The story of how the wineries of Griffith and surrounds became the powerhouses they are today is something locals know well, but never has it been told through the eyes of the women who worked tirelessly behind the scenes.
But that is all about to change on Saturday with the Riverina Gala Dinner set to celebrate the local women in the region’s wine industry, thanks to the Fabulous Ladies’ Wine Society and UnWined, sharing their first hand memories of how it all came to be.
With the Riverina now the largest wine making region in the state, and the second largest in the country the location is an obvious choice according to founder of the Fabulous Ladies’ Wine Society Jane Thomson.
As a woman who established her own wine community for females focused on making wine fun and easy, Ms Thomson said the chance to interview infamous matriarchs of the Riverina was an unmissable opportunity.
“I am so beyond excited I will be interviewing all these amazing women, and some of the men, at the dinner so we can piece together a bit more of the history that is in Griffith,” she said.
“I am really looking forward to being there to hear about the development of one of Australia’s most important wine regions through the women’s stories.”
With sacrifice, hard work and difficult times common themes of the Riverina’s 100 years of making wine the story is only missing memories of the women who worked behind the scenes.
“These are stories that haven’t had a platform before,” Ms Thomson said before explaining the importance of ensuring these tales of success are widely known.
It is a cause becoming increasingly important to her through her work as founder and principal of the wine society, with statistics painting a bleak future for women in the wine industry.
“One of the things I wanted to do was have a focus on women in wine, but it quickly became clear there was a much bigger story here,” she said.
“Many women in the wine industry have been under-represented and the numbers are declining for wine making and viticulture.”
It is a puzzling trend, according to Ms Thomson, with the numbers also showing women have a clear interest in working in the wine industry from the outset.
“We are getting women into wine, the statistics of women coming out of graduate courses from universities and colleges are equal with men,” she said.
“So we are not having a problem attracting women to the wine industry - just in keeping them there.
“So often the wine industry is predominantly male and this is having an impact on women and their careers.":
Women to be interviewed on the night will include matriachs of some of the region’s best known labels such as Lena Calabria, Lorraine Brewer and Emeri De Bortoli as well as members of the next generation gearing up to take the reins and the winemakers behind the magic.
The Riverina Gala dinner will be held Saturday, June 10 from 6pm at the Old Miranda Wines building.
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