One summer’s evening almost 20 years ago, my friend poured us each a glass of sauvignon blanc and, sounding thoroughly impressed with her purchase, she exclaimed: “How fabulous - a woman making wine in New Zealand!”
She was triumphant on behalf of the trail-blazing winemaker – a woman named Kim, she explained, making in-roads into what was very much a man’s world. We chinked our wine glasses in a toast to the impressive Kim Crawford.
Due to embarrassment, I’ve never forgotten the incident. A few years went by before we cottoned on; Kim was a Mister.
What we also had not realised was, for many years before Mr Crawford made his mark, women had been quietly and steadily making in-roads in New Zealand’s wine industry right across the Nelson Plains and ‘up country’ in the valleys of the Moutere and Tasman.
They’d been digging holes, planting grape-vine saplings, picking grapes and pruning vines, hosting tastings at their cellar doors and filling their car-boots with boxes of their newest vintages to proudly call on restaurants, wine stores and supermarkets.