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South Africa's Women in Wine

Since ancient times viticulture and winemaking, like farming in general, has been dominated by men: According to the biblical narrative the first vintner was Noah who planted a vine after the flood waters receded. Yet in recent years, both in South Africa and globally, with a blend of determination, passion, a keen palate and an ability to think creatively many women have succeeded in closing the gender gap in the world of wine.

Despite these advances however, the subject of Women in Wine often comes up in the media only at predictable times, usually before International Women’s Day, for example.

My long-term project goes beyond this stereotype and recognizes the contribution of a select group of women winemakers, educators and viticulturists in South Africa, not for their gender but for their contribution to the industry, for their dedication to viticultural heritage and excellence, and their elegant, creative and exciting wines.

The project was initiated with the support of the Terroirs d ‘Images international wine photo competition following my success in their 2019 exhibit.

Cathy van Zyl MW wrote "This will do much to increase the profile of South Africa’s women winemakers and viticulturists and, by extension, that of women in other areas of the industry: sales, marketing, distribution and logistics, technical and scientific support and education, to name a few.”

A wide edit of the photographs from journeys in South Africa, since the 2020 harvest, have been uploaded to the Getty Images international photography archive for editorial use worldwide, and more images from the project can be seen at

Photos and text by David Silverman/dpsimages. Copyright © 2023. All Rights Reserved.


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