International Women's Day - Talented Women of the Food & Wine Industry

 In spirit of International Women's Day this year, team Juice Traders are celebrating some of our amazing lady-friends in the hospitality and wine sector!

Being the sister company to a host of venue's in Adelaide (including Leigh Street Wine Room, Press* Food & Wine, and Peel St Restaurant), we benefit from working closely with the talented individuals who keep these venues ticking, and are further lucky to engage with so many of the winemakers of our great state.

So today we've brought you a lineup of 6 female industry heavyweights, go-getters, goal smashers, and downright inspirational individuals from all over South Australia. As we discuss their journey, achievements and interests, we gain amazing insight into the work and talent it takes to make a name for yourself in this old-as-time industry, what advice these women have to give on how to get where you want to be in life; and they even share the small things that make working in this industry all the more worthwhile!

We hope you gain as much from reading this as we did from talking to these inspiring women in hospitality. At the very least you'll get a good drink recommendation out of it!

CHARLOTTE HARDY 
Winemaker
CHARLOTTE DALTON WINES

Charlotte is a New Zealand-born Winemaker launched her own expressive wine label – Charlotte Dalton Wines – in the Adelaide Hills’ Basket Range in 2015, after working in wine all over the world for almost two decades, including New Zealand, France and the USA’s Napa Valley.

In more recent years Charlotte Dalton Wines has moved down to the coastal paradise of the Fleurieu Peninsula, with her cellar door waiting to welcome all guests with open arms! Charlotte won Gourmet Traveller's Young Gun of Wine award in 2021, an accolade that acknowledges the creativity, love and passion with which she makes her cuvée's. From her stalwart dedication to her work, to the whimsical bottle labels she envisions to tell stories of life, vintage and family; the joy that winemaking and sharing wine brings her is evident in everything she touches.

What are your biggest career highlights/achievements? And why was this so significant for you?
There is a lovely thing about winning an accolade as a result of a blind tasting, trophies in the Adelaide Hills Wine show and the Adelaide Review Hot 100 were examples of this - what huge moments to think the wine you have put your heart into has been liked by others. Winning the Young Gun of Wine in 2021 was absolutely mind blowing, the hugest surprise and such a huge honour - to know that a room of people I respect so much have looked at my wine, my brand and my place in the industry and decided I was worthy of that accolade was huge. But I have to be honest and say my biggest achievement has been to completely rethink what I was doing with this career and cut it right back to a more simple model so that my family and I can enjoy our lives and build memories.

To set up a winery with my best friend so we can both make wines we want to make has been indescribably epic. The awards and trophies are absolutely lovely and humbling and make me so very proud of myself and the wines I have made but when I look back on my life the trophy cabinet isn’t going to be the thing that brings me peace.  

What is a piece of advice you would give your younger self, if you could?
Don’t knock back opportunities, explore them all. 

What are you currently drinking and loving?
G&Ts with Never Never oyster shell gin.

JOSELINE, SARAH & MEL 
Winemakers
PARLEY WINES

Jos, Sarah & Mel are the new kids on the block! Well, sort of. Parley is a new project born out of the minds of these three hospo guru's. Joseline has long worked for winemakers, assisting in vintages for Gentle Folk, Commune of Buttons & Basket Range Wines; and working the cellar door of the Summertown Aristologist. Sarah in turn was the longstanding manager of the Aristologist Restaurant, and Mel (a Viticulture and Oenology student) has worked for the team behind The Scenic Hotel & Son of Dot wine distribution for many years now.

Parley is about coming together and sharing in the labour and love of wine and hospitality. It is about these girls supporting each other in their work financially, physically & mentally. Their ethos is a testament to teamwork and comradely amongst women, and a formula that clearly works... Only one vintage in and the brightly coloured labels (courtesy of Joseline) are already a familiar site across the venues and bottle shops of Adelaide. Shop the Parley Wines here.

Why do you do what you do? What motivates your career?
Working for ourselves and making the wine we want to make with no one to answer to. The support we have for one another is pretty special and we’re so lucky to have each other to bounce off creatively in the winery. We’re motivated by each other and our shared vision and goal to make fresh and delicious wine that anyone can enjoy. We have an incredible community of winemakers around us who share our passion for sustainability and being apart of that community helps to drive and motivate us too.

