Women in Wine – International Women’s Day Dinner 2016 in Brisbane

This year on the occasion of International Women’s day on 8 March, The Fabulous Ladies’ Wine Society hosted an event to celebrate Women in Wine in Australia in conjunction with The Truffle Man – and I was the lucky host.


The event was held at Brisbane’s iconic Restaurant Two and featured wines made by five leading female wine makers from four different wineries in Australia – Penny Jones (Bay of Fires), Di Miller (Bellarmine Wines), Corrina Wright (Oliver’s Taranga), Sarah Fagan and Julie Mortlock (both from De Bortoli Wine).

bris IWD menu

It was a compelling evening. Guest speaker was Natascha Mirosch, Editor of the Brisbane Good Food Guide, who spoke of her early days as a young journalist looking to break into food and wine reviewing. She had some hilarious accounts of what her 23 year old self thought she was capable of doing and the mistakes she made in her naivety.

Natascha Mirosch


We were also joined by Dianne Laurance from Laurance Wine. Dianne is the inaugral winner of the Australian Women in Wine Champion of Change award, for her work promoting gender equality in the wine industry.

Amanda Reboul (left) and Dianne Laurance (right)

In fact, Dianne is a a bit of a superstar in the world of female entrepreneurs, and I was slightly overwhelmed in her presence. Apart from counting Julie Bishop and Sarina Russo as close, personal friends she was inducted as an Honouree, Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World (LWEW) in Vancouver in 2005 – a not-for-profit organization that represents the world’s most powerful and successful female entrepreneurs. She is also a member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) which was established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton. This organisation convenes global leaders, to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Dianne’s work involves empowering Indigenous women and girls through the sale of their art in order to preserve their culture and history, while providing a business venture and financial security for these girls and their communities.

We also had Paola Cabezas in attendance.  Paola is an Argentinian wine maker who moved to the Granite Belt in Queensland 13 years ago and is currently chief wine maker at Robert Chandon Wines.

Paola Cabezas

With all that girl power in the room, it is hard to comprehend that women are seriously under-represented in the wine industry in Australia. Current figures suggest that women only represent 8 – 10% of the work force in the industry, and this figure is on the decline.

Surprising also, given that recent statistics released by Roy Morgan research show that in Australia, women drink more wine than men. The study showed that during 2015, 4.6 million Australian women 18+ (or 49.0% of the adult female population) drank some kind of wine – white, red, sparkling and/or fortified – in an average four weeks, compared to 3.7 million of men (41.2%).


You would think that given the involvement of women in the purchase and consumption of wine that more would have a career in the industry high on their radar.


So why the disparity? There are many valid theories, but a full analysis of them is not the purpose of this article. However, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day was Pledge for Parity, so it’s an interesting time to reflect on this very question.


  1. Mary Elizabeth

    Wow! What a fantastic event! From Perth, a big thank you to all amazing panelist for their inspirations!!!
    So proud to be part of this community.

    1. Thanks Mary!!! Hopefully we’ll do something similar in Perth next International Women’s Day x

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