To celebrate International Women’s Day, we thought we’d take a look at some women in wine. The women we have chosen are people who have had an impact on us during our wine journey. Some of them are world renowned and some are known on a more localised scale, but nonetheless deserve recognition on International Women’s Day. They are in no particular order and are only a small fraction of women who have had a big impact on the world of wine.
Elizabeth is a certified Sommelier and Specialist of Wine, based in the US. She came to our attention when we were studying and looking for additional resources. We independently came across her Wine For Normal People Podcast and both started listening avidly. They are great, informative yet light and really helped us reaffirm our learning and add additional context / points of view as Elizabeth is incredibly knowledgeable. Additionally, they are very personable and entertaining, which is an added bonus! They are incredibly accessible to anyone who has an interest in wine, so we highly recommend them, whether you’re just starting out or already know a lot. The book is a great companion too and you can really hear Elizabeth’s ‘voice’ while reading it.
Ruth is the owner of Clifton Wine School, an independent company, and runs all the courses herself. She is extremely knowledgeable and engaging in the way she delivers her courses. We first met Ruth when we started the long journey of studying wine in a structured fashion all those months ago (11 to be precise!). Alongside the WSET wine courses she runs, she also holds quite a few wine tastings and events. Definitely someone we would recommend for learning more about wine in an informal or structured way if you’re in the Bristol or Bath area.
Jancis is a renowned wine critic and wine writer in the UK. She cowrote the renowned “The World Atlas of Wine”; an essential book in any wine lover’s book collection. We have the 6th edition from way before we officially became involved in the wine industry. It is a truly beautiful book, combining two loves of ours, maps and wine, in one splendid volume. Aside from this, she has written many, many more books and has been awarded an outstanding number of accolades. You can read more about them here.
Her website (www.jancisrobinson.com) is also a font of knowledge and full of interesting wine related articles, many of which are free but additional resources await those who subscribe.
Susana was the first female winemaker in Argentina, starting her career in 1981. She made her first wine in 1983; a Torrontés from Salta. Since then she has gone from strength to strength, and is still making exceptional wines today. She is well recognised for her winemaking skills and achievements, both in Argentina and further afield. She regularly earns praise from wine critics for her wines and has received the following accolades:
- Forbes called her “the best winemaker in Argentina” (2019).
- She has served three terms as President of Wines of Argentina (2006 to 2010, and 20014 to 2016).
- She was named Woman of the Year by The Drinks Business (May 2015).
- James Suckling (a well renowned wine critic) listed Susana Balbo Wines’ icon wine, 2011 Nosotros Single Vineyard Nómade, in the Top 5 Wines of the Andes (2016).
- She was included on The Drink Business magazine’s list of “The 10 most influential women in the wine world.” (2018)
So definitely a women who knows her wine! We have not had the pleasure of meeting her, but would love to if we ever make it to Argentina. We are however familiar with her wines and do rate them highly, we currently have a few of hers in stock:
Ingrid is the owner and manager of Dunleavy Vineyards, a small vineyard planted in the Somerset countryside, just outside of Bristol. She does everything on the vineyard herself; initially planting it in 2008 and since then, doing all the vineyard tasks throughout the year, every year. We first met Ingrid last summer at a vegan dine and wine event in Bristol. We instantly fell in love with her wine and loved her story. Her commitment is admirable, although we think the sheep in the vineyard may help more than she lets on…. (check out her twitter feed from last autumn for video evidence!!).
Antonia lived during the 1800s and is pivotal to us having port today. We feel this fact alone makes her a woman worth celebrating on International Women’s Day! Antonia was instrumental in developing the Portuguese wine industry and also learning new ways of making wine, which gave us port as we know it today. Interestingly, she travelled to England in pursuit of knowledge for fighting phylloxera (a terrible disease that killed many vines during the 1800s) and for new wine producing techniques. Once she had this knowledge, she applied it in the Douro and invested heavily. Completing the circle, she imported much of her wine, including port, back to England!
Vegan Wine Box
And finally, to end on a light (somewhat flippant note), there is myself (Dom) and Emma, cofounders of Vegan Wine Box (read more about us here). We may not really qualify for much (any!) adulation yet, but we are still women in wine. We’ve been going for a year now and have been on a really exciting journey in the world of wine. It’s been a lot of hard work and a steep learning curve, but we’ve enjoyed every moment of it and are eager to see what comes next.
Who would you add to this list?