It has been known for some time now that the participation of women in the world of wine has been growing. In Argentina, although we can study the involvement of women in the different areas of viticulture since the arrival of immigrants, a milestone transformed the idea of women within the wine world.
It was back in 1981 when Susana Balbo obtained her degree in Oenology and, as it was difficult for a woman to develop as a winemaker in Mendoza, she made her way to the province of Salta where she managed a winery. She put her effort into turning Torrontés into a world-class wine with an elegant style, making it much fresher and with a higher acidity than usual. Her wines are true references to the variety.
As Dr. Laura Catena says, after mentioning the graduation of Susana Balbo in her excellent book called Vino Argentino, “thirty years later, in most of the country’s wineries, women work in various areas related to viticulture and viniculture.”
Club de Mujeres Profesionales del Vino – photo from the Fan Page of CMPV
This phrase opens the door to reviewing the different areas where women stand out today.
Women of the Argentine Viticulture
The trend of women occupying key positions in the industry is on the rise. This indicates that there is a cultural change and that the fight for equality that empowered women have been giving, little by little is delivering results.
For example, here are a few people who have been recognized for their abilities and efforts to get to where they are today.
We have already talked about Susana Balbo, the first Argentine winemaker, creator of Susana Balbo Wines, president of Wines of Argentina for three terms, and “Woman of the Year” in 2015. There is also Laura Catena, general manager of Catena Zapata Winery and Luca Winery, and general manager and founder of the Catena Institute of Wine.
Without a doubt, we must also recognize the work carried out by Andrea Marchiori, partner of Paul Hobbs in Viña Cobos, Gabriela Celeste, partner of Michel Rolland in South America, Estela Perinetti, who led the Bodegas CARO project, and Silvia Corti, oenologist and brand ambassador of Bodega Argento, all of whom are responsible for great wines.
In turn, we can mention Marina Guyán, the first South American person to receive the English Master of Wine title, and Maricruz Antolin, a winemaker focused on biodynamics.
Beyond the technical
There are many women who, in recent years, have enrolled and completed degrees in oenology and agricultural engineering. Still, we must not lose sight of the commercial, administrative, and, of course, sommelier areas. And in the last one, we must highlight the work carried out by Marina Beltrame, Paz Levinson, and Valeria Gamper, great representatives of the professional sommelier trade in Argentina.
Women of Argentina
Magdalena Pesce, general manager of Wines of Argentina, the entity that since 1993 promotes the country’s brand and image of Argentine wines, is very committed to gender equality and thus states: “while advancements in equity and inclusion have been made, particularly in recent years, there is still much work to be done. Making visible the gender wage gap, the lack of opportunities to grow, the sticky floors, and the glass ceiling help explain the reality of women. But understanding and giving a name to what happens to us is not a sufficient condition to achieve change. It is necessary to have a clear policy in institutions and companies in order to give birth to a new paradigm“.
This is how the idea of Women of Argentina was born. The institution is committed to taking strong measures to advance equal opportunities at work, in the market, and in the community, concentrating efforts on developing strategies for equality between men and women. Here are the nine points of his manifesto:
Strengthen the role of women in the sector
Break gender stereotypes
Share good equity practices
Stimulate respect and visibility
Listen and value the voices
Encourage inclusive leadership
Responsible communication as a management tool
Be productive, profitable, and retain talent
Promote equality through the example
One for all and all for one
Finally, it is important to mention a group of women who joined forces, aligned objectives, and began to work organically with clear objectives of valuing the role of women in the industry. This is how, in 2015, the Professional Wine Women’s Club (Club de Mujeres Profesionales del Vino) was born, bringing together more than 120 highly trained professionals.