04 September 2015
The 2015 harvest has begun in Montepulciano with the picking of the first grapes, and from there it will be on to the Prugnolo Gentile (the grape variety, a clone of the Sangiovese, used to make the Vino Nobile) when they ripen, anticipated for mid-September. It's still too early to say what kind of vintage it will be, in terms of both quality and quantity, but work in the vineyards has begun, and this year, as data from the Consorzio del Vino Nobile demonstrates, there are more women involved than ever before.
A woman's touch for the Nobile. Recent data has demonstrated how young people are increasingly involved in the production of the Vino Nobile in Montepulciano, and this year new data shows that women are represented in significant numbers as well. There are more and more women involved at all levels of wine production. Consider the producers themselves, the owners of the wineries: of the 75 Consorzio member wine producers, 16 are owned by women, and 11 are jointly run. That means a total of 36% of Consorzio wineries are run or co-run by women. Women are also well represented in marketing and sales roles: 25 wine producers, 33% of the total, employ women to fulfil these roles in Montepulciano. While the percentage of women employed as oenologists is not as impressive, it is nevertheless growing: 7 cellars are run by female oenologists (9% of the total). Regarding employees in general, working in the office, the cellar, or the vineyard, over 40% of the workforce is female. Employees at the Consorzio del Vino Nobile itself are mostly women (65%), while the Consorzio board of directors includes 3 women among its 12 representatives, one of whom is president of the promotions commission. One of the female Vino Nobile di Montepulciano producers is also among the founders of the Associazione Donne del Vino (Women's Wine Association).
Changes over time. These are significant figures, particularly when compared with the situation in the past. Compared to ten years ago, the number of women running wineries where the Vino Nobile is produced has grown by 15%, and there has been a 50% growth since 1980, the year the first DOCG denominations were issued (the Vino Nobile was the first ever wine to receive the designation). There have also been significant changes over time within the Consorzio itself regarding the appointment of women to institutional roles: there were no female wine producers on the Consorzio's board of directors at all until 1971, while for the last few years, a woman has been responsible for coordinating Consorzio activities.
Employees in the wine production sector in Montepulciano. Not including the 1,000 or so seasonal vineyard workers, the work force is made up of about 1,200 employees, 60% of whom are between 20 and 40 years old. This figure does not include related enterprises, such as printing, architecture firms, wine tourism, and so on, which together make up about 70% of the local economy.