Wine Importing and Marketing Services

Pregnancy and Motherhood Could Revolutionize Wine if We Let It

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In Fleishman is in Trouble, Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s novel-turned-zeitgeisty 2023 television series, the character Libby Epstein compares being a working mother to having two full-time jobs. “It’s just math,” she says.  

For many real-world working parents, the sentiment resonates. A 2020 Gallup poll showed that fathers in heterosexual, dual-income households don’t share childcare, cleaning, grocery shopping and other duties equally with their female spouses. And, according to a recent study on motherhood and burnout, “less than a third of [500] parents surveyed believe that caring for kids is evenly split among both parents.” 

This imbalance plays out in the wine world, too. Mothers who work in wine also have irregular hours and late nights to contend with, not to mention varying sociocultural attitudes toward raising children around alcohol. Plus, anyone who’s filled glasses or presented a wine list while visibly pregnant has endured more than their fair share of raised eyebrows and cutting remarks. 

But the irony is, pregnant women could be considered some of the wine industry’s sharpest analysts and we may be hindering the potential of mothers at all stages. Instead of sidelining or isolating motherhood from the field, we might consider its potential to unlock new ways to understand wine. 

Pregnancy and Evaluating Wine 

Every person and pregnancy is different, but, as many as two-thirds of women report heightened senses of smell during their pregnancies. That could certainly be seen as an asset in an industry where professionals spend years training their noses and palates to identify and evaluate a wine’s aromas, ripeness, alcohol content and balance.

Suzie Kukaj-Curovic, senior director of public relations and corporate communications for Freixenet and Mionetto, one of the largest sparkling wine companies in the country, had her first child in November 2020. The majority of her pregnancy fell during the strictest shutdowns of the early pandemic.

“I found out I was pregnant on the first day of shelter-in-place,” she says. Despite the immense challenges of the situation, she describes her professional experience as “incredibly positive” due to her manager’s support. When the company eventually rolled out a hybrid return-to-work plan, for example, she was exempt. “Not many people had that luxury at other companies,” she says.

From home, Kukaj-Curovic hosted twice-weekly virtual events where she would sniff, taste and spit wines, with tasting groups. During her pregnancy, she noticed significant changes in her sense of smell. “I was picking up all of these really out-of-the-ordinary aromas and tasting notes. I felt like my aroma library expanded,” she says.

For a communications specialist whose duties include discussing aromas with people who have diverse biographical scent memories to call upon, it was an incredible asset.

Another example, Brenae Royal, who handles winery relations and vineyard ops for Monte Rosso Vineyard, found that each stage of pregnancy impacted her senses differently. During her first trimester, she found wine flavors almost unpleasantly pronounced. By the second trimester, however, her already-expert nose and palate were supercharged.