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Coly Den Haan

There are more women winemakers than ever before. Here's why you should pay attention.


Updated February 18, 2019 07:00 AM EST

Editor's note: This article was first published Aug. 10, 2018. We're bringing it back today in observation of National Drink Wine Day.

LOS ANGELES (CIRCA) — From the looks of it, Vinovore may seem like any other boutique wine store. But all the vintages in the shop have something in common: They're produced by female winemakers.

"I know I'm not gonna change the world in a wine shop, but I wanted to do something," said Coly Den Haan, owner of Vinovore in Los Angeles.

Den Haan is a sommelier and restaurant industry veteran who decided to open the female-focused wine shop in 2017 to provide a casual space that empowers female winemakers, who are often unrecognized in the industry.

Coly Den Haan
Coly Den Haan, the owner of Vinovore in Los Angeles. (Circa)

"There's always been women in the wine world and I think, now, we're just celebrating them a little bit more and I think women are getting more opportunities, but they still work twice as hard," Den Haan said.

Even though women consume more wine worldwide than their counterparts, the industry is still dominated by men. For example, out of 158 people who have earned the title "Master Sommelier" since the late 1970s, 25 are women. And out of more than 4,000 wineries in California, approximately 10 percent of them have a female lead winemaker.

Now, more and more women are jumping into making wine, especially the natural variety, which is made only with native yeast and no other additives or chemicals.


"There's a lot of bro-iness in the wine world, especially in the natural wine world," Den Haan said. "I think women don't like to show off as much, but they're doing just as much, if not more and better, work sometimes."

The word "sommelier" might be synonymous with "snobby" to some people. That's why Den Haan's focus for her wine shop is to provide a space where learning about wine is not intimidating. Inside the shop hangs a chart that depicts different animals attached to different types of wine. The chart simply asks, "Which Vinovore are you?"

Value is also important to Den Haan, which is why she carries a lot of affordable natural wines.

"You're not saving the world with a bottle of wine, you know? It's just meant to be drank and enjoyed," said Den Haan. "That's what wine has always been about."

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