Whilst the idea that wine is ‘a man’s world’ is one that we still hear too often, this perspective is gradually fading into the distance as the work carried out by women becomes increasingly more visible. And not a moment too soon! At all levels of the industry, this talent is flourishing and integrating into a sector that has long been littered with obstacles to equality.
If you’re looking forward to a time when it’s no longer notable to see a woman leading, whatever the sector, you’re certainly not the only one, however it is for now still relevant to highlight the women leaving their innovative mark on the world. So here’s a little nod to some of our partner domains that are managed by talented and engaged women – what they do is remarkable, and we appreciate their work enormously.
Let’s start with Burgundy, emblematic wine-making region par excellence, and a place so steeped in tradition that we might be less inclined to associate it with female producers. However, the Burgundian tide is turning, and there are more women planting the seed of their talent in this most prestigious of French vineyards. Lalou Bize-Leroy, from Domaine Leroy, is the perfect example of this. Heading up the estate that dates back to 1868, she rules the roost with a masterful hand, producing wines according to her committed philosophy of biodynamics. Hearing her talk about her work, it’s clear that she lives and breathes her vineyards with a deeply rooted passion for the earth and the wine it provides. In her search for harmony with the universe, she has created a viticultural masterpiece.
In the same vein, Anne Gros seeks to produce wine in an environmentally-friendly fashion, in part by getting to know her Vosne-Romanée, Chambolle-Musigny and Vougeot terroirs better. This allows her to continually strive for wines that are more precise and expressive. She has succeeded in convincing the nay-sayers that she is entirely capable of managing a domain on her own, and this since she took over the property at the age of just 25! Fanny Sabre was also herself quite young when she produced her first cuvées in Pommard. Her wines are characterised by their incredibly delicate profile, the result of particularly attentive growing and vinification. In our network, you’ll also find superb cuvées from the lies of Stéphanie Colinot, Chantal Remy and Anne Boisson, all equally impassioned by the marvels the Burgundian land can bring.
Of course, it isn’t just in Burgundy where female wine makers have broken through! Elodie Balme cultivates 17 hectares of various regional grape varieties on her terroirs, managing a domain that is undoubtedly a rising star of the Rhône Valley. Agathe Bursin, another gifted young wine maker, produces the lightest of Rieslings in Alsace, and Virginie Joly is gradually taking charge of La Coulée de Serrant, a legendary and one-of-a-kind domain in the Loire. Travelling a little further, more specifically to Corsica, we find Domaine Giudicelli, where Muriel crafts racy wines in the image of her terroir with inexhaustible energy.
Last but not least, we have the exceptional figure of Mee Godard. Originally from South Korea, and having followed a wonderfully original path, this winemaker studied for degrees in biology, biochemistry, and oenology in France. She then got her hands on a few hectares of vines in Beaujolais, a region she was drawn to for the beauty of its landscapes. And there’s no doubt at all that Mee, like the other women cited here, is bound to go far.
If the increased presence of women in the world of wine represents several, big steps in the right direction, it remains the case that this progress is slow, especially compared to other sectors – and this is why we’re happy to highlight our own little contribution to this movement whenever we have the chance. That said, whilst International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on the obstacles still faced by women compared to men, it is also an occasion to celebrate the searing success of those who are forging their own path, pursuing their passion and inspiring the next generation of women. So let’s reject any doubts we’ve inherited about a woman’s capacity to hold her own in the wine industry. Let’s forget the idea that a wine can be ‘feminine’ in character. And let’s give these women the merit they deserve as wine makers. The history they’re in the process of building goes much further than the sublime contents of their cuvées.
Happy International Women’s Day from iDealwine 😊