Happy International Women’s Day! Today the world is celebrating the achievements of women, raising awareness against persisting gender biases and taking action for equality. This year’s theme is #choosetochallenge, so we are challenging gender diversity in the wine industry and startups! At Canned Wine Co. we are proud to have 50/50 gender split and want to dedicate the day to meeting our team members Abi and Marieke. 

History of Women in Wine
Wine has historically been linked to privileged men, starting with Ancient Egyptians placing wine next to the tomb of men to enjoy in the afterlife, which was not allowed for women. Women in connection with wine and alcohol were seen as behaving inappropriately. This gender bias continued throughout the centuries, with Ancient Greeks and Romans having male-only drinking clubs. Moving towards more modern history, women were still seen as too weak to work in the cellar with their menstruation interfering with winemaking. 

As in many industries, women have prevailed in the face of male-dominated industries and biases, and shown incredible achievements. For example, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot transformed Veuve Clicquot into one of the best champagne houses in the early 1800s, introducing technical innovations still used today and creating the modern form of pink champagne. Also in the 1800s, Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira is accredited with improving Portuguese winemaking. Lily Bollinger continued winery operations even during the Nazi regime and received royal awards for her Champagne. Meanwhile, on the American continent Hannah Weinberger was the first female winemaker in Napa Valley after her husband was shot dead in 1882. In 1889, she crossed the Atlantic to win a silver medal in winemaking at the World’s Fair in Paris. While she had to close the winery during the prohibition, Isabelle Simi, another American winemaker, achieved to keep her winery open. Finally, arriving in the 1970s, Sarah Morphew Stephen became the first female Master of Wine and we are happy to see that applicants for MW are now an even split!

It is exciting to see many more female winemakers creating delicious wines and making headlines for smashing the glass ceiling, especially in the canned wine sector, such as the McBride Sisters, Bev and Maker Wine!

Meet Abi

Sum up your role:

As Partnerships Executive at Canned Wine Co. I focus on developing partnerships with our trade customers, working with a wide range of venues across the UK so that as many people as possible can enjoy our delicious wines!

What do you like about working in a startup?

Working in a startup is a great experience as we are such a small team, meaning that everyone and their roles are so valuable. I really enjoy working closely with the whole team and having an influence in the development of the business – it is so exciting to see Canned Wine Co. grow week by week!

What has been the biggest challenge at Canned Wine Co.?

One of the largest challenges has been the Coronavirus pandemic. It is frustrating when there are huge opportunities for Canned Wine Co., but these are held back by circumstances out of our control. However, this has definitely pushed more imagination and to think outside of the box.

Favourite Canned Wine Co. wine?

Old Vine Garnacha! I love how this wine is big and bold with so much complexity, but also retaining a cherry acidity to brighten it. Equally great to enjoy with a warming stew at home, or pack into a picnic and have on the go!

What would you like to highlight this IWD?

This year, for me International Women’s Day takes on a particular significance in terms of the ways in which the Coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately affected women. In particular, whilst women are notably at the forefront of fighting the Covid-19 crisis, the pandemic has had adverse impacts for women in terms of employment, poverty and increased gender-based violence. This highlights the underrepresentation of women in decision-making processes, despite their central role in society, and the inherent need for this to change.

Meet Marieke

Sum up your role:

As Marketing and Sustainability Executive at Canned Wine Co. I focus on social media and content management, marketing strategy and lately I’ve started writing our first sustainability strategy.

What do you like about working in a startup?

Working in a small and young start-up is really exciting, it is great to see how much the business has developed and changed in such a short amount of time. With only a few team members, you get a lot of responsibility quickly, which is extremely helpful to gain new skills and confidence. 

What has been the biggest challenge at Canned Wine Co.?

For me the biggest challenge is juggling my work responsibilities alongside my masters in Carbon Management. Thankfully, Simon, Ben and Abi are all very supportive and I can manage my time flexibly.

Favourite Canned Wine Co. wine?

The Grenache Rosé! I grew up in the Pfalz wine region in Germany, where white wine is more widespread, but Canned Wine Co. rosé’s instantly convinced me! I love the light colour, fruitiness and zesty grapefruit acidity. Perfect for upcoming picnics and study breaks.

What would you like to highlight this IWD?

A topic I’m very passionate about is the unfortunately pervasive gender inequality in the climate crisis. According to the UN, 80% of people displaced by climate change are women, for example. Despite women being disproportionately affected by climate change, they are underrepresented in scientific research, business and positions of decision-making. It is vital to include women in climate action in order to consider their needs and perspectives, and ensure climate justice and community resilience. This applies to all areas of decision-making, from local politics to business boards to gender balance in the UK’s delegation at COP26. 



Sources:
https://www.winemag.com/2019/03/06/notable-first-women-in-wine-history/
https://www.elliswines.co.uk/women-in-wine



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