Alison Moyes crafting fine wines at Liquidity
Most professions may have been male dominated for a long while, but an obvious change started to surface in recent years --- more and more females are joining in and leading the way. I won't be able to speak for other disciplines but as a CPA for many years, there's easily a 50/50 student gender split in business accounting and finance courses, lecture halls and seminar rooms. My observation also tells me that, a similar phenomenon is happening in the wine industry, and more so in emerging wine regions such as in Canada, New Zealand and Oregon. The once male dominated winemaker position has evolved to welcome more females to join the rank and to put their signatures in the wine world.
Perhaps it has to do with the positive attitude towards genders equality and ability in global societies. In fact, only a handful of professions stick to the male or female only regime. Society is looking at both genders as equal footings with emphasis on ability, skill, experience and performance, instead of gender preception. As a result, the stigma is gone and the barrier for able bodies to enter a particular profession is a lot lower, no matter the gender. Anyone who develops an interest and works hard to achieve the required level of education, training, workmanship and dedication, the entrance gate to the field is wide opened. The increasing number of female winemakers right here in BC is a good example.
No one argues that BC wine industry has been exploding, just count the numbers of wineries operating now compared to decades ago. Opportunities for female workers to enter the industry has been on the rise and subsequently, individuals with true passions and strong intuitive drives will be able to make an impact. No need to quantify the number of female winemakers currently crafting wines in BC since some put on a few hats as consulting winemakers that pry their trades not only in BC but in other wine regions. Nevertheless, their presence, contributions and influences are substantial. These are not followers but trailblazers and trend setters in their own rights. To name a few, stalwarts such as Sandra Oldfield of Tinhorn Creek Vineyards and Heidi Noble of Joie Farm have been showing just that, they are true leaders of the pack. However, it’s the up and coming young female winemakers that are shaping the wine industry is a big way. Alison Moyes, the winemaker for Liquidity Wines in Okanagan Falls is a one of them.Alison's winemaker journey started out as a student who later worked as a sommelier in Halifax, followed by getting a formal university education in Oenology. The critical phase came when her term of work sent her to Osoyoos Larose where she gained valuable experiences in both the vineyard and the cellar. "It is important to me to work in an environment whick provides the varied assignments and allows me immense hands-on practices in all aspects of winemaking." Alison said, "the best way to learn and perfect for sure!" Tasked initially with canopy management, suckering, pest monitoring, crop estimation and fruit thinning in the vineyard, and later put to handle cellar duties such as receiving fruits, sorting, crushing, pressing, monitoring fermentation and barrel work, Alison stated, "I am lucky to be in the right size winery setting and have to learn everything in a rather short period of time. Had she worked for a much larger winery, she could potentially be tasked with a single task for a long period of time before switching to another duty."
Alison strongly believes that hard-core dedication and be ready to get your hands dirty anytime of the day are the perquisites because the wine industry demands long hours, physical labour and tough work environment all the time. To excel in this field requires patience and good collaboration as one needs to work with at least five or six vintages under their belt to carve out a niche or be able to put a signature on the wine. Another secret to success, according to Alison, is to seek out the winery that shared the same philosophy and attitude as hers. At Liquidity Winery, the dedication to premium winemaking with emphasis on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay coincides with her passion to reach for higher and better, and her ability to be creative on small lot productions.
Needless to say, Alison considers winemaking as her calling and she embraces the opportunity to continue to making good wines with utmost TLC. also Besides hands-on experience, she thinks future winemaking will benefit from more education. Anybody with passion and dedication would find success a lot easier. Non-commitment will always simply become the biggest blockage to success.