The liquor industry has historically been dominated by men, yet the influence of women continues to grow. While there is often a perception that the experts, makers and reviewers are predominately men, it is merely a perception and one that only endures if you don’t dig a little to see who is behind the wonderful things we get to drink.
We are at a time in the drinks industry when the diversity of products is matched only by the diversity of the producers, and this is something truly worth celebrating.
Led by Vanya Cullen, Cullen Wines would be at the top of any list of the great wineries of WA. The Mangan Sauvignon Blanc Semillon delivers the quintessential freshness and intrigue that defines the region. Vanya Cullen has an unyielding philosophy towards biodynamic practices in her vineyard and winery and not only makes benchmark wines, but is considered one of Australia’s greatest winemakers.
Squealing Pig is enjoyed all over the world thanks to the creative genius of Spring Timlin. Spring embodies the ethos of the offbeat label – great wine that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Spring’s inherent creativity has served her well. Moving from the Christchurch country to get a little closer to the source of the Squealing Pig goodness, she is now based in Marlborough and oversees winemaking from start to end. Made in the Awatere sub-region of Marlborough, the Squealing Pig wines are beautifully layered and expressive, with a mineral edge.
For heavier red drinkers the Vasse Felix Shiraz will offer great concentration and that beautiful Margaret River spice. This wine is elegant and complex and will find a happy home in your glass. Virginia Wilcox has been at the forefront of high quality Vasse Felix wines as Chief Winemaker. Named Gourmet Traveller Wine’s Winemaker of the Year in 2012, it seems Wilcox has the Midas touch when it comes to Margaret River wine.
A classic gin led by a fantastic distiller, Lesley Gracie, who was recently named distiller of the year at the World Gin Awards 2018. A chemist by trade, Gracie moved from Yorkshire to Scotland to join William Grant & Sons in 1988. Working in collaboration with Charles Gordon, the president of William Grant & Sons, Lesley Gracie was tasked with creating a gin that used two antique stills – a rare Carter-Head and 19th Century Bennet. Working out of Hendrick’s home in the Girvan distillery, Gracie is just one of four people who know the specific recipe of the quirky gin brand’s 11 botanicals. This Master Distiller is so committed to excellence, that once she even joined an expedition to the Venezuelan rainforest in search of new flavours.
It’s always valuable to think about the hardworking distillers and winemakers who make the bottles we enjoy. Learning about the culture and history behind the label always tells a story of great experimentation and gumption. In this case, it’s the story of the growing influence of brilliant, creative women in the liquor industry.