Every year NZ Winegrower highlights someone or something that has made a difference to the country’s wine industry, in the previous 12 months.
This year, there was one subject that kept recurring, and that was the emergence of women coming to the fore to help not only other women but the wine industry as a whole. Women in Wine, a NZW initiative, was established due to concerns that women were not putting themselves forward for board roles, both at a national level and regional.
That was despite there being so many influential women right across all sectors of the wine industry.
Think Annie Millton, Jane Hunter, Erica Crawford, Judy Finn, Emma Taylor, Agnes Seifried, Kate Radburnd, Rose Delegat, Trudy Shield, Helen Masters, Jenny Dobson, Jen Parr, Phyll Pattie. There is no shortage of inspiration when it comes to women within the New Zealand wine industry. They are all around us – in fact 46 percent of all wine industry employees are women. Women in Wine has harnessed that groundswell, and in less than 12 months it has managed to make a huge difference.
Three of the four finalists in this year’s Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker of the Year were women. For the first time in 11 years two women made the finals of Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year, with one of them Annabel Bulk from Central Otago, taking out the title – the first woman to do so since 2007. She then went on to win Young Horticulturist of the Year, the 7th Young Vit to do so.
Two women stood in this year’s NZW Board of Directors election, while three women put themselves up for election to the Board of Wine Marlborough.
An amazing group of eight inspirational women stepped up to be mentors for younger women coming through the industry. Networking events at both regional and national levels have seen dozens of women (and men) come together for the betterment of the wine industry. And throughout it all, more young women are now looking to the industry and seeing a career that does encompass them and offer opportunities.
So, to all the women who have helped forge the New Zealand wine industry and all those who are intending to do so in the future – well done. You have all made a difference that will be felt for years to come.