We’ve been hearing a lot about women in the spirits industry (Leslie Gracie, Peggy Noe Stevens, Dr. Rachel Barrie), so this month I wanted to highlight one of the biggest names in the wine industry – Jancis Robinson.
A prolific wine writer, journalist, and cellar advisor to Queen Elizabeth the 2nd, Ms. Robinson became the first person outside of the wine trade to pass the rigorous Master of Wine exams, gaining her MW credentials in 1984. For those who may be unfamiliar, becoming a Master of Wine is a rigorous and years-long endeavor which includes blind tastings, exams, essays, and an advanced research paper, and is seen as the highest standard of professional knowledge in the wine industry. The program was created in 1953 and to date there are only 403 Masters of Wine worldwide.
Her books (such as The Oxford Companion to Wine, The World Atlas of Wine, and Wine Grapes) represent some of the pillars of the wine student’s compendium and are seen as standard references around the world.
While she started working in the travel industry doing marketing, 1975 marked the beginning of her wine writing career, working as Assistant Editor for the magazine Wine and Spirits. She has since gone on to write the above mentioned titles (among others), host a 10 part wine series on BBC2, create an online wine course launched in 2015, hold tasting events around the globe, and even designed her own wine glass. Her website is a fantastic resource for wine topics and new articles are released daily.
She was named Decanter’s 1999 Woman of the Year and has been given an OBE by the Queen.
It is always exciting and inspiring to me learning about these dynamic women, seeing where they started, where they ended up, and all they achieved along the way.