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New Study Uncorks Sexism, Gender Bias, Harassment and Other Issues facing Women in Wine Industry

A new study by Curious Vines and Proof Insight, Women in Wine Report, reveals the experiences of 726 women working in wine across the UK.

Top findings:

  • 78% of women feel that sexism and gender bias is an issue in the UK wine industry

  • 76% feel that women are underrepresented in leadership roles

  • Over 1 in 3 women in wine have faced harassment whilst working

  • 54% of women feel that discriminatory pay and conditions are an issue in the UK wine industry

“The report highlights that the UK wine industry has significant work to do to improve the experience of women." –– Queena Wong, Founder of Curious Vines, a community for women in wine.

Women were asked what they see as the main challenges facing women in the UK wine industry. More than three-quarters (78%) of women feel that sexism/gender bias is an issue in the UK wine industry, and the same proportion (76%) that there is an issue of women being underrepresented in

leadership roles.

Women in Wine Study UK 2023

Although women agreed there was a lot to like about working in the wine industry, issues they faced made them question their future in the wine. 44% of women have considered leaving the wine industry because of challenges faced.

The vast majority (80%) of women plan to remain in the trade going forwards, however this could reduce if they are enticed into more progressive sectors. Inaction would be to the industry’s detriment.

Sexism, Gender Bias & Harassment

Of the issues surveyed, Sexism, gender bias and harassment is the top issue that women want the industry to prioritise addressing.

Hospitality and sales roles were the more affected, with 3 in 4 women in sommelier/ hospitality roles say they are or have been affected by sexism/gender bias. Of these, the majority have faced harassment (62%) or lookism (54%) and a third (33%) feel personally affected by a lack of support during periods.

7 in 10 women have felt uncomfortable by comments or jokes made by men whilst working. Over 1 in 3 women in wine have faced harassment whilst working, including 1 in 2 18-34-year-olds.

Underrepresentation in Leadership Roles

Women feel it is important that women are as equally represented as men in senior leadership roles.

The lack of female leadership is evident from the composition of leaders that survey respondents reported in their current company. Just 9% work for a company with mostly or all female senior leaders. 68% work in companies where men dominate in leadership, including over 1 in 5 where all senior leaders are men. This was similar across companies of all different sizes. This has a knock on

effect for the experience of women, with 58% of women feeling intimidated by male dominated leadership.

When it comes to progressing into more senior roles, 72% agree that with the appropriate experience they will be senior leaders in the wine industry however 58% don’t think that women have equal opportunities for progression as men do.

Discriminatory Pay and Conditions

Although an equal proportion of women agree or disagree that women receive fair reward for their contribution, this varied depending on seniority level, company and age. Women in sales and business development roles were significantly more likely to be impacted by discriminatory pay.

Women returning to work felt it hindered their progression. 51% of women who have been on maternity or other parental leave in the last five years have been impacted by discrimination linked to pregnancy and maternity.

Considerations for the Wine Industry

Queena Wong, founder, Curious Vines
Queena Wong, founder, Curious Vines

Queena Wong, Founder of Curious Vines, notes; “The report highlights that the UK wine industry has significant work to do to improve the experience of women. The conclusions from the survey can now be used to kickstart conversations for real action to create a new world in wine, where we

protect, retain and uplift female resource.”


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