This Week’s Latest Wine Headlines: November 1—November 6

There’s a lot going on this week. Between the nail-biting presidential election, the continuously increasing numbers of COVID-related cases and deaths, and all the implications this has on our industry, the news is just…overwhelming.

Not least of which is the ongoing Court of Master Sommeliers Americas scandal involving several female wine professionals who have been sexually abused by their male superiors. Both the CMS-A and GuildSomm have issued separate apologies and promises for internal investigation and reconstruction; female sommeliers who have chosen to stay associated with the CMS-A (note: there are those who have chosen to leave the court) have issued their own apology and promise to help promote change from within the organization; and there is even an online petition you can sign to help move the process forward. But, as wine-searcher reports, the effects of these women’s testimonials along with the outpouring of media attention this scandal has garnered are just drops of water in a vast ocean—a real solution, any implementation of real change (not to mention punishment for those guilty of these crimes) may be yet far away.

It is the responsibility of our industry as a whole to make a difference. Whatever sector you’re in, whatever level your position is within your company, let us all be aware of how we treat one another, how our colleagues are being treated by each other. And if you see something, say something, do something. We all have a human right to be treated like, well, humans.

Cheers, my friends. Be safe, be well, be healthy, be kind.

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Taste and Learn: Wines of New Zealand

It’s the Biz: New Zealand Wine Business

As I’m writing this, my D2 Wine Business exam looms. Most likely, by the time this goes live, I’ll have already sat the exam and be blissfully ignorant of the results. That being said, because of my D2 studiesam noticing more and more places where the material pops up in my D3 Wines of the World studies.

Wild Irishman Wines First Commercial Release; Central Otago, New Zealand
Wild Irishman Wines First Commercial Release; Central Otago, New Zealand

So, let’s take a look at how wine law, regulations, organizations, sales and marketing all take shape on the islands of New Zealand…

Before jumping in here, please take a look at the New Zealand Overview, North Island, and South Island articles first. 

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On the New York Times Article…and other Wine Headlines: October 25—October 30

I want to start with a brief statement about the New York Time’s piece that came out this week, revealing the testimonials of 21 female wine professionals who have been sexually abused by their male superiors. I can’t eloquently put into words all the feels I’ve been feeling since reading the article: sad, angry, hurt, betrayed, confused are just a few that come to immediate mind.

I am a woman who has always worked in male-dominated industries. Previous to becoming a part of the wine industry, before my career as a writer and editor, I was a professional fitness trainer. And even as a young person, student, child, the nature of my—I don’t know—attitude, personality, or something, is one in which I always found myself involved in things that are male dominant.

But I am one of the lucky ones. I am one of the lucky ones who have not been so brutally abused as the women in this article.

Liz Mitchell, Jane Lopes, Victoria James, Courtney Schiessl, Madeleine Thompson, Christina Chilcoat, Rachel van Til, Rania Zayyat, Ivy Anderson, Victoria James, Liz Dowty Mitchell, Alexandra Fox, J.R. Ayala, Courtney Keeling, Kate Ham.

I say their names because they deserve to be recognized for being strong in the face of adversity in its most disgusting form. For standing up when those who felt entitled enough to decide what these women were worth decided that they weren’t worth more than a body, a form, a thing to play with and throw away. For speaking up, not just for themselves, but on behalf of all women so things like this WILL NOT HAPPEN AGAIN.

I say their names because I am one of the lucky ones—but if one thing had been different, one decision made or not made, one circumstance shifted slightly, I may not have been that lucky. Would I have been strong enough to say something?

I’m not sure what will happen from here, but my hope is that we will evolve. Not just as an industry, but as a people. That from hearing these horrific things, maybe we can learn to respect each other. Maybe we can remember that Women’s Rights are Human Rights; Black Lives Matter; No Person is Illegal; Diversity Makes Us Stronger; Love is Love; and Kindness is Never Wasted. 

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New Zealand South Island

Welcome to New Zealand‘s South Island. If you haven’t yet read the New Zealand overview, or made a stop in the North Island yet, please do before moving on.

New Zealand South Island wine regions; Google Earth image
New Zealand South Island wine regions; Google Earth image

The South Island has significantly more terroir to cover, so strap in and enjoy the ride.

A note about the maps: I realize they are quite small, but good news—they’re active links. Click on a map and it will take you to the Google Earth page for a zoomed-in experience. Enjoy!

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