Although the wine industry is often considered a man's industry, and it doesn't have a long way to go before we can call it diverse, women have been making wine for centuries. In this blog post, we will explore the role of women in winemaking and discuss their contributions to this fascinating field. So pour yourself a glass of your favorite vintage and join us as we celebrate Women's History Month by celebrating women in wine!
Influential women in the wine industry
Jancis Robinson is one of the world’s most respected wine critics. She is also a Master of Wine, which is one of the industry’s most prestigious qualifications.
Robinson has been writing about wine for over 40 years and her work has appeared in a number of publications, including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
She got her start in the wine industry working as a secretary at a London wine merchant and has since gone on to become one of the most influential women in the wine world.
She is currently the editor-in-chief of the Oxford Companion to Wine and has published several books on the subject, including The World Atlas of Wine.
Robinson is also a member of the prestigious wine panel at The Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa Valley, California.
Robinson was named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2014, in recognition of her contribution to the wine industry.
María José López de Heredia
María José López de Heredia is a Spanish winemaker who comes from a long line of winemakers. The de Heredia family has been making wine in the Rioja region of Spain since 1877.
López de Heredia is currently the director of Bodegas López de Heredia, which was founded by her great-grandfather. She is the fourth generation to run her family’s business, Bodegas López de Heredia Viña Tondonia. The winery is one of the oldest in Rioja and is known for producing traditional-style wines.
López de Heredia has been awarded a number of prestigious prizes, including the National Prize for Culture and the Arts in Spain. She was also named a Dame Commander of the Order of Civil Merit by the Spanish government in 2009.
Her work in the Spanish wine industry has been widely recognized and she has been an important voice in promoting the Rioja wine region.
López de Heredia is a member of the Real Academia Española, an honor given to only 40 living Spaniards.
In 2012, she was awarded the prestigious Premio Nacional del Vino (National Wine Prize) by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
This award is given to individuals who have made significant contributions to the Spanish wine industry.
Doris Duke was an American heiress and philanthropist who had a passion for wine. In 1973, she founded her own winery, called Domaine Fin-de-Siècle, in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
The winery was known for producing high-quality Pinot Noir wines and was featured in the documentary movie, Sideways.
Duke was also a noted collector of art and antiques, and her wine cellar at her estate in Newport, Rhode Island was said to be one of the finest in the world.
Duke passed away in 1993, but her legacy as a passionate wine lover and collector lives on. In 2004, Duke’s wine cellar was sold for more than $3,775,711, which, at the time, was the highest total ever for a private American wine collection.
Alice Feiring is a natural wine advocate and one of the most respected voices in the industry.
She is the author of several books on wine, including The Battle for Wine and Love: Or How I Saved the World from Parkerization and Naked Wine: Letting Grapes Do What Comes Naturally.
She is a strong believer in the idea that wine should be made using traditional methods and without the use of chemicals or other additives.
This philosophy has earned her the nickname “The Natural Wine Nun.”
In addition to her writing, Feiring is also a sought-after speaker and consultant, and she was named one of the most influential people in the wine world by Decanter magazine in 2009.
Lynn Gauthier is the owner and winemaker of Chateau des Charmes, a leading Canadian winery.
Gauthier took over the running of the family business in 1988, and under her leadership, the winery has gone from strength to strength. The Gauthier family has been making wine in Niagara for six generations, and Chateau des Charmes is now one of the most respected wineries in the region.
Gauthier is a strong advocate for sustainable viticulture, and she was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network in 2009.
In addition to making great wine, Gauthier is also a strong advocate for women in the industry, and she was one of the founders of VINES (Women in Niagara Entering the Industry), a networking and support group for women working in all aspects of the Niagara wine industry.
Cristina Mariani-May is the CEO of Banfi Vintners, one of the largest importers and distributors of fine wines in the United States.
Mariani-May is a trailblazer in the industry, and she was one of the first women to earn the prestigious Diploma of Wine & Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET).
She is also a member of the Board of Directors for Slow Food USA, an organization that promotes local food and sustainable agriculture.
Under Mariani-May’s leadership, Banfi Vintners has become one of the most respected fine wine companies in the world. The company is committed to sustainable practices and is a strong supporter of environmental causes.
Mariani-May is a passionate advocate for diversity in the wine industry, and she is a member of VINEX, an international organization that promotes gender equality in the wine industry.
