Long hours, especially at harvest time, stress and hard work are the disadvantages for lady wine makers but there can also be problems with partners for both genders
An article on Wine Searcher regarding sexism makes clear the problematic of conciliating careers and professional ambitions with a normal life as a couple. The problem exists for both men and women wine makers but the latter to face enormous difficulties.
Certainly 30 years ago it was worse: suppliers gave “girly” calendars, and any women who progressed in this career got comment such as <<she must have gone to bed with the boss>> but still today women’s wages are less than their male colleagues. <<There is a boy’s club feel in many wineries, and hiring women changes that>> says Eileen Crane with reference to those exclusively male contexts where one talks of football or about women together with the malolactic fermentation or autochthonous yeasts.
At present women wine makers are about 10% in Australia and in California but in the
enology universities such as UC Davis half the students are young women, and this makes one think that there will be a rapid increase in lady wine makers looking for work. For this reason it is indispensable to accelerate what seems to be a too much of a slow process. <<What I believe the industry can do is include more women on board of directors. Boards that include women are more likely, in my opinion, to hire women CEOs. Women CEOs are more likely to hire women managers or winemakers,>> suggests Eileen Crane .Something similar to what has happened in Italy following the law on quotas for women, which has increased the number of women in managerial roles. The number of female managers has increased by3 in 5 years.
Very interesting comments on James Lawrence’s article. There is a paean regarding the Donne del Vino in Piedmont and the illuminated fathers who had faith in them. Some very harsh testimonies regarding breastfeeding during harvest and the end of a career when the kids were no longer just one. What is most surprising is to discover how being a winemaker is not very compatible with family life even for a man.
Let me finish remembering the phrase of a wine maker, who after travelling the world over , arrived in Montalcino to work as sommelier in a restaurant. <<This job is not compatible with a love life>> he said <<for months and months I come home at three clock n the morning and my partner is asleep, when she goes to work I am still sleeping, when she comes back I go back to work for the night shift >>.
In the end to find an equilibrium in you existence is difficult in many professions, especially for those who want to gain success and all wine makers do aim at success. For this the result is a difficult existence for both genders.
Final comment: two years ago my friend wine maker Sieghard Vaja gave me a calendar created especially for my all female staffed winery with photos of nude grape pickers in Franconia in Germany. I keep it as one of the best, most ironic and efficient examples of contrasting sexism in the wine world.