March 8th, International Women’s Day, is a day to celebrate women’s achievements, past and present. March is also women’s history month, a time to note women in history, but also women making history. Throughout most of wine’s long history, women were not invited to the winemaking field. The women who did take part in winemaking made their mark, like the Widow Clicquot, who created the method for clarified Champagne. But as in most trades, since women have joined, they have been making quite a splash.
Women are making waves in the wine world, from winemaking itself to management positions. Here are 18 women and their wines to toast to their success.
*This list only includes 18, though it could have gone on for much longer. Please add more in the comments section.
Madina Papadopoulos is a New York-based freelance writer, author and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her drink adventures on Instagram and Twitter.
1 of 18
Marina Cvetic of Masciarelli Tenute Agricole in Abruzzo, Italy.
Representative Wine: ISKRA 2008.
Belgrade native Marina Cvetic became a part of the Italian wine industry when she met her husband, Gianni Masciarelli, in the mid-80s. Through their romance and partnership, they brought Abruzzese wine to its current renown. 'ISKRA' translates to "spark," and this robust wine embodies the Cvetic's bold spirit.
2 of 18
Dominga Cotarella of Falesco Umbria and Lazio, Italy.
Representative Wine: Tellus Merlot.
Today, three cousins Dominga, Enrica, and Marta, run the Falesco winery, which is located on the borders of Umbria and Lazio. Dominga works as the business' marketing director, holds a degree in Agricultural Sciences from Tuscia University in Viterbo, and is responsible for expanding the delicious wine's availability in the US. Dominga has developed her own label, Tellus.
3 of 18
Karoline Walch of Elena Walch in Alto Adige, Italy.
Representative Wine: Elena Walch Gewürztraminer Kastelaz.
The beautiful, unique region of Alto Adige in Northern Italy creates equally beautiful and unique wines. Elena Walch winery, started by architect Elena Walch, continues to have a strong female presence through her daughter, Karoline, who steps into her mother's shoes.
4 of 18
Michelle DeFeo of Laurent-Perrier in Champagne, France.
Representative wine: Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé.
Champagne Laurent-Perrier is known for its superb Champagne, but also for its history of dynamic women that have been instrumental to the brand since its inception. That legacy continues with the President of Champagne Laurent-Perrier US, Michelle DeFeo.
5 of 18
Emilie Gervosen of Château Larrivet Haut-Brion, Bordeaux, France.
Representative Wine: Les Demoiselles Rouge.
Part of the Bordeaux winemaking family, Château Larrivet Haut-Brion, Emilie Gervosen steps into her own as the Marketing and Communications Director of the company. Les Demoiselles Rouge translates to 'the red young ladies' and was created by Emilie's parents for her and her sisters.
6 of 18
Melanie Pfister of Domaine Pfister in Alsace, France.
Representative wine: Domaine Pfister Cuvée 8.
Melanie Pfister is part of eight generations of winemakers through the Domaine Pfister family, but she is the first woman to lead the winery. She also founded an organization of women working in Alsace wine, DiVINes d'Alsace, and serves as its president. She has created her own blend of Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Muscat, and named it Domaine Pfister Cuvée 8, the number marking her generation.
7 of 18
Roxani Matsa of Matsa in Attica, Greece.
Representative Wine: Boutari Malagouzia Matsa.
While Greece is undergoing various economic and political challenges, its land remains that same historical land where wine has been produced for centuries. Roxani Matsa continues to persevere with her land and its terroir through her winemaking. Roxani took over the Matsa estate founded by her great-grandfather, and is known for her incredible work with the native Malagouzia grape.
8 of 18
Pilar Rodrigo Monzon of Domaine Shadrapa in Medjerda Hills, Tunisia.
Representative Wine: Désir Rosé.
Spaniard Pilar Rodrigo Monzon is a well-known figure in the Tunisian wine world, striving to continue a long traditional of Tunisian wines. Her wine, Désir Rosé, won the silver medal in The Vinalies® Internationales competition. Journalist Thessa Lageman covers Tunisia's long winemaking history and current issues concerning Tunisian wine in her BBC article (http://www.bbc.com/news/business-33424302).
Thessa Lageman, BBC
9 of 18
Ntsiki Biyela of Stellekaya in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Representative Wine: Stellekaya Cabernet Sauvignon 2011.
South African wines continue to increase in popularity every year, and the participation of black women in the field continues to grow as well. Much of that success is owed to trailblazer Ntsiki Biyela, the first black female winemaker in South Africa.
10 of 18
Tukwini Mandela of House of Mandela in Swartland, South Africa.
Representative Wine: 2014 House of Mandela Sauvignon Blanc, The Thembu Collection.
Nelson Mandela's granddaughter, Tukwini, commemorates her grandfather's legacy through starting a wine label named after their family. Every beautiful label design holds symbolism and meaning for her family. She runs the estate with the intentionality of her grandfather, aiming to give opportunity, pride, and stability to South Africans through a fair and sustainable company.