Celebrate International Women's Day with Wines by Women Winemakers
An image of a woman winemaker macerating wine, or checking the alcohol level in a fermentation tank, was inconceivable in most wine regions up till the last few decades.
Fortunately, as soon as women winemakers stepped into this game, the world of wine became more interesting. Wines made by women celebrate land, vines, legacy, and family. Today, on International Women’s Day, we’re toasting to all amazing women in the world with five wines made by distinguished women winemakers. Let’s get inspired by them, support them, and thrive with them!
Five Wines by Women Winemakers
I chose five bottles for you to try next time you shop for wines. Some of these wines shine the light on indigenous grapes and tell us the story of their terroir and winemaking journeys, whereas some of them are made in challenging circumstances. Some are unconventional and some are traditional. These wines are not just a label on a bottle, they are tales of passion and persistence.
Elena Walch: Winemaker from Alto Adige, Italy
From the start, Elena Walch initiated her winemaking philosophy with dedication to terroir, elegance, quality and innovation. She began her wine journey back in the 1990’s when she married into one of Alto Adige’s (Northeastern Italy) deeply rooted and distinguished winemaking families. She smoothly transitioned to winemaking after being an architect by trade. Under her leadership, the family winery was modernized and adapted to enter the Italian and global wine scene with a new perspective. Her revolutionary vision brought new winemaking technologies, and commitment to reviving local grapes, in addition to focusing on the individual expression of soil, climate and viticulture. From an early stage, Elena Walch has been endorsing and applying sustainability practices in the vineyard, and her efforts have led to local and international recognition.
Elena’s wines express unique character and elegance, reflecting her winemaking style, from fresh and fruity white wines to robust and velvety red wines.
Marisa Cuomo: Winemaker from Amalfi Coast, Italy
Many years ago, Marisa Cuomo was gifted a vineyard overlooking the Mediterranean on the Amalfi Caost on her wedding day. At age 20, with no experience in wine, she began her winemaking journey, and nlearned how to make wine from Ferraioli’s family.
Today, Cantine di Marisa Cuomo is one of Southern Italy’s premier wineries, making wines from native grapes on Amalfi Coast. The labor intensive vineyards are testimony to Marisa Cuomo and her family’s dedication to creating great terroir-expressive wines in one of the most challenging sites in the world.
Furore, a small village along the rocky cliffside along Amalfi Coast, is home to Marisa Cuomo’s winery. This little unassuming place is not for the faint of heart, after all, Furore means fury in English. Nevertheless, from this extreme terroir, Marisa makes her highly acclaimed and distinguished wines. The vineyards are planted on steep terraces located 980 to 1300 feet above the Mediterranean sea levels, in a true example of heroic viticulture. The stressed vines grow on volcanic and alluvial soils, giving low yields and expressive wines.
Bibiana Gonzales Rave: Winemaker in Sonoma, USA
Born and raised in Colombia, Bibiana had little exposure to wine culture. But she knew she would become a winemaker at a very young age and she began her journey when she moved to France to study viticulture and oenology. In her pursuit of excellence, Bibiana has worked with some of the best wineries in France.
Bibiana’s label Cattleya was born in 2012. Since then, Bibiana has earned accolades for all her wines and those of her clients as wine consultant.
“The goal of Alma de Cattleya wines is to represent the purity of the varietals of their specific viticultural area. From rich reds to lush pinks and crisp whites, Alma wines are bright and cheerful.”
Melanie Pfister: Winemaker from Alsace, France
Mélanie Pfister, the eighth generation of her family, is a young and dynamic winemaker in Alsace. She took over the family business that goes to 1780, with the 2006 vintage. Mélanie earned her wine diplomas in the universities in Dijon and Bordeaux. She got her training at many prestigious wineries in France including Zind-Humbrecht, Méo-Camuzet, Château Cheval Blanc, and Château d’Yquem. In 2021, Domaine Mélanie Pfister was fully certified organic, and she began converting it to biodynamic agriculture.
With a long line of wines produced in the family winery, Melanie is committed to the tradition of making dry, aromatic, and well-balanced wines, boasting a distinctive mineral character. She will continue to make her wines in the signature style of her father and her grandfather.
Filipa Pato: Winemaker from Portugal
Filipa Pato, is the daughter of the renowned Portuguese winemaker, Louis Pato, who was among the first and finest winemakers to produce and label wines under the Bairrada DOC. Filipa branched out on her own in 2001 to produce traditional wines in Bairrada. It was made clear that Filipa’s winemaking philosophy is manifested in Biodynamic farming and minimum intervention and reviving the local grapes. Filipa’s wines express the soil and grape variety, fulfilling her statement, as seen on the label, that her wines are authentic and “wear no makeup.”
Focusing on Portuguese indigenous grapes only, Filipa and her husband, William Wouters, create terroir-driven wines that show elegance and unique character.
Happy International Women’s Day!