NewsCelebrating Women in Wine: From Pioneers to Today's Visionaries

Celebrating Women in Wine: From Pioneers to Today’s Visionaries

The wine industry is experiencing a vibrant transformation, thanks to the remarkable contributions of women. This International Women’s Day, we’ll celebrate women in wine, starting with incredible stories of those who have made and are making significant impacts. From vineyards to the boardrooms, women are shaping the future of this industry. This article will go through not only some of our favorite industry veterans but also shines a light on some small businesses we love. While we can’t get everyone in this article, we’d love to say thank you to all the women who are making moves in this traditionally male-dominated field.

Historical Icons and Their Legacies

As we start our journey of celebrating women in wine, let’s note a few remarkable figures who have carved out lasting legacies. Here are some of the OG women in wine and a quick explanation of the contributions they’ve made! 

Baroness Philippine de Rothschild

This wine goddess brought Château Mouton Rothschild to the pinnacle of winemaking, influencing the art and business of wine.

Madame Clicquot

Madame Clicquot revolutionized champagne production. She invented the riddling table that ensured clearer champagne, a method still in use today.

Jancis Robinson

With her encyclopedic knowledge of wine, Jancis Robinson has become an indispensable resource for wine enthusiasts and professionals alike, through her writing and critique. Make sure to read her work and check out her site! 

Contemporary Influencers Shaping the Industry

The modern wine industry is rich with female talent, with women holding roles from vineyard managers to CEOs, sommeliers to marketing directors. Highlighted below are some influential figures.

Stephanie Gallo 

is pivotal in guiding E&J Gallo Winery. She emphasizes sustainability and innovation while honoring its heritage.

Saskia de Rothschild

has introduced fresh strategies like growing organically at Château Lafite Rothschild. While she has the family in, creating new legacies shows leadership that blends tradition with modernity.

Emerging Talents Redefining the Wine World

The area of wine continues to evolve, marked by the ingenuity and passion of emerging talents.

Victoria James

is the Beverage Director at Cote Korean Steakhouse in NYC and an author. She champions the importance of sommeliers while advocating for gender equality within the industry.

Yao Ting

is a name synonymous with the rising prominence of Chinese fine wine. She advocates for the global recognition of China’s wine-producing regions.

Veterans of the Vine: Women Who’ve Shaped the Industry

Their decades-long careers have not only contributed to the excellence and growth of the industry but have also served as inspiration for women eyeing a future in wine.

Zelma Long

is celebrated for her influential roles in both the Californian and South African wine scenes. She embodies the spirit of innovation and quality. Make sure to check out her website for more information.

Carol Duval-Leroy

leads her family’s Champagne house with a commitment to quality and a vision for sustainability that has positioned Duval-Leroy at the forefront of eco-conscious wine production.

Diverse Contributions Across the Globe

What better way to celebrate women in wine than to look at it from a global scale? Women’s influence in wine extends worldwide, from the historic vineyards of Europe to the emerging estates in Australia, the United States, and beyond:

Cathy Corison

founder of Corison Winery in Napa Valley, has been lauded for her terroir-driven Cabernet Sauvignons, emphasizing balance and complexity.

Maggie Henriquez

at the helm of Krug Champagne, Maggie is revered for her strategic vision. She transformed Krug wines into a symbol of luxury and craftsmanship.

The Impact of Women-Founded and Led Companies

The rise of women-founded and woman-led wineries and companies is a testament to the shifting dynamics within the wine industry. Examples include:

Domaine Sigalas

in Santorini, Greece, with CEO Alexandra Athanasiadi leading the way, showcases the exceptional potential of Assyrtiko grape under female leadership.

LaBelle Winery

in New Hampshire, USA, founded by Amy LaBelle, is a story of passion translating into a thriving business that merges winemaking with hospitality.

Small Wine Businesses We Love

Bow & Arrow Wines

Portland, Oregon: Founded by Scott and Dana Frank, Bow & Arrow takes a Loire Valley-inspired approach to their wines. Dana, co-owner and wine sales maven, has helped position Bow & Arrow as a unique player in the Oregon wine scene, focusing on affordability, organic farming, and urban winemaking.

Clos des Amis

Ventura County, California: This small operation, driven by winemaker Gretel Compton and her husband Bruce, is deeply rooted in the terroir of Southern California. They specialize in making wine from wild, often undiscovered vineyards around Ventura County. Their hands-on approach to viticulture and winemaking highlights the region’s potential.

Black Estate

North Canterbury, New Zealand: Owned and operated by the Naish family, with Penelope Naish at the forefront, this winery is noted for its dedication to organic and biodynamic farming. Black Estate’s wines are a testament to the unique terroir of the area. The winery doubles as a community hub that offers educational sessions and promotes local art.

Tessier Winery

El Dorado County, California: Kristie Tacey is a former scientist turned winemaker. She is the force behind Tessier Winery. Her focus on minimal intervention winemaking and her passion for Grenache and Pinot Noir showcases the diversity and potential of Californian wines. Tessier Winery emphasizes the importance of sustainable practices and a personal touch in crafting distinctive wines.

Domaine de la Côte

Lompoc, California: Although not solely woman-led, this project benefits from the expertise of Elaine Chukan Brown, a celebrated wine writer and expert. Domaine de la Côte focuses on expressive Pinot Noirs that reflect the microclimates of the Santa Rita Hills, pushing the envelope on Californian Pinot Noir.


Adelaide Hills, Australia: This boutique winery is led by the dynamic duo of David Bowley and Sharon Hong. While it’s not fully woman-run, it epitomizes innovation in winemaking and branding. Vinteloper employs urban winemaking practices, sources grapes from sustainable vineyards, and has gained attention for their engaging label design and unconventional marketing strategies.

Why These Matter

Celebrating women in wine, especially in small businesses is crucial for various reasons. Firstly, they often serve as incubators for innovation, experimenting with unconventional varieties, winemaking techniques, and sustainable practices. Secondly, they contribute significantly to the diversification of the wine market, offering consumers unique and personal wine experiences that differ from larger, mainstream producers. Lastly, these businesses frequently engage more deeply with their local communities, fostering connections that go beyond the vineyard.

A Toast to Women in Wine

The narratives of these women represent the broader evolution of the wine industry, reflecting shifts towards greater inclusivity, sustainability, and innovation. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s toast to the pioneers, the leaders of today, and the rising stars of tomorrow. Their collective stories of resilience, creativity, and passion continue to enrich the world of wine, ensuring a vibrant and dynamic future for this age-old industry. Women in wine exemplify the power of diversity, proving that the industry thrives when it embraces the talents of all its members. Cheers to their achievements and the exciting paths they pave in the world of wine.



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