Interviews with Badass Women Winemakers:
With March being Women’s History Month, we want to shine a spotlight on the badass women who are killing it in the world of wine and turning this male-dominated industry on its head. And after 2018, a year where gender inequality and sexual harassment dominated the news, we feel it’s so important to make 2019 an empowering year for women and to shine a light on the female entrepreneurs who are not only thriving in their industry – but are owning it. To highlight some of the badass entrepreneurial women in the wine industry, we wanted to feature some interviews with incredible women in the wine world. With our interviews, we wanted to explore the world of wine from a feminist viewpoint. First up is Pauline from the Baumberger winery:
WM: Tell us about who you are and your background?
PAULINE: I'm Pauline, a communications designer, the daughter of a winemaker, and part of Geile Weine team (a major online wine retailer in Germany). I'm from Mandel, a small wine village outside of Frankfurt, Germany, where my family has run the Baumberger winery since 1855. I'm the eldest daughter of a winemaker, so from birth, my future was clear: I will one day be the wine queen. Even though my parents never pushed this on me, it was the expectation of the 900 people that live in our village. The plan was clear: My little brother would take over the winery and my sister and I would become wine royalty.
WM: And you never questioned that?
PAULINE: For my parents, we would have all been worthy to take over the winery one day. But I wondered why did everyone else - customers, friends, other winemakers, or the village - have the automatic expectation that my brother would be the one to take over? When coming back to wine and deciding to apply for the position of Nahe Wine Queen, I found myself questioning whether I could represent a male-dominated industry.
NOTE: Since this interview, Pauline has gone on to be crowned the 56th Nahe Wine Queen!
Women in Wine: Marie Menger-Krug
WM: Tell us about yourself and your connection to wine?
MARIE: Hello, my name is Marie Menger-Krug and I'm from the Motzenbäcker winery in Deidesheim. I make wine and sparkling wine and I love it. My connection to wine started at birth, when I was named Marie-Christine, after Methode-Champenoise (a classic method for Champagne production). I got the passion from my parents and after studying I focused my passion into organic farming and yeast experimenting.
WM: The Motzenbäcker winery is something out of a magazine it's so beautiful, what is your favourite place in the vineyard?
MARIE: I love the cellar. I could talk about it for days. Our timeless cellar is such a gift, it is where we store our best red wines and where the wine comes to life. You experience so much passion when you take grape juice and watch it transform into the finished wine. I try the wines in the cellar every day and know every one of them as if they were my children. Oh, and the fact there is a lot to drink in there doesn't hurt…
WM: You were born into a traditional business and now you're writing your family history in your own way. When did you know that you wanted to make your own sparkling wine and wine line?
MARIE: Relatively late, so I was a newcomer. But I think that's important because it gave me the ability to look at the wine world with fresh eyes. I saw winemaking in different parts of the world and while some processes might be different the one thing that stayed the same was how much respect one must have for winemaking. Most of my knowledge comes from my parents and the rest comes with time. In creating my own line of sparkling wine, I focused on working with nature to create something of the highest quality.
WM: Was it difficult to create a new identity for your line of wines?
MARIE: I wouldn't say it's a new identity, just an evolution of my parents. I took their very high standards for winemaking and just further developed it by making it more personal and multi-faceted. My parents have always been open to new things, so I took what they were already doing and expanded it.
WM: In your experience, do you see differences in male and female winemakers?
MARIE: I don't think it's about male or female but more the personality of the winemaker. Women tend to be more detail-oriented and polite when working together. But otherwise, we are on the same level.
WM: Do you think you would be treated differently if you were a man?
MARIE: Frankly, I have no idea. I think it all depends on the person themselves. I was never raised to be a princess and I'll probably never be.
WM: Your parents have two daughters. Was there ever the question: "Two daughters, no son - who will take over the winery?"
MARIE: That question used to come a lot from outsiders: "oh poor Menger-Krug, he only has two daughters". I don't hear that anymore, but I have three sons, and everyone says: "Oh, thank god the tractor drivers are back!". I can drive a tractor myself, and my parents never questioned my ability to continue the business. That question is total nonsense nowadays!
WM: Tell us about redesigning your brand identity, how did it go?
MARIE: Colours mean a lot to me. I like to describe my wine with colours and so each label is in a different colour. I think it helps people understand how my wine tastes. I even changed the shape of the bottle because it was just too feminine. I want to make wines that have a lot of expression, depth and a few rough edges.
And if you think our women winemakers are awesome just wait until you try their wines: Wine By Women Box