The world of wine-making has been dominated by men since the days grapes were first fermented, thousands of years ago. But ever so slowly, women are rising to take leading roles in the modern wine industry.
CCTV America’s Michelle Begue caught up with one Argentinian woman making her mark in this field, at a wine expo in Colombia.
Women take leading roles in modern wine industry in Latin AmericaThe world of wine-making has been dominated by men since the days grapes were first fermented, thousands of years ago. But ever so slowly, women are rising to take leading roles in the modern wine industry. CCTV America’s Michelle Begue caught up with one Argentinian woman making her mark in this field, at a wine expo in Colombia.
Wine is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages in the world. And attendees of Bogota’s 10th annual Wine Expo are exploring the vast industry it has become.
“What you should be looking for is for the wine not to overpower the food, and have the food’s taste not overpower the wine, but the pairing is really up to your personal choice,” Paula Borgo, Septima chief winemaker said.
The inquisitive wine tasters are receiving advice from Paula Borgo, the chief winemaker of Argentinian wine label Septima. What they may not know is how rare it is to see a woman holding this job.
The wine industry traditionally has been dominated by men. There are few world statistics on the gender gap, but one University of California study found that less than 10 percent of Chief Winemakers in the U.S. are women.
So it’s no surprise that at the Bogota Wine Expo’s wine competition, the judges panel is primarily made up of men.
“It still has a machismo culture. In fact the few women that do make it to the top, sometimes have to show a strong personality to compete,” Borgo said.
But this didn’t intimidate Borgo. She knew she wanted to work with wine from the time she was young, watching her father, an agricultural engineer working in Argentina’s wine country known as Mendoza.
But wine goes through a long and complex process before it reaches the tables at restaurants and social gatherings. The cultivation of grapes requires knowledge in horticulture. The fermenting process involves chemistry.
The heavy time demand of wine-making, like 16 hours’ workdays at the height of the season, has been blamed for discouraging women from this career.
But Borgos said she manages with the support of her husband and children and that constant challenge is what she loves most about her job.
Borgo thought the climate conditions that change every year and the location of the vineyard makes a difference in the grapes, and winemakers need to constantly work on how to form the specific taste of wine.
Harvesting the knowledge for wine-making takes years of study and experience. And women like Paula Borgo are showing the world that they can pop the cork off this male dominated industry.
Deborah Brenner discusses women’s winemaking,employment
For more about female winemaker and female employment, CCTV America’s Rachelle Akuffo interviewed Deborah Brenner, founder and president of Women of the Vine Alliance.
One More Question: Deborah Brenner on whether gender plays a role in winemaking
Deborah Brenner, Founder & President, Women of the Vine Alliance and author of Women of the Vine: Inside the World of Women Who Make, Taste and Enjoy Wine.
She answers the question: Is there a difference between the type of wine a woman makes versus the type of wine a man makes?