South Africa is among the top 10 wine-producing countries in the world, according to a 2013 report published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). We speak to three females who have tapped in to the wine industry about what drew them to winemaking and representation in the male-dominated industry.
FROM THE GROUND UP
Viticulturist and protégé at De Grendel Wine Estate with Charles Hopkins, Lucretia Africa (24) explains that a viticulturist is someone who oversees the wine grapes in the vineyards from ruining in winter until it forms a crop (grape product) that we can produce wine from in January and beyond.
The BScAgric viticulture and oenology Stellenbosch University graduate says she is more interested in the ground work when it comes to wine. “I knew from my first year in varsity that being a winemaker was not for me and that the vineyards with its grapes and soil excites me more. I enjoy being on the road just to enjoy the fresh air and look at the different types and colours of soils we passed,” she says.
Victoria Davis (22) a protégé at DeMorgenzon with Carl van der Merwe says when she heard about viticulture she was sold. “I spoke to someone who studied oenology (the study of wine) and he explained what the course was about. Since then I have been very interested in winemaking. I immediately wanted to learn about the winemaking process and after doing some research I was convinced I wanted to become a winemaker,” says the Stellenbosch University BScAgric viticulture and oenology graduate.
FEMALE REPRESENTATION IN THE WINE INDSUTRY
According to Candice Barnes, a protégé at Cederberg Cellars with CWG member David Nieuwoudt, there are not a lot of women in the winemaking industry. “Women are few and far between in the wine industry. Even though the industry is currently dominated by men, there is much more diversity in the industry than there was a few years ago. Hopefully the industry will continue like this in the coming years,” says the winemaker from Crawford, Cape Town.
Candice also says being a winemaker isn’t glamorous. “It is a physically demanding job. Not all women or men are cut out for it. I may not be as physically strong as my male colleagues, but I try my best,” she shares.