Celebrating Mother’s Day with the Great Women of Champagne

On CTV’s The Social yesterday, we chatted about the top Champagnes made by women for Mother’s Day. (Click on the arrow above to play the video.) They were all young women whose families owned the great champagne houses at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. When they lost their husbands to war or illness, they didn’t sell the businesses or remarry. They took control of the chateaus to produce some of the most prestigious wines in the world. In an era when few women were in business at all, these women headed what were, at the time, some […]

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Women’s Wines: Are They Pink Plonk?

Pretty in pink is a common theme. As are images of stilettos, vamp red lips, long limbs and sexy cocktail parties. In a bid to corner the chick wine market while at the same time helping women overcome their supposed fear of buying wine, wineries around the globe are tarting up their labels with a wink towards debaucherous girls’ nights out – rebranding or creating new blends with names such as Strut, Bitch and Pink. “I’m always skeptical of marketing-driven wines,” says Natalie MacLean, editor of Canada’s largest wine review site. “Authentic wine has its roots in the ground, not […]

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Wine for Women: Bottle of the Sexes

I love tasting and writing with tongue in cheek. Here’s my column in More Magazine about so-called women’s wines. Personally, I can’t resist a pink label or cuddly squirrel. I guess I’m just at the mercy of those intrepid marketing teams … it’s like they read my mind after I had been drinking too much of Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz … More articles about women and wine. You go girl!

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Men v Women on Wine: The Score v The Story?

• Men stay in their comfort zones; women are more adventurous. • Women shop for communal gatherings, men for themselves. • Men are geared toward impressing, women toward pleasing. • Women buy wine for the short term (sharing), men for the long term (hoarding). • Men buy on the basis of testimonials from experts, women on tips from friends and merchants. • Women order wine by the glass at restaurants; men order bottles. It started back in, well, the Garden of Eden. In the beginning, it was Eve, inquisitive and experimental, who first sampled a “forbidden” fruit. And once she […]

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Women Drive Wine Sales Up: Liquid Profits

A recent Globe & Mail report says that women have been driving wine sales up over the past decade. As a woman who writes about wine, it doesn’t surprise me given that wine is the drink of conversation, to be savored and enjoyed with friends over dinner rather than knocked back as shots in a bar. I get several hundred e-mails every day from the 170,000 subscribers to my wine e-newsletter, many of them from women asking about how to pair wine with food or how to serve it (glass, temperature etc). Women are still largely the the social planners, whether […]

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Are Women Better Wine Tasters Than Men?

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, but are we on two different planets when it comes to tasting wine? International Women’s Day #IWD2016 is March 8 so it’s timely to look at this issue and the science behind it. Dr. Linda Bartoshuk, at Yale University School of Medicine, discovered the super taster phenomenon in 1999, along with the fact that women are more than twice as likely to be super tasters than men. To test her theory, Dr. Bartoshuk dipped a thyroid medication on study participants’ tongues to test their sensitivity to bitterness. Based on the results, she divided […]

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Men Versus Women Winemakers: Battle of the Bottles?

In honour of International Women’s Day #IWD2016 on March 8, I’m posting this piece that I originally wrote for the LCBO’s Food & Drink Magazine on women winemakers. Several of the women have since changed positions, but they are still in the wine industry and more importantly, the issues raised remain. Do women have any natural advantages when it comes to making and tasting wine? Are they still a minority in the industry, and if so, why isn’t that changing? What does the future look like for young women entering the field? In my personal quest for answers, I’ve judged the […]

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The Champagnes of James Bond and Rappers: Bollinger and Cristal

Part 2: Champagne Widows By the 1930s, French winemakers faced even greater challenges: a country about to go to war, a worldwide Depression that made running any business difficult, and U.S. Prohibition, which made selling luxury champagne to the lucrative American market almost impossible.   Camille Olry-Roederer   This was the forbidding business environment that Camille Olry-Roederer stepped into when she took over the champagne house Louis Roederer after losing her second husband in 1932 (her first husband had died in World War I). Sales were 264,000 bottles that year, compared to 2.3 million bottles in 1876.   1954 1954 […]

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The Merry Widows of Mousse: Champagne Widows

They were all young women whose families owned the great champagne houses at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. When they lost their husbands to war or illness, they did not do what was expected: step aside or sell the business.  Nor did they marry again (though they were still in their twenties and thirties), handing over the reins to a new husband. Instead, these celebrated veuves, or widows, took control of their châteaux to produce some of the most prestigious wines in the world – wines that still bear their names: Veuve Clicquot, Pommery, Laurent-Perrier, Roederer and […]

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How to Sabre Champagne + Sparkling Wines

Leanne and I chat about sparkling wines and Champagnes for the holidays. Click on the arrow to play the video above. Napoléon visits the Moët & Chandon cellars in 1807 Napoleon is credited with inventing the sabering technique and is famous for his phrase: “In victory we deserve Champagne, in defeat, we need it.” The famous Champagne maker Veuve Clicquot, who lost her husband when she was just 27, was a wealthy young widow. She would entertain Napoleon’s officers (early day sampling program). They, in turn, tried to impress her by sabering the tops of the Champagne bottles that she […]

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