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Thursday 2 July 2015

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Top 50 most powerful women in wine: 50 – 41

5th December, 2012 by Lucy Shaw


AGE: 40
One of the world’s leading experts in fine wine authentication, California-based Maureen Downey runs Chai Consulting, a fine wine collection management firm she founded in 2005.

She is hired by wine collectors across the US to authenticate the contents of their cellars and played a pivotal role in the Rudy Kurniawan case in identifying a number of the wines the Indonesian-born collector was selling as fakes.

She began raising concerns about Kurniawan’s “magic cellar” a decade ago. He is currently on trial in New York for four counts of fraud – and Downey has subsequently been busy doing interviews with Vanity Fair, Fox Business, and CNBC’s Crime Inc. “There’s a lot of dubious wine out there. I don’t sugarcoat it if I find fakes,” she says.

28 Responses to “Top 50 most powerful women in wine: 50 – 41”

  1. Martin Campion says:

    I’m all for combining women with wine, especially when they make Riesling for a living, but I’m not sure your visual is really in keeping with the subject. It’s reinforcing the image of women as sex objects, trapped under a glass ceiling, rather than celebrating that they are b****y good at their jobs. Perhaps the image is their to provoke a reaction? If it is, well done, you have.

    • SAHMmelier says:

      Well said. I echo your thoughts. Powerful women? More like what you’d see on a mudflap with “hot broad” or something equally sexist.

      • Mary Heston says:

        Mudflap! That’s where I’ve seen that image before (and I do spend alot of time in flyover country). Two problems – would this article be the same if we were talking about powerful men in the wine industry? Would the first image be of a silhouette of a man draped over some satin sheets? Secondly, would the next most important bit of information provided about these powerful people be their age? Not sure I can remember a power list of men that started out with their age? I can’t get past those two points to even read the article. Too bad because I like the idea.

      • Mary Heston says:

        The second picture is just as big of a problem as the first. Would this article have been written the same if it were about powerful men? The second problem is that in this article the very first important piece of information we are given about these powerful women is their age – unless they are over 61 apparently? I couldn’t even get through these two problems to read the article which is a shame because I like the idea of celebrating women in the industry.

  2. Call the art director, STAT, and bring a casket for that illustration. This image of women is dead and smells very bad.

  3. Whiny woman says:

    Wow. Worst Visual Ever.

  4. Becca says:

    I second Martin’s comments. This image is highly inappropriate and should be swapped out for something else. I agree that it certainly has the effect of provoking a reaction!

  5. Roger Raley says:

    Perhaps consider hiring someone other than James Bond to do your graphic design work. Oh, and the 50’s called. They want their view of women back.

  6. Jessamyn West says:

    Seriously? “Let’s look at powerful women in the industry…” gives you an mage of a woman in heels trapped under a wine glass? I’m not getting it.

  7. Karen says:

    Couldn’t get past your image of a “pole dancer provacitively posing in heels” to want to finish reading the article.

  8. I’m always fascinated to learn about the people behind the wines, and am very glad for the recognition that these successful professionals are receiving. The graphic itself seems terribly incongruous with the content of the slideshow, and confusing in the message it is trying to convey, if there is a message at all.
    Given that you still have a few more installments to add to this list, I might suggest you give the creative department another chance.

  9. Um yeah, as a woman that has been in the wine business for over 15 years, and often writes about the sensuality of wine and the way it can seduce you, that image is insulting as hell. Period.

  10. David Vergari says:

    Maybe the art director misunderstood the connotation? Very bizarre.

  11. It is always interesting to learn more about the people behind the wines, and those that move the industry. I’m also very glad to see the recognition given to these successful professionals. The original image that you associated with this list seemed terribly incongruous with the content of the article, and sent an extremely confusing, if not an outright misogynist message.

    I’m posting this comment a second time, as my original got whacked while you were updating the original image to the one you have currently, which frankly is not much better. From a stripper under glass, to a woman in a nightie adjusting her, um, nightie.

