For our 2022 Women In Wine series, we’re shining the spotlight on incredible females in B.C.’s wine industry—like Amy Paynter, winemaker, at Liquidity Wines in Okanagan Falls. —Noa Nichol
Hi Amy! Why and how did you become a winemaker, and when did you join Liquidity?
I studied winemaking and viticulture at university back home in New Zealand. I was drawn to it as it encompasses three main aspects that bring me great joy: being creative, being analytical and a little mad scientist-y, and being out in nature. I spent 10-plus years in the industry in New Zealand, California and South Africa, before landing in Canada, and joined the Liquidity team in April of 2021.
What does your day-to-day making wine at Liquidity look like?
One of the best parts of winemaking is that there is really no set average day. I might start my week off focusing on marketing projects, mid-week be doing blending trials and, by Friday, cleaning empty barrels! The variability of my days keeps everything fresh and fun!
March 8 is International Women’s Day—a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. In this context, when you hear the term “women in wine” what does it mean to you?
To me personally the first word that comes to mind is inspirational. It’s for sure a challenge being female in a male-dominant industry, and seeing the achievements of women around me in the industry is a constant reminder that heck yeah we can do this!
Are there any special challenges, or benefits, to being a woman in wine?
There’s always an element of discrimination when you’re a women in a physically demanding and mentally challenging role—whether that’s wine or other industries. I was lucky enough to work for a women-owned-and-run winery as my first venture into the industry, and they all installed very strong ideals in me. You’ll very rarely find me asking for help lifting something heavy, and it’s always a delight to see the occasional look of surprise on people’s faces when I tell them I can drive a forklift and a tractor. But I feel very fortunate that my positive experiences in the wine industry significantly outweigh the negatives. The wine industry is still a very male-dominated one, but I love seeing the progress and continued spotlight on this issue.
How do you maintain a work-life balance, especially during peak winemaking season?
To be very honest, I’m terrible at this, and it’s definitely something I’m working on. But the support of my co-workers, friends and loved ones sure helps. Our Liquidity family here is also fantastic—during harvest our hospitality team will do a daily mental health check-in with our winery team, to make sure the grapes haven’t gotten the better of us!
In your opinion, what is the perfect Liquidity wine with which to raise a glass to women on March 8?
I’d say our Reserve Cabernet Franc. It has power and structure, whilst maintaining a refined palate and a beautiful fruit profile. It’s a delicate yet bold wine that oozes sensuality and elegance.