The wine industry has long been dominated by men. But the past few decades have seen a great deal of change. From early trailblazers in the U.S., France, Italy, and beyond, with each decade that passes, a growing number of talented women winemakers are sweeping up awards and earning well-deserved accolades for their exceptional wines. This International Women’s Day, we’re raising a glass to women winemakers and highlighting producers whose wines need to be on your radar (or preferably in your wine glass).
Antonella Corda Wines – Antonella Corda
Winemaking is in Antonella Corda’s blood. As the granddaughter of Antonio Argiolas, the internationally renowned viticulturist who helped modernize winemaking in Sardinia and put the region on the global wine map, Corda represents the bright new generation of Sardinian winemakers. The agronomist turned winemaker opened her winery back in 2010. Since then has produced vintage after vintage of stellar wines. Corda’s winery is located in Serdiana, a commune on the island noted for its phenomenal terroir. And in Antonella Corda’s capable hands, the grapes grown in this terroir become wines of great expression, beauty, and finesse. All of her wines are worth checking out, but this spring and summer we’ll be drinking Corda’s Vermentino de Sardegna.
Aslina Wines – Ntsiki Biyela
Ntsiki Biyela is a pioneer whose journey to become one of the stars of South African winemaking serves as an inspiration to anyone with big dreams and ambition to spare. After earning a scholarship to study wine at Stellenbosch University and taking courses in Afrikaans, a language she didn’t understand, Biyela graduated with her degree and subsequently made waves as South Africa’s first Black female winemaker at Stellekaya Wines. A decade later, with a series of harvests, consultations, and collaborations under her belt, Biyela launched Aslina Wines.
Aslina is named for Biyela’s late grandmother, a tribute to the woman who inspired and motivated Biyela as she forged her career. Since her first vintage in 2017, Biyela has earned numerous awards for her wines both locally and internationally. She crafts truly lovely white wines based on chardonnay, chenin blanc, and sauvignon blanc, but it’s her red wines that should be your first port of call. Check out Umsasane, a gorgeous red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot.
Filipa Pato Wines – Filipa Pato
Filipa Pato is one of the rising stars of Portuguese wine. Working alongside her husband the famed Belgian sommelier William Wouters, Pato makes outstanding, terroir-driven wines in Portugal’s up-and-coming Bairrada DOC (which incidentally, is also where Pato is from). If sustainably ranks high on your list as a wine drinker, Filipa Pato’s wines are biodynamic and crafted with minimal intervention in the vineyard, or vinhos autênticos sem maquilagem – authentic wines without makeup. Pato produces several delicious wines, including some beautiful sparkling ones, but if you want an introduction to the Bairrada and the high quality it offers, pick up a bottle of her Post Quercus, made from the local Baga grape.