It is no secret that the wine industry has been male dominated since, well, forever. However, recent reports show this is now changing, which is good news for females entering the field. The title of a Wine Enthusiast article sums it up nicely: The Number of Women Winemakers Is Growing, and Fast. Well, at least in California. Which led me to thinking – how does Washington State compare when it comes to female winemakers?
From what I am reading, the Washington female wine making sorority is growing. Case in point, an article posted in the Seattle PI in 2005, Some of the state’s most promising wines are made by a new legion of women winemakers, estimated there were about 15 female winemakers in the state. A slightly more recent article in The Woodinville Weekly (2013), Women’s role in wine industry strong locally and statewide, noted there were over 24 lady winemakers at the time, along with a few other positive facts:
According to the Washington Wine Commission, there are more than two dozen women head winemakers, several more assistant winemakers, and many who own their own winery, own their own vineyard, or are vineyard managers, highly sought after winemaking consultants or marketing experts.
At Washington State University, about 30 percent of the certified Viticulture and Enology (study of wine and winemaking) undergraduate students are women, according to Deborah Schwenson, principal assistant for the WSU Viticulture & Enology Program. Those numbers have remained at that level for the past four years.
And Great Northwest Wine (2014), Women Stars of Food and Wine debuts Sunday, highlighted approximately 23 female winemakers and winery principals. And I know this list does not encompass all the female winemakers in the state.
Okay, a growth of 9-ish female winemakers in 9 years time isn’t astronomical, but it’s something, right?
While Washington State is not growing in leaps and bounds, at least there is growth in the field. Any woman who is looking to enter into the wine business, should do so with confidence, knowing this once male dominated field is slowly changing. And that she too will have an impact on the future of the industry.