Nearly 60 of Australia’s top wonder women of wine gathered yesterday, Tuesday 26 September, in the building that featured in this year’s blockbuster film Wonder Woman, to take part in Wine Australia’s Women in Wine event.
The Women in Wine event, held at Australia House in London on 26 September, was the world’s largest gathering of Australian female winemakers and winery owners. This unique event – which incorporated the announcement of the winners of the Australian Women in Wine Awards 2017 - was the first of its kind, celebrating women in wine whilst showcasing the quality and diversity of Australian wine.
The day’s activities kicked off with the Australian Women in Wine Awards 2017, and it was the first time that the awards have been announced outside Australia. Six of the nine winners accepted their award in person, which included Virginia Willcock of Vasse Felix (Winemaker of the Year), Sue Hodder of Wynns (Woman of Inspiration) and wine writer Sarah Ahmed who was named Honorary Australian Woman in Wine in the UK.
The event gave the UK wine trade and the public the opportunity to meet Australia’s most prominent women in wine, hear their stories and taste a diverse selection of Australian wine. Across the day, over 300 guests attended and tasted through a range of nearly 300 wines from 18 regions across Australia.
A trade tasting took place after the awards, where the Australian winemakers presented their wines to UK media and trade, including buyers, sommeliers and educators, then a seminar on women's roles over the last ten years in the UK wine trade. In the evening, Wine Australia hosted a sold-out consumer tasting, held in partnership with Women in the City, a networking group for professional women in London.
Jane Thomson, Founder of the Australian Women in Wine Awards, who hosted the awards ceremony said:
“This is a pivotal day in Australia’s proud wine history. We not only recognised the depth and breadth of female talent in our own wine community, we did so on a global stage and showed the world that Australia values and champions the many and varied roles of women in wine.”
Brian Walsh, Chair of Wine Australia, who travelled from Australia to attend the event, said:
“We’re thrilled that such a strong group of women flew over to London to represent Australian fine wine in this all-important market. The awards highlighted the stellar contributions of women across the entire Australian wine community and the tastings demonstrated the excitement and diversity of contemporary Australian fine wine. We hope it has inspired more women to join the wine sector and enticed more people to discover and enjoy fine Australian wine.”
Jancis Robinson MW, wine writer of JancisRobinson.com and The Financial Times, said:
“Having long championed the cause of women in the wine industry, the whole team at JancisRobinson.com was very keen to do our bit and get involved in this unique Women in Wine event. It was an honour to present the Owner / Operator of the Year Award to Sarah Collingwood at Four Winds Vineyard and I enjoyed catching up with the winemakers and tasting their current releases.”
Sarah Ahmed, UK wine writer, said:
“It's a real privilege to be recognised as an Honorary Australian Woman in Wine and stand on stage alongside these wine superstars. I've been an Aussie wine enthusiast since joining the trade in 2000. Nearly 20 years on and the excitement is still there, there's always something new to discover and more stories to share. Australian wine - and the industry - is becoming even more diverse, innovative and forward-thinking, and I'm proud and grateful to be part of this celebration.”
Diane Miller, winemaker at Bellarmine Wines, said:
“This was the first tasting we’ve ever done in London and all our wines are new to the market, so it was a fantastic opportunity to meet the UK trade and introduce them to our wines.”