"How Many Women?" A Study of California's Winemakers

Lucia Albino Gilbert, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Santa Clara University

Synopsis of Study (click here for pdf of full study)

It is widely purported that women constitute 15-20% of the winemakers in California and that gender parity will soon be achieved. Until now, no all-inclusive list of women winemakers was available to assess this assumption.

We have compiled the most comprehensive and accurate information currently available on women winemakers in California, the wineries for which they craft their wines, and where their wineries are located within the state. Using this database, we can now provide a response to the "how many women" question. Please refer to the attached PDF document for more detailed information about the database and the rationale, hypotheses, and findings pertaining to this phase of our on-going project that focuses on the career paths of women winemakers.

The approach we used in addressing the "how many" question was to calculate the percentage of wineries with women as the main winemakers. By using this approach we could take into account the fact that some winemakers craft wine for more than one winery or craft wines for their own label in addition to their role as winemaker for one or more other wineries. This is particularly the case for well-known winemakers.

How Many Women?
According to our data, 9.8% of California's wineries have women as the main or lead winemakers.

  Where Are Wineries with Women Winemakers Located within California?
Please click on the California map on the home page for definitions of the eight wine regions used for our project. The percentage of women winemakers for the eight regions ranged from 4.7% to 12.4%, with Southern California and North Central Coast having the lowest percentages and Sonoma/Marin and Napa having the highest percentages. The bar graph we have provided depicts the percentage of wineries with women winemakers in each region and overall. The colors in the bar graph are similar to those used on the interactive map indicating the various wine regions.

  Where Are California Wineries Located within the State?
To place these figures into a larger context, we have provided a pie chart showing where the 3200+ wineries in our database were located. As can be seen from the pie chart, the percentage of wineries in the wine regions we used ranged from approximately 5% to 30%, with Napa having the highest percentage, and Southern California and Mendocino/Lake Counties having the lowest. About half of the state's wineries in our database were located in Napa Valley and Sonoma/Marin. (Please click on the California map on the home page for definitions of the wine regions used in the study.)

Women have made significant in-roads into winemaking during the past 20-30 years, particularly in the more prominent wine regions of Napa and Sonoma. Progress has clearly been made but despite statements to the contrary, the proverbial glass ceiling has not yet been shattered.

Click here for a Downloadable PDF of this article