Winemaker of the year

winemaker of the year

Winemaker of the year. That sounds good. However, andrea wirsching likes the award for silvaner winery of the year better than the others. The business comes first. Even if the woman from iphofen would like to see more women take on management tasks. Especially in the wine business.

The gourmet magazine "selection" has awarded the "winemaker of the year" prize for the second time. Andrea wirsching received the certificate at germany’s largest wine trade fair, the prowein in dusseldorf. "Of course I was pleased," she says. Especially since women are still rare in management positions – in the national wine industry as well as in the international wine industry.

A year ago, andrea wirsching officially took over the family business in the heart of iphofen. She’s been in management for eight years, in fact. Your experience: women are still questioned more often as bosses than men. "You still need a little more assertiveness," she said. "And you have to be able to argue more fundamentally."Even when she is asked a question that she has not been able to hear for a long time: "is there no one who can run your business??"Andrea wirsching will have to take a deep breath first. She knows what she can do. And what changes she has already implemented in the traditional winery. "The working atmosphere has changed," she says as an example. Why? "Because women rode differently. They are more willing to compromise, place more value on communication, listen better and act more intuitively."

Intuition can become a point of contention between men and women. Andrea wirsching knows this very well. She has a current example of the correctness of intuitive action. The talk is of glyphosate. For her, it is as clear as day that its use in her vineyards is taboo. "The subject has been settled, the word glyphosate has a completely negative connotation. No consumer wants to hear about glyphosate in connection with wine."She first had to persuade her colleagues in the vineyards to adopt this approach. "Manners tend to argue more professionally, less emotionally," she says. But even if there is no evidence of any residues from the selective use of glyphosate in the steep slopes, andrea wirsching is clear: glyphosate has no place in her 90 hectares of vineyards.

How many women ran wineries in germany? Hard to say. There are no reliable figures. Neither the german wine institute nor the french winegrowers association. "There is hardly a successful winery that is not run by a strong, equal male-female team," says andreas gopfert, head of communications at the haus des frankenweins. Team players are in demand, regardless of gender, he says. Statistics from the universities in geisenheim and heilbronn show that women are increasingly interested in training in the wine industry. It wasn’t until 1970 that the first woman graduated as an engineer in viticulture and winery management. In the meantime, the rate is 26 percent. Almost 50 percent of women graduate with a bachelor’s degree in international wine management. The situation is similar for the bachelor’s degree in wine business administration.

Andrea wirsching was for many years president of vinissima (now about 600 members), she has been involved in the international association IAWIW (international associated women in wine). The exchange with other women was and is important to her.

Her experience: women approach some issues differently. "Let’s be clear about this," she says, raising her index finger briefly. "I am not at all an advocate of a women’s quota."And she certainly does not see herself as a champion of feminism in viticulture. As in private life, it would also be advantageous in the professional world to bring the male and female principle, the strongest of each sex, into the business world. And women have special strengths. "They have more of a flair for relationships," she says. A sense for other people, but also for the basics of a good life. And that includes wine. In customer contacts this can be an advantage. Andrea wirsching is on the road a lot, representing her company and communicating with customers. "I can only do this because I can rely on my local people."

"When it comes to concrete power, women are still not accepted in many areas." Andrea wirsching, winemaker of the year

The vdp winery in iphofen has about 30 employees. One third are female. An unusual rate in wine country franconia. "In the french winegrowers association, for example, women have not yet arrived," says the winery owner and has to smile. In fact: the five board members are all male. The manager too. "When it comes to concrete power," says the 54-year-old, "women are still not accepted in many sectors." The reduction to mere representation is too little for her. As wine princesses and wine queens, young women certainly fulfill important functions. But they were not to remain the only female role models in viticulture.

At least something is slowly changing. The next generation thinks and feels differently. More and more women are studying viticulture and onology at the university in geisenheim, preparing for a career in the wine industry. "There are an unbelievable number of young fit women in our industry," says andrea wirsching happily. "And fortunately more and more young men who can cope with it."

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