Women and Wine

Like women in perfumery, women have long played second fiddle in the world of wine. However, things have started to shift, which is better for everyone. Although men are still the dominant producers, especially at volume, many women are creating elegant and aromatic wines and making their presence within the industry known. Below I round up some of our favourites, all well worth a tipple.
Cin cin alla salute!



Lalou Bize-Leroy, Burgundy

By no means a new name, she first started making wine in 1955 Lalou Bize-Leroy has continued to blaze new trails in the winemaking industry, defining herself as an early champion of biodynamic wines which is an ethos she maintains to this day. Her wines are amongst the rarest and most expensive in Burgundy and are regarded as a barometer of excellence for the region.


The McBride Sisters, California

Women in wine are rare, but women of colour in wine are even more unique. The McBride Sisters’ wines span the globe, coming from New Zealand and California, and are easy to drink. Their blog features food pairings and engaging stories; the recounting of their history and connection to each other is worth a read in itself.


Dr Laura Catena, Mendoza

More than just a vintner, Dr Laura Catena is a mother, physician, author and wine scholar. She manages several vineyards, overseeing all production of wine, and is primarily considered the foremost expert on modern Argentinian wines. Meanwhile, she also is a practicing emergency room physician, working in San Francisco, applying her depth of knowledge in medicine to better farming practices and ultimately sustainable, organic vineyards.


Luisella Benedetti, Lake Garda

The third generation of women to run Ancilla Lugana winery, Luisella Benedetti is passionate about the integrity of the wine she produces in this tiny region of Italy. Farmed with fewer pesticides and interventions, the unique terroir and favorable climate yields crisp, mineral-rich wines.


Vanya Cullen, Australia

The recipient of many awards since inheriting her family’s wine business in 1999, Vanya Cullen aims to carry on the decades-long production using biodynamic methods that honors the environment and soil. The vineyard’s onsite restaurant features produce grown in a biodynamic vegetable garden, adjacent to the vineyard. A favorite with the locals.


Beth Novak, Napa

Working alongside her mother in their family vineyards throughout her childhood, Beth Novak eventually came to embrace a career at Spottswoode vineyard, becoming a leader in Napa Valley and a passionate advocate for organic farming in the process. The estate’s Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc are regularly considered amongst the best in the world.


Kate Norris, Oregon

After learning to make wine across France, Kate Norris moved to Oregon and established Division Winemaking Company. Using grapes from different vineyards (all certified organic, biodynamic or sustainable), they actually create their wine in Portland helping to pioneer the urban winemaking concept. ‘She is making some of our favourite wines from the coast right now. In her words, “my style is bright, fresh, pure and thoughtful”.  Most vintages sell out, and all garner accolades.


Margherita and Francesca Padovani, Montalcino

These twin sisters cultivate the family vineyards that produce Fonterenza wines with natural practices. They grow 100% Sangiovese grapes, and vineyard operations follow the phases of the moon and biodynamic calendar. Scoring highly on Wine Spectator, their Brunello di Montalcino is coveted across the world.


María Luz Marín, San Antonio Valley

The first woman to own a vineyard in Chile, María Luz Marín has garnered global success and recognition for her relatively young business. The proximity of the vines to the Pacific Ocean means mineral-rich soil and results in a smaller harvest but with healthier grapes, and the wines typically receive high ratings from the likes of James Suckling and Robert Parker.


The Tessari Sisters, Fittà

Three sisters operate Suavia on land that has been in the family for generations. Specialising in Soave and producing only white wines (plus spectacular olive oil), they are passionate not only about what they do but the history of their land and their family. Using grapes from 70-year-old vines, their wines particularly the Soave Classico regularly are considered amongst the best. 

Cheers to the women of the vine.

Linda Jayne