#WomeninWine: Debbie Thompson

  • August 09, 2018

In celebration of Women's Month, we went in search of inspirational women on the Stellenbosch Wine Routes.

Meet Debbie Thompson, Winemaker at Simonsig

Q: What was your dream job as a kid and why?

From an early age I had a great love for animals. One of my favourite programs to watch on TV was 50/50. My biggest dream was to work as a game ranger in Etosha and especially to care for orphaned or abandoned wild animals.

Q: What do you think is the most significant barrier for women in the wine industry?

The wine industry was and still is very much male-dominated and I think years ago there was a negative mindset towards woman doing the job due to the physical and mechanical elements that the job requires. I am happy to say that over the years that perception has changed and female winemakers are a now a force to be reckoned with.

Q: What woman inspires you and why?

Norma Ratcliffe, she is a strong woman who believes in herself and who stands up for herself and others. A well-respected woman who shows true courage and bravery. She is a hard-working woman who shows perseverance, a highly ambitious woman. Lastly, she is a woman that has all the above traits and still remains humble.

Q: What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

I think it will and always be difficult for a woman to focus on raising a family and at the same time committing to make the best wines possible, I feel that most women think they can only be a great winemaker or a great mom and not both. Be the best you can be, you can do it, it is possible.

Q: What’s your superpower, or what’s your spirit animal?


Q: If you had to name your kids after wine, what would you name them?

My little girls: Hannah my eight-year-old, like Cabernet, mysterious and complex. Jesse, my five-year-old is definitely Shiraz, flamboyant and spicy!

Q: If you had a 25 hour day and everyone else still only had 24, what would you do with the extra time?

I would without a doubt spend that time with my kids.

Q: What’s something in your house that for some reason only a mom’s eyes can see?

That we have two kids in the house….just kidding. It would be their footprints on the wall against their beds…….OCD ☺

Q: If you could share 3 pieces of advice with your younger self (before having kids!) what would they be?

Take calculated risks, invest wisely and most import travel more.

Q: What song or movie title best describes your experience as a mom?

“I will survive”

Follow Simonsig on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more information, visit their website.

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