Women In Wine | Burgundy Region
Winemaking has always been considered a man’s world, especially in traditional regions such as Burgundy. Once banned from the vines, women were considered to be bad luck and could spoil the crop if they set foot in the vineyard. This resulted in a scarcity of female winemakers in Burgundy, as well as being rarely found across other regions in France.
Similar to many industries, the turn of the century has seen great changes, and now women are playing pivotal roles in the new age of Bourgogne wine. Many prestigious labels are now run by the daughters or granddaughters of founders, as increasing numbers of women have taken the opportunity to share their knowledge and ideas and bring forth new life to the cellars. In recent times, Ludivine Griveau’s 2015 vintage made history and became the first female winemaker at the Hospices de Beaune since 1443. No longer just the sales representatives for their family domaines, the women of Burgundy taking charge in their wineries and ready to make high quality wines to rival their ancestors.
In 2000 that the Femmes et vins de Bourgogne (FEVB) was founded by six strong willed women that were focused on supporting each other’s successes in the male dominated industry. Now grown to represent thirty different estates within the Burgundy region, the FEVB celebrates female solidarity and works through professional issues together. Recognising the ways in which women must navigate the balance of work and family, they transmit their knowledge across all barriers, and continue to strive for a bigger and better future of wine within the region, not just for women but winemakers as a whole. Championing their value of ‘feminine but not feminist’ they enjoy their meetings every couple of months, discussing new techniques, festivals, and of course plenty of tasting of each other’s wines.
To this day it still proves difficult to determine just how many female winemakers there are in France, as many work under the label of their ancestors who founded the winery generations previously. If a female winemaker can demonstrate their knowledge and skill to rival any other winemaker then there is no disparity, it is just the journey to reaching the same level of success that can sometimes prove more difficult. Many women still find they have less space for error, with a single slip up causing their image to be damaged, making them work three times as hard as their male counterparts.
Overall, with the rise of female winemakers around the world, it is in Burgundy that they seem to be breaking the most barriers. Wines are no longer considered to be gendered, with men able to make smooth and elegant wines, and women putting forth bold and powerful bottles. There is no limit based on gender, but simply down to skill and ancestral teachings as passed down the family tree.
Not just in Burgundy, but across France, women of wine have come together within their regions, each developing their own organisations:
- Les Dames de Cœur de Loire (The Ladies of the Heart of the Loire)
- Les diVINes d’Alsace (The Divines of Alsace)
- Etoiles en Beaujolais (Stars of Beaujolais)
- Les Aliénor du vin de Bordeaux (The Alienor of Bordeaux wine)
- Les Fa’bulleuses de Champagne (The Fabulous of Champagne)
- Eléonores de Provence (Eleonores of Provence)
- Femmes Vignes Rhône (Women Wines Rhone)
- SO Femme & Vin (SO Women & Wine)
- Les Vinifilles (Vinifilles)