A Woman’s Place Is in the Cellar…

…or in the winery president’s office.

More and more, women are holding key winemaking and decision-making positions at estates in America and around the world.

This became apparent as I did some research on the subject after being taken to task for what I thought was an innocent comment in this very blog. I had mentioned that it still was common for some people to do a double-take when they saw a woman pilot at an airport. I travel quite a bit, and I see such double-takes all the time.

Of course, as a dad who raised a daughter, I should have known that such an observation might be misconstrued. Society, in general, certainly has become more accustomed to and more accepting of women in all fields of endeavor. But such enlightenment has not engulfed everyone, and that’s all I was trying to say…with now-obvious ineffectiveness.

I bring this up because we must always keep in mind that words are powerful, and they can be interpreted in varying ways by different people. I’m a man, so there’s no way I can know with certainty how specific words, phrases or sentences will be interpreted by a woman. And I shall try to keep that top-of-mind in the future.

Meanwhile, I’m happy to report that women finally are beginning to get their due in the wine industry, as this story from Wines & Vines details.

The story quotes Christine Mueller, president of Women for WineSense’s Napa/Sonoma chapter: “Although there has been a smattering of articles about women winemakers in the past 10-plus years, there was no definitive database designed to search for these talented winemakers.”

Now, that has changed—as a new website, womenwinemakers.com, is dedicated to helping promote women currently in the industry and providing career path advice for women interested in winemaking or other positions in the wine business.

The site even includes an A-to-Z listing of women winemakers—everyone from Nicole Abiouness of Abiouness Wines in Napa Valley to Phyllis Zouzounis of Deux Amis Wines in Sonoma County (and five other estates).

I’m tempted to conclude this post with that old advertising slogan of Virginia Slims (“you’ve come a long way, baby”), but I don’t need a return trip to the doghouse.

P.S.: Do you have a favorite woman winemaker? Tell us about her and her wines, in the comment box below.

Posted in The Wine Business
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