While the catalysts of today’s movements focusing on and empowering women are often horrific and tragic, the attention now being paid to women and their circumstances in many walks of life and business is long overdue. #MeToo and other rallying cries have sparked conversations that should have happened decades (centuries?) ago, and we continue to see the rippling effects throughout many aspects of society.
Thankfully, these conversations have made their way to the wine world, like everywhere, due to the courage of those who are forcing the conversations to happen. 62% of the graduates of the prestigious UC Davis Viticulture and Enology program are women. Yet the percentage of California wineries who employ a female winemaker hovers at around 10%.
Yes, there is work to be done. There are talented women to be celebrated. There must be progress. And we should drink well while doing it.
I’ve recently learned about two opportunities to do that, both of which sound fantastic.
The first is a tasting to be held in San Francisco on July 15th featuring “The Women of Natural Wine.” This event is a joint wine tasting of a bunch of very tasty wines poured by the women behind them, and movie screening of a stellar documentary about female entrepreneurs in a refugee camp in Lebanon. I’ve seen the movie, called Soufra, and can highly recommend it. The wine tasting is largely a benefit for the women behind the movie, who are also selling their cookbook.
The tasting, organized by Pamela Busch (of The Vinguard) and held at The Great Northern, will feature 12 wines and 12 of the women involved in their production (some are winemakers, some are importers, some are owners). $30 gets you into the tasting, $40 gets you the tasting and a screening of the film, and $75 gets you all that and a cookbook too. Get your tickets and learn more about the event online.
WINeFare: Women in Natural Wine Tasting
Sunday, July 15th
12:00 Film Screening, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM Tasting
The Great Northern
119 Utah Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
The second event is a conference and tasting dubbed The Bâtonnage Forum, and it involves a day’s worth of speakers, panels, and discussions about women in the wine industry. According to the event’s web site “Bâtonnage is the brainchild of all those who identify as women working in all the different facets of the wine industry… even (especially) those who have traditionally been overlooked or spoken over.” But really, the event is the brainchild of Stevie Stacionis, co owner of the Bay Grape wine shop in Oakland.
In what looks to be a fairly intimate event, you can spend the day discussing implicit bias, advocating and negotiating, work-life balance and more with some of the more prominent female names in California wine, from SF Chronicle wine columnist Esther Mobley to wine director and restaurateur Shelly Lindgren to winemaker Megan Glaab of Ryme Cellars.
And after all the discussions, there will be wine to taste, too — a walk-around tasting of a dozen or so wineries represented by their female owners or winemakers. Tickets for the event are a modest $50 (or $75 if you want to donate a bit of cash towards making this an annual event), and for your money you get tickets, a tote bag and a T-shirt.
I suspect this event will sell out, so advance ticket purchase is highly recommended.
The Bâtonnage Forum
Saturday, July 28th
Held at a private residence
1040 Bell Lane
Napa, CA 94558
I hope you’ll consider attending one or both of these events, as they are bound to be well worth the time, and tasty to boot.
Photo by Stevie Stacionis, from the Bâttonage web site.