Wien Wine Women
I’m in Vienna attending VieVinum, an Austrian wine fair/symposium. I was intrigued to receive an invitation from “11 Women in Wine” to dinner at the well known Eisvogel (“Ice bird”) restaurant where they promised to offer the 11 best wines they have made in the past decade.
Eisvogel is in a large, ancient fair ground. We enjoyed an aperitif in a Ferris wheel dining car – the same one that featured in the film “The Third Man” – in fact the hero, Harry Lime, dies in a dining car in the final scene. Below is a photo of the dining car near the apex of the wheel with a close-up of a couple in the next car enjoying a romantic meal for two – actually there was (appropriately) a “third man” in their dining car.
Spokesperson, Heidi Schrock, introduced the evening with a heart-felt speech about the history and objects of the group although put her foot in it slightly when she said with a final flourish, “enjoy the wine and enjoy the women”.
In fact I did very much enjoy the women all of whom seemed to be strong, passionate and as committed to the goal of producing great wine as they were to their own families. I asked the women at my table if it were possible to taste the difference between wine made by women and those with male makers. They responded by saying that modern winemaking equipment (the fork hoist was used as an example) meant that physical strength was no longer a prerequisite to becoming a winemaker. That had opened the door for women. They talked about the benefits of sharing ideas and even equipment within the group. One woman said that a thesis had recently been written proving that wine made by women did indeed differ from that made by men. She promised to get me a copy.
Women are far more nurturing than men and as wine requires a fair bit of nurturing in vineyard and winery it seems entirely feasible that they wine they produce may reflect that.
One thing is certain. Women winemakers enjoy themselves and party harder than men winemakers.
The eleven women are show in the photo. Their names are (from left to right):
Michaela Ehn, Helma Muller-Grossmann, Sylvia Heinrich, Birgit Braunstein, Heidi Schrock, Silva Prieler, Jutta Ambrositsch, Judith Beck, Petra Unger, Ilse Maier and Birgit Eichinger.