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Women of Wine

Women of Wine: The Rise of Women in the Global Wine Industry

Ann B. Matasar
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: 1
Pages: 265
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  • Book Info
    Women of Wine
    Book Description:

    This inspiring, engagingly written book, with its personal approach and global scope, is the first to explore women's increasingly influential role in the wine industry, traditionally a very male-dominated domain.Women of Winedraws on interviews with dozens of leading women winemakers, estate owners, professors, sommeliers, wine writers, and others in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere to create a fascinating mosaic of the women currently shaping the wine world that also offers a revealing insiders' look at the wine industry.To set the stage, Ann B. Matasar chronicles the historical barriers to women's participation in the industry, reviews post-World War II changes that created new opportunities for them, and pays tribute to a few extraordinary nineteenth-century women who left their mark on wine despite the odds against them. She then turns to her primary topic: an accessible discussion of women associated with some of the most prestigious wineries and institutions in both the Old and New Worlds that emphasizes their individual and collective contributions. Matasar also considers issues of importance to women throughout the business world including mentors, networking, marriage, family, education, self-employment versus the corporate life, and risk taking.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93070-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    Throughout recorded history, wine has been a common thread running through innumerable cultures, religions, and nations. No business or industry reaches further back in history or is more global in scope than the wine industry. And no other industry has so resolutely excluded women from positions of influence for so long.

    Despite the overwhelming male dominance of the wine industry, one hears repeatedly about individual women who have broken the barriers. Everyone seems astonished to discover a unique woman who has conquered age-old prejudices in order to become an exemplary winemaker, a winery owner, or a sommelier. But we have...

  6. CHAPTER ONE Women Need Not Apply
    (pp. 5-15)

    For centuries, biases, traditions, religious practices, superstitions, physical characteristics, and social stereotypes have conspired to keep women from achieving positions of influence in the world of wine. As the wine industry advanced and spread from the Old World to the New World, one theme remained constant: “Women need not apply.”

    In the aftermath of the Great Flood, Noah planted grapes, made wine, and became intoxicated on Mount Ararat.¹ He’s lucky he wasn’t a woman, because he would have been remembered more for his inebriation than for his ark. Throughout history, gender distinctions have permeated all aspects of wine—its production,...

  7. CHAPTER TWO The Changing Face of the Wine Business
    (pp. 16-24)

    To wine lovers, “complex” is a sensory term conjuring up myriad aromas and flavors associated with great wines. But it also is an apt description of the wine industry itself. The wine business is one of the world’s largest, most intricate, and most intriguing commercial ventures: focused on an exponentially diverse product whose appeal and value change with production conditions, age, and vineyard location;¹ influenced by a dizzying array of social, political, and economic forces; and engaged in a trade maze encompassing global markets with prices ranging from inexpensive to exorbitant. Its vast economic reach employs 1 percent of the...

  8. CHAPTER THREE A Toast to the Past
    (pp. 25-36)

    At first glance, women’s influence in the wine industry seems to be of recent vintage. Hindered by nineteenth-century traditions that excluded them from the world of commerce, women did not achieve worldwide visibility in the wine business until the middle of the twentieth century, most notably during the past thirty years. Women who worked in the industry before that time did so behind the scenes in family businesses and received little, if any, recognition for their efforts.

    But a few women did succeed in establishing independent reputations. Veuve Clicquot, Pommery, A. A. Ferreira, and Penfolds are not just names on...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Viticultrices et Propriétaires
    (pp. 37-57)

    To call wine fermented grapes is like calling paté chopped liver—accurate on paper but not on the palate. Wines have individuality and personality. They embody regional differences and the distinctiveness of a particular vineyard: its soil, topography, and climate; the sun, the wind, and the rain—itsterroir. And, like terroir, that elusive French term, the French women of wine, theviticultrices(winemakers) andpropriétaires(owners), also provide individuality and personality to their wines.

    Centuries of deep-seated prejudices and superstitions that kept French women out of the wine cellars, excluded them from male-only wine fraternities, or relegated them to...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Le Donne del Vino
    (pp. 58-74)

    Transformations abound in today’s Italian wine industry. Sophisticated, elegant, world-class wines are replacing the traditional straw-clad bottles of Chianti. Imported grape varietals are sharing the stage with traditional vines. Long-overlooked indigenous varietals are resurgent. A new generation of winemakers is discarding old production methods. Andle donne del vino—the women of wine—are individually and collectively challenging the male dominance of the industry.

    For years, Italians took their wines for granted—and so did the rest of the world. Italian wines were considered barely suitable for pizza, lacking the cachet and quality of their fine-dining French counterparts. While French...

  11. CHAPTER SIX The New World: California
    (pp. 75-92)

    Marching, demonstrating, rallying, and praying—but not yet voting—the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) campaigned early in the twentieth century to abolish all liquor-related industry in the United States. Associating alcohol consumption with immorality, marital infidelity, family instability, the ruin of children, and urban crime, the WCTU and other organizations helped to usher in Prohibition, the fourteen-year period between passage of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1919 and its subsequent repeal by the Twenty-first Amendment in 1933. The Eighteenth Amendment, enforced by the Volstead Act (the National Prohibition Act), banned the manufacture, sale, transportation, importation, and exportation of intoxicating liquors.¹...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN The New World: The Southern Hemisphere
    (pp. 93-119)

    The New World countries of the Southern Hemisphere—Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, and South Africa—have centuries of winemaking experience. During the past twenty-five years, they have emerged as challengers to the Old World’s hegemony by producing dependable, competitively priced, and, in some cases, superior wines that gained international popularity. Following different paths consistent with each country’s unique social, economic, and political environment, the wine industries of these nations agree “that quality is their salvation” and that they “are committed to producing top notch wines at affordable prices,”¹ a determination that has proven to be the salvation of women...

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT Knowledge Is Power
    (pp. 120-137)

    The increasing numbers of influential women proprietors and winemakers who have come forward in recent years are not alone. Simultaneously, two other groups of women have influenced the wine industry by imparting valuable information. Of key importance, viticulture and enology professors and scientists have added to the operative body of knowledge in the wine world, inspiring innovations in grape growing and winemaking. In addition, writers with specialized knowledge have published books, articles, and reviews demystifying wine’s complexities and influencing the buying habits of consumers, who have widely varying familiarity with wine.

    No center of higher learning related to wine has...

  14. CHAPTER NINE Uncorking Sales
    (pp. 138-158)

    Women with perseverance, expertise, and marketing flair occupy niche positions throughout the multitiered global wine trade. Successfully selling wine, from the great auction houses of the world to the local supermarkets, they have beaten not only their competition but also the odds in the segment of the wine industry least hospitable to women.

    The advent of corks in the seventeenth century transformed wine from a short-term commodity to one that could be bottle aged for many decades. Auctions of young wines in barrels were eventually transformed into events where rare vintages and fine wines at all stages of maturity were...

  15. CHAPTER TEN Past, Present, Future
    (pp. 159-168)

    Where are the women? Everywhere. They own great wineries, make fine wine, contribute to advances in viticulture and enology, educate wine consumers, guide wine connoisseurs, and market wine throughout the world. As John Stimpfig noted inDecanter, “Wine, like many things, used to be a man’s world. Not any more. You only have to look at the growing number of women in every area of the wine trade to see that there’s an awful lot of girl power in its upper echelons.”¹ Although such a statement might seem obvious today, the growing presence of women in the wine industry is...

  16. NOTES
    (pp. 169-200)
    (pp. 201-208)
    (pp. 209-210)
    (pp. 211-212)
    (pp. 213-220)
    (pp. 221-236)
  22. INDEX
    (pp. 237-252)