The drive for greater equality
These are just some examples of a powerful woman in the wine industry who is making a difference. There are many other women working to create change, and it is important to support them in their efforts.
In order to create a more diverse and inclusive industry, we need to continue to lift up the voices of women of all backgrounds. We need to celebrate the progress that has been made, and continue to fight for a more equal future.
Champagne Deutz, Amour de Deutz 2010
This bottle of Champagne is a Blanc de Blancs, made from 100% Chardonnay grapes. It has a light and refreshing citrus flavour profile with hints of green apple and pear. The wine was aged on the lees for 36 months adding complexity to the final product.
Champagne is a traditional Valentine’s Day gift, and this bottle of Deutz is perfect for a romantic evening with your loved one. This effervescent treat will pair well with oysters or a light seafood dish.
- Vintage – 2010
- Alcohol value – 12% ABV
- Region – Aÿ, France
Founded by William Deutz and Pierre-Hubert Geldermann in 1838, Deutz is one of the most prestigious Champagne houses in France. Originally named for its founder William Deutz, the name was changed to Deutz Geldermann-Piper Heidsieck following a takeover by Piper-Heidsieck in 1989.
The brand has been owned by EPI (Edmond de Rothschild Group) since 2000. The brand is renowned for its unique style, attributed to the use of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the best Grand Cru vineyards in Ay, a village that produces some of the finest grapes in Champagne.
Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose 2016
A fresh and elegant Rosé Champagne with a delicate mousse and lively acidity, the Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé is a stunning example of top-notch Champagne. The wine has an attractive nose of red berries and citrus fruit with hints of white flowers, dried apricots and toasted bread.
On the palate, it shows a great balance between its elegant structure, fresh acidity and light fruit flavours of strawberry, raspberry and citrus. A subtle hint of spice further adds to the complexity.
Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé is a blend from three grape varieties: 45% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 20% Meunier. The base wine comes from about 80 different crus, with 20% of the wine coming from the rosé cuvée.
- Vintage – 2016
- Alcohol Value – 12% ABV
- Region – Champagne, France
Billecart-Salmon, founded in 1818, is the oldest family-owned Champagne House in Mareuil-Sur-Ay. The business was founded by Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon, whose families had been winegrowers for several generations.
The vineyard is located on the hillsides of Champagne’s top villages including Aÿ, Bouzy, Ambonnay, Verzenay and Mareuil-Sur-Aÿ.
The Billecart family own just under 30 hectares of vineyards in the Côte des Blancs, Montagne de Reims & Vallée de la Marne. The Domaine wines form a third of their production; they also have long standing relationships with winegrowers in the region, and acquire grapes from over 50 hectares of additional vineyards.
Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay 2018
This golden straw-coloured wine has a complex nose of lemon, green apple, toast and vanilla. The palate is rich and creamy with flavours of baked apple, pear and crème brûlée. The wine finishes with long notes of toasted oak
Bright and fresh this wine has aromas of tropical fruits, citrus and hints of vanilla. The palate is very soft with fresh acidity and cool minerality, pairing well with soft cheeses and other delicate dishes.
- Vintage – 2018
- Alcohol Value – 13.9% ABV
- Region – Napa Valley, California
Situated in the heart of the Napa Valley, Chateau Montelena is one of the few wineries to continue using traditional methods and ancient production techniques which have been passed down through many generations.
The estate was founded in 1882 when Alfred Tubbs purchased a plot of land for use as a commercial vineyard. After his death, his son, James Barrett took over control of the property and began producing wine under the Chateau Montelena name.
Famous for its Chardonnay, the winery has won numerous awards over the years.
Donnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 2019
Cool and refined, this Donnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel is a perfect wine to enjoy on a special occasion.
With delicate aromas of apricot and peach, the wine has a well-rounded flavour with hints of honey and citrus fruit. Packed full of intense flavours, it is a perfect wine to pair with your meal.
This Auslese Goldkapsel is a vintage wine, meaning that it has been made from grapes harvested in a single year.
- Vintage – 2019
- Alcohol Value – 7% ABV
- Region – Nahe, Germany
Spread across ten sites in the Nahe Valley, the Donnhoff family have been cultivating grapes for over 200 years.
The winery has earned a well-respected reputation for its award-winning wines, winning trophies and gold medals at some of the most prestigious competitions around the world.