Being a woman in the wine world

Fool yourself who thinks that taking a professional journey in the wine world is easy. You have to like it very much, fight and persist. It's not for everyone. Much more for a woman. Even today.

I started my career as a journalist as a free-lancer, which took me one day to the Estoril Hotel School to do a report on the first wine courses that were to emerge at the time. We are talking about the 1990s, the beginning of the wine revolution in Portugal. I found the story so interesting that I ended up enrolling in that course. From then on, I didn't stop anymore.

I took more courses with other winemakers, read a lot, traveled the world to visit wineries, went to fairs, wrote for various publications on the subject and later I was a jury in national and international competitions. It started to get so serious that in the last few years I've been at Expresso, a newspaper where I spent eleven years of my career, I'd only write about wine and gastronomy. In addition, I taught at the university, I teach training and lectures, write books, I guide wine tourism trips, i elaborate documentaries for television and for companies, among other works that I love to do.  Even today I am still deeply in love with the world of wine and my profession.

So, briefly, this whole route seems to have been easy. But it wasn't. In the 1990s there were still few women dedicated to the wine world. Journalists women working in this area, just me! Right at the first wine event, I was looked from top to bottom by sisudos and suspicious men, cup in hand. What would a 'miúdeca' be doing there? They thought. Many others of these situations followed. Apart from the times when, in various situations, people preferred to listen to the person next door - who happened to notice nothing of wine - but was a man and was certainly more understood. Or the times I've been harassed, which is always unpleasant, let's face it.

Any winemaker, producer, commercial or other functions in this area has experienced situations of this kind. However, it never threw me down, but on the contrary, it gave me more strength. The most important thing is to do a good job. And it was nice to have gained experience to put people in order when it is necessary.

Logically, the wine world is changed today, and still well, it was no longer timeless. There are many women working in the wine sector, and doing an excellent job. I give them a lot of value, because I'm sure most worked three times more than any man in the same conditions to get where they got there. However, despite the changes, an experienced woman continues to have proof of what it's worth, while a man has this job made it easier. Let's hope that doesn't happen much longer.