With International Women's Day just around the corner (March 8th), we wanted to celebrate some of the most fantastic women in wine and shine a spotlight on Hambledon Vineyard's talented females who work tirelessly to make Hambledon English Sparkling Wine the Finest English Fizz.
Today, we chat with one of the longest running members of the Hambledon Vineyard team and an integral part of the day-to-day running of the vineyard, our Events Manager, Jessica Mead.
Jessica has been working at Hambledon Vineyard for over 7 years now and has witnessed first-hand the rise of English Sparkling Wine, as well as the rapid growth of England's Oldest Commercial Vineyard (that's us!).
How about a little introduction, Jessica?
Hello, I am Jessica, and I am the Events Manager here at the vineyard, and have been a part of the Hambledon family for the last 7 years. I came from a family background in Wine and grew up at Wickham Vineyard, which is the next vineyard along making still wine. I used to come to Hambledon a lot as my dad used to buy grapes from Ian back in the early days. I started as the Events manager there and told everyone I would never work in wine, as that was what the rest of my family did. I went off to university got a degree in business and then a MSC in Project Management, and then I ended up working back at the vineyard for my dad as he had a major heart attack. A few years later I was approached by the team here at Hambledon to come for a chat and here I am 7 years later. Hambledon has seen me fulfil major milestones as part of my life and has seen me get married and have my two children, who are now 1 and 3, Margot and Theodore.
What’s your relationship to wine in general? The decisions that led to you working in wine?
I enjoy wine, I love watching Felix, Herve, Nick and the team enjoying making the product. It always amazes me how I get to do the whole process from grape to glass. However, I enjoy the vineyard and being outside a lot more. I love the fact that everyday you come here it looks different. From frosty wintery morning with the sun rising across the valley to lovely sunny day when clients are outside enjoying. It is like living or working on a farm. The sunsets across the skyline overlooking the vineyard make you realise that life is for living.
Who is your role model?
My father, he loved wine he loved the vineyard and most importantly he valued the team around him. My philosophy came from him that I would never ask anybody to do a job that I wouldn’t be prepared to do myself, and I think my team would agree that that has been the case in most circumstances. My father valued the people that help him thrive in his business, people where his most important asset. People wanted to work with him because he cared, nothing was more important than the team. I hope that I provide the same feeling to all my team, even if they are just here for a short amount of time ‘one team, one dream’ so to speak.
What would be your advice to young women starting in the industry?
My advice would be don’t give up, its hard. I am a very emotional person and I care far to much about peoples opinions to my fault. But this also comes with added bonuses, I care and I pride myself in my service to clients. I care that everyone that comes here has the best experience. Caring is not a fault. But, be tough, stand up for what you believe in, push harder even if people see your emotion as weakness and push through to deliver a service that you can be proud of. Be yourself and never apologise for being you.