“We’ve always felt a bit down and out about the lack of diversity in the wine industry,” says Alysha Moscatt, who runs Gippsland wine label Allevare with partner and winemaker Lucy Kendall. The wine label started in 2020 and, after Kendall started studying software engineering, the pair noticed how far behind the winemaking industry was in its diversity compared to other career paths. “It just reminded us of how behind the wine industry is and it really doesn’t need to be because there’s so many amazing people to showcase,” Moscatt tells Broadsheet.
It sparked the idea for Joans of Marc – a female-led wine pack that looks beyond the traditional cast of men in winemaking and holds space for celebrating diversity within it. The first pack, released in June, included a semillon from former Sydneysider Erin Pooley who makes wines in California under the name Little Frances, and a pinot noir by Clare Burder from Eminence Wines.
“Everyone really seemed to love it,” says Moscatt. “We often hear from people running events and having a retail space in wine that they want to diversify their wine list and the wines they have on offer but they don’t necessarily know where to reach out to. That was one of the main incentives for doing it … to have a hub where people in the industry can go if they want to branch out their wine lists.”
Beyond highlighting a diverse wine industry, Moscatt and Kendall are sending a percentage of the profits to charities such as Mudgin-Gal, a women’s centre in Redfern, Sydney, run by Aboriginal women for Aboriginal women.
“Wine has this habit of being really insular and you can kind of get caught in a little bubble, so we thought that raising funds or having a percentage of the proceeds going to an aspect of the broader community would open up the industry and promote inclusivity,” says Moscatt.
Others in the industry also help to curate the packs. Vinomofo’s Beth Bicknell strung together a Spanish-themed selection named Juanas de Marco, while Sydney sommelier Bridget Raffal picked six female winemakers working under male winery names. The idea is to bring attention to the person behind each drop.
“I did a shoutout on Instagram and asked if there were any queer winemakers that wanted to be involved. A few people wrote back and said ‘look, it’d be awesome to be involved but I just don’t feel comfortable in my current workplace to do something like that,’” Moscatt says. “That was even more incentive – it shouldn’t be like that anymore.”