As I’m sure you all know, it’s International Women’s Day today - a chance to thank the women in our lives (ourselves, in some cases!), and to acknowledge that, for some, it’s still a difficult world to navigate. It’s also a chance to acknowledge the uphill struggle for some women in the wine industry - although things seem to evolve and progress constantly on this front, so hopefully the positive direction of travel continues!
If I had to nominate just one woman in the wine world who impresses me greatly I would suggest Alison Nightingale from Albourne Estate in West Sussex. On a tour and tasting at the Estate a couple of years ago, I found her energy and passion infectious, and was amazed at the hard work and her total dedication to the development of the Estate . She seems to be learning and evolving all the time, and the wines, consequently, are getting better and better.
My other ‘nomination’ as such, is (predictably!) my lovely nearly-18 year old daughter, who has the kindest of hearts, the most inquisitive of brains and is a wonderful companion to have (but I would say that, of course!)…
Is there any particular woman in the wine industry or outside of it that had influence or inspired you?
Interesting stuff to be thinking about; I’d say Susana Balbo in Argentina. I love her wines for a start, but from what I’ve read about her she seems an impressive person too. Ditto the Thorne family in South Africa, though I’m not certain of the precise set-up beyond that there is a “wife” and some “daughters” involved!
Happy “it’s the 19th of November” Day (because you can’t even have a day, without it being hijacked, it turns out).
From the wine world, my nomination is Emma Neilson from Le Grappin. While Andrew gets all the kudos for the wine making, she is also actively involved in that process, and the business really wouldn’t run without her doing pretty much everything else, not just for Le Grappin, but also several other micro-negociants. Without Emma I’d never have tasted some of my all time favourite wines. She’s also lovely.
Laura Lorenzo in Ribeira Sacra, Galicia, has vines on very steep slopes at high altitude. Her story is that for the first 3 years she worked the land on her own and then one day she managed to hire some guy who lasted two days…The land is really tough. She does has 1ha on flatter land but 4ha on steep slopes.
Her reds are terrific but I have not yet been able to buy any of her whites. The reds are mostly Mencia. Elegant and silky. Delicious.
I admire her single minded determination and toughness.
Catherine Faller at Domaine Weinbach ( sadly her mother, Colette, and tragically her sister, Laurence are no longer with us ).
Vanya Cullen ( Western Australia )
Nadia Curto ( Barolo )
Susana Balbo ( Argentina )
Catherine Marshall ( Elgin, South Africa )
Ginny Povall ( Botanica, South Africa )
Ghislaine Barthod ( Burgundy )
Although I’ve never met any of them personally their drive, determination and hard work to produce great wines and push things forward equality-wise, sometimes against the odds, fill me with admiration.
Interesting coincidence you say this - only yesterday I was looking at some of her wines on Decantalo and doing some related googling, thinking how interesting & impressive they and her set-up & philosophy are. Just my kind of wines & personality :~}
Very hard to track down anything for sale in The UK though, sadly.
As a slight aside, radio station 6 Music are celebrating International Women’s Day by having an all female playlist today. I haven’t felt the urge to change stations once since I started listening at 9:30. Which is a first !
My nomination is closer to home and is a double act.
This pair are faultlessly helpful and selfless when it comes to guiding new people to the community. They both write fabulous tasting notes that make me almost dribble and devote a lot of time to spreading knowledge about wine, food and life in general.
I’m a big fan of Melanie Brown, founder and CEO of Specialist Cellars (formerly the New Zealand Cellar). I follow with interest for a number of reasons - firstly they champion a range of really great New World wines, and do so with immense passion. Secondly, I admire their social media presence and marketing. Marketing is close to my day job and I love the way they keep it fresh, fun and relevant
They’ve expanded the business over recent years and now have a restaurant in Brixton (that I hope to visit soon) and they often have a great range of offers on (although I will acknowledge that some of the web pricing is on the expensive side)
This offer for example is a nice combination of much of the above - 20% off wines from their top female winemakers. Nice!
Samantha O’Keefe from Lismore in South Africa. She’s had an interesting and challenging journey in wine-making (germinated by a chance meeting with Desmond Tutu on a cruise ship). It’s a great story and her wine is fabulous.
I couldn’t agree more with this!!
All of our mentors are amazing, obviously - but Leah and Inbar most CERTAINLY deserve appreciation on a day like today!
In the winemaker world, I’d like to recognise Katie Jones at Domaine Jones. She’s fearlessly created her own domaine in the face of quite a lot of local backlash (and, frankly, outright sabotage!) but she’s persevered, and her wines are exceptional.
This one is for you Inbar, the video tells their story but there is also a reason for putting these two ladies up, they make a very good Arneis, a grape I know you are fond of and the best one I have drunk in a long long time.
We had a bijou apartment just outside San Remo for many years and would go off into the Barolo hinterland to see what I could find, most Arneis were pretty insipid including those by Giacosa and Ceretto, but this one was the first to have that typicity I remembered from long ago with that almond background.
There has been a huge increase in women , either running vineyards or making the wine in recent years worldwide, and why not, the list now is very long and it seems every year like the Tibaldi sisters they are seen taking over the reins.
Oh thank you wonderful gentlemen of the community,
For me, I would like to nominate @laura who deals with the behind the scenes of running this community and it’s not always easy and also @Kelly her sidekick who keeps us all on the straight and narrow.
Also, Samantha O’Keefe, Emma from Le Grappin , (she is a wonderful person to deal with), Jane Eyre for being a complete superstar wine maker along with Roisín Curley in Burgundy and Rebecca Gibb MW for being a superstar mother, wine expert and writing so eloquently.
There are so many more… it would take an age.