International Women (of wine) Day
"Women are the most powerful economic force in the world’s wine market"
- Jancis Robinson
The world of winemaking has not, historically, highlighted the achievements of women. A classic example is Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, who became the first woman to run a champagne house when her husband died in 1805. She has always been defined by her marriage — she was Veuve Clicquot, the widow Clicquot.
Women’s effect on wine is not limited to the winemaking. Their success rate in the most difficult wine exams, the Master of Wine qualification, is now higher than men’s, and science has discovered that women are predisposed to have a better sense of taste and smell than men.
Women are also thriving in cellars and vineyards. In the early 1980s Pam Dunsford of Chapel Hill in McLaren Vale was once South Australia’s lone woman winemaker and wine judge. Today, she is joined by many more outstanding women from all over Australia - like Vanya Cullen and Virginia Wilcox, who are two of the most highly regarded Australian wine producers of either sex, and role models for young Australian winemakers, viticulturists and sommeliers.
So, in honour of International Women’s Day we’re raising a glass to the leading ladies of wine from across the globe…