Part 2: The Women Of Wine

Welcome back to my Women of Wine series.  The women featured in Part 1 were pretty inspiring and today I am featuring two more remarkable women that are helping dominate the wine industry.

Excitingly enough, we traveled across the globe for Part 2!

Our first incredible lady is Jane Lopes, Wine Director at the acclaimed restaurant Attica located in Melbourne, Australia.

Prior to joining the Attica team, Jane was Sommelier at Eleven Madison Park in New York City.  During her time at Eleven Madison, Wine & Spirits Magazine recognized her as their winner for 2014 best new Sommelier.

Jane Lopes, Wine Director at Attica in Melbourne, Australia

1.) How did you get started in wine?

​I graduated college in Chicago and just needed a job! I was planning to take a year off before going to graduate school. I got a job in a wine shop, and absolutely loved it. I never turned in any graduate school applications, and stayed on that path.

2.) What inspires you as a Sommelier?

​I find inspiration in a lot of places, which I think is important, as any one side of the equation tends to not inspire all the time. I definitely find inspiration from my guests, and seeing them happy and engaged with their meal. I take inspiration from my coworkers and colleagues, ​whose passion and drive keep me going. And I certainly find inspiration from winemakers, distillers, brewers, and the bounty of amazing products they create.

3.) What is it like being a woman in wine?  

​I honestly cannot think of a time that I’ve been discriminated against or treated differently because I’m a woman. I’m sure it’s happened, I just haven’t noticed. If anything, I’ve found advantage in presenting a different voice in wine and being able to mentor women coming up through the ranks. ​

4.) With the wine industry being male dominated, what do you see in the future for women in wine?

​I think we already see more equity in the wine industry now than we did ten years ago. It’s just a matter of time. Women can do whatever they want. They just have to believe in themselves as much as the boys do.

5.) What advice would you give a woman who wants to pursue a career as a Sommelier?

​Work hard. You may have to work harder than the guy next to you to get the same job and receive the same recognition. Ask for what you want, and go get it. No one is going to hand it to you. Be polite and respectful always, but never be afraid to stand up for yourself. ​

6.) What’s your go-to wine at the moment?

​I’ve been digging Australian Grenache lately! Eperosa, Yangarra, Reed, Yalumba, and Sucette are just a few of my favorites. ​

Now for my second guest…

Cristina Ziliani is Head of Public Relations, Communications and Image for the esteemed Berlucchi winery founded by Guido Berlucchi and her late father Franco Ziliani. Cristina has been involved with the winery for thirty-five years. Since the beginning, she has remained ceaselessly committed to the environment and territory. She is striving to promote worldwide knowledge about Franciacorta, together with other producers in the region, instead of competing with them as they all believe Franciacorta is a real undiscovered gem!

Cristina Ziliani, Head of Public Relations, Communications and Image for Berlucchi winery

1.) How did you get started in wine?

Well, we could say me and my wines, the Franciacorta wines, are siblings.
In fact my father is also the father of the Franciacorta wine production: he created the first sparkling wines of Franciacorta, which is what Franciacorta is nowadays famous for, just 3 years after I was born.
Wine flows in my veins, I grew up surrounded by vineyards and sparkling wine flutes and I’ve always known that my mission was to share and communicate my reality in order to make also other people feel the sparkle…for the sparklings!

2.) What inspires you as a woman in the wine industry?

My role is the one of communication, so I think people are what inspire me.
I chose this position for myself because I believe confrontation and feedbacks are what make it possible for a company to grow. Whenever I have the opportunity to see people coming here to the winery and sharing with me their smiles and their experiences from all over the world I’m motivated to do better and better. It is said that wine inspires people and people inspire me in return.

3.) What is it like being a woman in wine?


Honestly it has been harder to be the only woman in a wine family than it has been to be a woman in the wine industry. Making my voice and my opinion stand out has not been easy to achieve. Once I could do that inside of my family, the world was just the easy part!
I recall when I suggested to have Arnaldo Pomodoro make us a special sculptural-label for celebrating the new Millennium. As a mother I really appreciate what can last longer than the wine itself, such as sculptural arts, because my first thought is always about the next generation and about what we’re leaving them.

4.) With the wine industry being male dominated, what do you see in the future for women in wine?

I think the situation is changing already. There are several examples of successfully women-led wineries.
Women can have a different point of view, both as market makers and as consumers. Me and my two brothers often confront on themes upon which we have different views, but after all the world’s composition is 50-50, it’s important not to target just one of the two shares.

5.) What advice would you give a woman who wants to pursue a career in wine?

I would tell her not to lose her identity as a woman and not to emulate what men do. It’s okay to see things differently, make them differently and communicate them differently. That’s what makes the difference, indeed.

6.) What’s your go-to wine at the moment?

I find myself reaching out for my own 61 rosè quite often I must admit, what a cliché! Nonetheless I strongly disagree with the belief rosé is a “feminine” wine (why would we even attribute a gender to wine, I wonder..): Its majority of Pinot Noir gives it a stronger acidity and mineral note compared to its Blanc siblings and the Brut dosage enhances its own personality without masking it with sweetness.

Stay tuned for more stories from the fabulous ladies of wine!

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