Q&A: Joey Wölffer Gears Up for Washington International Horse Show

by Kyle Kerchaert

The stylish wine heiress on competing and where to find her around town.

Wine heiress, designer and horse lover Joey Wölffer in the stables with one of her horses. Photo: Wölffer Estate Vineyard.

Joey Wölffer joined the Low Amateur/Owner Jumper lineup for this month’s 58th Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) as a wild card—a term all too fitting for the Hamptons heiress.

Wölffer and her siblings were plucked from Manhattan to spend their later childhood on the family’s Long Island farm, where she passed many afternoons riding her horses. The children inherited the Wölffer Estate, complete with a winery and equestrian school, from their late father seven years ago. She quit her coveted job in corporate fashion shortly after. But one new lease on life wasn’t enough for Wölffer, who took the reigns with the estate’s vineyards and stables while also launching her own accessory boutique-on-wheels, The Styleliner.

In the following years, Wölffer’s life became something of a dream turned reality. The Styleliner has attracted a cult following. The boutique opened its first brick-and-mortar storefront, which now carries Wölffer’s own line of breezy garments and charming handbags favored by fashion magazines and celebrities. She and the team at Wölffer Estate have made a name for themselves in the wine industry, too. Their wines are pulling in top marks, and their business has recently expanded to include gin, brandy and grapes from international vineyards.

And that’s just the short list.

It appears Wölffer has no intentions of halting any time soon as she surprises yet again by entering the WIHS as an adult competitor. Somehow, Wölffer found the time to reveal what she is looking forward to most when she stops by the capital for the competition from Oct. 25-30.

Washington Life: How does it feel to be competing at the WIHS for the first time as an adult?
Joey Wölffer: I am so thrilled to have qualified for such a prestigious event with some of the best in my division. My horse is truly the horse of a lifetime and I got him just after my father passed away. We’ve been working together for the past five years (I got him when he was six!) to get to the point where we are a major contender in every event. I have a one-year-old and several businesses now, so this is really my outlet. What a thrill to be showing in a major final, especially in the middle of our capital city so close to this crazy election.

WL: What are you most looking forward to about this year’s competition?
JW: I am excited to compete in a challenging ring with big jumps (at least big to me!) in a small space. Also, featuring our wines! They will be served in all the VIP areas.

WL: The WIHS celebrates equestrian fans from around the world. You’re no stranger to the international scene, either, having traveled all over curating your accessories boutique, The Styleliner. How has such a lifestyle influenced your own wardrobe?  
JW: I love discovering artisans from all over the world and mixing my finds with my everyday clothing. I never follow any rules; I mix colors and prints that are unexpected. I like to be unique and this is all because of the travel I have been so lucky to do!


A glimpse inside The Styleliner’s first brick-and-mortar location in Sag Harbour, NY. Photo: The Styleliner by Joey Wölffer.

WL: What are some of your tricks for incorporating equestrian style into everyday looks?
JW: I am really into belts right now as well as paddock boots. I recently designed a pair of suede paddock boots with Derdau and I have been wearing them all over my travels. Riding belts can look great over skirts and dresses. I love mixing a more bohemian look with an equestrian style. I also recently discovered a fantastic equestrian line called DADA that makes riding clothes everyday clothes—it’s such a chic brand.

WL: Which D.C. stores do you have to stop into when you are in town? 
JW: I love shopping vintage in D.C. I’m looking forward to checking out U Street as I’ve heard it’s got some great vintage boutiques.

WL: What is your competition day routine?
JW: I am big into my pilates ab workout before I show. I always feel like I ride better! I’ll do that before breakfast and bottle time with my baby, who is my main cheerleader. Breakfast is usually my main meal when I am showing because I’m too nervous to eat before my class. And of course a big latte to get my energy up so I go fast! Finally, I like to get to the show two hours before so I get focused.

Wölffer with some of her wines among the family's vineyards. Photo: Wölffer Estate Vineyard.

Wölffer with some of her wines among the family’s vineyards. Photo: Wölffer Estate Vineyard.

WL: At which favorite D.C. spots can we find you celebrating after the competition?  
JW: I’ve heard The Dabney is excellent and I’m also excited to try Zaytinya.

WL: And what bottle of wine can we find you toasting with?
JW: Depends on the ribbon! Ha! With a second place, I’ll do our new Finca Rosé, and with a win it will be our Noblesse Oblige Extra Brut Sparkling Rosé.

Purchase tickets here to catch Wölffer and other big names at the 58th Washington International Horse Show. 

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