Women and wine, the perfect match



With motive of 8th March being International Women’s day, this week’s blog post is dedicated to them, the women that changed the wine industry, and those that changed the world.


History of Women and Wine

Throughout the history, women have been erroneously associated with the excesses of wine. Women who drank alcohol were wrongly linked with adultery, promiscuity and indiscriminate sexuality.

The ancient Egyptians believed in a strong link between wine and spirituality, and considered it to be “the gift of gods”. When upper-class men were placed in their tombs, wine was commonly found between the objects that were placed in with them, in order to provide them with comfortability in their life after death. On the other hand, Egyptian women were not allowed to have the same benefits, as it was considered that if buried with wine, they would become intoxicated and promiscuous in the afterlife.

In ancient Greece, the situation was similar. All men could benefit from experiencing reduced inhibitions, relaxations and increased social interactions (including maintaining sexual relationships) that occurred with wine drinking. But, alike the Egyptians, they considered that the women that drank wine were strongly related to drunkenness and excess, and were not well-seen, and even considered barbaric (duh!).

In early Rome, this reject to women drinking wine was even more enhanced, leading to women not being permitted to serve wine, and even them being divorced or put to death if found drinking wine. This changed after 194 B.C. and this opposition disappeared as wine became a common part of their diet.


Superstitions and “biases”

More recent and erroneous biases and superstitions appeared with time that added to those that were already there before. Superstitions such as women not being  allowed near fermenting wine due to the fact that people believed that if these women were menstruating the wine could turn to vinegar or referment monthly (clearly no science behind this).

Biases also appeared when some considered that women could spoil wine tastings by wearing perfume, or that the capacity to appreciate wine nuances was related to masculinity. Winemaking also created a division between men and women, as women were generally considered to be unable to harvest grapes and handle the crush as it was believed that their physical structure and height would restrain them from being able to produce good quality wine. Women were generally placed in roles that required of patience and care such as selecting the best quality grapes.


Women in the Wine Industry in the Present

It is understandable that after all these refrains, women are still a minority in the world of wine, but during the last years, the presence of women has grown enormously. Women bring into the wine industry their eye for detail along all the process and they are starting to play a more important role than they have ever before. Scientific research has concluded that women have, on average, a better sense of both taste and smell, and these features are highly beneficial in the wine industry.

Finally, let’s not forget women as consumers of wine. Wine is the popular choice for women (3 out of 4 women that drink alcoholic drinks chose wine as their preferred choice), and 55% of UK’s regular wine drinkers are women. Generally, women tend to prefer white wines or Rosé wines.

So, to all these women that have fought and keep on fighting, there is a place in this industry for us all! Let’s make a toast for all of us!