Women in Wine

International women’s day happens on the 8th of March each year and the day is all about celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. A key area of focus and attention is still on the work that needs to occur in order to close the gap and create gender equality.

The wine world has for many centuries has been dominated by men, currently the approximate ratio is 82% men to 18% women winemakers worldwide, even though there have been tenacious women who have been making their mark in its history since it was first discovered.

One of these tenacious women who defied all the odd’s was none other than Madame Ponsardin, who married François Clicquot of the champagne winery Veuve Clicquot , and at the age of 27 become his widow and inherited the winery. Madame Ponsardin instead of selling the winery continued with the business and in 1810 she delivered the first Veuve Clicquot vintage champagne. Read more about her link to Napoleon’s officers here.

However, it wasn’t until about a 100 years later and at the turn of the 20th century that barriers or obstacles to women slowly started to fall away opening the gateway for advancements in equity and inclusion for women in the wine world. One such women of the modern-day era leading the way was none other than MaryAnn Graf, who in 1965, was the first women to receive a degree in enology from the University of California Davis and hence forth was dubbed the ‘first women winemaker of the modern era’.

Mary paved the way for other women like Zelma Long who was induction into the James Beard Hall of Fame in 1996 and then awarded ‘The James Beard Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year’ in 1997. And others such as Ann Noble, a prolific researcher and inspiring teacher. Ann was the first women to be hired as a faculty member in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis. The list goes on of amazing women who built and continue to build on what others have done before, to defy the gender stereotypes, and walk the path less trodden.

Read our amazing stories below from and about the women who are in this industry and are stamping their mark on the wine world.