Editor's note: This article was first published Aug. 10, 2018. We're bringing it back today in observation of National Drink Wine Day.
"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.
"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.
#WCW Faith Armstrong Onward from @onwardwines. Faith pays homage to her childhood by choosing the name of the little boat in which she went to school every day as the name of her vineyard. This refreshingly dry Pet-Nat Malvasia Bianca with preserved lemons will leave you with a touch of floral and fruity accents! Faith bottles the wine with a small amount of lees, allowing the fermentation to complete in bottle, leaving the wine un-disgorged, adding purity and complexity that would be lost if removed 🍋 Did we mention it's a magnum. Pretty fabulous. #silverfox
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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