I'm sure you don't know me and you'll probably never read this. I'm not following you because I never bothered to learn your IG nickname and doubt we share the same social media circles. But once we shared a space together to witness the same Grand tour of the Wine Spectator at the Mirage hotel in 2017.
You were beautiful. Wavy brown hair falling below your shoulders and an emerald green top that matched your eyes. Slender tanned legs springing from a modestly short skirt and heels. Gold dangling earrings that you hit repeatedly while brushing your hair back to lean towards the spit bucket. I admit you were a sight to see.
And I hated you for it.
I remember the first table where we "bumped". It was a Super Tuscan producer that I couldn't wait to try out and wanted to ask about the mix. But the charming Italian at the table only wanted to talk to you, barely looking for my way to give me a feeling. It wasn't long before I was run over by other attendees - men, of course - who also wanted to taste and ask the pretty lady next to them what she thought of the wine as well.
It was at the table of a Californian pinot producer that I heard you say you were an influencer, which made you roll your eyes in the back.
Dear god, she actually uses the term influencer!
The cellar rep was anxious to collect your card and pulled out his phone to make sure he was following you at this exact moment. When I finally had the courage to make my way to the table for a service, I didn't bother to stay to ask questions. The rep was not going to give me time. After all, we were in the presence of an influencer!
Similar scenes were playing out at other tables that we kept bumping into. There were over 200 exhibits but damn if it wasn't my luck we kept hitting the same ones. There were times when I would turn the corner to a desired destination only to see some green, and then walk to another part of the ground - trying to get away from the cute Instagram influencer who was littering my night.
I was sitting by the table with my wife when you stopped to pick up something yourself.
It didn't take long for another man to approach you for a chat. Choosing from cold cuts and cheeses, I heard you mention that you just started as a sommelier at one of the hotel restaurants in Vegas. I told my wife that we should mark this restaurant off our list places to play Somm Game at.
At this point, in my mind, you were a caricature of everything that was wrong with the wine industry. The influencer who takes more selfies than bottle snaps - more boobs than tasting notes. Those who continue to feed the mantras that "Sex Sells" and "Race horses“- which makes it difficult for all other women in wine to be taken seriously.
Never mind that none of this was true. You were an easy target to channel my internal anger and jealousy to. Although I have never approached you or said a word of snark to you, I have still done you a grave injustice. And for that, I am deeply sorry.
I thought of you while reading The New York Times yesterday.
Read the words of brave women featured in Julia Moskin's play, I couldn't help but get you started. As a young beginner in a place like Las Vegas, how much of their stories are yours as well?
Thinking about it made me cry.
I cried because with the same breath that I long for things to be different and that I despair that they are not, I know that in my own way I am an accomplice. I can say the right words and do the right things to uplift other women, but I know in my heart that I have destroyed them too.
While this makes me feel immense guilt, there is also immense rage when I think of the perverse privilege at stake. No, I'm not just talking about male privilege.
But more mine as a "not pretty girl".
Outside of a hands-on client during my retail days, I've been fortunate in my wine career to have encountered nothing close to the kind of harassment and compromising positions that other women have had. been placed.
The pain of being raped or having your entire career depends on whether or not you give in to a man's advances, it's a pain I've never had to deal with. Although I was irritated and burnt with jealousy at the access and attention that "pretty girls" receive, it was my privilege not to have to deal with unwanted attention from men, which has prevented from making me understand that there was a price to pay to pay for this access. Sometimes a very terrible price.
And the simple fact that something like this It's a privilege in this world is a whole other level of fucked up shit.
It's fucked up that we live in a world that encourages this dynamic "Mean Girls" among women - haves (access and harassment) and have-nots.
It's fucked up that we live in a world that always tries to tell us that sex sells. Or that we shouldn't hesitate when our industry seeks to take advantage of this.
This should be the funnel of our anger. This damn dynamic that divides us and puts women of all shades in terrible positions. The pretty girl. The bad girl. The outgoing girl. The shy girl.
When all we really are is right tired of this fucking shit girls.
We would recommend either Wineworks Premium or Wineworks Superior as your first 30 Bottle Kit Wine. Both of these ranges are designed to produce a good quality wine that is ready to drink within 2-4 weeks but will benefit if left up to 6-8 weeks. Furthermore, they also have a great selection of wines to choose from.
If you’ve never made wine before or you simply don’t have any of the equipment or ingredients any longer then you could purchase one of our bundles. These bundles combine all the required equipment along with your prefered wine pack so that you can have everything delivered to your door and just get started. The Wineworks Superior Starter Bundles are a great choice if you want to keep the equipment budget down but still choose the quality of wine you’d like to go for. Whereas, the Wineworks Luxury Starter Bundles offer a better quality equipment pack and still let you choose from a great choice of wine kits.
The two most important critères of making wine are Cleanliness and Temperature. Firstly remember everything that comes into contact with the wine should be cleaned and sterilised ( see below ). Secondly maintain a constant temperature between 21-26°C ( 69-79°F ). It is much better to be on the cool side and constant than hot one minute and cold the next. Airing cupboards are definitely no, no’s. ( See below )
Clean and sterilise all equipment. Here’s a selection of Sterilisers you can use and if you not quite sure which steriliser to go for then you can take a look at our Beginners Wine Making Part 1 - Cleaning, Sterlising
Wineworks Superior wines : These usually take 10-15 days to ferment, and a further week to clear. Again the wine can be drunk immediately but we recommend ageing it 4 weeks but you can leave it up to 12 months. The time you will leave it will depend very much on your stocks. So get plenty built up. The reds benefit more than the whites with ageing. Certain packs ( see the list below ) are suited more to the experienced wine maker and take around 4 weeks to ferment and then left for a further 2 weeks. These products does really benefit from ageing. All the packs we list in this section require little ageing.
As it’s new to you it will probably take in all 2 hours for your first batch. However, once you are used to it 1 hour is about the maximum amount of time needed. We would also point out bar the bottling side; it takes just as long to make 6 bottles as it does to make 30 bottles, so we strongly recommend you make the larger quantity. After all 6 bottles doesn’t go very far as we said before !
From our experience it is much better to maintain a constant temperature than a fluctuating one. We suggest 21-26°C ( 69-79°F ), although if it is cooler than this, it is not a problem, it just takes slightly longer to ferment. If you can’t maintain this then we supply three different forms of heating equipment : Brew Belt / Heat BeltThis is a simple insulated electric cable that wraps round your container and provides a gentle heat. It is very souple and extremely easy to use. Heat Tray ( 4 demi/5 Gallon Fermenter ) This is like a flat tray that provides a gentle continuous heat that goes under the fermenter. Immersion HeaterThis drops into the container, through the bung and can be thermostatically controlled to maintain the exact temperature. Similar to a fish tank heater. All these can be added to our starter kit packages. See our film showing the types of heating equipment available for your fermentation.
It is important to clean
If you’ve made it this far, hopefully understanding a bit of what we’ve said, then you’ll want to know how much it will cost to get started ! As you may have noticed, we’ve put together a couple of equipment packs which include everything you need, and take the confusion out of buying. You can make your first 30 bottles of Wine for approximately £65. 00. That’s all in ( Equipment