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Q & A with Elsie Wolfe


Sales Manager, Alcohol, Safeway | Pleasanton, CA

Elsie Wolfe has 27 years’ experience within the Supermarket Industry. She currently manages the strategy and sales for total alcohol—wine, spirits and beer for Safeway Northern California Division, the largest division of Albertson’s Companies. As a California native, Elsie is passionate about leveraging local partnerships and inspired to bring wine history to life in her stores. She has participated in the New York Wine Spectator Experience for the past several years as well as the Women of the Vine Symposium. Prior to her current role, Elsie was the Vice President of Meals & Ingredients for the entire enterprise of Safeway consisting of 8 divisions before the merger with Albertson’s Companies. Elsie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Santa Clara University and an MBA from St. Mary’s College of California. She was recognized in 2014 by Progressive Grocer as one of the Top Women in Grocery.

Q: What makes the PD North Coast Wine Challenge different from other wine competitions you may judge?


Press Democrat Wine Challenge is unique!  It captures such great localization in my market since it covers 6 different AVA counties—Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, Marin and even some parts of Solano County.  These are all areas in my retail backyard!  No other wine competition focuses just on these areas.

Q: As a wine buyer, how much do wine competitions impact your buying decisions?


My shoppers are looking to buy local wine……and with that comes local accolades!  So yes, competitions—especially local ones—play an integral part in how we review new wines and even new vintages.  We have the ability in my stores to shout out about where these wine are from and their accolades.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that wineries that are entering or considering entering may like to know or that consumers who attend our Food and Wine Festival June 9th celebrating the Gold Medal winners may be interested to know.


There’s nothing better than getting liquid to lips!  Attending the Food & Wine Festival in June is the best opportunity to taste the “Best of the Best”—the 90+ Gold Wines from the wine competition.  And you can’t go wrong with pairing these award winning wines with great local eats.  It’s just magical when you bring food and wine together.

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