Mimosa Time!

And no, I am not talking Sunday Brunch! The real thing – the flowers – are given to women here in Italy on March 8, International Women’s Day. Oh, that’s not celebrated where you live? Well, it should be!

Ever wonder why March is Women’s History Month? Hint: the event took place in New York in 1925, just five years after women got the right to vote in the U.S. (in Italy, women voted for the first time after World War II in 1946). If you got this right, that’s 5 bonus points for you! The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. The blaze caused the death of 146 people, 123 of whom were women, mostly Italian and Jewish immigrants, most of them under the age of 23. Sixty-two of them jumped to their deaths because the doors and stairwells were all locked, to keep the workers from taking breaks. That gave a boost to union activity. Remember the song for the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union? If not, click on that live link.

So yesterday in 12 of Italy’s regions, the Italian Association of the Women of Wine (Le Donne del Vino) celebrated International Women’s Day by creating events on the theme of Donne, vino e motori, or Wine, Women and Motors (i.e. cars).

Some of the Regional delegates of Le Donne del Vino, President Donatella Cinelli Colombini at center, taken at her estate at Trequanda. Photo courtesy of DDV

There’s a famous Italian saying:

Donne e motori: Gioie e dolori

Which basically means, women and cars bring joy and pain. Now, that’s pretty sexist, you say. Why would the Women of Wine choose this as a theme? Because they want to show that plenty of women do know about motors (cars and motorbikes) and wine – so get over it! The Tuscan delegation held a ‘Can you name that motor?’ contest at a wine shop in Forte dei Marmi, where the Delegate from Tuscany, Antonella D’Isanto of I Balzini pictured below, awarded a bottle of her wine as prize.

Antonella with her daughter and fellow wine-maker, Diana!

Too bad I didn’t get to participate in that competition – I might have won!

Yours truly, back in the days…



How did I celebrate? By drinking a bottle of Sancta Catharina, produced by the famed Dei winery, known for their Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, but here with an IGT Super Tuscan-style blend (Sangiovese, called Prugnolo Gentile in the area of Montepulciano, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot). Of course, another woman from the world of wine, Caterina Dei, heads the winery!


Speaking of smart and gutsy ladies, did you know that Sancta Catharina, Saint Catherine of Siena, was one of Italy’s 2 patron saints? Everyone seems to know that Saint Francis of Assisi is the other – but this smart Tuscan lady was a Doctor of the Church!

How about this poster for inciting Italy to greatness?


So on March 8, give the ladies you know a bunch of mimosa flowers, and today, if you have a bottle of Italian bubbly lying around the house, go squeeze some oranges and toast to women worldwide!

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