What is a piece of advice you would give your younger self, if you could?
Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks of you. Just remember you’re strong and capable and deserve to be where you are.

What are you currently drinking and loving?
We love to explore wine made by interesting, small producers from across the world! But over the last few weeks, as we head into another vintage, we have been looking at wine made by friends. There is often some cross over with producers taking fruit from the same vineyards so it’s pretty cool to see the differences and similarities that come through. Everyone has a unique style that often dominates but the vineyard will always present itself in some way. 

 

VALERIE HENBEST 
Business Owner & Cheese Expert
THE SMELLY CHEESE SHOP

There are not many who could argue a greater love for cheese than Valerie! Born in Normandy, she was 'probably eating Camembert before any other solid food' and has achieved what we all ultimately aspire to do: she has turned her greatest passions into a career. A journey that has left her at the healm of a global cheese importation company, mentor for her cheese and wine workshops' Cheese After Dark' and of course the Smelly Cheese Shop in Adelaide's famous Central Markets. 

Why do you do what you do? What motivates your career?
My career path started with the desire to bridge the gap between my home country of France, and Australia.
I started to select a range of my favourite cheeses and created a new importing business involving air and sea-freight containers landing regularly in Australia. To start with, the focus was on small to medium French producers then rapidly I started to venture to greater Europe and the US.

It became obvious that the strong relationships I developed with the producers over these many years allowed me to get a deeper understanding of the products I was bringing back to Australia. I realised that I was in essence the guardian of priceless stories, century old traditions, and personal journeys. An extra layer of precious knowledge and appreciation of the various cheeses I was working with.

I turned into a storyteller, a ‘human’ bridge between different cultures. Believe me, it is very addictive!

Sharing this newborn passion was key to developing a series of cheese and wine masterclasses with a new motto “the more you know about a product, the better it tastes!

What is a piece of advice you would give your younger self, if you could?
Don't be scared to follow your passion. Dare to think outside the square more often. Enjoy and explore your differences.

What are you currently drinking and loving?

I am a Pinot Noir fanatic. In Australia, I enjoy drinking Stephen George’s Ashton Hills Pinot and Michael Downer’s Phaeton - Murdoch Hill.
In France, I would happily drink Vosne Romanée or Gevrey Chambertin.

  

REBECCA SULLIVAN 
Author, Food Writer & Cook, Co-Founder
WARNDU AUSTRALIAN NATIVE FOOD REVOLUTION


Bec has worn an astounding number of hats across her colourful career! From being an author of 6 books, to co-founding and running multiple programs including Warndu & The Granny Skills Movement; both conservation efforts surrounding food and it's preparation across an array of cultures - particularly that of indigenous nations. She has spoken across many platforms, including Channel 10, AUSHarvest & Le Cordon Bleu Australia' and has inspired many with her easy approach to cooking and her passion for agriculture and sustainability.

Why do you do what you do? What motivates your career?
'I have always been extremely career focused and really bad at stopping to acknowledge my many successes. Until now. Older age tends to do that. Today my main motivation is my son and our planet and how we leave it for him and his children. I have a masters in climate change and that has really come back into the forefront of my park now in everything I do and we really see Warndu as an environmental brand, not just a food brand. I suffer from a little eco anxiety at times and this drives me forward to act not wallow in the doom and gloom of it all….'

What are your biggest career highlights/achievements? And why was this so significant for you?
I have many that have been trajectory moments for sure but my proudest is being a YALE world fellow in 2019. I was chosen from thousands as a world leader in my field. I was then immersed on campus at YALE for 4 months with 15 other world leaders from foreign ministers to human rights lawyers to learn and lead, mentor, teach and learn some more. These fellows are my people and I am grateful everyday to have them be my constant good human metre.

What is a piece of advice you would give your younger self, if you could?
That failure is great. Failure is the absolute key to success. Embrace it. Listen to it. Learn from it. And don't be afraid to do it all over again. As an entrepreneur this is a key piece of advice I always try and drill into my students.

