The Women of the wine, beer and spirits industry are (naturally) rockstars in their own right but do not always get the credit they deserve.
According to The Vintner Project, "The wine industry suffers from the same gender disparities as most others. Although women comprise more than half the population, women hold far fewer positions in the wine industry, fewer leadership roles, and even fewer ownership roles." A recent study by Women Winemakers of California and Beyond shows that of the 4200+ wineries in California, around 14% of them reported a woman as their lead winemaker in a 2020 study. This represents an increase from the 10% figure reported in their 2011 study.
Female founders of alcohol beverage companies are also having trouble accessing funds needed to grow their companies. In fact, they generally access 2% of the venture capital funds in the US, and 4% of total venture deals (meaning the investments they do receive are smaller than male-founded companies). The decision-making bodies at banks and venture capital firms remain 92% male.
In the craft spirits industry, gender challenges are even more complex. Women are frequently the "only" women at their jobs. They are often the only female distiller, the only female owner, the only female employee or member of a bottling crew, the only female brand ambassador, the only woman of color, the only lesbian, etc. etc.
According to the McKinsey Global Institute, women “onlys” must provide evidence of their competence 38% more often than their male colleagues and they have their judgment questioned 23% more often. They are mistaken for someone at a much lower level 26% more often and they endure demeaning remarks at work 16% more often.
What women may lack in presence in the industry, they make up for in high quality products. Twenty percent of California wineries on Wine and Spirits Top 100 list in 2019 and 2020 were led by women winemakers, and women accounted for 21% of California winemakers on Wine Enthusiasts Top 100 Cellar Selections list in both years as well.
We invite you to check out our entire collection of women produced/owned wines, spirits and beers!
Our Top Picks:
Director of Winemaking,
"wine is a constant-changing subject, since mother nature gives us so much growing variability from vintage to vintage. Being a winemaker tests your creativity and ability to adapt along the way."
Kat, Nicole and Sarika
CEO, CFO, COO
"Two sisters, one friend, all natural: 21 SEEDS was born. We want it to inspire you to gather your tribe...cross borders, share ideas and make connections. It’s the seed of something bigger."
Director of Brewery Production, Gwen Conley
How She Made it:
"The industry is primarily male...Caring about what you doing, the product you put out, being positive, working hard are all qualities that help anyone break through, no matter what your gender."
4. Jasmine Hirsch
Jasmine took over as head winemaker of Hirsch Vineyards from her Father in 2019. As all second generations she no doubt has big shoes to fill, but her commitment to tradition and respect for the terroir, combined with a fresh approach to the industry is sure to be a great new chapter for Hirsch!
San Andreas Fault Estate Pinot Noir
is their flagship wine–charming and complex, with notes of cherries, pomegranate and baking spice.
5. Danielle Cyrot
Head winemaker at CADE Estate, one of four estates in the PlumpJack Collection of Wineries.
We're currently obsessed with the 2017 CADE Estate Cabernet, Howell Mountain. This vintage was by far one of the most challenging harvests we have experienced at CADE. But the resulting wines, are what made the long days and hard work, all worth it.