Meeting Jenny Dobson a Pioneer of the Médoc
Jenny Dobson is a New Zealander considered to have been one of the first female cellar masters in the Médoc and who was subsequently nicknamed the ‘queen of red wine blending’ for her consultant winemaking work in her home country.
Dobson, who joined Château Sénéjac in the early 1980s fresh from working with Steven Spurrier at the Académie du Vin in Paris, was originally from the South Island.
Women cellar masters remain rare in Bordeaux, but they are there if you look.
Most began as cellar hands and worked their way up, and most work as vineyard manager or winemaker at the same time.
“Being a cellar master is a hugely physical job, but you just get on with it,” Dobson says.
Dobson has worked as chief winemaker at TeAwa Estate in Hawkes Bay, as well as consultant for Sacred Hill, Unison Vineyard, William Murdoch Wines and others in Hawke’s Bay, most usually in Gimblett Gravels.
Right now she is launching her own new range of wines, and one of her first is from the white Italian wine grape Fiano, something that should be of interest to the many Bordelais who tell Decanter’s Jane Anson they remember her excellent 100 per cent Sémillon wine at Sénéjac.
“The more difficult thing to overcome for me in terms of acceptance was probably being a foreigner,” she explains. “I would always have been on the outside to a certain extent. But what I learnt [in Bordeaux] has helped me for the rest of my career.”
Original article by Jane Anson, Decanter, July 5, 2018.