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International Women’s Day: Celebrating Female Winemakers

by Straits Wine Company 08 Mar 2023

Female winemakers have made significant contributions to the wine industry throughout history, despite facing significant challenges and obstacles. Although women have been involved in winemaking for centuries, they were often relegated to supporting roles, such as vineyard workers or cellar hands, rather than being recognised for their skills as winemakers.

Over the past few decades, however, there has been a big #WomenInWine movement. There is a growing recognition of the important role women play in the wine industry. Women winemakers have broken through the glass ceiling, earning critical acclaim for their wines and establishing themselves as leaders in the field. Today, there are many successful and influential female winemakers around the world, and we shine the spotlight on three leading ladies on this special edition of International Women’s Day. 

 

Photo credit: The Australian

 

Sarah Crowe of Yarra Yering 

Sarah Crowe is an accomplished winemaker who is known for her exceptional wines at Yarra Yering, a boutique winery located in the Yarra Valley region of Victoria, Australia. She joined Yarra Yering in 2013, after working at several other notable wineries in Australia and New Zealand. Sarah is a New Zealand native who grew up in a family who appreciated all things related to the culinary world – fine wine included. She studied winemaking at Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand, and began her career at the well-known winery Ata Rangi in Martinborough, New Zealand.

In 2013, Sarah was recruited by Yarra Yering to take over as head winemaker. Under Sarah’s leadership, Yarra Yering has continued to receive critical acclaim for its wines, and she has been recognised as one of Australia’s top winemakers. In 2017, Sarah was named Winemaker of the Year by the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology. Sarah’s approach to winemaking is deeply influenced by her respect for the land and her commitment to sustainability. She employs organic and biodynamic practices in the vineyard and minimises intervention in the winemaking process, allowing the fruit to express its natural character.

Yarra Yering is known for its exceptional Cabernet blends (Yarra Yering Agincourt Cabernet Malbec 2017, $118), and Sarah has continued to produce outstanding wines in this style, as well as other varietals such as Shiraz (Yarra Yering Underhill Shiraz 2016 Screw Cap, $118)  and Chardonnay.

 

Photo credit: The New York Times / Michel Joly 

 

Juliette Chenu Bruot and Caroline Chenu of Domaine Louis Chenu Père et Filles

Juliette Chenu Bruot and Caroline Chenu are sisters and the current winemakers of Domaine Louis Chenu Père et Filles, a family-owned winery located in the village of Savigny-lès-Beaune in the Burgundy region of France. The winery was founded in 1914 by Louis Chenu, and today it spans 19 hectares of vineyards in the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits appellations.

Both Juliette and Caroline grew up on the winery and inherited their passion for winemaking from their father, the late Bernard Chenu. Together, Juliette and Caroline are committed to producing high-quality, terroir-driven wines that showcase the unique characteristics of each vineyard. They use traditional Burgundian winemaking techniques, including hand-harvesting, natural fermentation, and aging in French oak barrels. They also practice sustainable viticulture and limit the use of pesticides and herbicides in the vineyards.

Domaine Louis Chenu Père et Filles produces a range of red and white wines, including several premier cru and grand cru bottlings. For a taste, try the Domaine Louis Chenu Vieilles Vignes Savigny 2018 ($78) and the Domaine Louis Chenu Bourgogne Rouge 2021 ($78).

 

Photo credit: Braida Wines

 

Raffaella Bologna of Braida Wines 

Raffaella Bologna is the daughter of the late Giacomo Bologna, who founded Braida Wines in 1961 in the Piedmont region of Italy. She joined the family business in the 1990s and has since become the head winemaker and CEO of the winery. Braida Wines is known for producing high-quality wines made from indigenous grape varieties such as Barbera, Moscato, and Brachetto.

Raffaella has continued her father’s legacy by focusing on traditional winemaking methods and respecting the terroir of the vineyards. Under Raffaella’s leadership, Braida Wines has expanded its vineyard holdings and now has over 70 hectares of vineyards in the Monferrato region of Piedmont. The winery produces a range of wines, including Barbera d’Asti ($173), Brachetto D’Acqui ($26), and Moscato d’Asti ($25). One of the winery’s most famous wines is Bricco dell’Uccellone, a Barbera d’Asti that has received critical acclaim and is considered one of the best examples of Barbera in the world.

Raffaella is known for her attention to detail and her commitment to producing wines that reflect the unique character of the vineyards. She is also a strong advocate for sustainable viticulture and has implemented several practices to reduce the winery’s environmental impact. For example, Braida Wines uses solar panels to generate electricity, and they have reduced their water consumption by implementing a system to collect rainwater for irrigation.

Raffaella Bologna is one of the leading female winemakers in Italy and has received numerous awards and accolades for her work. In 2017, she was named “Winemaker of the Year” by Gambero Rosso, one of Italy’s leading wine publications. She is also a member of the prestigious Grandi Marchi, a group of Italy’s top wine producers.

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