A wine lunch with 8 guys and one woman (that’d be me)

The wine trade in general is quite male dominated but it didn’t really hit me until I was invited to have lunch with John Duval, ex-Penfold’s,winemaker of Grange, at Apsleys in the Lanesborough Hotel, Central London to taste his wines from his latest venture with Ventisquero wines of Chile. I was, um, slightly late so imagine my surprise when I turned up to lunch and seeing as I was the last one there, seated at the top of the table with a total of 8 fellows seated on either side of me. But whatever, I rolled with it and after settling in and having a glass of sauvignon blanc poured for me, while not commandeering the conversation, was at the very least holding my own, thank you very much.

But it did make me stop and think, why aren’t more women involved in wine blogging? Sure you have you’re Jancis Robinson and Natalie McClean but neither classify as bloggers and Natalie lives and writes in America. I know wine is intimidating to many, many people but there are certainly plenty of male wine bloggers out there so why so few women? It was one question all the men at lunch asked me and one which I am frankly not sure how to reply. Is it because we women don’t like to voice our opinions?!?! I hardly think that is the answer but if not, then what? Is it the prospect of voicing an opinion about wine to men that makes us women a bit gun shy, as another female friend suggested?

Perhaps it’s a lack of European wine bloggers in general (I am writing this from my home in London)? Vinography,  an often thought provoking American wine blog -written by a man, asked recently, why are there not more European wine bloggers? Is it a cultural thing? Or perhaps, women are just too busy juggling all other aspects of their lives to devote the time and energy needed to write a wine blog. Of the female winebloggers I know, most of them based in The States, they are either single or married with no kids. One friend posited that perhaps there are few female winebloggers because women prefer to write about food. While that is true, just have a look at how many female food bloggers there are, I don’t think the answer is that simplistic.

I’m going to catalogue this under, “Things that make you go hmmm…” But if you have a hypothesis as to why there are not more female winebloggers (in London and elsewhere), I’d love to hear it. As for me, enough of this rumination and back to wineblogging! Next post might just be all about Ventisquero wines and my lunch with John Duval and the rest of those lovely fellows.


  1. Maybe female wine bloggers should consider just writing for women. As a Brit who has lived in Lisbon for almost 30 years now, a husband who does not drink (& no children) I am in the process of tweeking up my wine palate. Luckily I can go down to http://www.viniportugal.pt/ and taste all regions of Portuguese wines for free during the year. This tasting room in the heart of the city is run by a bunch of great women, Maria Joao, Isabel and Marta to mention only 3 so I am grateful to have such wonderful teachers who are willing to share their their opinions, such as how you can love a wine made from a single Portuguese grape variety from one terroir and turn your nose up at it from all the other regions. I really think that with our female eduction from a young age of choosing our favorite perfumes, women are in a much better position to critique the nuances of wines from a female perspective, for example some of the wines that the Portuguese male contingent love would not pass my delicate refined lady like mouth. Let me know what you think, Gals (& Guys too of course!)

    • While you do raise an interesting proposition, I don’t think we should just write for women. With our better palates, we should help educate not just women but everyone! I visited Portugal last Autumn and loved it. I was in Lisbon, Obidos and the Douro. I got the chance to try many different wines and I’m now a big fan of Portuguese wines. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. BrixChick_Liza /

    Denise— I wonder if it’s a British thing? We seem to be more mixed in Cali? In fact , I just went to a St. Supery tasting where the only guy was the winemaker? And there were two moms, two anti-mom’s and one undecided? Still, does make one go, “Hmmmmmm?”

    • Definitely a cultural difference. Here in the UK, wine is certainly still a man’s world with the majority of critics/writers being men. You certainly wouldn’t find many ‘soccer moms’ at these kinds of tastings. Despite all the trumpeting of equal rights here, I think we still might be ahead in some things in America. I can’t think of a tasting I’ve ever been to in EUROPE where the women outnumbered the men, let alone in London.


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