Highlighting Female Wine Makers | #blacklivesmatter | French Wine Online

Power to the #hasthtag regarding #blacklivesmatter and this is a heart warming story out of South Africa. We finish it with an ode to female winemakers in our portfolio and bringing women together in the industry! Female power all the way. Injustices at all levels and striving not just for equality in process but also in substance. In order to correct the historical deficiencies and inequities, we must have equality in results. 

Did you know that s. 15 of our Charter in Canada does not only require equality in processes, procedures and "numbers" but also in equality of results? 

Yes, it does. 

Oh, what is s. 15 of the Charter in Canada? 

Quote it, so there is no confusion

Section 15 (1) of the Charter states that: Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

While many will gripe that Canada has not done enough in legislation and the judiciary has not acted strongly enough, the framework is there! It does authorize the Court to focus on the "unintended effects" of discrimination and how to correct those with results. There is to be a focus on ameliorative programs and a focus on proportional yet fair results that correct the past. 


Yes, we can all gripe with the slowing moving wheels of justice but to steal a line from the immortal JFK: 

Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”. And he went on in the often forgotten second aspect of the quote, "Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you." 

Yes, we do elect our government and judges are appointed in Canada. However, if you want to make a change, it starts with us. 


Ntsiki Biyela, South Africa's First Black Female Winemaker! 

It is a small world and a global village! 

Ntsiki Biyela is already regarded as a legend in her field. "Dans le" (yes, respect diversity of language "aussi") 2004, she became South Africa’s first black female winemaker. A decade later, she launched ASLINA 

What is Aslina? 

A self-funded venture where she now makes award-winning chardonnays, sauvignon blancs and Bordeaux blends. 

How did she get started in wine? 

She started studying in Stellenbosch [University] in 1999. She came from the province of KwaZulu-Natal, and everything was different. IShedidn’t know the language or the culture which made the studying much more difficult. She had no idea that wine existed! She applied for a scholarship that said if you study winemaking, it would be paid. 


Here is her quote from an answer to a question about her "hurdles": 

It wasn’t just that there weren’t any black women; there weren’t many women in general. When I look back, when I was a student, I was sent to a winemaking seminar. It was a scary scene that I saw because there was one lady in the entire seminar. In my mind I thought, Well, at least there’s one other woman here. But she was just the one working the registration! It freaked me out. I didn’t feel like I was supposed to be here. I’d get asked every day [in school], “Why are you here?”

With all of this adversity, I thought it was going to be hell once I started actually working. But interestingly, when I started, I could pick up a phone and call a winemaker that I had never met and ask for help. And I would get help." 

This sounds more like climbing Everest and doing a black flip at the top. So next time, you think you are in the struggle (and certainly you may be but...) think of how she kept that positive attitude in the face of all of the change! 


"We’re working on ways to get it more inclusive, not just to make it easier for [marginalized] groups to break in but to create more interest for them as well, and not just in South Africa but globally." 


As Walter Kronkite once said, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life!" 

Next time you are purchasing from any agent or store, think of their story and how you want to effect change. Change from your pocket to another effects change as and this is particularly apposite (not opposite)! 

If you are looking to support a female wine producer in our portfolio, click on the products below with Ms. Chevalier at Domaine De Cebene! We will continue to highlight her story as we are very proud to promote not just her wines but her rise to the top! 


Domaine de Cébène, is a winery with a true sense of place. World renowned winemaker Brigitte Chevalier left Bordeaux and planted her roots in Faugères where she established her own certified organic winery. Brigitte came to Faugères to make wine in her own, highly individual style. The estate is recognized as a leader within this appellation and has gained recognition by some of the leaders within the industry. Andrew Jefford MW stated Domaine de Cébène as one of the few "Best of the South” vineyards in Decanter magazine.

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