The Secretary of ARVAVITIS’ Board of Administration coordinated the round table ‘Wine and Women’, with the participation of Mª José Huertas, Sommelier, Cristina Rodríguez, Journalist and Taster and Sidikka Michael, President of the German Women Wine Lovers Association
Midday today Otilia Romero de Condés, Secretary of ARVAVITIS' Board of Administration, has coordinated the round table 'Wine and Women', at which Mª José Huertas, Sommelier, Cristina Rodríguez, Journalist and Taster, and Sidikka Michael, President of the German Women Wine Lovers Association have all contributed with their expert opinion.
As summarized by Romero de Condés, women are now part of the world of wine and they are as professional as men, "however, we must not forget to thank women for their fight to enter the world of wine and of course we must thank the men who have allowed them to share this world".
Cristina Rodríguez explained that during the last decade the wine sector has seen important changes in that pertaining to the participation of women. Women have gone from historically being forbidden to drink or guard wine, or even to enter a winery or participate in the harvest in the case of wines destined to religious purposes, to becoming enologists, winegrowers, purchasers and drinkers or the expert that advises or even commercial directors. We have gone from a mere anecdotal presence to a patent reality: women are becoming part of the world of wine, both as professionals, as well as lovers", she indicated.
On her part, Mª José Huertas has explained her professional experience, dedicated during the last 9 years to her profession of Sommelier, and as a witness of the impressive evolution that the wine sector has undergone in all senses, in parallel fashion to women's role in the same. Huertas described her first steps as "rather difficult", because I was entering an eminently masculine world, the restaurant world, and in an even more restrictive area, wines. Now, however, there are more and more women in the sector, "women that have taken over all sorts of terrains, swiftly and with force".
Sidikka Michael represents an association that gathers together 300 members, all of them professionals of the viticulture sector, which has the aim of facilitating women's participation and advancement as professionals in the world of wine. Thus she explained that when they decided to offer training, advisory services, trips, contacts, blind tasting sessions… and all this in a non-commercial manner, the situation in Germany was certainly no easier for women than it was in Spain.
SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES
The answer to the question of whether women elaborate wines differently from men, was a unanimous 'no', the same based more on professionalism, knowledge or good practices of each one of them, rather than on matters related with sex. In that pertaining to the differences when tasting, Huertas maintained that women have a better trained sense of smell, because historically they have been the ones responsible for the kitchen, apart from having more contact with cosmetics… which logically represents an initial advantage. Although she does not think that this involves more or less capacity for tasting because, in her opinion, 'that is a matter of training".
Michael maintained that, on the contrary, behavior of men and women when purchasing is indeed different. In her opinion women take the combination of a wine with a dish more into consideration and they are more open to the experts' recommendations, giving more importance to the question of value for money, while men seem to be more governed by awards or the scores that wines obtain. Huertas ratifies that there are indeed differences between the sexes when they consume, quite frequently now seeing how men are the ones that consult the wine list and yet the women are the ones who try the wine.
During the chat Romero de Condés particularly highlighted women's role "as a cultural link" in that pertaining to transmission of the culture of wine to the younger generations. For Cristina Rodríguez the way in which wine is communicated, the way culture is explained to the younger lot is a specially delicate matter, to which Mª José Huertas added that we tend to consider wine as a drink that our parents enjoy, although when we were little our grandmothers were the ones that used to give us wine".
All the speakers agreed on the fact that the culture of wine must be instilled, that the younger generation must learn about moderate consumption and learn to consider the world of wine "as a philosophy of life".
The round table concluded with Otilia Romero de Condés' proposal for a toast, "given that they have always toasted to us", let us toast to "wine and lovers of wine".