
  • For the world: For the world-Same as our country.. such a tricky question.. we have made mistakes in the world and our country, but we have also done good deeds in the world and must continue.
  • For women: For women-For so many segments that have been suppressed, we too will be given the pass to make our mark when we have the passion for doing the work to make it happen. We will continue to protect and build communities ( like incandescent women) that support these passions and be the light for all others that come up behind and surpass us!  We will see that by supporting each other and partnering, we can move bigger mountains and make more dreams come true together.

Hope & Cynthia: What question didn’t we ask you? 

Where did you get your drive to forge a new business in wine among the thousands of wineries we now have today? 

Sharon: The love of sisters inspired by our mom. You know how sisters keep you doing your best? It’s a little discipline, a little growing up in Sonoma County, CA, watching the land in Sonoma County go from cattle and apples to grapes and wine. Wine is in our blood. We receive the gifts of the grapevines seasons, the bounty of fruit and the nectar of that fruit, and the gift of having it turned into delicious wine by skilled winemakers like Penny Gadd -Coster. I will continue to find ways to share and delight in someone’s discovery of Breathless and inspiring them to be breathless and discover more breathless moments in their lives!

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