Behind the smiles on the facades, the friendliness displayed and the advertising slogans, the world of wine is not always rosy for the women who work there. “There is consumption ofalcohol which lends itself to several behaviors: from inappropriate gesture to violence, explains Aurélie Degoul, member of the office of the association Paye ton pinard, which warns of gender-based and sexual violence. We often justify this kind of attitude by saying that so and so “was a little tipsy”. It is pregnant in all that is event. »
In September 2020, Beaujolais winemaker Isabelle Perraud launched the Paye ton pinard Instagram account to denounce daily sexism in the wine industry. She received so many testimonies from victims that she decided to found an association that bears the same name as the social network page. Launched in August 2022, it now brings together 65 members, from the wine world but not only.
“If you talk, you will be ostracized from this pretty world”
“I don’t know of an environment free of sexism and I don’t know if we are more subject to it than others in the wine industry, but in any case, we are told a lot of facts”, comments Aurélie Degoul, who after having worked in communication in this sector, works today in that of the social and solidarity economy. The association has set itself the goal of reporting both ordinary sexism and gender-based and sexual violence. And if the offenses are considered serious, it directs the victims to the competent judicial authorities.
“There is an omerta because everyone knows each other, it’s a small environment. And if you speak, you will be ostracized from this pretty world”, points out Aurélie Degoul who confides that, in professional salons, where we often work with a glass in hand, inappropriate comments and gestures are far away. to be rare: “with a slightly short skirt at this kind of event, you won’t talk a lot about wine but on the other hand, we will comment on your outfit. »
Towards a charter of good conduct
Not to mention that in Bordeaux, one of the major recruitment firms that has set up shop has expectations on the appearance of candidates. “I’ve already been told ‘with your style it’s not going to be possible’, because I’m tattooed and I have a weird hair color. “says Aurélie Degoul, who works in the Médoc. “In Bordeaux, there is a very big divide between winegrowers and grands crus,” adds the young woman before continuing to denounce. Because if several women are indeed at the head of large estates in Gironde, “we are told “you see, they get there when they have talent”, and that makes it possible to hide everything else”.
The rest is often unequal treatment between men and women. We know that the proportion of men and women working in the oenology and sommellerie sectors is more or less equal, but statistics are more difficult to establish in the wine production sector. “Women are often collaborating spouses, a status that has existed since 1999, and find themselves invisible and not always paid, explains Aurélie Degoul. They are “wives of the winegrower” and not recognized as winegrowers. »
Very careful not to attach their image, the wines of Bordeaux have “great difficulty in modernizing”, in the opinion of the member of the association who is also represented in the Loire, Beaujolais, Bordeaux and even in Andalusia. At the beginning of January, Paye ton pinard, which will be present at the Canons of Winegrowers Fair on March 4 and 5, has written a letter of intent to show organizers to encourage them to take action against such violence and offer them a charter of good conduct. The union of natural wine producers has already signed it.