The Australian Distillers Association says women make up 15 per cent of distillers in the industry, and there are no official stats on the number of female brewers across the land, but the numbers are rising.
One of those distillers is Katie Lovis, who operates gin production at Giniversity in Margaret River.
Some of the best wines I ever made were when I was pregnant, as your senses are highlighted.
Jo Perry, Dormilona winemaker
She believes the influx of women to the industry, particularly ‘down south’, is evidence that change is on its way.
«I find I’m potentially more warmly received by our customer base, being a young female in the industry,» Lovis said.
«I also like that I can communicate to the younger generation, to let them know there are so many more career paths available to them than what you may think.
«I do genuinely find Margaret River is a very progressive place and being a female producer isn’t anything out of the ordinary here.
«My entire production team on site in Margaret River is female. We reward commitment and passion above all else.»
Dormilona Wines founder and winemaker Jo Perry produces some of Australia’s most revered organic wines, with her Margaret River cabernet regarded as one of the best in the land for its shape and elegance.
Lovis and Perry will fly the flag for WA at an inaugural festival in Sydney on International Women’s Day, celebrating the role of females in the drinks business.
Perry, who will also host free masterclasses on the differences between natural and conventional wines, shared some of her thoughts on women in wine with WAtoday:
What’s your winemaking philosophy?
Grow the purest fruit and make wine that expresses the variety, region and vintage.
Has there been a trend towards more women in the wine industry?
It is a male-dominate industry because, to be a great winemaker, you have to be very hands-on, so it is physically challenging. Most importantly, the vintage can be very long, meaning long days, shift work and early starts, which is not easy when you have a family. My partner is a viticulturist and we are like ships in the night over harvest. I am very lucky he is supportive of my work and, more importantly, totally understands it.
Have you ever noticed a disadvantage of being a woman in the industry?
Only advantages! We have better palates. Some of the best wines I ever made was when I was pregnant, as your senses are highlighted.
What about this new festival excites you?
Hanging out with some like-minded chicks and tasting some fabulous vino!
To celebrate International Women’s Day on Friday March 8, bright stars Perry and Lovis will fly the flag for stalwarts McDonald, Willcock, Mugford, Cullen and the rest of WA’s fearless females at Australia’s first drinks festival with an all-female lineup.
The inaugural Meet the Makers: Women in Beer, Wine & Spirits festival in Sydney gives drinks lovers a chance to meet some of the finest female brewers, winemakers and distillers from Australia and New Zealand.
«Winemaking, distilling and brewing are traditionally male-dominated industries but, thanks to these trailblazing women, this is now changing,» said Christine Ricketts, cellar director at Cellarmasters which, along with BWS, is hosting the inaugural event.
«Although the industry is changing, there’s still a long way to go,» BWS head of marketing Vanessa Rowed said.
«This event is all about celebrating women in beer, wine and spirits and giving customers an opportunity to meet these incredible women and try their products.»
Meet the Makers: Women in Beer, Wine & Spirits is at Australian Technology Park in Sydney on Friday March 8 and Saturday March 9, and includes 30 female winemakers, distillers and brewers. Tickets start from $45 per session and include complimentary tastings from all producers, a branded glass, free masterclasses and more.
David writes about sports and lifestyle for WAtoday.