Women in Wine reps visit Otago

Women in Wine New Zealand representatives chairwoman Katherine Jacobs (left) and national co-ordinator Nicky Grandorge, visited Central Otago last week to talk to women and men in the wine industry about what the group did and upcoming activities. They sp
Women in Wine New Zealand representatives chairwoman Katherine Jacobs (left) and national co-ordinator Nicky Grandorge, visited Central Otago last week to talk to women and men in the wine industry about what the group did and upcoming activities. They spent some time at Three Miners vineyard, Earnscleugh, last Friday. Photo: Yvonne O'Hara
Women (and men) who worked in Central Otago's wine industry were invited to meet representatives of Women In Wine New Zealand (WIWNZ), who were in the region last week.

WIWNZ is an initiative launched by New Zealand Winegrowers (NZWG) to provide a platform for women in the industry to ''further grow and reach their full potential'', chairwoman Katherine Jacobs said.

She and national co-ordinator Nicky Grandorge visited the area on February 7 and 8 to talk to industry workers, and Central Otago Winegrowers Association members about what it offered and upcoming activities.

Ms Grandorge said they had met about 30 people at informal functions in Gibbston Valley, Bannockburn and Earnscleugh.

WIWNZ was launched in August 2017 at the Romeo Brigato conference, following an earlier survey of NZWG members.

''There were no women putting themselves forward for the [NZWG] board,'' Ms Grandorge said.

WIWNZ's theme is ''connect, inform, change'' and its role is to provide support for women in the industry to help grow both their confidence and encourage them to step into leadership and governance roles.

It also encourages diversity and inclusivity, encouraging people with disabilities, or from different cultures, to get involved.

''There will be a better balance around the table at leadership level.

''Everyone needs their point of view considered.

''Diversity will strengthen the industry as a whole.''

There are WIWNZ branches through the wine regions of New Zealand, apart from Central Otago.

Ms Jacobs said the existing Women in Wine - Central Otago was an independent group that shared similar values and goals, but was not under the WIWNZ umbrella.

The WIWNZ branches hold regular meetings to allow members to learn, network and connect.

''We have had a lot of feedback that say those connections are really important,'' she said.

''In horticulture and viticulture, people feel quite isolated.

''There are a lot of sole operators and that can be pretty lonely.

''People need people.''

Several changes were planned this year.

WIWNZ was running a second survey of people in the wine industry to look at how the industry can further grow.

It also wants to look at the ''softer, more subtle nuances'' or barriers around attraction and retention of staff.

''It is a really competitive labour market out there,'' Ms Jacobs said.

''We want to make the [wine] industry, the industry of choice for people.

''We are also going to extend the WIWNZ initiative to not only levy payers but to others [associated with the industry] including journalists, wine writers and others.''

WIWNZ launched a mentoring programme last year that had proved successful and applications for this year's has just closed.

It is also holding a diversity and inclusion workshop in Cromwell on March 7, with Mary Haddock-Staniland from Diversity Works New Zealand.

There will also be a speaker from Lion Breweries/Wither Hills.

''We want to encourage as many people, both men and women, as possible to come,'' Ms Grandorge said.

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