The world of wine is associated with the masculine gender; history is also the proof. However, women are increasingly present in this sector. What place for women in the history of wine?
Often forgotten, even erased, the story of women in wine is beautiful yet is present. The first sommelier was found in Antiquity and the Egyptian frescoes show that women had an important role in the process of making wine. Viticulture was, and still is, perceived as a physical occupation, thus considered as too difficult for women. They were forbidden in the cellars and had to be satisfied with the most painful tasks. Unfortunately, the history of winemakers is very little documented which does not allow us to learn more. Some women like Alexandrine Pommery and Barbe-Nicole Cliquot are still known for their arrival in the world of wine. It was the death of their husband that allowed them to leave their name in the story … unlike them.
Does the number of women evolve in the wine sector?
Nowadays, fortunately, things are changing and more and more women are taking the path of oenology and viticulture. Whether it’s a recovery of a family heritage or a passion; the number of women in the wine industry is constantly increasing. Today a third of oenologists and a quarter of sommeliers are women. There is even a gender equity in students enrolled in oenology. The emergence of marketing and wine tourism has expanded the types of activities related to wine; thus requiring the formation of new profiles in which women can better meet. Even if the environment is sometimes difficult to access, the entire chain of the wine world is becoming feminized.
Can women shake the wine sector up?
Women do not hesitate to shake the codes up by trying new winemaking techniques or new grape varieties, their common goal is to make wine more accessible. They are very present on social media because they have understood that digital tools represent an essential way to win and retain current customers. This dynamism mentioned above is not only valid for the female gender. It is due to the evolution of new technologies and ways of thinking. But women bring significant contributions in their own right; This is why associations are created to support them in their professional project or their passion.
What associations in the wine industry?
The Women Do Wine International Association, for example, aims to make women talk about their passion for wine and especially to highlight them. Indeed, they are underrepresented mediately while their word should count as much as that of men. There is also Ladies Wine, the first professional network for women in wine, created in Bordeaux and Toulouse, and associations of winegrowers such as the diVINes d’Alsace. Their goal is to bring together different profiles of women and allow each one of them to participate actively in actions; but also to make a commitment to help the promotion and the success of Alsace wines.
Over the years, every region registers the development of a women association concerned by wine; proof of the changing attitudes and the growing place they take in the wine industry. Estelle De Pins, president of the Ladies Wine association and head of the companies Alliandre, GDO and Winetourbooking.com, notes that among all its customers, 90% of them are women: sign of innovation and openness?