Women in Wine: Trailblazers

Just a few decades ago, it was rare to find a woman winemaker at the helm of a world-class winery or vineyard. It took a generation of female vintners with vision, talent and perseverance to change the math. Many were inspired by the example of women like Zelma Long, who was the only woman in her class in the 1960s when she studied viticulture and oenology at the University of California at Davis. Long went on to be the chief oenologist for ROBERT MONDAVI WINERY in its heyday from 1973 to 1979. Since then, women have become responsible for many of the finest wines available. From Cathy Corrison, whose CORISON “Kronos” in the Napa Valley sets the regional standard for elegance in cabernet sauvignon to Chiara Boschis of E. PIRA AND FIGLI who helped define the modern style of Italian Barolo, women winemakers now make coveted wines informed by their own values and style. The albariñios by Alexia Luca de Tena for BODEGAS AGNUSDEI in Rias Baixas, Spain, are known for their depth and complexity.

Because of Laurence Feraud, the word “blockbuster” is synonymous with DOMAINE DU PEGAU Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Elisabetta Foradori of FORADORI in the Italian Dolomites single-handedly resuscitated teroldego, the delicious smoky indigenous grape variety. Véronique Drouhin upholds DOMAINE DROUHIN’S impeccable standards in Burgundy and Oregon. Heidi Schrock’s old-vine blaufränkisch from her eponymous winery in Burgenland, Austria, has won awards the world over. Through her respect for nature, Emilia Nardi transformed TENUTE SILVIO NARDI, her family’s property in Brunello di Montalcino, Italy, which now produces some of the most terroir driven wines in the region. These trailblazers produced memorable bottles vintage after vintage as they broke the glass ceiling, making it possible for the next generation of women winemakers to pursue their dreams in wineries from Cape Town to Mendoza to Burgundy.