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Friday, March 8, 2013

Ladies in the Wine Industry

I hear it’s International Women’s Day today - so there’s something I’d like to draw our attention to.

Ladies of the wine industry, how do you feel about our progress?

A while back (but not too long ago!), I sat in a large lecture room designed for mock trials and similar events, at orientation day before beginning my first year at Quinnipiac University School of Law.  The dean was happy to inform us that finally, there were more female law students in the new “1L” class.  I was elated.  I’m not a feminist in the sense that many people see it.  Rather, I just believe in gender equality and opportunities for both sides.

I’ve been hearing quite a bit about women in the workforce since that day at our 1L orientation.  I felt a bit like a revolutionary in that I was a female entering an industry once completely dominated by men.  I felt like perhaps it might be a small but fun challenge.

What I didn’t realize was that three years after completing law school and taking the bar exam, I’d find myself changing courses and entering the wine industry.  And if I thought the legal field was dominated by men, I had another guess coming.  What’s the deal with the wine industry and all these men, and not nearly enough women?

To give myself a little inspiration, I read The Widow Clicquot about Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, and learned about her challenges and how she rose above such challenges - and obviously, this was at a time where far fewer women were involved in the wine industry.  Still, today I wonder where all the women are.  I hear too often about women being associated with thoughts of sweet pink and white wines and ditzy labels on bottles, and please don’t even get me started on cheap sweet Moscato.

Guys, that’s really not what we’re all about.

Some of the most important chateaux, domaines, and wineries around the world are currently owned by women, and there are some amazingly talented female winemakers out there as well.  But we don’t hear about them nearly enough.  Most of the people I interact with in the wine industry are men by a vast majority, and they’ve been in the industry quite a long time.  Sometimes it shakes my confidence a bit, but thanks to a few very experienced men in the industry, my confidence is easily restored.

But I’m not going to lie - I love having opportunities to interact with successful women in our industry - women on the local level, as well as from all around the US and in fact all around the world.  They should serve as an inspiration to all of us female wine professionals, that we may stand out and make a difference in the industry.

Take a look at this link for just a few inspiring ladies of the wine industry.

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