What are you currently drinking and loving?
So I have actually been sober for two and a half years now. It was kind of an accidental win for me. It started from being pregnant then I had a very rough birth with my son Mallee and ended up with post natal depression, anxiety and PTSD and thus had to go on medication. So didn’t drink as I had all kinds of sleep issues in addition to writing a book on natural sleep with a YALE professor, and a million light bulbs [started] going off… plus the older I got the harder drinking became and I don't think I am a very good drunk ;)
So I am having a ball rediscovering drinks that are not just soda water ha ha. I LOVE Non caramelised pear, any of Mischief Brews sodas (especially the ginger ale as I am pregnant again and nauseous as hell), Etch native sparkling and absolutely LOVE Banks botanical native Non Gin. Plus lets not forget all of the glorious Warndu garnishes I have on tap ;)

 

MEIRA HAREL
General Manger & Sommelier
PATEL GROUP

Meira Harel is our own General Manager and a talented sommelier to boot! A wine and restaurant professional with over 15 years experience, she has worked at and managed many of the country’s top restaurants (including The Lake House & The Town Mouse). We are proud to say it was Meira who in 2019 curated the first ever wine list for our own Leigh Street Wine Room! In 2022 she has been welcomed back at the helm of a growing hospitality group, steering the direction of a ship consisting of 5+ venues...
 
What are your biggest career highlights/achievements? And why was this so significant for you?
For me the biggest highlights are the people I got to meet (and still do) along the way. May they be guests, colleagues, producers... people who became my mentors and close friends. I was grateful to receive the Good Food Guide 'Sommelier of the Year' Award back in 2016 and was a 'Gourmet Traveler Australian Sommelier of The Year' finalist  the following year, which was very rewarding after a lot of hard work. 

What is a piece of advice you would give your younger selves, if you could?
I was, like many other people around me at the time, a workaholic.. and to be honest I loved every minute of it at the time! We worked hard and learned lots but looking back at it (well, that only happened after I had my first child), I wish I had a better work - life balance, investing some more time in other things in life apart from work, such as my friends and my family. 

What are you currently drinking and loving?
Oh wow, that’s a tough one! It's really a mixed bag of beverages depending on the day. Anything form Heaps Normal (non alcoholic beer) to a textural Riesling, skin contact wine or a light red.. and we always make sure we have a chilled bottle of Champagne in the fridge, just in case :) 

COCO COX
Restaurant Manager
AFRICOLA

Coco is a vibrant star shining amidst the fantastical world of one Adelaide's best restaurants, Africola. Notorious for it's loud and left-of-field dining experience, Africola is perfectly epitomised in it's restaurant manager. Young and driven, Coco demonstrates through her work how to keep a crazy ship not only afloat, but positively thriving! She previously worked casually at Leigh Street Wine Room ' Have you heard of it?' ;) 

Before this, she was the manager of Bodega in Sydney's Surry Hills for several years. Remembering anything further back 'will cost you a one drink minimum.'

Why do you do what you do? What motivates your career?
I had a long hard think about this three years ago after losing my sense of smell due to a nasty accident. I asked myself which of the three key elements of working in a restaurant did I enjoy the most, if any. Food, booze or people? And people were the immediate answer. I do this type of work because of the people. Endlessly fascinating, occasionally maddening, always entertaining.

What are your biggest career highlights/achievements? And why was this so significant for you?
I was walking down Vardon Avenue last Sunday and a regular named John was eating at Yiasou George. He got up from his table and came over to thank me for a birthday email my assistant manager Kate Richards and I had sent him. He was very moved that we made an effort to remember his birthday. That type of interaction is a highlight. A simple email creates a butterfly effect of warmth in a really chaotic world. It’s very significant to be on the front line of making people's days better by simply being thoughtful and kind with words, food and wine.

What is a piece of advice you would give your younger selves, if you could?
Go for it! Yes, putting your hand up for a promotion is scary. Yes, asking for a raise is daunting. What’s the worst that can happen? They say no. You always learn a lot from a ‘no’. What can you do to make it a ‘yes’ next time?

What are you currently drinking and loving?
Bizzarro and Mischief tonic. That’s all I want at the moment. It’s perfect for these unusually humid Adelaide days. Great balance between bitter and sweet. Made here in SA. And it’s the cutest blush pink colour!

From decades of experience, to the new kids on the block, this is a lineup of women to watch and be inspired by! Whether you're in the industry of food & wine, or simply looking for some inspiration, I think it's evident these are some power-house women who know their stuff!

Happy Women's Day, legends <3
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1 comment

  • Inspirational!

    Vishva Gosai

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