Events celebrating women in food and wine

Published on March 5 2019.

Photo: Yarra Valley Women in Wine

It’s International Women’s Day this Friday – and it also happens to be the day the 2019 Melbourne Food & Wine Festival starts. What better way to celebrate the two than with a ticket to an event focused on the women who make wine, run restaurants, write about food and shape our food culture in Australia in countless ways. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

And if you can’t make it to one of these, remember to do something else during the year to celebrate and recognise women’s contributions in food and wine.

For Sake’s Sake

Some towns have beauty pageants, Japan has Miss Sake. With the backing of the Japan Sake & Shochu Makers’ Association, Miss Sake travels the world to preach the gospel of Japan's national beverage while promoting cultural understanding and empowering women in a historically male-dominated industry. Asami Sudo, current Miss Sake, will lead you through a night of Japanese cuisine and spirits at Kumo Izakaya, joined by Australia’s official sake ambassador Andre Bishop, for an evening of Kumo's award-winning Japanese cuisine, sake and culture.

The Avenel Bunch

Who are The Avenel Bunch? A group of women who make wine in the region surrounding Avenel’s beautiful Harvest Home Hotel, a heritage pub in Victoria’s north-east that’s been lovingly restored. The hotel’s owner Samantha Lewis has gathered the Bunch for a leisurely three-course lunch, where you’ll get to meet the winemakers from Box Grove, Brave Goose, Tar & Roses, Maygars Hill, Pacha Mama and McPherson and try their selections with each course. Live entertainment and tastings are all part of the fun.

The Village Feast

Women often play a huge role on farms, growing produce, raising animals and keeping households running. The Village Feast, a celebration of Gippsland’s natural bounty, will bring these women into the spotlight, as the main street of Jindivick is lined with stalls by the likes of Tamsin’s Table, Gippsland Jersey and Jacican. Others will be using yoghurt made by Rachel Downie of Butterfly Factory or vegetables grown by women in the local area. You’ll also get to catch Melbourne chef Shannon Martinez in action.

Gender and Restaurants panel at the Theatre of Ideas

Do women and men cook differently? Eat differently? Taste differently? If they do, why? If they don’t, should they? In striving for equality should we also look to celebrate difference? Hear a panel of men and women, including Alla Wolf-Tasker, Shane Delia, Shannon Martinez and Dan Stock unpack all the curly questions at the Theatre of Ideas on Saturday 9 March.

Yarra Valley Women in Wine

Five of the Yarra Valley’s most respected winemakers will come together for a special dinner – during vintage, no less! – that pairs top-notch Valley drops with Kisume’s Japanese-inspired food. Think sea perch with ochazuke and white anchovy and beef tenderloin with yakiniku soy, paired with selections by Yarra Yering's Sarah Crowe, Yeringberg’s Sandra de Pury, Maryann Egan of Wantirna Estate, Clare Halloran from TarraWarra, Kate Goodman of Goodman Wines and Bird on a Wire's Caroline Mooney.

What Zia Makes

Teresa Bruno, owner of much-loved Brunswick restaurant Zia Teresa, is as passionate about simple Italian food as she is about empowering women. So, she’s combined the two for a special dinner during the Festival that raises money for Oxfam’s projects helping women around the world. Four courses will be matched with wines from Noisy Ritual – plus you get that fuzzy feeling of contributing to a good cause.

In Conversation with Donna Hay

Donna Hay has shaped the way Australians cook, look at and think about food through her many books, magazine, website and styling. Catch her at a very special lunch at Stokehouse on St Kilda beach on International Women’s Day, where she’ll participate in a discussion and Q&A while you get to enjoy three courses and local wines.

Greek Culinary Walking Journey

Join Mary Valle of Mary’s Kitchen and Kelly Michelakis of Hellenic Odyssey to learn about Greece’s food culture, history and the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet on this walking tour through Oakleigh, one of Melbourne’s epicentres of Greek culture and community. You’ll start with morning tea at a Greek café and tastings at a Greek deli and bakery in the neighbourhood, followed by a sharing-style lunch with a glass of wine and coffee.

Le Chef et l’Oenelogue

That’s the chef and the winemaker to you – plus Food + Wine Victoria CEO Anthea Loucas Bosha, who will join Ruinart’s chief winemaker Caroline Fiot and Bistro Guillaume’s namesake Guillaume Brahimi to lead guests on a journey through French cuisine and Champagne. Expect some of Brahimi’s signature dishes from his time at Bennelong in Sydney plus Dom Ruinart 2007 and Dom Ruinart Rosé 2004.

For more events, browse our full program.