Ladies of Wine2 min
Wine is a traditionally a men’s world, yet some exceptions can inspire us. There are even Romanian ladies who already are a reference name in the world of wine.
The ancient goddesses
Long before Bachus and Dionysus, about 5,000 years ago, Gestin was revered in the Sumerian Empire. Her name means even “vine”. The legend of a new goddess, Paget, is evidence that women actively participated in the production of wine.
The Romans have Meditrina, the goddess of health, longevity, and wine, not by coincidence. She was celebrated annually at the feast of the new wine, similar to the Beaujolais Nouveau feast in France.
The Widows of Wine
The religious society of the 17th -19th centuries opposed the idea that women would drink wine. However, when her husband dies and leaves her with a consistent heirdom, a real lady of the wine takes over the business with an iron first (velvet glove optional). This is the case of Madame Cliquot, who gives the name of the famous Veuve Cliquot champagne, one of Queen Elizabeth’s favorites. Widowed at 27, Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin (her full name) was a real pioneer in the wine world. She made the first champagne from the grapes of one exceptional year and produced among the first rosé champagnes of that era. The most important thing is that, along with her winemakers, she invented the bottles racks (pupitres) still used today in the production of champagne.
Closer to our day, in the twentieth century, Lilly Bollinger had a similar path after the Nazis killed her husband. She left us the instructions when and how to drink champagne:
I drink Champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it — unless I’m thirsty.
Women who put Romania on the wine map
Until recently, professions like an oenologist or sommelier were not associated with the ladies’ delicacy. Today, we have more and more feminine presences both locally and internationally.
Ana Sapungiu is Master of Wine; an exclusive title is owned by only 380 people worldwide.
The best Romanian sommelier in 2018 is Julia Scavo, a Craiova-born mathematician from Lyon. She has turned the passion for wine into a career and says that ” the sommelier is a merchant of emotions.”
The story of Aurelia Vişinescu, an enologist with more than 20 years of experience, is one about ambition, overcoming prejudices about what a woman can do in this field and talent. She has inspired a new generation of winemakers including Livia Gârboiu and Anca-Maria Vladoi.
Romanian wine would be less known abroad without the work of Rodica Căpăţână from Premium Wines of Romania, and Romanian wine cellars would be much less visible without Alina Iancu’s project.
Along with these ladies who are closest to my soul, I embrace on this special day of March 8th, all those who enrich wine through their work and their presence.
I hope that all ladies grow to love wine and to think that understanding it is an act of culture and refinement, typically feminine attributes.