Women in the wine industry get their own network

Women in the wine industry will soon get their own support network and website to connect them, thanks to the vision of Mary Retallack who was last week announced as the winner of the 2012 Australian Rural Women’s Award.

Based in the Adelaide Hills, Mary travelled to Canberra to be presented with the prestigious award for her vision of developing a website for women in the wine industry – to enable them to connect, network, collaborate, share their ideas, mentor and support each other.

A website specifically for women who work in the wine industry? We’re all for that!

According to Mary, formal support networks for women in other agricultural industries are already up and running, but there’s currently nothing similar available for women working in the wine industry .

“I’m passionate about seeing women prosper in this industry, to succeed and realise their potential. and a website like this offers a tremendous opportunity to make connections stronger.”

“While there are a lot of women working in marketing and communications, I’d like to see more women taking on roles across the entire wine making chain, and to celebrate the efforts of those who are already doing these roles, and working behind the scenes.”

Mary says she struggled to find mentors or peers when she was starting out as a viticulturalist. At that time there were only a handful of female viticulturalists and few potential mentoring opportunities. Her vision is for the website to provide women with the sort of access to mentors and support that are essential for career development.

“I think there’s a lot of women who want to establish a career in the wine industry, and have a genuine desire to give their best, but just don’t know where the opportunities are. The opportunities are definitely there, but it can be difficult to find them. And support is there too, but knowing how to tap into that is another thing entirely.”

Connecting women in regional areas, whom she says are often without access to networks and support, is also on her agenda.

Mary’s advice for women thinking about a career in the wine industry, is clear:

  • Follow your passion
  • Ask lots of questions
  • Find a mentor

“This really is the most tremendous industry to work in,” said Mary. “And I’m keen to see more women working in it at every level.”

Jane Thomson