September 23, 2021 by Arden Montgomery
Women in Wine
Here at Argaux, we believe that women make the world of wine a better place. As a female owned-and-operated company, we take pride in elevating women winemakers and industry colleagues around the world – especially when their wines are as good as the ones included in this kit. However, despite the wonderful shifts being made within the industry, women still have quite a long way to go in catching up to their male counterparts. In honor of the incredible ladies changing the viticultural game worldwide, we’ve created this Women in Wine kit to share some of our favorite bottles produced at the hands of trailblazing female winemakers across the globe.
‘Gaux to the World of Women in Wine – What to Know
- As of 2018, there were no female CEOs at wineries with annual productions between 100K and 500K cases per year; on a positive note, 25% of wineries producing between half a million and one million cases boasted women CEOs. This same study states that women were underrepresented in sales, viticulture, and winemaking, but overrepresented in marketing and HR departments.
- Interestingly, through it all, it’s been proven that women are actually more sensitive (and therefore, more detailed and often better) tasters than men – yet this somehow does not translate to their representation in the industry.
- According to MacNeil, only 10% of winemakers in California are female, and only 7% and 5% are women in Washington and New York, respectively. However, women have made up around 40% of graduates from the Viticulture and Enology programs at UC Davis.
- Women still continue to make 82 cents to every dollar that a man earns working the same job, with said gap widening to 77 cents to the dollar at management-level positions.
- In terms of higher education, only 29 of America’s 182 Master Sommeliers are women. The statistic gets better in the Master of Wine world, where women hold 131 of the 380 titles worldwide.
When we first got into the industry, there seemed to be lots of conversation surrounding the rarity of women in wine. However, much of our inspiration was sparked by historic women like Madame Clicquot, who is credited for inventing riddling (an aging technique used in the production of Champagne), Ann Noble, who invented the aroma wheel, and Carole Meredith, who discovered the origins of Cabernet Sauvignon as a hybrid of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc. Today we continue to be inspired by women in wine and the growing number of them strapping on their boots and heading into the vineyards, tending to grapes, and producing wines of high complexity and great esteem.
The statistics above (which desperately need to change) make us even more proud of who we are and what we do. Argaux was founded by co-owner Arden Gilfillan, a WSET Advanced Sommelier and Certified Sommelier and co-owner Margaux Reaume, a French Wine Scholar, WSET Advanced Sommelier, Certified Sommelier, and WSET Diploma candidate. The team’s countless combined certifications, expertise, and enthusiasm are the backbone to the company’s mission: supporting small-production, family-owned, and responsibly operating wineries across the world.
In our quest to continue to elevate female-led wineries and companies across the industry, we’ve partnered with Amlière Imports, a boutique wine importer founded by Lexi Jones. In working together, we are able to source wines directly from producers/families and are able to tell their stories honestly and authentically, while also creating strong relationships along the way. Our partnership has also allowed us to create Argaux-exclusive wines, such as our Par Fore the Course Sauvignon Blanc, Paumiste Rosé, and Gouchas Malbec.
2019 Domaine Mardon Quincy ‘Vieilles Vignes’ Sauvignon Blanc (Winemaker & Owner – Hélène Mardon)
Looking for a Sancerre equivalent with a more approachable price tag? This refreshing bottle from Quincy is the answer. Located just 50 miles west of Sancerre, this thirst-quenching Sauvignon Blanc is crafted at the hands of Hélène Mardon in the heart of the Loire Valley. Fruit comes from 50 to 80-year-old vines and hails from organically-farmed vines. Expect bright flavors of citrus, pear, mint, chives, and white pepper to lead to a lightning-like finish. Enjoy nicely chilled with goat cheese, sushi, or homemade ceviche.
Hélène Mardon represents the current generation of the Mardon winemaking legacy. The family has been responsibly working vines in Quincy since the early 19th century, and today, Hélène produces less than 10,000 cases per year, all of which are made from organically-farmed, old vine fruit.
2020 Château Barbebelle Coteaux d’Aix en Provence ‘Fleurie’ Rosé (Winemaker – Madeleine Herbeau)
Looking for the perfect bottle of rosé to carry you from happy hour straight through dinner? This easy-drinking bottle from Château Barbebelle is just the ticket. Produced from a classic, organica and sustainably-farmed blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault, this Provençal beauty shows flavors of strawberry, rose water, and germanium. Pair with a variety of apéro snacks, including crisp salads, goat cheese tarts, or a variety of fresh cheeses.
Madeleine Herbeau represents the fourth generation of her family’s winemaking lineage. She carries on her family’s passion for typicity, quality, and precision in their delicious wines, which hail from 45 hectares of estate vines that they farm themselves. Madeleine is one of our modern-day inspirations and we raise a glass to her each time that we crack one of these tasty bottles open.
2019 Piazza Carbonic Graciano (Winemaker – Gretchen Voelcker)
This varietal Graciano has quickly become one of our go-to bottles to pop year round. Fruit comes from organically-farmed vines in the renowned Bella Vista Vineyard, located in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. The wine was produced using carbonic maceration, which helps keep tannins low and fruit-forward flavors prominent. Notes of crunchy red berries, fresh lavender, and sage jump from the wine’s vibrant palate and lead to a fresh, leather-tinged finish. Only 91 cases were produced in total! Sip slightly chilled with homemade pizza, chili, or charcuterie boards – emphasis on the slight chill.
Winemaker Gretchen Voelcker earned her degree in Plant Sciences from UC Santa Cruz, and today, spends more time in the vineyards than most winemakers. Her clear vision for natural wines crafted with minimal interference fully collides with our sourcing philosophy here at Argaux. We are so proud to share her wines with you.
We raise a glass to the women who paved the way before us and we raise a toast to you. Thank you for supporting the women behind Argaux and Amlière Imports and for believing in us and the importance of good wine.