A letter written to my subscribers on October 30th, 2020.
If you’re new here, I like to get serious sometimes when the occasion calls for it. This is one of those times.
Yesterday, the New York Times published Julia Moskin’s exposé on the systemic culture of sexual harassment within the Court of Master Sommeliers in the US.
I wasn’t shocked, my fellow wine educator Cristie Norman told me that something big was coming. I wouldn’t have been shocked anyway, because I am a woman in the wine industry. I’ve been waiting for this article since Cristie told me about it on July 1st, four months ago, when we were chatting on instagram about being assaulted at work.
We’ve been waiting for years, actually. Not a peep about #metoo from Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator, or Decanter Magazine. I kept thinking, surely at some point somebody is going to say something?
I’ve never been quiet about my disdain for the wine industry. I’ve seen, heard, and experienced everything described by the brave women in this report. It is a playground for powerful men to serially abuse women.
I think that’s my biggest takeaway from this, and perhaps a bit of a revelation in general. What good men don’t understand is that #metoo is real because a single man can do so much damage to so many women. They do it constantly, again and again, escalating over time as they become more powerful.
Not only do they get away with it, they are congratulated for it, and elevated for it. They step over our bodies for their promotions.
A theme that I identified with in this article is how off-putting it all is. When men prey on young women in this way, filled with power and politics (and alcohol), they make it impossible for the women to continue in the same location and/or in the wine trade.
You move. Get a new job. Give up on your studies. No wonder the industry is so male dominated, you have to be made of steel to survive past your 20s.
Myself, I took a break. I left. But I’m back now, and I am here for this.
Let’s burn it down.