This international women’s day we celebrate the power of women wine makers. In what has previously been perceived as a ‘mans world’ more women are embarking on careers in wine and becoming Masters of Wine wine than ever before. We are fortunate enough to work with a number of excellent female wine makers around the world who are creating high quality and exciting wines. Here is some information on a few of these amazing wine makers.
Dominio de Punctum, La Mancha, Spain.
Dominio de Punctum is situated in the town of Las Pedroneras at the north end of La Mancha. After eight generations as growers, In 2005, a new generation of the Fernandez-Cifuentes family led by winemaker Ruth Fernandez and her brother Jesus, founded Dominio de Punctum Organic Estate and Winery in their family’s old vineyards with the goal of producing quality organic and biodynamic wines under their own label(s). Dominio de Punctum is located about 105 miles south of Madrid and consists of 110 hectares of vineyards. The vineyards sit at an altitude of 750 meters above sea level with a continental climate and sandy loamy soil, rich in limestome making it an ideal place to grow quality wines naturally.
Domaine N & G Fevre, Chablis.
The key to top quality Burgundy is the skill of the producer and here its talented winemaker Nathalie (former winemaker at La Chablissiene) who crafts outstanding examples from this famous region. She married Gilles Fevre a son of the William Fevre Dynasty, whose vineyards are renowned for the production of some of the finest wines in the region. This is a winning combination and they have received many accolades for their wines. Great believers in letting the grapes `do the talking` with as little intervention as possible this ensures that the wines express a natural `terroir` . The result is a wonderful growers Chablis. A real gem!
Domaine Michelot, Nuits St Georges.
Vigneron and bon viveur Alain Michelot has tended his vines with immaculate and loving care since inheriting the estate in 1966 at a young age after the untimely passing of his father. The Domaine owns approx 20 acres of vineyards and the majority are on the slopes overlooking his home town of Nuits St Georges. The beautiful winery is located in the centre and today with help from his talented daughter Elodie Michelot they have quietly re-invested in new tanks and wine-making equipment reinforcing their long standing commitment to quality. Highly rated by Remington Norman in his book The Great Domaines of Burgundy.
Domaine Gour de Chaulé, Gigondas.
The Domaine du Gour de Chaulé, situated in the heart of the village of Gigondas, was founded in 1900 by Eugene Bonfils, the great-grandfather of the current proprietor, Stéphanie Fumoso. All the wine produced at the estate was sold in bulk to negociants until 1970 when Madame Rolande Beaumet, Eugene’s daughter and the grandmother of Stéphanie, began to bottle a small percentage of the estate’s wine for sale to private clients. Stéphanie Fumoso is the third women to run this estate. She joined Le Gour de Chaulé in 2007. She passionately pursues the work accomplished by the preceeding generations, with innovations that follow the family spirit.
Stéphanie ia also an active member of Femmes Vignes Rhône who aim to promote women winemakers working in the Rhône Valley.
Backsberg Estate, Paarl, South Africa.
Founded in 1916, this wonderful estate is located below `The Little Tower of Babylon` on the steep hillside vineyards in Paarl. Alicia Rechner is back at the helm as winemaker and is well supported by viticulturist Clive Trent. Alicia studied Oenology studies at Stellenbosch University, starting her career at Rooiberg cellars in Robertson before moving between Australia and Germany for 3 years. Her first stint at Backsberg was between 2002 and 2008, returning in 2012 after another stint in Australia.
“Fundamentally, wine needs to taste good. When you taste it, you must want to enjoy the whole bottle. Wine must be made faultless, without mistakes. I like to hear what people that only drink wine to enjoy it say about a wine, I always know what they mean when they describe what they do or don’t like and most things a winemaker is able to change. I love making wine people enjoy to drink.”
Schubert Vineyards, Martinborough NZ.
Along with partner Kai Schubert, Marion Deimling established SCHUBERT Wines in 1998, after arriving in New Zealand the year before. Both Marion and Kai studied Viticulture & Oenology at Geisenheim University, Germany. Having worked with winemakers like Erni Loosen of Dr Loosen Estate, Bernkastel in Germany as well as in various vineyards across the world, their dream had always been to set off around the world in search of the ideal place to plant and produce their true passion – Pinot Noir. After travelling through regions like Oregon, California, Australia and parts of Europe, it wasn’t until arriving in Martinborough in the Wairarapa province of New Zealand that Kai and Marion felt they had found what they were looking for. In spring of 1998 they acquired a small established vineyard in Martinborough and 40 hectares of bare land just north of Martinborough, at Dakins Road followed by plantings from scratch in 1999 and 2000.
Azienda Agricola Crociani, Montepulciano, Italy.
Taking over from her father Arnaldo, Susanna carried on his legacy and is now producling some excellent Montepulciano wines. The 4th century cellars are situated in the heart of Tuscany in the village of Montepulciano. The vineyards, covering about 10 hectares, are on medium-textured soils well-suited to the growth of the vine and giving excellent results. They are planted with Prugnolo Gentile (75%), Canaiolo Nero (15%) and the rest with Mammolo and white varieties.
When you are born among the barrels and vineyards, as I was, sooner or later you give into their charms. After spending years of organizing concerts for some of the most famous Italian pop singers, I decided to return to my origins and go into the winebusiness […] I went from being a non-drinker to wanting to create a wine that I liked. Combing my passion and the family experience, I chose to further open up our international markets and use the most modern technology available.
Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Montalcino, Italy.
Lastly, and most impressively, Donatella Cinelli Colombini is a female only operation. It has a female winemaker, the estate in Trequanda s owned and managed by women and even the barrel selection and blending process is by a women only team.
The roots of the Colombini family in Tuscany go back to 1592, and their tradition of excellence in winemaking began in 1790 with the founding of the Fattoria dei Barbi. It was in the 1960’s that Francesca Cinelli Colombini made a name for herself as the stalwart leader of Barbi’s top notch production, and when the next generation came into the spotlight her son Stefano took over the family estate while daughter Donatella branched off to create the neighbouring Azienda del Casato. Donatella is a major force in the world of quality Italian wine and has spurred important advances in enotourism. With 50 hectares total, 13 of which are dedicated to viticulture, Donatella creates a classic Brunello as well as a Riserva and a Rosso di Montalcino; she also runs the Azienda del Colle at Trequanda, where she produces Chianti Classico Superiore, Orcia, Vin Santo, and a Super Tuscan. Her most innovative creation, though, is Casato’s Brunello ‘Prime Donne,’ a wine designed by an all-female team of respected wine experts who based their decisions on instinct and organoleptic observations. Donatella, who is grooming her daughter Violante as heir to the business, appointed Valérie Lavigne as winemaker in 2010 thus completing the first all female team at an Italian winery.
‘There are loads of women working in the wine industry but they have no dominance, no decisional power and no influence. In Italy as well as abroad, the challenge will be met only when women will be equally present in the boardroom. […] Never stop learning in life, and study outside your background because cultural exchanges are fundamental to become open-minded.’
-Donatella Cinelli Colombibi (credit, The Humble Grape, 2014)
Here’s to all these incredible women and the support behind them to keep crafting their wines, helping to pave the way for women in the wine industry.
For more information on our wonderful female winemakers please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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