One of our biggest online campaigns to date has been the Great British Wine Industry Women – where we staged a series of inspirational Instagram Live interviews with female professionals who are shaping Great Britain’s wine industry today. As well as looking at those who are working in viticulture and winemaking, the series of interviews has also featured those who have founded successful wine businesses, those working in retail, hospitality and communications. And because there are many more industry female role models to celebrate, the campaign has returned this year!
Running for six days, from Monday 7 March through to 12 March, the series of Instagram Live interviews will put a spotlight on some of the industry’s most exceptional women, spanning some of the many different career paths available. As well as looking at those who are working in winemaking, the series of interviews will also feature those who have founded successful wine businesses, those working in retail, hospitality and communications.
Our stellar guests will include:
MON 7 MARCH Elisha Rai, co-founder, Folc
TUE 8 MARCH Cláudia Lopes, Laboratory & Quality Control Manager, Hattingley Valley
WED 9 MARCH Susie Barrie MW, TV and radio presenter, writer, columnist, podcaster, author and consultant, Susie and Peter
THU 10 MARCH Zoë Driver, Assistant Winemaker , Black Chalk Wine
FRI 11 MARCH Ann Hill, Master Vintner, The Vintners Company
SAT 12 MARCH Aleesha Hansel, wine writer, TV presenter and judge, www.aleeshahansel.com
The range of careers and career paths these interviewees have taken will be discussed and hopefully some of the advice shared will actively encourage anyone interested in joining the UK wine industry or the wider wine trade at large.
Each of the six 30-minute-long discussion interviews will be hosted first, live, on WineGB’s Instagram channel at 6pm each evening. For those who cannot view the sessions live, replays will be available on our Instagram Account.
Elisha Rai, co-founder, Folc
Elisha Rai is the co-founder of Folc, an English still rosé producer that launched at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and has now gone on to become the highest scoring still English Rosé in the country. As a female woman of colour and not from the traditional wine world, Elisha has championed diversity and inclusiveness in the industry to encourage more women and people of colour to join one of the most exciting, innovative and fast paced areas to work in.
Elisha has been quoted in Stylist magazine, Kent Life & Enterprise Nation with her advice on how to change careers and what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur in the English wine scene.
Cláudia Lopes, Laboratory & Quality Control Manager, Hattingley Valley
Born and raised in Portugal, Cláudia first became interested in wine after attending a Winemaking lecture at University, while studying Biotechnology. But it wasn’t until she finished her first harvest at Herdade to Sobroso, that she knew wine was going to be her career.
She decided to advance her st
udies with a Master’s degree in Viticulture and Oenology from the University of Évora, while spending her summers at CARMIM gaining hands-on experience in both laboratory and winery.
After graduating in 2014, Claudia went to the Sonoma Valley (California) for harvest where she ended up staying for a whole year working as Cellarhand for Schug Carneros State Winery.
She moved to the UK in 2015 to join Emma Rice at Custom Crush as Lab Technician, and later the Hattingley Valley Wines team as Winery Assistant.
After more than six years experiencing and being part of Hattingley’s growth and development throughout different sectors, Cláudia is currently the Laboratory & Quality Control Manager, assessing all Hattingley’s own wines as well as its clients, while overseeing and maintaining the company’s quality standards. In addition, she keeps running Custom Crush Lab services and provides support to all its external clients.
Susie Barrie MW, TV and radio presenter, writer, columnist, podcaster, author and consultant, Susie and Peter
Susie Barrie is an award-winning Master of Wine known for her engaging blend of enthusiasm, authority and down-to-earth charm. A TV presenter, broadcaster, podcaster and writer, Susie’s credits include more than a decade on BBC1, plus Radio 4 and LBC, The Sunday Times & ITV. She is an international competition judge and Chair of the WineGB Awards. Susie is also a regular Decanter contributor and author of several books, the most recent being The Essential Guide to English Wine, which she wrote with her husband, Peter Richards MW. Together the pair provide high-level consultancy and they were the founders of the acclaimed annual Wine Festival Winchester. Susie & Peter’s latest venture is their hugely successful Wine Blast podcast, which in just 18 months has attracted listeners from over 150 countries. With a background in acting and having been brought up in Yorkshire pubs and hotels, Susie has many strings to her bow; in her spare time she runs, sings and cooks.
Zoë Driver, Assistant Winemaker , Black Chalk Wine
Whilst travelling the world aged 21, Zoë Driver stopped in Australia to top up funds and ended up working at Domaine Chandon making predominantly sparkling wine, where she completely fell in love with winemaking. Upon her return to the UK, she tried to do several ‘normal’ jobs and hated them all. It was then Zoë applied for, and successfully became, the UK’s first Winemaking Apprentice at Hattingley Valley Wines – a two year program that encompassed on-the-job training, as well as education including the WSETs and Plumpton courses.
Following the completion of the program, she was promoted to Assistant Winemaker, and also spent some time making wine in Champagne. Zoë then took up the role of Assistant Winemaker at Black Chalk Wine in 2019, where she helped to design and kit out their brand new winery alongside producing award winning English wines. She has also just graduated with an MSc in Viticulture and Oenology.
Ann Hill, Master Vintner, The Vintners Company
Ann Hill has become a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Vintners by Patrimony in 1987, and today she is the 526th and first female Master of the Vintners’ Company.
After studying Hospitality and Management at Oxford Polytechnic and a series of administrative roles in the City, Ann’s charity-sector involvement began managing the Guy’s Hospital Charity where she also met her husband Keith, at a fundraising Beaujolais Nouveau Breakfast in 1988. Ann’s charity work continued during their six year-postings in Mexico and New York, where she worked for causes ranging from programmes for orphans in Mexico City to introducing Shakespeare to Connecticut schoolchildren.
Ann’s educational and charitable background led to her involvement with the Vintners’ charities, serving on the Vintners Company Charitable Foundation from 2005 to 2010, and then the Vintners’ Foundation from 2017, which she now chairs. Her understanding of the difficulties currently faced by young people, has given the Foundation the opportunity to support some less traditional charities with a focus on those with multiple disadvantages and complex needs.
Aleesha Hansel, wine writer, TV presenter and judge, www.aleeshahansel.com
Throughout Aleesha’s, career she’s been drawn to stories of people and places. This interest has led her to study the NCTJ Diploma, going on to work as a multimedia journalist, before producing TV documentaries.
It was a natural progression when she fell into the wine trade, after many a year as an engaged consumer, that she quickly became fascinated by the anthropology of wine and the role it plays in culture and society.
With experience in broadcasting, having reported for radio and TV covering everything from the Royal Rota to terrorist attacks, Aleesha can often be found on discussing all things wine on BBC Radio 4, TalkRadio and ITV’s Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh.
On top of this she is keen advocate for representation and diversity matters, using my platform to discuss these issues and am the proud winner of the inaugural Louis Roederer BAME Bursary (www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/mentorship-catches)