Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants’ not-so-secret weapon for growth has been its wine club—a group of more than 250,000 people that represent a key core of the chain’s business and a major competitive advantage that makes it unique in the restaurant space.

The job of strengthening and growing this club falls to Emily Wines. In addition to her role as VP of wine and beverage experience for the brand, she’s also a master sommelier, one of just 149 people in the Americas who have earned that designation. She’s tasked with bolstering the wine club “community” as well as improving employees’ knowledge of wines. She engages with club members and helps create the experiences that drive membership—including immersive events and partnerships that give the club a unique flavor. It’s a big reason the club is one of the country’s largest—and one that is so important to a chain that has just 35 locations.