Q&A: Women in Winemaking at Winc

Category: Drink

Historically, winemaking has been a male-dominated industry. Today, women are shaking up the the wine world - especially here at Winc!

In honor of Women’s History Month, let us introduce you to some of the kickass women who are changing the face of winemaking.

Elyse Perry, Contributing Winemaker at Winc

What inspires you as a winemaker?

I am extremely fortunate in that I work for owners who are open to trying different things. We have our core wines, but we’ve been playing around with different varieties and on some of our core wines playing around with different styles. This ability to be creative and not be boxed in is what inspires me.

What is it like being a woman in wine?

I am lucky in that my gender has never hindered my progress in the wine business. I’ve worked for owners that are pretty progressive in that way. I do regularly experience a sense of shock at wine tastings when people can’t believe I’m the “actual winemaker” and they say “good for you.” No male winemaker would ever hear this. It drives me crazy, but I also see it as an opportunity to open people’s minds.

With the wine industry being male dominated, what do you see in the future for women in wine?

I think the future is bright for women in wine. There are so many more women winemakers and assistant winemakers now than there were when I got into the business 10 years ago and I think that will continue to grow.

What is your favorite thing about working with Winc?

I really enjoy the fact that the wines I make for Winc are going out to a broad audience. I love the fact that they are exposing their broad customer base to alternative varieties like Albarino, Tempranillo and Graciano.

What is your favorite wine that you’ve made for Winc?

Forma de Vida Tempranillo

What advice would you give a woman who wants to pursue winemaking?

Work hard, be passionate and have confidence in yourself.

What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of winemaking?

Favorite aspect: being a part of something from beginning to end. It’s a great sense of accomplishment when you can see the process from grape to glass.

Least favorite aspect: I broke my finger last year fixing a pump during harvest. That sucked.

 

Suzanne Hagins, Contributing Winemaker at Winc

What got you started? What inspires you as a winemaker?
I fell in love with wine while working F&B in Charleston, SC. I remain inspired by magical food & wine pairings, the moments when wine elevates food, and vice-versa.

What is it like being a woman in wine? Share a memorable experience.
It’s usually great, but I’ve been making wine for 20 years, so there have certainly been highs and lows. It’s always fun to surprise people who assume I’m not the winemaker, or forklift driver, or the one who shovels the tanks.

With the wine industry being male dominated, what do you see in the future for women in wine?
The future is female. I expect to see more women in all sectors of business and government, and frankly won’t be satisfied until women have equal representation and pay.

What is your favorite thing about working with Winc?
The freedom to experiment, and the support to make great wines.

What is your favorite wine that you’ve made for Winc?
The skin fermented Pinot Gris - Au-Delá.

What advice would you give a woman who wants to pursue winemaking?
Go for it. Work hard, and don’t take any shit.

What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of winemaking?
I enjoy all aspects of winemaking, except paperwork.

Share a bucket list goal.
Make wine in Santorini, Greece.

Brooke Matthias, Wine Director at Winc

With the wine industry being male dominated, what do you see in the future for women in wine?

I am fortunate to get to work with so many amazing women at Winc and in the winemaking world that it doesn’t feel so male dominated. When it comes to winemakers, there are definitely more men than women, but I think that will continue to change and we will see more and more female winemakers.

What is your favorite wine that you’ve made for Winc?

The 2016 Field Theory Touriga Nacional. It’s super rare to find grapes like Touriga Nacional in California and we work with a beautiful vineyard in Paso Robles that has Touriga Nacional, Aglianico, and Blaufrankisch. I drink it chilled in the fridge for about an hour before I drink it.

What advice would you give a woman who wants to pursue winemaking?

If you want to break straight in, the best way is start off by interning at a winery during harvest and ask as many questions as you can think of. The wine industry starts to feel much smaller once you get into it, so the hardest part is finding your first job, so you might have to have an open mind. (Read more about my 9-Wine here)

 


Cheers with great wine and celebrate the women in your life. Go to Get Started to join the Winc membership.

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