    It’s uncertain what the people included in this list would think of this association, but my own thought is that the creative department needs to engage their brains just a bit, and lay of the stock clip imagery.

  12. Karen says:

    The new picture’s not much of an improvement. Still ridiculous.

  13. Wine Harlots says:

    You’re getting a reaction.
    But really not the one you want.
    With the poor choice of the Playboy/Esquire/Maxim/James Bond image to lead-in to the article you marginalize and objectify the women you are purportedly celebrating.
    And for me, just having separate lists for women is offensive. It implies that women in the wine world cannot compete with their male counterparts. (And if they do, it’s based on sexual attributes, not skill.)

    All the best,

    Nannette Eaton

  14. Becca says:

    Really? That’s the new image you’re using? Let’s trade one offensive image for another! No one will notice!

  15. That image is no better!

  16. Ryan says:

    Beyond the fact you swapped out 1 offensive image for another. Your page visit-whoring does nobody any good. Clicking one page at a time to read something is not helping you, nor making anyone want to find out who these people are. Though I do agree with Wine Harlots, “Why would you separate the women from the men”? 1 list, if you need to do it, should be a “people list”.

  17. Veronica Castro says:

    Regarding the silhouette stripper images in this article… When your next article for the 50 Most Powerful Men in Wine comes out, I expect to see a silhouette of a hunky dude in cut-off jean shorts and no shirt. It’s only fair, right?

  18. lt says:

    ii agree. just a couple tweaks would make this a much more credible piece .one image. one list. better reading format.

  19. Marlene Rossman says:

    Drinks Business is a UK publication. They are still in the dark ages when it comes to women.
    Wake up and smell the Rosé, Brits!

  20. JR says:

    Your replacement image shows how truly clueless, old-fashioned and misogynistic you are at TBD. Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad you let her out of the wineglass before she suffocated, but this isn’t much of an improvement. Why would you use a silhouette of a curvy Bond-girl in a miniskirt to illustrate powerful women? If this was the Top 50 Men, would you have shown a silhouette of a muscular guy in a Speedo? I doubt it. Shame on you. Hire a few women designers, for god sakes. (And if you already have female designers on staff, replace them).

  21. What a wonderful way for others in the industry to learn about these amazing women and what they’re doing. I’m sure that Lucy Shaw was thrilled to be covering the subject and I was excited to read about it and learn about these fabulous, dynamic women.

    I disagree with the others who commented that women shouldn’t have their own spotlight. In other industries, maybe that’s true, but wine has traditionally been so male-dominated that I think it’s wonderful to highlight this shift and to show that women are making big strides in the wine world. If the list were integrated, men in more prestigious positions (for example Michel Rolland instead of his sister) would overshadow these women. I think this is a great piece.

    …Except for the art, of course, which is trashy, insulting, and totally inappropriate. What the hell? Stick a picture of a wine bottle or vineyard in there and let’s be done with this. I know there aren’t a ton of women in this industry, but can you (meaning The Drinks Business) have a little decorum and professionalism? Unreal.

    Elizabeth Schneider, Wine for Normal People

  22. Janice Cable says:

    I was so angered by both the original “mud flap,” “stripper-under-glass,” “James Bond” illustration, as well as its more respectable sister second invocation, that I wrote a blog post about it.

    Now that the illustration has been replaced with a gender-neutral bunch of grapes, I can just be outraged at the strange, myopic, ahistoric introduction; the misogynist need to print these professional’s ages at the tops of their bios; and the blind need to create a “pink ghetto” of women wine professionals.

  23. Kellen says:

    Why don’t you put pictures of the women in the WINE INDUSTRY that you are writing about? It would be logic if you are going to write an article about them.

  24. I’m utterly amazed by this episode, ie, it’s the 21st century and equality and respect of the sexes has been around for quite some time. What on earth are they thinking of at the Drinks Business???

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