Women in Wine

Women in Wine

This industry, especially in France, has been dominated by men for centuries. Luckily for the wine industry, today’s female vintners are better educated (Université de bourgogne à Dijon,  University of Bordeaux) have proven themselves very capable of producing stellar vintages. Historically, Domaines in France will be named after the father, or male entity who began the enterprise decades past, such as Domaine Joseph Drouhin. The sons, brothers, uncles generally took over wine production while women were involved but on a secondary level. The women were more involved with the labels, preparing bottles, getting the finished wines ready for shipping. 


Now, many of the women have attended oenology classes in French universities or elsewhere. Interestingly, not all sons, brothers etc, want to be involved in the wine industry any longer. That transition opened the door for many capable women.


Among 80 producers, only three were women – myself, (Chantal Tortochot ), Sylvie Esmonin, and Alexandrine Roy. It is the reason why we started our association (FEVB).


Femmes et vins de Bourgogne now has 38 members versus the three original female vintners in the ‘90’s, according to Tortochot. www.FEVB.net


Another door opener was in 2015 during the famous auction of Hospice de Beaune. The Hospice de Beaune has held charitable auctions since 1443, which support the hospital originally built for the poor. The sale “is followed avidly by the wine trade, as the prices of the burgundies set a rule of thumb” for the current vintages, writes Frederick Wildman in his great book, A WINE TOUR OF FRANCE. This auction sets pricing for the 1er Cru and Grand Cru vintages. In 2015, the inaugural vintage of Ludivine Griveau, broke all previous auction bids, thereby establishing validity for female vintners.


While we won’t see the domaine name changed, many times one will see Pere et Fils added to the domaine name. This is a true family business.


When Chantal Michel Tortochot began working the family vineyards in the 1990’s, she explains that there were only three female vintners producing vintages. Now that number is growing steadily ever year, currently 40 producers. check new york cider



Domaine Tortochot:

$48.00 to $470 bottle

An exquisite Gevrey Chambertin. Twelve hectares with about 13 different labels comprise Domaine Tortochot including several 1er Cru and grand Cru.


Virginie Taupenot of Domaine Taupenot:

$38 – $740 bottle

Merme is in the heart of Cote de Nuits, – Morey St. Denis. They hold 13 hectares spanning Cotes de Beaune and Cote de Nuits. Nine generations producing noteworthy burgundies.


Veronique Drouhin:

$45- $375 bottle

Boss decades long Burgundy producer, the daughter is now producing vintages in Willamette, Oregon, Dundee hills. 130 acres under vines, 225 acres total. Established 1987.


It is important to note that Burgundy domaines can be tiny, thereby pricing and production drive the higher demand and higher prices. These three domaines are worthy of your collection.

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