Monday, March 31, 2008

Women of Wine

Did you know the ancient Romans once had a law making it illegal for women to drink, upon pain of death? Women have certainly come a long way from those days.

March: A Month of Women & Wine ends today. For the final March post on this theme, I am providing a review of an informative and fascinating book about women in the wine industry. It is in that book I found the intriguing tidbit about Rome.

Women of Wine: The Rise of Women in the Global Wine Industry by Ann B. Matasar (University of California Press 2006) is a hardcover book ($24.95) containing about 252 pages. It includes an Introduction, ten Chapters, three Appendices and a Glossary.

The book begins with a historical background, showing reasons why women were excluded from the wine industry for a long time. There is then a brief analysis of the changes that have occurred in the modern wine industry and how that has led to greater involvement by women. This all leads to the heart of the book, descriptions about the many women who have been or currently are involved in the wine industry.

A number of the chapters are then divided into regions, showcasing women wine makers and winery owners in such places as France, Italy, California, Australia and elsewhere. There is also a chapter devoted to women wine educators, Masters of Wine, writers, and publishers. The book moves onto a section about women auctioneers, trade representatives, and sommeliers. Women are involved in all aspects of the wine industry.

The final chapter looks at the future of women in the wine industry, asking whether the positive changes that have occurred will continue. And the author provides some suggestions on such can continue, as well as trying to identify some of the potential obstacles.

Overall, this was a very educational book. I learned about many women in the wine industry who I did not know before, as well as garnering more details about some of the women I did know. It is an easy read and will not bore you. It does an excellent job of showcasing women in the wine industry, in almost all of its aspects. Though it does not deal with women wine bloggers at all. I definitely recommend this book.

If anyone else has read it, feel free to post your own thoughts about the book in the comments.

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