Wine is also a Women’s Affair
I’m descended from three generations of Burgundy winemakers, so when I turned 10 my grandmother initiated my tender taste buds into the family business. It was love at first taste: I knew that my life was meant to revolve around wine and winemaking. While other girls poured over teen magazines, I spent my adolescent years devouring over 300 books about my obsession.
I was beautifully sidetracked by a “Prince Charming” who diverted my fervor for wine into the delightful satisfaction of being a mother and housewife. But after my third son took his first steps, I discovered I could have many loves in my life. I took a course in wine making and rekindled a part of me that was my calling and destiny. And I found that I could help awaken a passion for wine in other women.
An extract from a profile about The Pioneer of Feminine Wine from “La Vigne” (“The Vine”) magazine.
In the early ‘80s, Isabelle Forêt wrote the groundbreaking “Elles & Bacchus” (“Women and Bacchus”), the first French guide dedicated entirely to women and wine. Its immediate success skyrocketed this award-winning journalist to international fame as “The Pioneer of Feminine Wine,” and started her on a lifelong adventure that would seem at times more like an obstacle course.
She launched the first web magazine about women and wine in 2000 with the highly innovative www.winewomanworld.com. It evolved into an English and French-language blog in 2009 so she could more intimately share her knowledge and passion with her thousands of fans.
Wine journalist, writer, co-founder and managing editor of a culinary magazine for ten years, Isabelle has also written for www.elle.fr, and frequently pens columns for the gastronomic press including the influential magazine Le Coq Gourmand.
Isabelle authored several guides to feminine wine titled FEMIVIN published by Michel Lafon Editions in Paris.
Isabelle is probably best known for her series of wine guides for women first published by Michel Lafon in 2002. The bi-yearly guides, called FEMIVIN, made wine and its terminology accessible to all women. They were the third best-selling wine guides in France.
She is a regular on TV, having appeared every Saturday on France 3 Méditerranée’s cooking show “The Kitchen Next Door.” This popular program, in which Isabelle pairs wines with a dish from a famous chef, is now airing on TV5 Monde, Cuisine TV cable, and a Brazilian network. She also has been featured explaining how women use wine to enhance their seductive powers on the U.S. Discovery Channel’s “Trip Flip.”
A stimulating communicator, Isabelle started lecturing on wine and organizing bacchanalian events, private tastings, and personalized wine tours.
She is in high demand to serve on prestigious wine-tasting juries. Isabelle also convenes her own annual jury of female wine experts to help winemakers select blends that appeal to feminine tastes.
She is currently preparing to promote “French Touch” aesthetics in the USA by publishing an I-Book in English. Focusing on the romantic and amorous aspects of wine, our Feminine Wine Pioneer is going to raise a few eyebrows by revealing how French women use wine to their advantage when dealing with men.
Her English-language blog: www.winewomanworld.com has established Isabelle as an Ambassador of French traditions. Recent articles published in English-language magazines like “The Grapevine Magazine” have helped bring her feminine vision of wine to an international audience.
One of Isabelle’s innovative ideas was to establish a ‘Femivin Corner’ in supermarkets to help women consumers who had difficulty finding the perfect wine to go with their meals. She tested the plan in the giant LeClerc market chain and the M6 TV show “CAPITAL” featured the concept as one of the more promising ideas in the industry. Negotiations are continuing to bring this concept to fruition.
For 30 years, Isabelle has tirelessly worked to help other women openly affirm their passion for the nectar of gods. She intervened on countless occasions where her innovative and constructive approach to the feminine aspects of wine produced major shifts in perception and attitude. This “Pioneer of Feminine Wine” will remain at the forefront of ensuring that women have their rightful place in the world of wine.
Isabelle is a member of the Order of Grandes Dames du Vin et de la Table (www.odvt.org), and
The Professional Association of Columnists and Journalists of Gastronomy and Wine (www.apcig.fr)
Member Association “French Wine Women”
Ma life is only passion
My “Mas de la vigne” or “Farmhouse of Wine” – What fate! I moved into a winegrowers village!
As there is no such thing as chance, 16 years ago my lucky star brought me to this house full of history, dating from 1870 which was inhabited only by women. Facing the house, lives a fallow vineyard of old local grape varieties. The woody vines indicate a flourishing past, but they were abandoned after the Second World War. In it’s heyday the wine served the people of my village in Provence. This house was inhabited by widows whose husbands never returned from war, and THEY were the winemakers. Did you know? “MAS” in Provencal means a small area with a farm. When I discovered it, it appeared to be a pile of ruined stones. I restored the outside with a pink coat of lime which now protects my old stones from pollution. I am fortunate to also have some olive trees that still give fruit with which I can make a few liters of olive oil.
The softness in Provence, the smells, colors, climate and lifestyle …
I always choose large crystal glasses to serve red wines.
For me the choice of a glass is important because it has a great influence on the taste of wine that I drink and offer to my guests. When I see a beautiful glass that I like, I am capable of spending a disproportionate amount of money that I would never spend on clothing. Through the years I have often cracked glasses of Baccarat Crystal, Spiegelau, Riedel! Il est dommage! All my wine glasses and champagne are crystal. I have also collected antique glasses since my youth. My top choice are large nosed glasses with tall legs, to serve my red wine. I need to dive my two nostrils inside sniffing for flavors that flourish before they escape.
My kitchen is my favorite place, I’m a gourmande!
I left Paris long ago to live in the world of Provence in southern France. I like to cook even if I’m alone. I enjoy the traditional cuisine, that cooks in the oven for hours, recipes transmitted from my grandmother. I eat only natural and organic products, and vegetables and fruits that have an authentic taste.
But I am always searching for some gourmet pleasure mixed in with some fun and excitement! The new culinary trends influenced by the cuisines of the world became my passion and helped me create new alliances between the flavors of dishes and wines.
My little wine accessories that changed my life!
As I love wine, I also surround myself with objects that, at every opportunity, create a beautiful appearance before revealing their treasures to me. The objects of wine, whether wood, steel, tin, crystal, glass, leather or chrome, innovative or traditional, are essential for me as I am a woman.
For example, I am never separated from my Screwpull corkscrew, as I no longer need to have the terrible anxiety of a bottle stuck between my legs tugging on the cork! Easy to use, effortless and effective except with some synthetic compact corks, new corkscrews have adapted to our femininity!