THAT image

I didn’t want to say anything about this.

Not because I don’t think it is extremely poor judgement by the designer to represent The 50 Most Powerful Women in Wine with a silhouette under a glass like some sort of rare insect in the shape of the neon sign advertising for the local strip club. No, it’s because I thought we were beyond this. A long time ago.


But I must.

The truth is I started this blog (and this is one of my first posts) as a reaction to a website project I was copy writing for in 2007 called “Women 4 Wine.” The only catharsis was to write what I really thought about after the spending the day writing through the lens of “women” or what was perceived as what they want. For this project, the wines always given to me were Rose, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio (!). Also, my brief was to de-emphasize the technical aspect in the copy and emphasize the lifestyle. I could feel all this talk about picnics and lunches with girls seeerrrioussssly accentuating my first class honours degree.

I’m glad to hear the website has now folded.

The fact is the wine world is full of men. Yet I have always felt like my opinion has been valued because it is not a man’s opinion. There’s nothing worse than a table of only men at a wine dinner. Even the men at the table don’t like it. And how many times I have been told, it would be nice to balance the group with women rather than just men. I am not saying there are problems if you don’t have enough self-knowledge to be confident in your tastes (which is a particular affliction to some women). But I am saying, if you have any moxie and technical knowledge, it can be a serious advantage. Over half the population, and wine drinkers, are women. FFS, my manager is the Director of the Board and that is very cool.

The downside of being a woman in wine is that there are many late nights, lots of rich food and I can’t drink as much as a man. But there are ways around this. The best advice I ever heard when I was first starting out from an italian woman winemaker, drink San Pellegrino every second drink – the high calcium and sodium will help you the next day, too (and that’s good advice for everyone!). When the “Les Trois Dames des Bibendum” as we were called last year, went to taste 2010 Burgundy En Primeur we drank a hell of a lot of Badoit. In fact, it was quite a serious trip – no jolly, I feel we all had a personal commitment to the beauty of Burgundy.

It has been said already, but it doesn’t hurt to say it again – do we really need a women in wine list at all? Because the wine world is over-populated with awards and lists, and I so desperately want to keep this hegemony going (joke), here are my top women who I have had the pleasure to know in a professional capacity who have knowledge and moxie.

In fact, NO.

There are so many women in wine now, when I thought about it, and idea of a list is redundant.

Please leave me a note and let us know who you think is doing a brilliant job. Male or female or whatever. x


PS Lucy Shaw, who wrote this piece, sorry to see your good work ruined by a poor choice of image by the designer. I look forward to reading the list and I know many of my friends are.



  1. Brilliant, Jules.

    Some women who I feel have the knowledge and moxie, doing admirable work include Christy Canterbury, Lily-Elaine Hawk Wakawaka, Christy Frank, Talia Baiocchi, Maggie Hoffman, Carla Rzeszewski, Rosemary Gray… I know many of these women are in NYC, and no doubt, more from around the world will come to the fore in 2013.

    • Juel Mahoney says

      Absolutely, thank you. I know some but not others so thank you for making me aware of more great people. When you mention these people (yourself included) it’s quite embarrassing to think of narrowing to a list at all. Best of best wishes X juel

  2. Matt Paul says

    I find it hard to believe that someone could actually choose that image to represent women in wine. It is certainly sexist, definitely offensive and demeaning to the many talented women in the wine industry. There are too many to name from here Juel – from journalists to winemakers and sommeliers.

    I think the industry as a whole is richer for the decline of the boys club mentality. Indeed, there are many boys who hate the boys club mentality! One need only look at my favourite region, Piedmont, to see the influence of some great women in wine. And the best thing is they are not selected for a best of men/women list. They are just great winemakers, regardless of sex – that’s how it should be.

    Matt Paul
    Italian wine importer in Australia

    • Enjoyed you comment, Matt. Was at a small Madeira tasting last week (in NYC) with Bartholomew Broadbent who comment, as he surveyed a room full of female wine buyers, wine directors, and sommeliers how much the industry has evolved in NYC.

      I have no doubt this is felt throughout our entire community around the world, and across the many roles in wine. I’m heartily encouraged by your comments that “there are many boys who hate the boys club mentality!”.

      Best to you and your good work importing Italian wine in Australia.

  3. Tim Carlisle says

    I’m not sure I have a problem with a male only wine dinner, depending on the company and conversation they can be great. BUT to make it a deliberate male only is another matter.

    Surely the point is whether someone has something worthwhile to say or not (and that includes knowledge etc etc) whether they are a man or woman in this context is totally irrelevant. So I would value your opinion not because you are woman (and certainly not in spite of you being a woman), but purely because you have an opinion that is worth listening to, or knowledge that is worth having. (I don’t think you mean it how it reads but to say your opinion has been valued because you are a woman does sound like you’re almost saying that your opinion is valued just because of your sex, despite the sense or intrinsic value of it.)

    So I’m not sure why we need a ‘most powerful women in wine’ list at all – it makes out that we need a seperate list to justify women, to remind ourselves that women exist and can end up looking women need their own list because they can’t compete with the men (which lets face it is rubbish – a top 10 of men and women would have plenty of women in it…)

    • Juel Mahoney says

      You are right – I am not saying my opinion is valued just because I happen to be a woman. I hope that is not how it was interpreted…! I do think when there is only one woman and the rest of the people around the table are men, which has been the case for me quite a lot, there is a different perspective – but that could also be because I do have a different opinion… I will think more about it. Thank you for your contribution here! I like hearing everyone’s voice!


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